Gaylord Texan family hotel near Fort Worth TexasAt the Gaylord Texan it’s clear that even Christmas is bigger in Texas.  Starting with the stunning 52-foot rotating Christmas tree located in its center, every square inch of the Gaylord Texan’s four and a half acres of indoor gardens is beautifully decorated for the holidays.  Under the clear sky of the huge glass atrium, the Christmas scenes throughout the gardens and winding waterways seem change as day turns in to night.  There are so many areas to explore and every path has a new vignette, from train sets to gingerbread houses, bringing to life the magic of the season.

Christmas doesn’t stop at the décor, there are activities planned through the holiday season that kids of all ages with enjoy.  Of course a visit with Santa is a must, but the Gaylord Texan has partnered with DreamWorks for some holiday-themed fun you and your kids will love, including:

Gaylord Texan Hotel DreamWorks ChristmasGingy’s Gingerbread Decorating
Decorate gingerbread and sugar cookies with icing and candy toppings, then meet Gingy during a photo op with the loveable character.  If you don’t have time to decorate the cookies, at least pick some up Texas-sized cookies next door at the Java Coast.

ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal
Join Shrek, Princess Fiona and Puss in Boots for a fairytale feast fit for a king with tableside hugs and photos.

Kung Fu Panda Awesome Snow Tubing
Kung Fu Panda Christmas at the Gaylord TexanThere’s nothing like screaming down a snowy hill on a tube to bring out the kid in you.  Oh, and your children with have a good time, too!

Character Meet-and-Greets and Wake Up Calls
Hug and visit with your favorite DreamWorks characters.  Visit the Gaylord Texan’s website for times and availabilities.  Wake up calls can be scheduled with a DreamWorks character.  Nothing beats a good morning from an ogre – and I’m not talking about your teenager.

Merry Madagascar with the ICE! Experience
Wrap up in the cozy parka provided and walk through Merry Madagascar, where the story about how Alex, Marty, Melvin, Gloria and the Penguins save Christmas after Santa and his sleigh crash on Madagascar is revealed through beautiful, larger-than-life ice sculptures.  Your kids will love seeing the fun and colorful Madagascar characters, complete with a super-fast sledding hill, and ending with a beautiful nativity scene sculpted in ice.

Rise of the Guardians Scavenger Hunt
Merry Madagascar at the Gaylord TexanJoin forces with Jack Frost and the legendary Guardians to solve exciting puzzles, crack codes and fine the clues needed to defeat the evil spirit, Pitch and his devious plan to engulf the world in darkness and fear.

The Gaylord Texan is located in Grapevine, just 6 minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.  Grapevine, known as the Christmas Capitol of Texas, lives up to its name with over 1,400 Christmas events, including the North Pole Express, a magical train ride with Santa.  Shopping in a cute downtown area and wine tasting experiences are not to be missed.  There’s no need to rent a car in Grapevine, the city runs comfortable and wheelchair accessible shuttles that leave from the tour lobby of the Gaylord Texan a couple of times an hour for just $10 a day for a family.

Disclaimer: The Gaylord Texan provided me with accommodations and tickets to ICE! and Kung Fu Panda Awesome Tubing during my stay in Grapevine, the experience and opions expressed are my own.

Karin Sheets is a Seattle-area techie, travel writer and mother of two teens, one of them with special needs. She encourages all families to live the adventure of life. Her personal blog is www.specialneedstravelmom.com and you can follow her @ionMyAdventures on Twitter or www.facebook.com/SpecialNeedsTravelMom.