It’s Christmas time (or whatever holiday you celebrate) and that means deals and family fun. As one of Long Beach’s top 5 favorite sons, behind the Doggfather and Warren G, I was once again fortunate enough to be invited to opening night of the winter wonderland at the Queen Mary known as CHILL.
For those who have never attended; CHILL at the Queen Mary is a winter festival going on through the holidays. It’s annually entertained audiences for a few years now, beginning as sort of a mini carnival and lavish ice sculpture art exhibit people from all over California flocked to Long Beach for. Over the past two years, the event has shifted from the ice sculptures and static experiences to focus more on a family activity atmosphere.
2017 sees CHILL’s most ambitious evolution to date. The entire foyer in front of the giant Queen Mary cruise ship has been converted into a mini theme park on top of an ice rink. From the moment you first walk in the festival’s gate you’ll find yourself immersed in holiday goodness from gingerbread looking houses to Santa’s own living room where Mrs. Claus tells reads children stories on the hour, even a giant rocking reindeer for kids to ride greets you from the opposite end of the park like peeking at Montezuma’s revenge from the street outside of Knott’s.
CHILL’s winter celebration doesn’t stop at a few odds or ends. You’ll be able to play in the United States’ first-ever Ice Adventure Park spanning 38,000-square feet. Picture a scenic Hot Wheels track made entirely of hockey rink sheet ice. One filled with different activities such as Ice Skating on an ice track that becomes a great social club complete with snazzy bar guests can skate up to and have a cocktail or two. The ice adventure also has Bumper Boats, a racing track you can bike on called Shanghai Speedway, a crotch-hugging Zip Line that suspends you high above the excitement, Ice Shuffleboard for the quiet sophisticated activity types, and of course a 2 story 140-foot-long Ice Tubing slide.
In addition to the new playground of stuff, CHILL is also giving people a taste of how the world celebrates the holiday season through the universal language of food in six different themed regions such as China, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Oh yeah and there’s also performances and dancing, but let’s get back to the food. In the span of 30 minutes, I found myself making paper lanterns while eating savory chicken dumplings then eating mini Belgium pancakes and sipping on the richest hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. CHILL is definitely a must visit for any foodies looking for variety in their meals.