Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Southern California Vacation: The Queen Mary

My kids (especially my daughter) are really interested in knowing more about the Titanic.  So during this years  trip to Southern California we decided to visit The Queen Mary in Long Beach.  It's not the Titanic but very close and it was perfect timing for my little ones.  


Our package (general admission) included a tour through the museum section (has many facts about the Titanic too - free headsets to guide you are an option), freedom to roam the majority of the ship, and the Ghosts & Legends Tour.


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We were able to explore the ship inside and out!  We walked the upper decks from the front to the back. We explored the display areas that gave us the history of the ship and an idea of what it was like to travel or work on it.  We looked at the mechanics of the ship to see how it worked, and we spent some time shopping.  Yes, you can shop, eat, get married, go to a convention, stay over night in the ships hotel, or even attend a concert - all on The Queen Mary!  Staying on the ship sounds interesting but it wasn't something that we knew about to plan into our trip.  Maybe another time!

My son fell in love with these on one of the decks!

Of course we had to ask for a picture with the "real captain" of the ship.
I think he was there for the individualized/VIP tours but he didn't mind getting in the picture.
 I mentioned that the basic tour price includes the Ghosts & Legends Tour.  If you get scared easily it might not be for you. It was a lot of fun but we of course reminded my kiddos that we were in "Hollywood" where they do a lot of fake things to entertain people.  One adult left during the tour but my 4 & 6 year olds did great!  But, at the end of the tour the guide shouted, "HURRY - lets get out of here!" and my sons little feet couldn't run fast enough!  Everyone was very impressed with them and my kiddos loved that part of our adventure.

Negative experiences:  

It's a little confusing where to start (how to get to the museum area) and then where to go next.  You have to go to a set of elevators, go up to "?" floor, cross the overhead walkway, go down the stairs, and then you are at the museum.  To get to the rest of the ship you have to go back up the stairs, cross the walkway, get on the elevator, take that to "?" floor, and then cross over into the ship.....  Keep in mind that you are sharing the two small elevators with guest of the hotel and their luggage.   Once we were done with the museum and found our way to the rest of the ship it was easy to figure out the rest.  

The credit card machine was not working when we arrived to buy our tour tickets.  So they opened late and then only accepted cash.

You have to pay for your parking on the way out by using a machine near the entrance of the ship.  We of course forgot to do this until we were pulling out of the parking lot.  We had to park again so one of us could run to a machine to pay and get our voucher to be able to leave the lot.  This seems to actually be a common thing in California.  It's the same process at Redondo Beach parking.  What was really strange to me is there were people checking our vouchers on the way out - why couldn't they just take our money???

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