Today is the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, but since our invitation to the festivities was lost in the mail, Vance and I headed for the other theme park in Hong Kong – Ocean Park. Located near Aberdeen, this park is very reminiscent of Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo, CA (now Six Flags Marine World). It is an odd mix of a few thrill rides and a bunch of aquatic exhibits. The park itself is neat and divided into two sections – Lowland and Headlands – both connected by a skyway that takes you along a cliff.
We started in the headlands area at the farthest point in the back of the park. This part even has a bit of Universal Studios in it with some towering escalators to connect the lower section with the top. We rode their version of Big Thunder (Mine Train Coaster) and Splash Mountain (log Flume Ride). The Mine Train ride was scary since it shook a lot and was on the edge of a cliff. Other attractions included Pacific Warf (gee I felt like I was back at the Monterey Aquarium!), a Viper-like coaster named Dragon, the ever-popular Sky Tower, a Shark Experience, a Reef exhibit (very cool where you spiral down the reef) and an assortment of carnival rides and games. The best aspect of this park is its setting. On a clear day, you can see out to the other islands around Hong Kong and if you are lucky, it can get a nice gentle breeze.
The lowlands consisted of a Panda exhibit (with sleeping Pandas), a bizarre 3D black light walkthrough, a butterfly aviary (scary!), and this weird dinosaur exhibit that seemed to focus on a local dinosaur and some relatives that are still alive today. Mixed in with the highbrow stuff as pandas were the obligatory Boomers quality racetrack, a goldfish exhibit (closed for conversion into something for the Halloween season), and a motion simulator attraction where you join the Ocean Park mascot Whiskers on a tour of all the attractions. What makes this interesting was that the seats were all rigged to move, not the theater. Vance and I agreed that the rides were better in the 3D version than in person.
I would still recommend people check it out. You cant beat the price (just hk$180 or just over US$20) or the setting. I’m glad we got to visit on a non-busy day some of the queues looked crazy long and with the heat and humidity I would have collapsed.
After Ocean Park, Vance and I headed back to the condo to rest up. Tomorrow is the big day at Hong Kong Disneyland so we wanted to be rested up. We ate dinner with a lot of our friends from the task force. They were all celebrating the opening day. It was a very hot day in the park and they all had to sit in the sun for the ceremony. I wish I could have been there, but Matt took some videos and photos so it was just like we were.