Gaylord Christmas Celebration- Gaylord of the Rockies

I felt a tiny tugging on my coat as we were standing in the ice tubing line this weekend at the Gaylord of the Rockies. We were ending our second full day of family fun, and we were all tired and happy. 

We had seen a million pounds of ice sculpted into gorgeous holiday scenes. We had seen a Christmas Circus that left me jubilantly in tears. We had breakfast with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And now we were getting ready to tube down a huge hill.

My four year old looked up at me and said, “Mami, I’m going to miss this when we go home.”

My heart exploded with simultaneous sadness and joy, as I knew exactly how she felt. Every single time I visit the Gaylord of the Rockies I feel like I’m in a perfect version of home. 

As we packed up our car and drove away from the Gaylord of the Rockies, we watched the gorgeous Christmas lights in our rearview mirror and I thought “We’ve just found a new family holiday tradition.” 

I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about Gaylord of the Rockies Christmas Celebration- how long to stay, what activities to do, and more. But I’ll just spoil the whole thing here and now by saying- just go!

Related article: 18 Things To Do With Kids In Denver For Christmas

Gaylord Rockies Location

The Gaylord of the Rockies Resort/Convention Center is located off of E470 and Pena Boulevard in Denver- just southwest of the Denver Airport.

It’s also close to the Pena Boulevard train stop, so if you don’t want to rent a car you could just fly in and take the train. 

Otherwise, the Gaylord of the Rockies is located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Denver. It has an amazing mountain view of the Rocky Mountains and the Front Range.

The resort is 486,000 square feet of rustic Alpine charm- there’s even a train car and a lake inside! Whenever I go to the Gaylord I feel like I’m in a perfect version of Colorado- I can’t get enough.

Sunset over the city and distant mountains at Gaylord Rockies.

What Is The Gaylord Christmas Celebration?

Traditionally, the Gaylord has been a set of hotels/convention centers. However- over the holidays, no one books conventions! The brand got creative and decided to make some extra money in creating Christmas-themed programming. And now- well the Gaylord Christmas is so amazing that people flock to the hotels just for the celebration.

They basically explode Christmas inside their huge convention center- there’s a Cirque, a huge ice sculptures exhibit, and more. And it’s just steps from the hotel- which still has all of the normal fun stuff you expect from the Gaylord (read: water park, baby!)

Gaylord Rockies isn’t just for Christmas. Summer at Gaylord Rockies is divine!

Denver got the whole Christmas Village in its inaugural year, and I loved it. Here’s a list of what is offered in Mistletoe Village:

Free Activities

  • LIGHT! – walking lights trail around the property 
  • Father Christmas Library
  • Mistletoe Village 
  • Silent Disco (registered hotel guests only)

Shows:

  • Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions
  • Sugary Sweet Storytime

Ticketed Activities:

  • Charlie Brown and Friends Character Breakfast
  • I Love Christmas Movies immersive Christmas experience

Paid Activities you can do on your own:

  • Gingerbread Decorating Corner
  • Ice Skating
  • Ice Tubing
  • Ice Bumper Car
  • Snow Merry Go Round
  • Merry Snoopy Scavenger Hunt
  • Build A Bear Workshop
  • Letters To Santa

Gaylord Rockies COVID-19 Protocols

The Gaylord is committed to every guest having a safe and fun experience at the resort. To that end, the following COVID-19 safety protocols:

  • Face mask requirement everywhere on property
  • Limited capacity in pools, restaurants and Christmas activities
  • Frequent cleaning of high tough surfaces with antibacterial spray and use of electrostatic sprayer
  • Flexible cancellation policies
  • Housekeeping only upon request

We felt really safe at the Gaylord Rockies. Many activities are outside and the outdoor pool was open. Additionally, because the conference center is SO HUGE we were able to socially distance with ease. For complete information on all Gaylord Rockies COVID-19 policies, head to the Gaylord website.

Related post: Mushing Husky Dogs in the Colorado Rockies

Should I Book A Room?

You can definitely experience the full extent of Gaylord Christmas and not stay at the resort. If you plan your day well and get your tickets in advance, there’s no reason you have to stay at the Gaylord to enjoy all the Christmas offerings.

Don’t miss our favorite Denver day trip in Winter- Ice Castles Visitor’s Tips

Interior of a Gaylord Rockies room featuring two beds, a desk, and a TV.
Image courtesy of Gaylord of the Rockies

Except- it’s the Gaylord! The guest rooms are amazing, and when you spend the night you have access to the water park. Which is super fun- the outdoor pool is open year-round and super warm. 

So- while you don’t have to spend the night, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect staycation, and you can find good deals on rooms too. Or use your Marriott Bonvoy points to splurge!

Edited to add we stayed in a suite this year and it was great. We had an extra room so the kids slept separately, and the wet bar and kitchen table were awesome place to have cocktails and play board games in the evening. 

How Many Day Should I Stay?

If you are local and want to experience all the Christmas fun, I think you can just stay over one night. I would, however, get to the Gaylord early on the first day (like 9 am) and plan to stay until after dark on the second day. 

You can use the water park from open to close on both days of your stay, and the hotel will hold your luggage while you do the activities. 

If you are coming in from out of town to experience Gaylord Christmas, I’d stay 2-3 nights. That way you can spread out the activities a bit and still spend lots of time at the pool. Or the spa. Or in the fitness center. Or at the bars and restaurants… you get the idea.

Another one of our favorite winter getaways is here: –The Best Winter Unplugged Family Adventure in the Rocky Mountains!

Looking for other Denver holiday activities? We’ve rounded up 18 Things To Do With Kids In Denver For Christmas!

Gaylord Rockies Spa- Relache

Speaking of the spa- on this visit I had the opportunity to enjoy the Relache Spa and it was amazing.  I had a phenomenal facial with Paige that I would highly recommend.

I chose the 50 minute Hydra Facial and not only did I enjoy the experience, but my face also looked incredible afterward. There were so many guests in the spa looking to just relax, and when they checkout out with me everyone was raving.

The Relache Spa would be a great day trip from Denver or a fun splurge for a bachelorette party.  For a full list of services visit their website

What Tickets Should I Buy For Gaylord Christmas?

Good question. We did every single activity on the menu, and I will tell you what we loved and what we didn’t. Then I’ll tell you how to get the best deal on the activities that are right for your family. Sound good? Here goes:

What we LOVED:

LIGHT!– We loved wandering through this immersive show of lights and sounds outside of the hotel. The colors are beautiful and the girls loved pressing the music buttons. It’s free- no reason not to walk through. 

If you love Christmas lights don’t miss What Is Christmas in Color Anyway?, Denver Zoo Lights With Young Children and Blossoms of Light Denver Botanic Gardens

I Love Christmas Movies Immersive Christmas Experience:

We loved going through this guided experience of some of our favorite Christmas movies. Main parts of the sets and movies are recreated for guests to walk thorough.

There’s fake snow falling, the Griswold’s house lights up, and the turkey explodes. The guides to a phenomenal job leading you through each movie set and allowing plenty of time for photos. We loved it.

Ice Bumper Cars and Tubing:

Outside there is yet another awesome winter wonderland with ice skating, ice bumper cars and ice tubing. We LOVED the ice bumper cars so much! And the tubing was super fun.

When you buy your tickets for this event just know that the ice skating and tubing are unlimited, but the bumper cars are single ride.

Did you know you can go ice tubing in the year round in Colorado? We did it! 

Mrs. Claus Holiday Traditions-  this show is super cute- you go into Mrs. Claus’ house and she and her elf do some of her favorite holiday traditions. It’s like storytime with Mrs. Claus- she reads a story, you get cookies and milk, and there are songs. Last year my girls didn’t like this much but this year they could NOT get enough of it.

What We Liked:

Merry Snoopy Scavenger Hunt– you get a booklet and do a scavenger hunt all over the hotel in order to win a prize. It takes about an hour, and it’s the perfect way for kids to run off some steam. The scavenger hunt this year was a big upgrade from last year as it was easy for kids who can’t read and write to still fully participate.

Charlie Brown and Friends Character Breakfast– This socially distanced time with Snoopy and friends was super fun. The food was brunch and delicious, and we were even allowed to take some treats to go. This takes place in the convention center and felt very safe.

Wandering Mistletoe Village– It’s easy to get lost in all of the activities at the Gaylord, but don’t forget to stop and smell the proverbial roses. It’s super fun to wander Mistletoe Village, see the decorations and take photos.  We really enjoyed our time there.

What We Didn’t Really Like:

Snow Merry Go Round- This was about the most anticlimactic thing I have ever done in my life. You sit on a tube and get pulled around. Very slowly. Save your money.

Gingerbread Decorating Corner– With all the fun activities available, the Gingerbread corner was not top of our list. You can purchase a gingerbread decorating kit and create it in the candy shop while a gingerbread man dances around.

Cute- but we like the water park better. We did get our kit to go, and will enjoy doing it at home.

How To Get The Best Deal On Gaylord Christmas Tickets

So there are about 1,000 ways to buy tickets and book rooms for the event this year. I spent a bunch of time tracking down the bset way to see the most for the least amount of money. 

You can book a room and activity package on the Gaylord site, but I did play around a bit and saw that you can actually get a better deal when buying the Play and Save passes and booking your room separately. There are three tiers of passes- silver play save pass, a gold play save pass, and a platinum play save pass.

Here’s what to do:

1. Go to the Gaylord of the Rockies website for play and save pass tickets.

2. Put in the dates are you planning to go. Know that weekdays are cheaper than weekends, and earlier shows are cheaper than later shows. As soon as you change your date and time, your price will also change.

3. You can save up to 30% on the packages, but you still have to play around with showtimes. So if you are planning your whole day and you are on a budget, you can put the Cirque Dreams show in the morning and most likely get a better deal. 

4. Our family would do the Gold package in the future, as it has all the activities we loved. 

Please do let me know if you have more questions about the Gaylord Christmas, and definitely let me know if you go and love it! 

Disclosure: I was provided a Media Rate for my stay the the Gaylord of the Rockies, and all activities mentioned here were provided to my family for free. 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Stephanie Sapiano
    December 24, 2019 at 12:38 am

    Do you think an 11 and 16 year old would like these activities?

    • Reply
      Christa
      December 26, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Stephanie!

      We took our tween nieces and they loved it all- they are 11 and 12. The LOVED the escape room and the Ice. Fort he 16 year old- I think so! I would avoid the holiday breakfast and the Mrs. Claus show- not compelling. Teen would probably enjoy tubing and bumper cars too!

  • Reply
    Jenni K
    December 30, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Do the kids need to pack full winter gear for the ice tubing? For sure hats/gloves but what about snow pants? Thanks for your great review!

    • Reply
      Christa
      December 30, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      Such a good question! We packed everything and honestly didn’t really need it. You might get a little cold, but you won’t get wet or snowy. So I’d say no- definitely no on the snow pants. Have so much fun!