Imagine you’ve walked into the magical, icy world of Disney’s animated film “Frozen.”
That’s how you feel as you enter Ice Castles in Lake Geneva.
The structure — made entirely of ice — was painstakingly constructed on the Geneva Lake beach, aiming for a late December opening. Unseasonably warm winter weather (and rain) delayed the Ice Castles opening, but now that it’s here, its inaugural season has been a smashing success.
“We ordered our tickets in October,” said Amanda Moore of Chicago as she stood in front of me in line on Saturday.
As we waited to enter the frozen blue attraction that rises on the beach next to the Riviera Boathouse, a second line filled next to us. These were folks hoping to snag standby tickets on a busy Saturday.
“We’ve been at maximum capacity every day,” said Jake Oliver. The Badger High School sophomore is spending his free time working at Ice Castles.
“It seemed like a fun experience to do,” he said. “Everyone who comes here seems to really enjoy it. They especially love the slides and the fountains.”
Once you walk inside the Ice Castle, you’ll find:
Walls made entirely of icicles.
Tunnels dug through those walls.
Two slides: a taller slide with a minimum height restriction of 42 inches and a smaller slide that was particularly popular with the youngest visitors.
Open air “rooms,” one of which features a fountain.
A fire pit area, complete with chairs, overlooking Geneva Lake and the Riviera Boathouse. (When we visited, it was too windy to have a fire going.)
Two different “thrones” that are perfect for selfies.
An ice “cave” with a bubbling fountain inside that changes color.
Princesses! You expect to see Olaf peeping at you from around the next corner inside Ice Castles. And while that doesn’t happen, you might meet Elsa and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen.” The ice princesses greet visitors and pose for photos from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through the duration of Ice Castles.
“We’ll be here every weekend,” said Amber Jackson of Friend Like Me, the company that provides “heroes, princesses and characters from far, far away” for events like Ice Castles.
The company’s agreement with Ice Castles runs through March, Jackson said, adding that staying open that long “is a hopeful schedule.”
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