Christmas at Gaylord National: Holiday Season Special

Christmas at Gaylord National is here and there is so much to do!

In this guide on Christmas at Gaylord, you’ll see all the fun there is to be had and what you need to know before you go.

About Christmas at Gaylord National

Every winter Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor in Maryland turns into a winter wonderland.

Spending the day there is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and feel like you are on vacation without leaving the DC metro area and still getting to sleep in your own bed.

The annual ICE! Exhibit at Gaylord is back this season.

Gaylord’s other holiday events, including an unlimited ice slide, are back! Read on for a run down of the events at the Gaylord…

I Love Christmas Movies

Gaylord brings on the nostalgia and the kitsch for the highlight of their Christmas offerings. In this exhibit, you will walk through five different Christmas-movie themed sets.

These sets are very authentic and the guides for the experience are a lot of fun. Movies featured include The Polar Express™, Elf™, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation™, A Christmas Story™, and The Year Without A Santa Claus™.

| MORE FUN: 31+ Christmas Activities in Washington DC (+ Events)

There are no actors on the sets but production assistants guide you through each movie. My kids loved being on the “set” of the movies they had seen, particularly Elf and The Polar Express. The Polar Express really smelled like hot chocolate which was a nice touch.

In hindsight, I wish I had shown my kids more of the movies that are featured, especially National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but they still enjoyed seeing the sets and odd props on many of the sets even without having seen a few of the movies.

This is not a self-paced activity. You will be let in with a group and guided through the exhibit. 

Christmas Gaylord National Harbor

Snow Tubing on Ice Flow Mountain

This year, Gaylord has two very big indoor ice slides for snow tubing. So grab a tube and slide on down!

Be aware that the ride to the bottom is very fast.

My eleven-year-old and I had a blast but my six-year-old thought this ride was a little too thrilling for his tastes. Once ticket gets you unlimited rides all day.

Note: very young children will be too short to ride as there is a height requirement. 

Christmas Gaylord National

Snowball Build and Blast

If you are dying for a snowball fight this is the next best thing to a winter storm. Each member of my family got a tub full of snow that we used to build our own snowballs.

Although we were tempted to throw some at each other, instead we aimed that a number of festive tubes and tried to get the snowballs into a snowmaking machine to earn points.

This was a fun and fast-paced activity!

Note: your hands may get cold so young children may need help forming their snowballs or you can bring mittens for them to wear. 

Merry Snoopy Scavenger Hunt

Be prepared to walk all around the resort to solve the scavenger hunt!

For this activity children engage in a quest to help Snoopy decorate his dog house for the holidays. It’s a great way to see what Gaylord has to offer from the arcade to the spa.

If you finish the scavenger hunt you get a take-home craft kit to make your own Snoopy-themed ornament.  

Christmas at Gaylord National

Other Christmas Activities at Gaylord National

There are so many other activities at Gaylord from ice bumper cars to story time with Mrs. Claus.

Check them out here so you can design your perfect day (or two!) at Gaylord. 

Explore National Harbor

If you visit Gaylord you should also take some time to venture beyond the resort to National Harbor.

The highlight of National Harbor is the Capital Wheel with awe-inspiring views. National Harbor also has a carousel with unlimited rides for just $7.00, a beach area great for kids to play in and so many great restaurants. 

Good To Know Before You Go

  • Prices vary based on your preferred activities, the date of your visit and whether you are staying overnight. We strongly recommend checking out packages to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Staying overnight is not required to take part in any of the So.Much.Christmas. events but is required if you want to use Gaylord’s indoor pool! 
  • There were long lines for some activities we wanted to try when we visited on a Saturday afternoon. Another guest told me that lines were significantly shorter when the activities opened at 11:00 that morning. We recommend visiting as close to opening as possible or visiting on a weekday.
  • If you do encounter long lines you may want to designate one adult to stay in line while another adult takes the kids to do another activity if possible.
  • We strongly recommend making reservations in advance. Some activities may sell out.  
  • So. Much. Christmas runs until December 31 so tickets would make a great holiday gift!
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