Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ocean Park or Disneyland: Which Attraction Is Best For You

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Hong Kong’s most popular theme parks are Ocean Park or Hong Kong Disneyland. One is a local pride while other is more globally renowned. There’s a reason Disneyland was established in 2005 even as Ocean Park has been a theme park fixture to Hong Kong for decades: they are unique though there are a few overlaps. But if you are asked to pick one over the other due to budget or limited stay in Hong Kong, we’ll try to be as impartial as possible, using a number of comparison points.

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Ticket Admission Price
Ocean Park is more straightforward in its pricing. A day trip costs HK$438 for 12 years and above and exactly half (HK$219) for kids aged three to 11. Free entry to under three and local residents aged 65 and above with proper documentation.

Hong Kong Disneyland is more expensive at HK$589 (aged 12 to 64), HK$419 (aged 3 to 11) and HK$100 (65 and above).

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While Disneyland tickets are more expensive upfront, guests with seniors 65 and above may end up paying less. The free entry to Ocean Park for seniors as well as birthday celebrants only refer to Hong Kong residents.

“Cut The Line” Privileges
Both Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland have similarly named passes that allow guests to get to designated rides faster. But even though Hong Kong Disneyland has fewer rides that can be availed in its FASTPASS in a given timeframe, it’s complementary at no extra cost to the ticket. Meanwhile Ocean Park’s FasTrack covers 15 of such rides — you choose seven — but comes at a cost of HK$250 to both children and adults. On a crowded day this may come handy, but only if all other guests decide not to switch to turbo mode using FasTrack.

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Recently Ocean Park has its accessibility boosted with the opening of a dedicated MTR station aptly named Ocean Park. This drastically cuts travel time from Admiralty Station to Ocean Park to just four minutes. The bus route that used to bring passengers from Admiralty to Ocean Park takes at least 30 minutes.  Hong Kong Disneyland has been granted a subway link the day it was launched, owing to its relatively remote location and the Hong Kong government’s stake on the attraction. So we’ll call it even — regardless where you are from in Hong Kong, the MTR brings ease of travel.

If your hotel in Hong Kong is in Hong Kong island, Ocean Park is more accessible while Hong Kong Disneyland can be reached easier if you’re in Kowloon or New Territories or coming straight from Hong Kong International Airport.

Ocean Park at 92 hectares is much bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland (28 hectares) in terms of area so careful planning needs to be done prior to visit to maximize stay. Thankfully it has cable cars that offer not only views from above but also opportunity to cut time moving 1.5 kilometer distance between Waterfront and Summit to just 15 minutes on individual cable cars capable of carrying up to six people. However, on a busy day, the waiting line can be very long.

In other areas of accessibility, we also considered how easy to buy the park admission tickets. For Hong Kong Disneyland, it can be bought using credit card online, or at ticketing booths outside the Park. However, Ocean Park takes it further. In addition to the similar methods adopted by Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park tickets can also be purchased at 7-Eleven outlets within Hong Kong so that brings relief, knowing that 7-Eleven’s presence is ubiquitous in Hong Kong.

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Rollercoaster Rides
Both Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland have rollercoaster rides. Such rides provide excitement to elder children — teeners and older — and almost off limits to toddlers and stroller-bound babies. Ocean Park has plenty of thrill rides such as Hair Raiser, Arctic Blast and The Dragon while Hong Kong Disneyland has Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine and Space Mountain to entertain thrill-seeking rollercoaster enthusiasts. Experience on each of these rides is subjective and depends on the riders themselves so we put the edge on Ocean Park on this one as it has more options on offer.

Water Rides
On a hot and humid day in Hong Kong, getting wet in a theme park can be a rewarding experience to guests. Those looking forward to such adventure will not be disappointed at both Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland which have water-themed rides. Take a ride at Raging River aboard log boats that traverse calm waters before heading towards raging rapids and sharp turns. Meanwhile, Disneyland’s Jungle River Cruise can get unexpected splash from sea-borne creatures as your guided boat tour gets through jungles. Although not a ride, Liki Tikis is the answer to your need to get soaked to beat the heat.

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Other Thrill Rides
High-octane rides are not only limited on high-speed, gravity-inducing rollercoasters. Ocean Park tends to beat Hong Kong Disneyland again in this category as The Abyss, Whirly Bird and even Crazy Galleon offer more heart-pounding experiences than Disneyland’s RC Racer, Hyperspace Mountain and Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.

Family Entertainment
As a worldwide entertainment company, a few other companies top Disneyland. And in theme parks, it doesn’t fail to impress guests who want special bonding moment with their children and their childhood Disney characters. Cinderella Carousel, Mystic Manor, spinning around Mad Hatter Tea Cups ride and a trip to the enchanting Sleeping Beauty Castle are some of the kid-friendly attractions.

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Ocean Park is no slouch in this category. Bumper Blaster and Clown A Round bring excitement and cheers for both kids and their parents. What stands out, in our opinion, is that Ocean Park gets young guests learn and understand more about animals such as the panda, dolphins, seals and penguins, protecting their habitat and more about conservation.

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Having said that, Hong Kong Disneyland may have an edge as it also a number of performance shows ranging from the Festival of The Lion King and Mickey’s Philharmagic to the interaction with Disney characters at Flights of Fantasy Parade and “Disney Paint the Night” Nighttime Spectacular.

In summary, if you are into dreamland fantasy world type of family entertainment, Disneyland is for you. If you are into real-world interaction with animal shows and exhibits, Ocean Park is the choice.

Photo-worthy attractions
Hong Kong Disneyland may have an edge on this mainly because it is recently established, smaller facility to decorate and its meticulous park layout owes a portion from its sister theme parks around the world. From the Main Street to majestic castles, night time fireworks and even first person view point of rides and selfie opportunities is plentiful.

Such a Day.

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Meanwhile, Ocean Park is more than three times as large as Ocean Park, and boasts of natural mountain attractions and feels less artificial than Hong Kong Disneyland. Plus animal attractions such as the Grand Aquarium, Ocean Theatre and Pacific Pier are among best snapshot subjects.

Food options
You will be disappointed that both Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to addressing hungry tummies. Not only there are few options which people tend to crowd and both service and waiting time can take longer than expected, prices are obviously inflated to the chagrin of some guests.

Hong Kong Disneyland has about 31 food options, including outdoor vending cart. Ocean Park has six theme restaurants and about 24 food kiosks spread across the theme park facility.

Hong Kong Disneyland disallows outside food although prior arrangements for guests with special diets can be made; Ocean Park likewise says the same.

Visiting both Ocean Park and Disneyland in Hong Kong would be ideal since you don’t experience the same thing one after the other. But we hope you’re able to figure out which park to go to. For cheaper, realistic attractions, Ocean Park is the way to go. Hong Kong Disneyland is for magical attractions and world-famous shows.

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