Last week I stayed at the Gaylord Texan for a work conference. I was excited to see that the day of my arrival was the start date of the Lone Star Christmas Display! I have twice visited The Gaylord Texan in years past for the purpose of visiting Santa with Ella and her cousins, who live in Texas. It is always an elaborate and beautiful display and the children love it! There are many events in which you can participate, and prices can really stack up fast, so I thought I would give you a quick glimpse of what types of things you can see there, even if you don’t want to spend money on the events.
This star it at the top of the main atrium in the Gaylord Texan. It is truly amazing to gaze up at it!
Visiting the main atrium is free. Just walking through the Gaylord Texan is a beautiful and entertaining sight. They do charge for parking: $15 for 0-2 hours, $17 for 2-4 hours, and $19 for 4+ hours.
The Gaylord Texas Lone Star Christmas has 1.5 million holiday lights, 12,000 ornaments, a 52-foot rotating Christmas tree, miniature train sets, and a life-size gingerbread house (made of real gingerbread). There are also stilt walkers, singing cowboys, Santa and Mrs. Claus, balloon artists, and festive music. You can roam the facility and enjoy viewing all of this for free.
Pictures with Santa. Packages from $21.99 to $49.99 (See price list here.)
Above are pictures of my daughter Ella at the Gaylord Texan Lone Star Christmas. She was 20 months old in the bottom picture, (that’s when she earned elite status on our airline!), 2.5 years old in the picture on the left, and 4 years old in the top right picture. I wish we could make visits to the Gaylord Texan Christmas a yearly tradition, but 3 out of 7 is not too bad. Ella loved visiting every time but we did not participate in any activities except photos with Santa and exploring the decorations, train sets, etc.
You can make reservations for your photos with Santa to avoid the long lines. Visit Main Street Santa to reserve your time.
These are the other paid activities available:
- Ice! Two MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice featuring the theme: Christmas Around the World.
- Snow Tubing (this looks like fun to me, but I would skip it if you actually have snow where you live)
- Milk & Cookies with Mrs. Claus
- The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt
- Gingerbread Decorating Corner sponsored by Peeps
- Santa’s Snowball Throwing Workshop
- Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast
- Friends of Rudolph Meet & Greet
All of these activities are really great, but if you are trying to not spend money, you really can enjoy the festivities without all the paid activities. When we visited with the kids in years past thtey were perfectly content to have a picture with Santa and walk around viewing the beautiful decorations. There was no begging to do more. If you want to partake in the paid activities, my top three choices would be ICE! (although at freezing temperatures, you might want to skip bringing very young children/babies), The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt, and Snow Tubing (if you don’t usually have snow where you live).
I really liked the local art they had displayed to keep you busy as you wait in line for the ICE! Exhibit. The theme was Thankfulness. I really loved the child’s drawing who said they were most thankful for travel!
Here are the photos I took in my walk through the Gaylord Texan. I did not get the chance to see the Ice! Exhibit, as my meetings took up all of my time there. Since my visit was on a weekday and the display had just begun, there were no crowds. Keep in mind the crowds will be heavy, especially at night and weekends. There are lots of displays that offer a good photo opportunity, you could stand in front of the giant Santa boots, the “see no evil, hear no evil, smell no evil” snowmen, and of course, the giant Christmas tree. Or do what I did, and take a selfie with a reindeer or a Nutcracker!
Things to Know
- The Gaylord Texan Lone Star Christmas is running November 12, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
- The Ice Exhibit is COLD! They will provide parkas with pockets. You might not want to bring your smallest children to the exhibit.
- The events get very crowded! Be prepared for long lines and weaving around crowds. We found the atmosphere enjoyable in spite of the crowds in years past. Observing things like the toy train and giant gingerbread house you don’t really feel the crowd around you since there is large open space in front of you.
- Be sure to walk through the side atrium and hallways for even more decorations. If it’s a nice day out, the riverwalk trail in the back outside is gorgeous.
Have you ever visited The Gaylord Texan Holiday events? What did you think of it? Would you go again? Share your experience in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We’d love to see your pictures too!