Archive for October, 2009

Halloween in Venice!

October 30, 2009
Halloween in Venice

Venetian "witches" dash into stores to demand treats on Halloween.

Venice, famous for its Carnival,  is a natural for for an American-style Halloween!  For more about our visit to Venice, Italy, as part of Royal Caribbean’s cruisetour, go to:

October 29, 2009

Christmas is Coming!

Ice Carvers from China Already Busy

on Gaylord Opryland’s

‘Charlie Brown Christmas’

You can easily imagine what it’s like for the elves at the North Pole when you peak inside the building that will be the setting for an all-new interactive ice sculpture world, ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz that will be on view at Gaylord Opryland’s Nashville resort from Nov. 20, 2009 through Jan. 2, 2010.

Ice carving at Opryland

Ice carver prepares Nativity scene out of crystal clear ice

Working in the equivalent of a freezer for 12 hours straight at a time, 40 ice carvers who have come from Harbin, China, are busy turning 300-pound, four-foot blocks of clear, white and colored ice (imported from Georgia) into eight different Charlie Brown scenes, plus an ice slide that guests can go down. Here, the ice carver works on the Nativity scene out of crystal clear ice.

Ice carving of Charlie Brown characters

From 300 lb. colored blocks of ice, the Charlie Brown characters emerge (Karen Rubin/News&PhotoFeatures

From 300-pound clear, white and colored blocks of ice, the images of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and others come to amazing life. In just the first few days, figures start to emerge. It will take this team of 40 ice carvers 300 hours to create the dazzling show, that includes a 20-foot long ice slide that guests can go down, and a nativity scene in crystal-clear ice. In all, the carvers create more than 30 characters, four and five feet tall. Visitors go through 10 different rooms with displays – nearly 15,000 square feet of space – filled with some 2 million pounds of ice.

opryland-102409 (c) 2009 Karen Rubin 069e-icecarvers-hands

Two ice carvers from Harbin, China, work on Charlie Brown's "hands" out of flesh-colored ice (c) Karen Rubin/News&Photo Features

Here, ice carvers work on the “hands” using flesh-toned ice. Hardest color ice to make? Black. These are two of 40 ice carvers working on the Opryland display; in all, 160 ice carvers have been brought from Harbin, China, altogether who are working at all four of the Gaylord resort properties: Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida: ICE! reflecting the theme “Welcome to the North Pole,” taking guests through nine dramatic holiday scenes Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas: ICE! featuring How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss; and Gaylord National Resort on the Potomac in Maryland: is a winter fantasy with elements reflecting the region.


The ice display is one of 12 different special Christmas shows and events that are part of Opryland’s “Country Christmas” festivities, a tradition for 26 years. There are more than 2 million lights and more than a dozen shows and attractions including an The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes at the Grand Ole Opry House, plus, Louise Mandrell’s ‘Joy to the World’ Christmas Dinner and Show, A Country Christmas on the Cumberland that takes place on the General Jackson riverboat. (Contact, or for info on lodging, 888-777-6779,