Santa's rollin' in ice this year at the Cherry Creek Mall

Gone is the snow globe-themed display of the past several years at the Cherry Creek Mall. Replacing it is a 30-foot-tall, 22-foot-wide structure made to look like it was made out of ice, complete with constantly falling snow, a technicolor light show and a throne that feels cold to the touch. The display is a partnership with 20th Century Fox to promote their upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. There are life-sized plastic characters from the movie in the old snow globes, TV screens playing sneek-peak Narnia scenes and speakers piping dramatic orchestration. Santa actually feels like kind of a sideshow.

The kids visiting the Ice Palace late this morning seemed to approve: Lots of excited screaming and wonderment-filled faces. A few criers, but what do you expect? Maybe they're big Chronicles Of Narnia fans who associate ice with the series' main antagonist, the White Witch.

The display was Christened Friday with a massive lighting ceremony. According to the mall's marketing and sponsorship director, Dave Dixon, there were somewhere between 400 and 500 people in attendance. Children were given wands, and actors from Voyage of the Dawn Treader appeared via live stream on a giant projection screen to cue the lighting.

The live stream went out to 16 malls nationwide, all of which are owned by Taubman Centers, Inc. Each mall debuted an identical ice palace at the event. They'll seek another sponsor next year to repurpose the new set pieces.

The ice throne is set up as a sort of alternative to the usual pay-to-play Santa photos (which are also very much available). You can use your own camera for the throne, and it's a good alternative if you're not that into Santa.

National economic forecasts predict a 2.3 percent growth in retail sales this season, and Dixon is hopeful that the Ice Palace will help Cherry Creek meet that prediction.

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