Queen Mary hosts 'coolest' event in Long Beach

BY: DANIEL GOLDSBARY

The Queen Mary has boxed up the Dark Harbor Halloween skeletons and cobwebs to make room for a frozen fantasyland filled with spectacular ice sculptures, ice tubing and an outdoor ice-skating rink.Chill, the new winter-themed attraction in Long Beach, is the first of its kind on the west coast. From afar, Long Beach residents can see the Queen Mary smoke stacks decorated with vibrant Christmas lights. Although the ship is not part of the attraction, it serves as a welcoming marker on the way to the main event. International Special Attractions, a company based in China, brought the event to the Queen Mary. Though they have produced numerous other ice attractions around the world in a similar format for twelve years, ISA founder and presidentHaiping Ge said the attraction they created at the Queen Mary is one of a kind. The Ice Kingdom inside the Spruce Goose Dome is the main attraction of Chill. Ge said that the dome was an essential factor in choosing the Queen Mary to host the attraction. Guests are offered a complimentary parka before entering the chilling 9-degree dome. The entrance sign to The Ice Kingdom itself sports a grouping of multicolored crystal lanterns and giant snowflakes. Stepping inside The Ice Kingdom will transport you to a holiday playground made of pure ice. In order to transform the 2 million pounds of ice used, about 30 ice sculptors from China were flown in to carve ice sculptures in subfreezing temperatures for four weeks. The Ice Kingdom is separated into various rooms, each with its own theme. In the fantasy room, an ice castle stands in the center with corridors large enough for adults to walk through. In another room, a miniaturized, yet still large, ice sculpture of The Queen Mary with slides coming off each side stands as high as the ceiling. In a small inlet, a few other sculptures celebrating bothKwanza and Hanukkah stand tall. A politically correct “Happy Holidays” sculpture stands off to the side as well. Just outside The Ice Kingdom, a large slide made of ice is lit up with green and blue lights. Guests can rent large orange inner tubes to go down the slide for $9.95. Aside from that, a 6,500 square-foot outdoor ice skating rink stands just outside the Spruce Goose Dome. Ticket prices for the rink start at $9.95 and skate rental is $2.95. Queen Mary will Chill until January 6, so plan accordingly to escape the palm trees and the sun and explore the icy world of colorful sculptures, frozen slides and the holiday-filled scenery Chill has to offer. Ticket information can be found on the Queen Mary’s official website.