It won't just be Mr. and Mrs. Claus at this year's CHILL attraction, presented by the Queen Mary. Photos by Stephanie Rivera.
Fans of Queen Mary’s CHILL attraction are in for a special treat this season as organizers revealed at a media preview Tuesday some new additions that seem to more than make up for the discontinuation of the infamous ice sculptures.
With a focus on providing a variety of experiences, guests can expect to go new distances and heights—literally—and enjoy cultural traditions from some of the world’s coldest countries.
CHILL producers Steve Sheldon and Charity Hill said they traveled all throughout Europe last year looking for inspiration and noticed that food, drinks and music were some of the key elements to celebrating the holidays.
This year, the team will present what they say is the nation’s first-ever, 38,000-square-foot Ice Adventure Park—inspired by Austria and Moscow—that features ice skating, ice bumper cars, ice tricycles, ice shuffleboard, a two-story 140-foot-long ice tubing slide and a 300-foot-long zip-line.
For those wanting to celebrate special occasions with family and friends, a total of nine private igloos will be available—six in Switzerland and three in Russia—to rent for $69. The igloos are 15 feet in diameter and fit eight to 10 people. The igloo can be accessed from the ice track so no need to take off those ice skates.
Guests will also get to experience the traditions and food of Germany, Switzerland, China, Russia, Holland and the North Pole.
Renderings courtesy of the Queen Mary.
Visit CHILL’s version of China’s Forbidden City and be prepared for nightly performances by Shaolin monks and Chinese acrobats or light shows at the Kung Fu Forest where fireworks will be set off every Sunday at 7:30PM. Glide through the Shanghai Speedway on ice-bound tricycles (with the purchase of an activity ticket). Stop for some Dim Sum at The Hot Spot and ice cream at Lantern Lane and head to the Bamboo Forest to try 13 types of teas at the Zen Teahouse and where kids can meet CHILL’s Panda character called Bei Bei. Tip: ask it for a fortune cookie and you can receive a free pass to CHILL or other gifts.
Stroll to Germany’s Munich Market and check out its Bavarian Bakery featuring some local delectables and the Brat House where you can grub on Schnitzel, Bratwurst and Kraut. Find some trinkets and souvenirs, ride “the world’s largest rocking horse” and make a gingerbread house as you listen to the resident Alpine Band trio. You can meet Christkindl here. Guests 21 and over can try nine traditional German ales and lagers at the Tasting Tavern while kids can try ginger beer or butterbeer drinks nearby.
At Switzerland’s Alpine Lodge those 21 and over will be treated to some festive cocktails at the Chateau Bar upstairs while everyone can dine at the Lodge Restaurant below where you can purchase a s’mores kit to make on your own over the Lodge patio firepits. At the Alpine Square you’ll be able to enjoy a fondue pot, zurich deli and swiss chocolate. You’ll also be able to meet the Alps gift bearer Sinterklaas for a photo op. The Alpine activities will include ice tubing on the Matterhorn Mountain and ice bumper cars—which will require the purchase of tickets.
In Russia’s Blizzard Boulevard you can enjoy pierogi, traditional potato dumplings, and those 21 and older can head to the Cathedral Ice Bar where you experience over 20 types of vodkas while in parkas and shapkas in 12 degree temperatures while a DJ above you spins top hits. You can also experience an Aurora Borealis-inspired light show in a dome and play shuffleboard with ice pucks, also called quoits, a foot in a diameter. At this location you can take pictures with Father Frost and The Princess. Tip: organizers say Blizzard Boulevard makes the best date night place.
In Holland’s Windmill Way, guests can enjoy nightly performances on the illumination stage with hourly performances by Rockettes-style dancers and a nightly tree lighting ceremony that starts at 7:30PM. The light shows, which are activated to music, happen four times a night. Families can also enjoy a breakfast buffet or order your food at a walk-up window. Kids will be able to decorate stockings and add the finishing touches to gingerbread houses as part of the breakfast package. At this location you meet Father Time, known as the country’s gift bearer.
Finally, you can take your experience to great heights at America’s North Pole where guests can go on the North Pole Express, a 300-foot-long zip-line (with the purchase of three activity tickets). Kids can also get their photos taken at the Claus Cabin with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and visit the Candy Bar for treats and hot cocoa (with the purchase of two activity tickets).
Tip: food and drink passports are available for those interested sampling the international cuisine. Purchase a booklet of activities to take advantage of the various experiences available.
Members of the media were able to sample the variety of German beers that will be available during CHILL.
CHILL pricing starts at $29 for adults (ages 9+) and $19 for kids. VIP Ultimate Expedition tickets—which includes access to the zip line, ice-cycle race track, 4D theatre, shuffleboard, Sips & Stories, and stocking decorating—is $79 (adults)/$69 (kids).
CHILL runs from December 13 to January 7 and will be closed December 31. For more information click here.