Queen Mary’s Chill – Get ready for a full serving of the Holidays
It’s a winter wonderland in Long Beach at the Queen Mary’s new CHILL. Explore the Ice Adventure Park and experience holiday traditions from around the world. Truth be told, the real magic of Queen Mary’s Chill event comes out after dark. I went on opening day to the attraction. At first glance, it appeared that a lot of work had been put into the event, but I did not fully appreciate how much was invested into the attraction until the sun went down and the lights sparked on.
The thought that comes to mind is sensory overload. Between the neon lit bumper cars, hundreds of strands of pulsating lights, festive music which filled the air, and a barrage of holiday themed characters walking about, Christina and I were thoroughly impressed. There was so much going on simultaneously, it was actually kind of relaxing. Our senses were so overloaded, we didn’t have enough bandwidth to let the typical holiday stress come into play.
There were a lot of activities for people of all ages here. The activities ranged from decorating your own Christmas stocking to designing your own lantern in China at the Zen tea house. There are arts and crafts for kids, ice skating, bumper cars, and alcohol! One of the nice things about the Queen Mary is that they serve drinks for adults. Sometimes, especially during the holidays, it’s nice to wind down with a cold beer or holiday beverage. In addition, Chill offers igloo-cabana rentals! Each one includes a space heater and is a great way to “chill” and get some quiet time throughout the night.
Food and drinks from around the world
Chill presents a number of regions which you can experience the food from various cultures. Dumplings and hot tea are offered in China. Schnitzel, Bratwurst, and Kraut are served up in Germany. Doughnuts and pancakes can be found in Holland, and of course, fondue and chocolate are the main courses in Switzerland. Finally, America offers up hot chocolate and candy if you are so inclined. All the food is reasonably priced and delectable.
TIP: If you are into drinking, I would recommend buying the Drink Passport. This includes a Visa which can be applied once per region. This is a good value if you are into trying cultural drinks. For each stop (6 in total), you will receive a Visa stamp. It also doubles as a cool souvenir. Drinks range from an absinthe based cocktail from Switzerland (birthplace of absinthe) to ice cold beer from Germany.
Highlights at Chill (not to be missed)
- Riding a single (or romantic double) bicycle in China on the ice. This was my wife’s favorite activity and all the riders appeared to be having a wonderful time.
- Neon lit bumper-cars on the ice! I had to talk my wife into this, but once we started, she was grinning ear to ear. You are surrounded by pulsating lights and holiday music.
- Ice Skating! I can’t imagine a better ice skating venue in California then skating around the 1200ft ice skating track at Chill. You go through tunnels, igloos, light shows and basically get to see the whole attraction while effortlessly gliding on the ice. If you are a novice, you can use a training-penguin to help hold you up while you skate (great for small kids or adults!).
- The 145 ft two story Matterhorn Mountain Ice Tubing slide! Did I mention that it’s on the ice!? This was a blast that people of all ages can enjoy.
- The tree lighting ceremony. This features fireworks for the Sunday show and an incredible amount of lights.
- The light show! At various times throughout the night, hundreds of lights are synchronized to holiday music.
- The Rockette-style Christmas dancers (aka the Chillettes) were amazing. They danced to contemporary holiday songs and put on a number of shows throughout the night.
- Go to the lodge in Switzerland and get drink. The structure is a two story inflatable wooden-themed building. The 2nd floor includes a fireplace and an amazing view of the entire attraction. Make sure to order the absinthe while you are there!
- Take a ride on the world’s largest rocking horse! Great for kids or for adults after a beverage or two.
TIP: If you are interested in ziplining, I would recommend doing it first. The lines can become long and tend to move slowly. Only 2 zipliners can go at a time, and each one has to be fitted with a harness. Also, in my opinion, the lights don’t really come into play with the zipline course. I would rather go to all the other attractions when Chill is running at full steam.
Escape the Holiday stress at Chill
The holidays can be a stressful time. If you are looking to escape, even for a night, you can’t do much better than Chill. If you go to this event, you would be hard pressed to not leave without a smile. This event is great for kids and adults. My wife thought it was very romantic and enjoyed it thoroughly. I kept thinking how great it was for kids. I plan to make this an annual holiday tradition. It is affordable, not very crowded like other venues, and has something for everyone.
TIP: at some point in the night, stop and look around to appreciate how much is actually going on. A lot of thought went into this event and it shows.
Tickets, Pricing, and Hours for Chill at Queen Mary
Location: The Queen Mary is in Long Beach Harbor, California
Dates: Chill runs from December 13 to January 7 for the 2017/2018 Holiday Season (closed New Year’s Eve)
Hours: 4:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Pricing: $29 for adults and $19 for children
Disclaimer: Although our experience was complimentary, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own.
Spencer works as a senior software engineer by day. He is a self proclaimed adrenaline junkie. Serving as the president of a local caving group, he enjoys exploring caves, rappelling down waterfalls, cliff jumping and generally anything that involves adventure and danger. He loves to travel but appreciates the beauty of Southern California (and his wife) above all else.
Spencer’s better half (most of the time) serves as a Guest Ambassador at the Safari Park in San Diego. She also enjoys caving, canyoneering, hiking, and adventure. She is an avid Horror movie fan and frequents horror movie festivals. She is an animal lover and is active in protecting all endangered species (especially the Lemurs in Madagascar).
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