Expectations are high with a new winter wonderland arriving this November to the Queen Mary.
Ship officials announced this week that they have secured a holiday-themed event called Chill, which will transform the Queen Mary Dome and the area where Dark Harbor takes place into a winter wonderland expected to draw more than 200,000 people during its 51-day visit.
“We will be introducing a new world class event this holiday season called Chill, which will be the largest holiday themed event of its kind anywhere on the West Coast,” said Steve Sheldon, director of entertainment events. “Chill will be made up of a number of different holiday themed activities, the largest of them being the Ice Kingdom display.”
The Ice Kingdom will be the showcase of the event — a tent in the dome covering about 13,000 square feet of walkthrough ice carving. Sculptures will range in size from 8 feet to 24 feet tall. The entire exhibit will be made up of about 4,500 blocks of ice, weighing 2 million pounds. The tent has to be kept at 9 degrees, so each visitor will be given a special parka to walk around the tent in.
Beyond the Ice Kingdom, there will be a 6,500-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink. There also will be a 100-foot-long elevated slide for tubing.
Organizers will erect a holiday village with themed retail, food and beverages. Santa will be in the village to take pictures with children, there will be a gingerbread craft area and live entertainment acts.
“Lastly, we will have a pretty comprehensive display of lights and holiday décor, including a special Candy Lane with giant-sized pieces of holiday candy like gum drops, candy canes and ribbon candy,” Sheldon said.
The Ice Kingdom is crafted similarly to the internationally renowned Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival hosted in Siberian China each year. This will be the first time it has gone west of Texas. Structures will include wreaths, flowers, an ice queen, a unicorn drawn sleigh and a replica Queen Mary with slides.
“This is important on a number of different levels,” Sheldon said. “Just the development of this exhibit will have more than 30 artisans living at the Queen Mary for the next two months creating this. It’s a great opportunity for cultural exchange. It’s a very unique art form and really is something different.”
Chill will take place from Nov. 17 to Jan. 6. It will be free to enter the holiday village, but there will be individual ticket prices to go into the Ice Kingdom, go ice-skating and go tubing — ranging from $19.95 to $12.95. Tickets will go on sale at www.queenmary.com starting on Oct. 1.