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CHILL at the Queen Mary in Long Beach (2013 Review) Click Here for 2015 Review of Chill
CHILL at the Queen Mary in Long Beach is a seasonal attraction housed partly in the building that once held the Spruce Goose. CHILL is comprised of three main activities: Ice Kingdom, ice skating and ice tubing. CHILL will be open until Jan. 12th and we had a fantastic time there.
The address for CHILL is 1126 Queens Highway. The hours vary but during the week it is open from 10 am-11 pm and on many weekdays the hours are 3-11 pm. There is a parking lot for CHILL and the cost is $20. LAwithKids recommends parking at a lot near the aquarium (the cost for these lots varies between ($5-$10 depending on your length of stay and may require a validation). Then you can hop on the free shuttle to the Queen Mary which runs every 15 minutes.
What is the cost for CHILL? Well, the answer is it depends. Many of the people we talked to at CHILL had purchased tickets through daily deal sites like Groupon or through Goldstar. A ticket to CHILL includes admission to the Ice Kingdom which has the ice sculptures and either Ice Tubing or ice skating. You need to chose which of the two (tubing or skating) each member of your party will want to do. The cost is cheaper if you purchase tickets online and they start at $30 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4-11. The cost is less if you go during the week and, again, check daily deal sites to save even more. To add the third attraction, you can purchase tickets for the tubing or skating on-site for $12.95.
The Ice Kingdom is kept at 9 degrees so I suggest dressing warmly (boots, sweater, scarf, hat and very important here: gloves or mittens). CHILL provides knee-length parkas for everyone in a size that you can choose and the parkas are necessary both for warmth and to aid in sliding down the ice slides. The Ice Kingdom has timed entry meaning that you enter the line at the time on your ticket. We went mid week and there was no line to get in but I can tell by the set-up just how crowded it can get. There is no limit on the amount of time you have once you enter.
The sculptures are enormous, creative and the colors are so bright and vivid that you will be wondering the whole time just how they are made. The sculptures tell the story of the nutcracker, and you will follow little Clara on Christmas Eve night as she and the nutcracker battle the mouse king and his army. There are six rooms to walk through and the biggest has a replica of the Queen Mary made out of ice with three slides to speed down. All of us couldn’t believe how fun it was to slide down on ice: the speed was terrific! We did this many times and there is no limit here. We took a lot of pictures of the sculptures and enjoyed going through tunnels and peaking through windows, all made of colored ice.
The kingdom is made by 36 artists from China who work for 9000 hours. It is hard to describe how impressive it is to see these curved archways and the beautiful 32 foot tall castle. You really want to believe that it’s made out of wood or plastic or drywall...not pure ice.
When we came out of the tent, we gave back our parkas and took a look at the professional photos taken at the green screen before we entered. While the photo was cute, it wasn’t worth $25. I also wish it had been taken with the sculptures inside the tent, not with the green screen which just superimposed images of the sculptures behind us.
Next we signed the waivers to go tubing. We were given wristbands with the numbers 1-5 on them. Each time we went down the hill on the innertubes, the employees would remove a number. The line was long but moved quickly. There are employees stationed at the top, one for each lane and 3-4 people are allowed to go down the hill at once. While we all enjoyed tubing, I thought the ice slides in the kingdom were more unique and fun. It was also kind of a pain having to lug the tube up the staircase each time and then having to get back in line. But it was a minor annoyance and the kids loved it when the employees spun their tube when they pushed off.
We left the tent and walked into the North Pole Village and Holiday Forest. There is a giant rocking horse to rock on and that was our next stop. It is 15 feet tall and 24 feet long. There were a lot of families in line so my suggestion here is if you have at least 2 adults with you, one can take the kids to the snowman bouncy house or the snow globe, and one adult waits in line for the rocking horse. We all climbed up the horse and got to ride together (mom and two kids) while dad videotaped and took pictures. We loved it and would have gone again if not for the line. Next, Jody and Logan went ice skating. They have skates for rent and lockers to use. They both really enjoyed skating. I should also note here than throughout the season there are events in this area including Tuesday movie nights, carolers, a live DJ on Throwback Thursdays, a special figure skating performance and live bands.
We all wanted a snack so we headed back inside the tent to check out the baked goods. We ended up with 3 types of cookies and they were warm from the oven and delicious. In addition to sweet treats there are hot dogs, crepes, waffles and lots of other choices for meals and snacks from various vendors. There is also a very pretty gift shop in the tent with ornaments, CHILL branded scarves and hats, cupcakes and drinks.
After a few minutes enjoying the enormous snowman bouncy house and photos with the gingerbread man, it was time to head out. Other activities we didn’t do were gingerbread house decorating which is $15 and riding on a mechanical reindeer which is $5. I also wanted to spend time looking at all of the pretty decorations including a train and toys.
After we left CHILL, we crossed the parking lot, showed our ticket stub and gained access to a self-guided tour of the Queen Mary. The ship is also a hotel and there are CHILL packages to combine a hotel stay and the attraction. Our family enjoyed wandering around the immense ship, reading about its history and peeking into various dining rooms and views from the top deck.
In conclusion, we had a fantastic time at CHILL and highly recommend it! The sculptures are memorable, the ice slides are unique and the atmosphere is festive.
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