It’s a holiday tradition for many people in this area to head down I-65 for a day of Christmas shopping and fun in Nashville. For many, the day is capped by a visit to Gaylord Opryland for their Christmas light displays. And while that’s an enjoyable few hours, there’s more than enough going on at the mega-resort to make a full weekend getaway.
This is the 28th year for “A Country Christmas”. While perennial favorites like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes and Louise Mandrell’s Christmas Dinner return this year, there’s lots of other things going on throughout the entire holiday season from November 18 to January 3.
New this year is Holly Jolly Town Square, a step back to a nostalgic 1950s town square, complete with all the shops from main street, a holiday kids’ train, live entertainment and more. You can check people off your gift list by stopping by the Treasures for the Holidays craft and gift show which runs from Nov 18 to Dec 18. The craft show is a free event that features more than 40 merchants from across the country.
This Christmas is the kickoff of a long-term alliance between Gaylord Hotels and DreamWorks Animation. All four Gaylord hotels, including Opryland, now feature the DreamWorks Experience. Characters from such films as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar are now featured in interactive experiences that will continue even after Christmas is over.
However, the DreamWorks Experience does take a holiday turn from now to January with events such as ShrekFeast character meals, character meet and greets, Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating, Holiday Shrektacular – a street party with characters, music and dancing, and a DreamWorks themed Scavenger Hunt.
My family has enjoyed previous years’ ice displays from Charlie Brown and the Grinch. This year’s ICE! continues the connection to TV specials while bringing in the DreamWorks Experience with ‘Merry Madagascar’. The vividly colorful ice displays will depict scenes from the TV holiday special that featured Santa and his reindeer crash-landing on the island of Madagascar and being assisted by the animals from the movie.
While you’re staying busy with all these festivities and more at Gaylord Opryland, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy over 2 million Christmas lights across the property. And take a long pause at their impressive outdoor Nativity display to remember why this is a special time of year.
For more information about this year’s events at Gaylord Opryland, visit www.ChristmasatGaylordOpryland.com.
DISCLAIMER: Gaylord Opryland provided a room at the inn (Christmas joke!) for two nights and tickets for my family to attend many of these events. We were amazed and delighted at the level of service and hospitality that the Gaylord staff provided. A version of this review was printed and published in the Amplifier in Bowling Green, Ky.