Last week, friend-of-the-site Jonathan P. Hempfling, Esq. took his daughter to the most incredible pop-up I’ve ever seen: The Frozen Experience at the International Plaza in Tampa. When I saw his photos (which are included below), I was like WHAAAAAT!
With a little digging, I found out that Disney paired with with The Taubman Properties to bring Frozen Ice Palaces to ten cities across the country … including Short Hills, N.J., which is a mere 45 minutes from my apartment!
So I knew Dan and I had to make a pilgrimage.
This is, quite literally, the most amazing holiday display I’ve ever seen. In the middle of the mall, rising up from the floor tiles, there it is: Elsa‘s Ice Palace. Amazing. Dripping with realistic icicles, lit by twinkle lights and surrounded by snowy evergreens. And we visited about an hour before mall close on Black Friday, so the line was blissfully nonexistent.
Around the outside of the Palace, there were several stations for keeping the children busy while the line is wending around the main attraction. At the first, you can have your photo taken with a spinning Olaf while you listen to Anna sing her show stopping number.
Third, leave a handprint in a block of ice. (Thing One: It really was ice. Very, very cold. Dan’s face can attest. Thing Two: Some very big idiot jerkfaces stuck coins into the ice block, which made it totally impossible to leave your handprint in the ice. Lame.)
The second to last stop is a karaoke set up where you can belt out Let It Go. (At our mall, it wasn’t working, but I’ll bet it’s just delightful on a crowded afternoon in the middle of a loud mall.)
The last stop before you enter the Ice Palace is a photo op with Olaf. He likes warm hugs!
And finally! The Ice Palace. It’s a ten-foot-tall dome, with snow (or, you know, some synthetic simulacrum) falling from the ceiling. Like real snow—falling. I couldn’t quite manage a snowman, but I did make a snow angel. And there are several screens wired up and playing a montage of Elsa moments. It’s amazingly magical. And really, really … I want it in my living room!
And when you step out of the Palace … there’s Santa! And the cash register. (Those prices, yikes!!) And then it was over. I considered taking a second trip through the attraction, but Dan and I were both totally covered in “snow” and it was getting late. (Side note: When I took off my bra a couple of hours later, it snowed again! I have no idea how it happened, but there’s snow all over our apartment. Snow! Everywhere!)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that all of this magical magicness is tied to the November 18 release of Disney Frozen Sing-Along Edition … and I am sure The Taubman Properties saw it as a great opportunity to increase their sales of Santa photos over the holiday season. (Honestly … the only person more popular with kids than Santa is Queen Elsa!)
Overall, it was totally worth the drive.
In addition to the experiences in Tampa, Fla., and Short Hills, N.J., there are Frozen Experience Ice Palaces at eight other malls managed by Taubman Centers across the country (though they’re mostly on the coasts).