If you’re a parent, you know how this works: A kid-friendly movie comes out, strikes gold at the box office, and suddenly all the brands you know get on board in a seemingly desperate cash grab. So you get Star Wars fruit snacks or Cars-shaped cereal marshmallows or band aids festooned with Anna and Elsa’s faces.
You can win Fairmont Chicago’s Finding Dory – Shedd Aquarium package for your family! Enter now.
I must admit when I heard about Fairmont Chicago’s “Finding Dory” promotion, I was expecting the same thing – an at-best tentative link to a popular summer movie. But I’m happy to report that it actually makes a great connection between “Finding Dory” and one of Chicago’s favorite attractions, without selling out.
The Finding Dory – Shedd Aquarium Package starts at $419 and includes an overnight stay for four at Fairmont Chicago’s 37-story location just a couple of blocks from Millennium Park. In addition, guests receive a $100 gift card to AMC Theatres (intended to be used to see “Finding Dory”) and four VIP tickets to Shedd Aquarium. AMC River East is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, while Shedd is a little farther (we opted to drive and pay for parking).
Although Fairmont Chicago doesn’t have a swimming pool (a disappointment to my nephews), it’s surprisingly family-friendly, with spacious rooms that offer great views of the bustling city below. We enjoyed having a suite that offered extra space for the boys to practice their Olympics-inspired gymnastics (our apologies to the guests on the floor below!). The Fairmont’s central location also allowed us to find some inexpensive dining options nearby, always a plus when traveling with kids.
The AMC gift card can be used at any point in your stay, but we would recommend watching the movie first, if you haven’t already seen it, before heading to Shedd. This gives a good background to know what sea creatures you can expect to spot at our city’s historic aquarium; we had a blast hunting down Nemo and Marlin, Hank the Octopus (or Septapus?), Bailey the Beluga and more.
My crew took “Finding Dory” as a true challenge and embarked on a scavenger-hunt style search for the elusive Blue Tang. (One hint: Check the Wild Reef.) We were pleasantly surprised to find not one, but three, of the yellow-and-blue fish, whom we quickly dubbed Charlie and Jenny in honor of Dory’s parents.
The Shedd VIP tickets also include entry to the Amphibians exhibit and the One World aquatic show, so plan your visit accordingly. We easily could have spent a couple more hours exploring the aquarium, but I guess we’ll have to wait for our next visit. After all, there are a lot more aquatic friends yet to be found!