Admire elaborately decorated trees, drive through landscapes popping with animated light displays and walk through ice sculpture wonderlands.
Oglebay, West Virginia
The hillsides bloom with millions of lights at Oglebay Resort, Wheeling. During the Festival of Lights, drive through 6 miles of fanciful displays, many of them animated. Enter light tunnels, see marching toy soldiers, rocking horses, fierce dinosaurs, a leaping frog at the lake, and at the Good Zoo, watch 40,000 lights choreographed to music. The display, now celebrating its 30th season, rates as one of the US’s top holiday light events.
Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, Arizona
This may be the only place you can dine inside a real gingerbread house. Constructed around a wooden frame covered with thousands of ginger bricks, the 20-foot tall house set in the lobby comes with a working fireplace and a table for 6 that can be booked for $250 for lunch, $300 for dinner, and $400 per seating for December 24 and 25, plus the cost of the meal. If that feels like too much dough, then just admire the structure, whose recipe calls for 350 pounds of flour, 250 eggs, 856 pounds of sugar, 100 pounds of ginger powder, 10 pounds of nutmeg, 50 pounds of cinnamon, and 400 pounds of honey.
Larger-than-life ice sculptures fashion whimsical wonderlands at ICE! the holiday extravaganza at 4 Gaylord Hotels. Crafted by artisans from Harbin, China, where ice sculpting is a long tradition, the roomfuls of glistening scenes create a holiday fantasy you walk through. You and your kids can also glide down the ice slides and ice skate at most ICE! locations. Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, Maryland, presents Christmas Around the World; Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee, stages Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee, Florida, features A Charlie Brown Christmas; and the Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, Texas, showcases Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town.
Fairmont Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Arizona
Three million lights add dazzle to the upscale Fairmont Scottsdale Resort & Spa, an AAA Five Diamond resort. The Princess Express train carries guests to Lagoon Lights, displays of pirate ships, mermaids and the Loch Ness monster mounted in the resort’s lagoon. The property’s Christmas tree, strung with 70,000 lights, “dances” to musical tunes and you can glide across the resort’s 6,000-square foot ice skating rink. To celebrate Hanukah, the resort will add a 25-foot menorah.
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