Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Frozen Ice Palace

This past weekend, Eliot and I went on a Frozen Christmas adventure!

I've been wanting to do something to get into the Christmas spirit.  Eliot and I have been really busy the past month and we still haven't gotten much decorating done around the house.  We thought about putting more decorations up over the weekend, but we decided to go on an overnight getaway instead.  For months now, I've been begging anyone and everyone in my family to go to the Yankee Candle Flagship Store in Massachusetts.  I haven't been in 10 years- since my 20th birthday.  Christmas is a great time to visit.  Then, in November, I'd heard about a Frozen Ice Palace at the Westfarms Mall in Connecticut.  (Hmm... they're only an hour away from each other... perfect!  The adventure begins!)

Photo Source: Google Maps
Eliot and I drove down to Hartford late Saturday afternoon to stay at a hotel near the Westfarms Mall.  Sunday morning, we got up and went over to the mall.  On the way over, we saw a Christmas display with Tigger and Eeyore!  (So cute!!!)

As soon as we arrived at the mall, I knew it was going to be a good day.  We saw a lady with a Sulley hat on in the parking lot.  The family walking into the mall in front of us had WDW sweatshirts on.  We entered the mall in JCPenney right next to the Disney section.  Finally, I saw a man with a Disney Store bag walking through JCPenney.  (Wait, what?  This mall even has a Disney Store!?!?!  Woo-hoo!!!)

Photo Source: Westfarms Mall (copyright Disney) 
We saw signs for the Ice Palace as soon as we got inside.  We made our way to the center of the mall and found the 30 foot ice palace.  The Frozen Ice Palace theme was designed to coincide with the November 18th release of the Frozen Sing-Along Edition of the movie.  The display was locally sponsored by the Hartford Courant.

Eliot and I got into line and it wasn't that bad.  We weren't there as early as we'd planned to be, but the line was still only half way down the first loop.  (By the time we left, it was almost all the way down the second one- probably a 2+ hour wait.)  We probably waited about an hour to an hour and a half.  Thankfully, I was there to see the display so I took a lot of pictures and kept myself busy dissecting the design aspects.

I loved the Ice Palace.  It had great details of snowflakes on it.  It was great how the columns and arches changed colors every few seconds.  My favorite part of the display were the snow globes.  There were a few snow globes scattered throughout the design.  One had Elsa, one had Olaf, and another had Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf!

There were interactive activities throughout the display while waiting in line.  Some of the kids played with the karaoke machine.  (Cute until they started screaming into it.) You could leave a hand print in the snow at the Icy Hand Print experience.  (Brr!)  Or you could see how tall you were compared to Olaf and Sven!  (Fun!)

Once you were inside the Ice Palace, you could watch televisions with clips from the Frozen sing along.  They only showed a few sections of each song.  I wish they played the entire song.  I was surprised none of the kids were singing with the songs.  The only people I heard singing were Eliot and me!  (Because we're cool like that.)

The Ice Palace also had "snow" falling from the center.  There was a projector with a snowflake on the floor near where the snow fell.  The kids in line loved it.  In fact, a few of them were completely covered in it.  However, it wasn't real snow- so it wouldn't melt.  (Not such a great idea to roll in it before your photo op kids!)  The Ice Palace was really cute though.

After the Ice Palace, you had the option to have a photo taken with a plush Olaf at the Ice Throne.  This sounded like a must do to me, until we realized you had to buy a Santa package and it was an add on.  If you could just do the Ice Throne, I would have been all over that!  (I like warm hugs Olaf!!!)

Santa Claus was waiting at the end of the ice palace display.  Eliot and I let the mother and son behind us go through and we snuck past Santa.  We didn't want to pay for the full photo package.  Although, part of me was curious about the "special gift" Santa handed out afterwards.  (Aww man!  It was a Frozen look and find book!)

After Santa, there was a small "gift shop" with Frozen merchandise.  Eliot bought me a small Olaf make up bag and an Olaf back pack.  (Early Christmas Gifts!)  Both were half off the original prices!  (Score!)  We think they were just trying to get rid of it since there were only a few more days until Christmas!

We went upstairs and took a few photos of the display from above.  Then we made our way over to the Disney Store.  (Yay!)  We went to a few other stores and had lunch before leaving the mall.  I'm so glad we went; I had a blast.  (I'm a dork and I know it!)

After we left the mall, Eliot and I traveled an hour north to the Yankee Candle Village store.  We poked around and shopped for a few hours.  The best part of the store is that it's an experience all on it's own.  The store reminds me of a miniature Walt Disney World.  (Hey, a girl's gotta get her fix somehow.)  We checked out the Wax Works section where kids (and adults!) can make their own wax hands or jar candles.  There's even a show with animatronics like the Country Bears at Disney!

We also explored the Bavarian Village and Black Forest.  The Bavarian Village is a German-style village where it’s Christmas year round.  The Black Forest has Christmas collectibles like ceramic villages.  (I had to get a few pictures for ideas on how to display Nana's village at my parents' house!)  It also snows every 4 minutes.

We took pictures around the Nutcracker Castle and explored Santa's Workshop!  The countdown clock was there to remind Santa he only has 3 more days until Christmas! Eventually, we selected our merchandise and paid for it before starting the three hour car ride home.  (Totally worth it!)  The weekend was a lot of fun and I'm really glad we went!  I definitely felt the Christmas spirit!  °o°

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