I was having a bad day. Honestly. Still, Queen Mary Public Relations invited me to check out their winter attraction CHILL and I committed to Friday night. You make a deal with the Queen, you keep it. So my husband and I set out to see if there was anything cool about CHILL.
I did a little bit of research online, but not much. I like to have an idea of where I am going, yet I don’t want to spoil the whole surprise. I want every travel spot to be an adventure. Thus, I was surprised to see that this attraction took over the whole Queen Mary Seawalk. The British Village that normally sits dormant near the dome is now a North Pole Village. Sprinkled with lighted trees, snowmen, and large lollipops, this village is a picturesque winter scene. Families gathered around the various props to take happy holiday photos. As an added bonus, small CHILLers can meet Santa during the day and drop off their wishlists at the North Pole post office.
Past the village, there is a large stage where a band plays contemporary music. I love live music and the band definitely added ambience to our fun date night. There are a couple of food stands nearby where you can purchase a variety of eats including pizza, sausage dogs, and gelato. Aaron and I shared a sausage dog, aptly named the big fat sausage, and it was very tasty. You have a choice between eating near the band stage or strolling a little farther down to sit near a firepit and watch the ice skaters. I suggest the latter. The view of the skating rink – glowing in a variety of colors – with the ship lit up in the background was perfect.
We decided to be brave and test our skating skills. Neither of us are particularly coordinated and we’ve never actually skated together. Translation: it’s been a decade since either of us were on the ice. I fared pretty well. In fact, I started to really get the hang of it. Those childhood days of gliding at the rink with my friends were coming back to me. It felt refreshing. My wonderful husband, though, never quite found his ‘ice legs’. So our journey together gliding on the ice never really took off. After one fall and several almost-falls, we decided it was time to move on before he breaks something. Love that guy. Even with ice all over his backside.
Near the rink, there is a holiday shop with all kinds of great gifts as well as an outdoor bar. This holiday experience isn’t just for the kids. The best part of our evening, though, was in the dome. The dome was previously home to Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules, sarcastically known as the Spruce Goose. I might be dating myself here. Now the dome serves as a Carnival Cruise terminal and has a large exhibit space. Within that exhibit space, is the CHILL jewel: The Ice Kingdom. This tented wonderland generally ranges from seven to twelve degrees and houses over two million pounds of ice. Beautifully crafted ice sculptures adorn this space and for an interactive touch, there is an ice slide. Because of the low temperatures to preserve the ice, large parkas are provided at the entrance. You will need it. In fact, I highly recommend wearing a hat, gloves, and your own jacket underneath. We were informed that the temperature was three degrees that night and my fingers/face/toes sure felt it. It was really enchanting, though. You will see a wide variety of sculptures including a castle, a queen, animals, and even the nativity scene. The ice sculpture of the Queen Mary bow was probably the coolest part of the Kingdom. Just off of the bow is the two-lane ice slide. Aaron and I did a side by side ice race, using the long parka as a soft sled. He won. There is a smaller ice slide available for little CHILLers, too. Once leaving the Ice Kingdom, you will notice that the 60-degree weather within the dome feels oddly warm. Don’t fret – the dome has a café where you can purchase hot chocolate and Starbucks coffee. We took a moment to warm ourselves with cocoa and just watch the crowds. You can also keep the cold theme rolling and enjoy a few rounds of ice tubing. We loved the ice tubing. We loved it three times.
Even with Aaron falling on the ice and me shivering in three degrees, CHILL somehow melted my bad day away. We spent most of the night laughing, awing, and cozying up for warmth. The Ice Kingdom is a must-see, the ice tubing is a lot of fun, and the ice skating comes with the perfect view of the ship. We had a really great night. Not only that, it’s officially Christmas for the Kinsella’s. I suggest you head to CHILL and get your holiday season started.
CHILL is an ala carte experience, so each activity requires a ticket. Access to the Ice Kingdom and the general attraction is $25 for adults and $20 for children (5-12 years). The ice skating is $13 and skate rentals are an additional $3. The ice tubing in the dome is $13 for 5 runs. Parking is $20 without validation. Your CHILL ticket comes with free access to the ship. Aaron and I decided to close out the evening on board where we grabbed a quick beverage, enjoyed the live music in the Observation Bar, and got our parking validated. With validation, parking is only $5. Check out www.queenmary.com/chill for more details.
Special thanks to Queen Mary Public Relations for inviting me and my plus one to this very cool holiday experience.