It was scary as we were being slowly lifted up to the maximum height and I could see how high we were already.
I also underestimated the Dragon roller coaster, which looked quite small and not really scary at all.
However, the roller coaster was surprisingly really fast and it had unexpected dips and turns, which didn’t seem obvious or as scary just by looking at it. That, plus the noon sun, and not yet getting any lunch, made me dizzy and made my stomach queasy (and my candid reaction was captured right after getting off the Dragon!)
Since I could no longer stomach getting on any more thrill rides, we just played in the carnival-style Skills Game area (subject to separate fees per game). We actually really enjoyed ourselves here. The prizes, made up of nice, specially branded Ocean Park stuffed toys, were easy enough for my travel companion to win, especially in the shooting of basketball hoops. Incidentally, I noticed many fellow Filipinos winning in the hoops game as well.
Then we made our way to the Cable Car station to take us down to The Waterfront area.
|The view from Terrace Cafe|
When we got down and saw the snaking line of people waiting to ride the cable car from The Waterfront up to The Summit, we realized that it was really a good idea that we started at The Summit then went down to The Waterfront area via cable car, which counter-flowed with the rest of the visitors in Ocean Park. I would really recommend this strategy, especially for those who plan to be in Ocean Park by opening time at 10 in the morning, when the opening crowd would tend to wander around The Waterfront first.
While we were in Ocean Park at opening time until after lunch, we decided not to stay the whole day since I still didn’t feel well after the roller coaster ride and we were still going to Kowloon for afternoon tea. So we just barely had enough time to squeeze in other attractions.
While we were no longer able to see Ocean Park’s popular attractions like the Atoll Reef at the Summit and the Grand Aquarium (inside that big blue dome in the background in the picture above) what we didn’t want to miss was seeing the giant pandas in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat (we figured, unless we were going to China, this was our only opportunity to see real pandas).
The pandas were actually housed behind glass, in enclosures with trees and rocks.
The giant pandas were sleeping. In fact, one panda wasn’t even moving and was very still that I thought it was just taxidermied!
Since the giant pandas looked like they were just stuffed animals, we contented ourselves with just cuddling the stuffed toys on display in the souvenir store.
Ocean Park v. Hong Kong Disneyland
As for the often-asked question of which is better between Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland (which we also visited on the sixth day of our trip), I’d say that if you have the time and the budget for both, then definitely GO AND VISIT BOTH THEME PARKS, since they do really offer different rides and attractions. I think the competition between the two theme parks actually benefits consumers since they’re constantly in a race to outdo each other with more and newer attractions from time to time.
But what if you must choose just one? This guide concludes that Ocean Park is better, and this seems to be supported by the fact that Ocean Park has a small edge over Disneyland in terms of number of visitors (may possibly be because of its cheaper ticket prices). But I would still say it really depends on your own priorities and interests.
It’s true that Ocean Park seems to be more geared for adults and older kids (I really saw more younger kids in Disneyland). Ocean Park has more thrilling rides especially at The Summit, which adults and older kids will enjoy more, while the more kid-friendly attractions seem to be limited to aquariums, marine shows, and the usual carnival rides like a Ferris Wheel or carousel. If your kids are the type who like animals, then I guess they would appreciate Ocean Park more. Ocean Park is also cheaper than Disneyland by HK$119.
However, in terms of aesthetics, Hong Kong Disneyland appealed to me more than Ocean Park, and I appreciated that Disneyland has more variety in the look and number of theme areas. If you still have young kids, I think they’d enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland more.
I got a queasy stomach while in Ocean Park after riding the roller coaster and because of the heat. On the other hand, I got chills and a fever when I was in Hong Kong Disneyland, because of the cold. So, both not-so-good experiences in each theme park canceled each other out, and based on my personal and subjective experience in each theme park, if I really, really have to choose just one and considering it was my first time to see either park, I would choose Hong Kong Disneyland (and this is even if I’ve already been to Tokyo Disneyland). But that’s just me.
And I would still go back and emphasize my first recommendation above that if you can go to Ocean Park AND Hong Kong Disneyland, then it’s really simply better to experience the best of both worlds that these two attractions offer.
Fabulous travels! Cheers! 🙂
Ocean Park Hong Kong is open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM
The Summit area closes at 6 PM.
Admission price of HK$280 for adults and HK$140 for children aged 3 to 11.