Today marked the kickoff of the winter wonderland that is Chill at the Queen Mary in Long Beach and last night my children and I were invited to opening night for a sneak peak to experience it all.
Guests were greeted at the gates by traditional carolers before being led in past Candy Lane to the Holiday Village where the big guy was waiting to take photos and hear what's topping Christmas lists.
Joining us were stars from the television show, Ant Farm which was a real treat for my kids who are big fans of the show.
One of our first stops was the ribbon cutting of the Ice Kingdom which you will find in the former home of the famous Spruce Goose. Inside this dome we encountered breathtaking ice sculptures unlike an we had ever seen before. Some big enough to walk through and two, including a miniature replica of the Queen Mary, are actual slides for guests to enjoy (admission to the Ice Kingdom is $24.95).
Inside the Ice Kingdom it is only 9 degree- unheard of in Southern California!!- so they loaned out complimentary parkas to keep us warm (my fingertips were still frozen though). Hey, they don't call it Chill for nothing. In fact there's plenty of wintery fun to be had by all at this seasonal attraction. Just next door to the Ice Kingdom guests can go ice tubing inside the dome (starting at $9.95 for 5 runs).
For us the ice skating was the main attraction. Once we hit the rink we didn't want to leave!
The little guy really appreciated the seal to help him get around the rink independently (yeah, we're at that age).
I cannot tell you how much fun we had last night and can't wait to go back. The only drawback to Chill is that the prices can get a little steep- especially for families. I can see how it could be tough to take everything in, which is a little sad. But in speaking with another guest I picked up a few tips that will hopefully help soften the blow:
- He suggested parking in Downtown Long Beach and taking a free shuttle to the Queen Mary. I did not do this because parking was free for the night, but my understanding is this could save $20. I cannot vouch for this so I suggest doing some research before going.
- Purchase tickets at Goldstar for about half the price (plus processing fees). It helps once you start multiplying family members. This is what we had planned to do before we were invited to the event.
But do check it out and if you do nothing else- you must experience ice skating under the stars next to the majestic Queen Mary!