Guest post by Justine Burgess
Queen Mary’s winter event “CHILL”, this year based on “A Christmas Carol”, opened November 20th. We were invited to attend to facilitate a review. I’d been a previous year, so I was curious to see how it compared.
Let’s start with things to know in advance:
- It’s a bit of a splurge. Tickets only include admission to the Ice Kingdom and Glacier Glide; lowest website price for adults is $34.99. Food/drink prices are similar to theme parks or fairs. Most attractions, games, crafts, & rides have additional fees; prices vary
- General parking is $20
A few examples of pricing:
- Swinging Sleigh Ride: $5 or free with Elf Pass purchase.
- “Paintball” (a shooting gallery): $10
- Ice Skating (includes skates): $15 (add $5 for beginners penguin skate aid)
- Face Painting: $10
- Gingerbread House building prices and Ice Kingdom photo packages (prices we noted- $10 single photo, $25 packet w/download) varied..
- E.L.F. pass –(express line for Ice Kingdom and tubing only): $20 on-site or $15 online.
Additional Queen Mary’s CHILL prices are online or at the event. Look for Queen Mary’s CHILL discount tickets and/or codes online if you would like to attend. Ice Skating was included in a previous year, but is an additional premium this year. Also, minimum heights apply on some attractions. The snow globe, snowman bounce house, and a few other free attractions from previous years were not present this year.
Queen Mary’s CHILL
- Use the restrooms inside the dome instead of porta-potties
- Eat before you go
- Bring warm clothes/hats/gloves for the Ice Kingdom
About Queen Mary’s CHILL
We had time to ride the Giant Rocking Horse, the Swingin’ Sleigh Ride, Glacier Glide Ice Tubing, and we ice skated. We also took a stroll through the Enchanted Garden (beautiful lights and included with admission). The Rocking Horse is okay, but a quick ride. My son LOVED the Swingin’ Sleigh Ride. Glacier Glide is fun, but over fast. Get there early- I know from past experience lines get very, very long and the wait can be tough for kiddos and adults alike. The outdoor ice skating was so-so; be aware there are no helmets offered. Long waits are common. Skydivers came in for the tree lighting ceremony making for a thrilling portion of the evening. Christmas carolers, entertainers, and singers/dancers dressed in Christmas or Dickensian style were found throughout the dome and village.
About Ice Kingdom at Queen Mary’s CHILL
The Ice Kingdom, themed after Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, was intriguing, artistic, and quite literally, freezing at 9 Fahrenheit. My gloveless fingers turned purple after 5 minutes so make sure to bring hats and gloves for every member of your party, and wear the parkas they provide. This year, the parkas buttoned up and slowed the entry process, but they were clean and cozy. The ice sculptures were wonderfully done, albeit some a little scary for some smaller guests. I’m not exactly sure what that they were expecting featuring an ice graveyard and the Grim Reaper making an appearance. My kiddo is seven years old and didn’t want to walk through the gravestones toward a giant menacing black-robed figure.
Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas are exceptional, and the cityscape of ice portraying 19th century Victorian London was quite impressive, especially when the fog rolled in. It was also pretty amusing to see kids trying to warm their hands over the ice fireplace. The Ice Bar, new this year and overlooking the slide in the Ice Kingdom, offers vodka tastings. There is a $12 separate admission fee to enter (3 small tastings are included); 21 and over only. The bar itself is fully carved from ice with niches containing numerous variations of vodka; tastings occur in the bar, and there is a small seating area outside near the cashier if group members need to wait. I did not partake in this as I had a child with me.
The Chill ticket includes same-day admission to the Queen Mary – you can do a self-guided tour or upgrade for $5. Take advantage of this if you go. It’s beautifully decorated for Christmas with trees, lights, and garland. Breakfast with Santa ($39 for adults and $19 for kids under 12) is also available on the Queen Mary in the Promenade of Trees from November 28th-December 26th.
Santa was expected at CHILL, but not available, when we attended. He was rumored to be making a brief, shining appearance but apparently spirited back to his North Pole workshop. Perhaps he was busy with his naughty and nice list or an elf emergency.
Overall, it was okay. Not much to do for the general admission price and with the additional fees, more expensive than I was comfortable with. I don’t feel it offers as good a value as it has in the past. We greatly appreciate being included in this event and hope that our honest review has helped determine if this event is something for your family. More reviews can be found on Yelp.
Queen Mary CHILL: November 20th 2015 to January 10th, 2016. For tickets, pricing, parking, and additional event, attraction, and hotel information, go to http://www.queenmary.com/events/chill/.
Select admission and parking were granted during specific preview hours to facilitate this review and have no bearing on our opinions. All thoughts and opinions are strictly our own and based on our actual experience. Opinions of others may vary.