The Queen Mary in Long Beach California is certainly becoming an interesting destination to visit. Throughout the year it is an historic destination offering tours, restaurants, shopping and world-class hotel. But now, they have begun to add seasonal events towards the end of the year. Dark Harbor, their Halloween offering, is a wildly successful and wonderfully produced spooktacular. It was perhaps an obvious move, then, to come up with a family friendly event for the holiday season.
Chill is a winter wonderland at the Queen Mary which offers a fun filled, albeit frosty, evening of family friendly activities. Here, guests can explore the north pole village, walk through a quaint English town, Ice Skate, jump into a snow globe, ride a bucking reindeer, and more.
We enter through the archways and are confronted with a winter wonderland of snowmen and candy canes. off to the left is a European, almost Dickinson place called the North Pole Village.
Further along, in an area called Frosty’s Funland. Here you’ll find a HUGE snowman bounce house (included with admission) and the Buckin’ Reindeer. ($5 charge)
In the center of the main thoroughfare are more experiences. Enter the Gingerbread house and there is a Gingerbread Man Decorating experience (nominal cookie fee).
Next is the world’s largest rocking horse and the Claus Cabin, both of which are free.
In contrast to the Dark Harbor food, the edibles here seem far more themed and appropriate. The pricing is still a little up there but it’s all acceptable.
Outside there is also the Ice skating rink/stage in the Polar Park. While you do have to pay to skate during the “sessions”, skates are offered. In fact, you can even bring your own ice skates if you have them. The Queen Mary is a unique backdrop to ice skate in front of!
While you can buy tickets to skate there, a season pass is also available for $29.95. There are also cabanas available for rent, but frankly, they are way too expensive. Located at to the side of the ice rink, the cabanas are available during three separate, progressively expensive time frames. 11:00am-2:00pm, $99 3:00pm-6:00pm $159, 7:00pm-11:00pm $199. What’s more, renting the cabanas does not include admission into Chill. We say skip it.
But let’s now enter the former Spruce Goose dome, aka the Igloo. It is here that the two major attractions await, The Ice Kingdom and Ice Tubing.
The Ice Kingdom is a actually a very beautiful walk-through attraction that is worth the price asked. Donning a complimentary parka, guests venture into a large tent that is kept at a frigid 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nearly everything you are about to see is sculpted from ice.
Midway through the attraction there is an Ice Slide.
While the slide is free once inside the tent, the line tends to get rather large.
Ice Tubing is the other offering in the dome and, frankly, it’s not worth the price. It is a slide made of ice and nothing more. The Ice Kingdom, offered for the same price, is far more interesting.
One of the major highlights of Chill are the roaming actors. Several different acts take to the stage and various times throughout the evening to entertain.
Chill goes to great trouble to create a themed environment for guests to explore. It’s not perfect, mind you, but neither is their budget. From a few temporary tents, and set dressing, they have attempted to create the North Pole, a candy land, a North Pole village. While there is a lot to enjoy at CHILL there are a few cold spots they still need to work out.
While strolling the property and considering what to do next, it is unclear what costs a little more and what is included. It creates a feeling of hesitancy to enjoy what is offered. It’s a shame too since there are some wonderful things here to see that ARE included with the admission.
The pricing for this event is confusing and, at times, absurd. Your evening begins with parking at the ridiculous rate of $20. You then make your way to the entrance and ticket booths, where you’ll have to figure out what sort of ticket to buy or what you’ll still need to pay for after you enter. After paying admission into the event, which is a healthy $34.95 (online price), it is unclear what smaller experiences are included with that ticket.
To help you to enjoy the event a bit more, let’s clarify what tickets are available and what it gets you. This way you can better understand what you are paying for, and you will be able to select exactly what you want.
When considering visiting CHILL, you must choose two of the three major attractions to enjoy with your admission; Ice Kingdom, Ice Skating, Ice Tubing.
- Ice Skating and Ice Kingdom Adult Ticket – $34.95
- Ice Tubing and Ice Kingdom Adult Ticket – $34.95
- Ice Skating and Ice Kingdom Child Ticket – $19.95
- Ice Tubing and Ice Kingdom Child Ticket – $19.95
Furthermore, entrance into the Ice Kingdom is on a time reservation basis. You are asked to choose an hour-block of time in which to enjoy Ice Kingdom. While guests are allowed to stay in the exhibit as long as they like, it is only a one-time use ticket for the exhibit. However, if you really have to see it a second time, there are re-entry tickets available.
Overall, Chill is nice but may not quite be worth the high price for everyone. $34.95 would be acceptable if everything was included in the admission price. But as it stands now, it is a bit too steep. Not to mention that you will also have to pay for $20 parking.
All in all, we enjoyed this icy holiday utopia. There’s a whimsical magic to ice sculptures and this frozen world is over the top. We hope to see Queen Mary continue offering seasonal entertainments, they’ve certainly been developing a knack for it.