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Garet Visits Hong Kong


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So with Korean thanksgiving coming up again we decided we'd fly out and have a quick visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. I had always heard from others who visited about 5 years ago how small it was and how it was the kiddiest of the Disney Parks, however with Mystic Manor, Grizzly Gulch and Toy Story Land since then I was extremely keen on seeing how much had been expanded. I'm glad we went we found the park phenomenal, however I think my girlfriend liked it too much though, she actually would rather return here than Tokyo I will still claim to my dying breath that Tokyo will always be the disney for me no matter how busy it is and she openly admits it's the best one just not the one she wants to visit the most She did give some reasons though:

 

Maybe we've just been lucky with the days we went but she just really loved the fact that it wasn't too difficult to stroll up to see a parade or get a good spot for the fireworks, the lines never seemed to hit over 30 mins (except autopia and the parachutes), actually got to see the shows and generally if you wanted to meet 1 of the characters in their pavilions in fantasy land or a princess was spotted around the park you could easily stroll up and meet them within 10- 15 minutes. I think she was just also really sold on how instead of a mad fastpass rush with crazy crowds and shoving like our last trip to Tokyo, you could stroll around the park in the opening hours book up a reservation for the retaurant and get in half the park before the lines started to get anywhere near higher than walk-on. She thinks that when we have a child it would be best to return here over any of the others. She just found Hong Kong as a park where we could take the day as it comes whereas when we did Tokyo even when we were just enjoying the park we still were constantly being stuck on tight schedules to optimize flashpasses or beat crowds. She openly admits it's not the best Disney (that still goes to Tokyo) but she just found this the only one out of all of them where she just felt she could be "washed over by the atmosphere" just stroll around the park and do rides as we pleased and bump into disney characters (they still had meet and greet areas but the lines were so tiny it really did feel like you'd just stumbled out of a restaurant and bumped into Buzz as opposed to the 30min-hour waits we've encountered on most other trips for princesses/greetings).

 

I get what she is saying since between us we've done all the Disney parks and this is the first one where on one of our days we have just done the whole park as we pleased but I don't think anything will ever knock Tokyo my must return to spot (although who knows how Shanghai will turn out )

 

Since the park was so quiet, I took a lot of photos. I'll break them into 4 parts with parts 1 & 2 today and parts 3 & 4 tomorrow.

 

Part 1 is Toy Story Land & Mystic Manor.

 

I really enjoyed these lands, Toy Story Land was the first place we hit since most of the crowds seemed to be not heading there, although I wanted to do Mystic Manor first I had no idea how quiet the park would really be and was worried RC Racer would have a long line later in the day since it was the only credit without single rider.The area is stunning with all its bright colours and Rc Racer was a lot of fun but there generally wasn't that much reason around the land for us, we rode the flats although the 45 minute wait for Sarges parachute drop wasn't worth it when we revisited and when we rode we got a view of not much.... I'd love to see a Toy Story Mania go here just so Hong Kong has the Toy story set. It was really weird seeing the coaster and flat going round half empty but all the people standing in a full line for the parachutes.

 

Mystic Manor was an incredible dark ride, I rode this so many times and all the effects where incredible. However though its one of my favorite dark rides I wasn't as fascinated by the trackless parts of the ride as I thought i'd be. Even when the cars joined up for the chinese tornado room at the end your eyes are so focused on the effects that except for the first and last room and when another car came to join up with us before heading to the tornado room I completely forgot about it, that's not a bad thing since I'm sure that's the point but there was never that insane how on earth is this possible moment like the Pooh disco room or most of Aquatopia. I just like moments where those two rides really show off what the trackless system could do but then I'm the guy who dreams of seeing a Radiator Springs indoor ride where all the trackless cars share one giant main room of the town with the main road and then divert off into rooms of the different shops before coming back to the main room between each one. Basically i'm just hoping for an indoor giant version of aquatopia where there are trackless cars everywhere Maybe one-day we'll start to see trackless animatronics driving around or interacting with the riders on these trackless rides.

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I think my girlfriend got sick of "Is this the right train?" jokes many years ago.

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Sadly these full size versions weren't spotted in the gift shop unlike Tokyo.

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We've arrived

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It had a beautiful landscaped entrance

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They were getting ready for Halloween when we visited

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The train pulled up so i'm assuming the park will be opening soon, do many Disney parks have the sideways seating that these trains have, I don't remember them in the other parks but we very rarely have had time to ride the train.

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I've never been this close to the gates for an opening ceremony at a Disney Park before.

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Mickey and Minnie wave to the crowd, a family and their children pose for photos then the children were given a giant key and lock to open Disney.

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Unlike Tokyo and the mad crowd rush to fast passes, everyone in Hong Kong seemed to either A)run straight onto the train or B) run for the photo op with mickey and

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They had this set-up but I forgot to go in and see what was happening.

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Obligatory castle shot

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To Toy Story Land

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Woody greets people as they enter

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As you'd expect from a land based on toys, it was really colorful.

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Andy sure did have a lot of toys.

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First ride of Hong Kong Disney.

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I loved the line was themed to scalectrix pieces.

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To that random lady who went back and re-rode so I could get some pictures when no-one was here, thank-yo and this is your moment.

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TPR salutes you

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I loved that this moved with the ride, it's the little details

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An overview

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So many colours

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A fun ride for the family, not overly fast but enjoyable it built up lines later in the afternoon.

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Again the detailing is fantastic

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and I love how it loves as if it's just been pulled out of the box

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A fun ride but not worth the huge lines later.

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Bye bye Toy story land

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The work put into this building was fantastic

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It really looks amazing from all angles.

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I forgot his name any Disney fans out there remember? Was it Henry or am I confusing him from ToT in Disneysea?

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Mr Simpsons music

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Alfred hides from Jerry Bruckheimer turning him into the next big Disney blockbuster.

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Alfreds more about shadow puppets.

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Ride vehicle

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Looking at the previews i'd always wondered why out of all the cool stuff he want's this box. Once on the ride I noticed the box has two monkeys reaching for the jewel carved into it, the little details really blew me away.

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The finale tornado room with one ticked off monkey.

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The details in these screens were incredible.

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Although the magic music dust that flys around the room before being pulled into the box was my favorite effect of the whole ride.

Edited by Garet
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Part 2: Grizzly Gulch. Grizzly was a fantastic roller-coaster, I've never been the biggest fan of Thunder Mountain, I may be in the minority here but although I enjoy it and will get the credit it's very rarely one of those rides I will visit a second time if I can fit in re-rides. However this ride completely blew me away it was just complete fun from beginning to end, it was a lot more thrilling for a family ride than I thought it would be, the launch was surprisingly forceful and it took the hills at more speed than I thought it would.

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We caught a showing of the Lion King next

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I wasn't overly interested in this but it looked pretty

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We did the English tour first but it felt kind of forced and awkward, despite the signs saying all lines were equal length there were a lot of Chinese who went on this tour because the line looked shorter then talked really loudly and translated to his family what was being said :angry:

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We never got around to checking out the tree house sadly.

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It looked fun though

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Looks ominous

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Save the hippos

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This can't be good

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the different finale was fun

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This made me miss all the amazing random flavours I had in Tokyo but we really enjoyed the honey mustard popcorn

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On the way to Grizzly Gulch, they were setting up for the Halloween carnival

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Grizzly Mountain

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This ride had no-line for most of the day, on the second day we skipped the parade and while everyone was watching it was like having your own ERT with trains going round with only 3-8 people in them, although there's something a little creepy about watching people on a ride where most of the restraints are still open and the train is going round.

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I think this was a forwards part but I can't remember

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Cable snap time

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I couldn't get my girlfriend on this, she loves dark rides but will avoid most flats and coasters, she did the mummy but found it a bit too much and watching this bit from afar was what put her off, it's a shame she couldn't see the back seats from afar where the drop isn't so big

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Pure hands up fun

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Those darn bears.

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And the water effect

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Grizzly Geyser

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Most areas of the park had their own dirnks, Grizzly was a peach cocktail drink with cherry bubbles.

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We had a lunch reservation coming up so we did some shopping in the ten minutes before our time, Japan has full versions of the bus holders and Hong Kong had key ring versions of the bus holders

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There were a lot of half animal, half machine merchandise being advertised when we visited, we were really surprised to see how much Stitch was mixed in with the core characters in merchandise, all the Halloween limited additions had a stitch variant and a lot of the multi packs included stitch with Mickey Minnie and Donald where I expected Goofy to have been.

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More terminator merchandise

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Alfred caps now available

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Bumped into a band on the way to dinner

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The corner cafe food was delicious

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and so where the mini-waffles, see you tomorrow for the other half of the park.

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I must have gone on the GG Mine Cars over a dozen times, I enjoyed it so much.

 

And HKDL to me, is like the "baby" of the Magic Kingdom Family. But it has so much

space and potential for new attractions and technology, it's just getting started.

 

Too bad your girlfriend didn't want to do Mine Cars. I think she would have actually

enjoyed it, although it is to everyone's tastes and comfort zone, hmm?

 

Thanks for sharing your visit there.

And yes, the Corner Cafe has awesome food!

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Glad you had a good time at HKDL. I really enjoyed the park and even though it's small the attractions it does have are top notch.

 

Grizzly Gulch Mine Cars is an amazing take on Big Thunder and I much prefer it. It ran perfectly all day as far as I can remember.

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Nice pics! It looks like HK Disneyland has improved nicely since it opened. If they keep it up, it will be a nice park to visit when I visit Hong Kong in the future (years down the road).

 

There will (possibly/probably) be another TPR China/Hong Kong Tour planned for 2016*,

so start saving up now! You won't regret it. TPR Tours are a great way to see other parks and countries.

 

*(And Shanghai Disneyland will also be open -hopefully- by then, woo hoo!)

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And this is to be built there in HKDL too. But not finished until after 2016, I believe.

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Nice pics! It looks like HK Disneyland has improved nicely since it opened. If they keep it up, it will be a nice park to visit when I visit Hong Kong in the future (years down the road).

 

There will (possibly/probably) be another TPR China/Hong Kong Tour planned for 2016*,

so start saving up now! You won't regret it. TPR Tours are a great way to see other parks and countries.

 

*(And Shanghai Disneyland will also be open -hopefully- by then, woo hoo!)

 

I'll need to start saving up for that! (Hopefully my parents will let me go since I'll be old enough by then)

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Part 3: I'm not usually a parade person, I'll check out the night shows more often than not, i've watched both Everland & Tokyo Disney's Electronic lights parades when there was no crowds but I don't think i've ever seen a day parade before, however for the first time ever in Disney trips there was a day parade where I could stand right next to the route instead of 20 rows of people back and try my hand at shooting some parade photos like some of the bloggers i've seen online. Apologies if some are a little out of focus, for night parades I generally just get pictures of the floats this was my first attempt at this at snapping moving dancers instead of finding a spot and waiting for a roller-coaster car to come round.

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Part 4: The final part of this series as we head to the older parts of the park Fantasy Land & Tomorrow Land

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Back to Fantasyland

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Dumbo

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This may the only ride in all of Disney where I think other parks have better versions than Tokyo, i've always liked this design

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Carousel

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Speaking of Tokyo, this may sound weird but I really didn't enjoy Philhamagic as much here as when we saw it in Tokyo, the movie was the same, sounder the same, smelt the same but I remember being surprised how much atmosphere there was in Tokyo, we rode a few times to try and work it out and we think it was the lights. In Tokyo during the be our guest moment, we remember the spotlights spinning everywhere and the can't wait to be king music number having the whole theater being bathed in light during the ride. Whereas Hong Kong, we weren't quite as pulled into the movie and the lights seemed more just in the center. Any-one know if Tokyo has a much more expansive set-up on the ceiling? Mind you the super noisy chinese audience who could be loud enough providing commentary to drown out quite a bit of the movie didn't help.

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Please someone, put the Tokyo version into another park.

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My feelings when I ride the Tokyo version.

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Funky statue.

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My girlfriend rode this, I just drank the frozen cola and ice-cream at the snack bar next to it (seemed to be the only place we found for frozen cola with ice-cream when we saw frozen cola again on main street they had coke floats and frozen cola but no frozen cola with ice-cream)

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I did watch the clock come out.

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I realized after my girlfriend had got off that I hadn't been on a version since Disney characters were installed, so I decided I'd brave it one more time.

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Frying pan for authenticity

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Seriously Toy-story was the only nominee in the friendship catergory, how did they not get an award.

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This guy was the best singer of the whole show (according to Jin who made me watch it again on the second day just for this segment.)

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Seriously..... not one award was given.

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Welcome to the world of tomorrow.

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Walk-on all day

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For some reason i've always really enjoyed the Paris version of the ride but the Halloween lay-over may have finally made me reconsider.

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The trash can was great, Jin thought it was pre-recorded to say "Have a photo with me" after it wheeled up to guests a few times and said it, so she said "No-way" to it and the look on her face when the trash can yelled back "NOOOOOOOO?WHHHHHHHY?" loudly enough to get 30 people staring at her was priceless.

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Has there been any ride since Buzz that has made it to all the Disney Parks?

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I used to really love Stitch but living in Asia and seeing countless movies and different Tv shows has really worn me down. This ride was fun though.

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Top tip: If you are constantly taking pictures of this ride, they will notice you....

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.... and put you in space jail for it.

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This ride had huge lines, on a day space mountain, grizzly, rc racer and mystic manor all were walk-on this had a 50 min wait.

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We hit it first on our second day.

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I did a quick lap around the park at night to get a few pictures but I ran out of time since Jin wanted to see fireworks.

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I've seen better Disney firework shows but it was nice to be so close to the fireworks in a Disney park for a change.

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I've always been a fan of low fireworks but I prefer Everland where they are so close to where you are sitting.

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Thanks for reading

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Heading out with the rest of the park.

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I love how Hong Kong Disneyland resembles (to me) the original Disneyland of the 1950s. Not overstuffed with attractions just yet. And just beginning to extend and expand it's current layout. I mean, HKDL now has lands surrounding the only waterway in the park! And outside the train loop of the park, too. Very un-Magic Kingdom. Until now.

 

Gotta love that.

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Nice pics! It looks like HK Disneyland has improved nicely since it opened. If they keep it up, it will be a nice park to visit when I visit Hong Kong in the future (years down the road).

 

There will (possibly/probably) be another TPR China/Hong Kong Tour planned for 2016*,

so start saving up now! You won't regret it. TPR Tours are a great way to see other parks and countries.

 

*(And Shanghai Disneyland will also be open -hopefully- by then, woo hoo!)

 

That sounds tempting, but I would save up for a TPR Japan trip first. China and/or Hong Kong can wait until I visit Japan.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry, this one is late, changes in real life means i've been very busy but here finally is my Ocean Park update.

 

This update will be a little shorter than my usual updates, normally when I visit the park i'll ride a lot of rides where I can get a good view but the chairlift was down and the park was rammed full of old people tour groups who seemed to really like the observation tower which had one of the longest lines of the park (I wasn't prepared to wait 45 minutes for some photos. I've never been to a park which was so packed with tour groups, nearly every person I saw had numbers pinned to them. Is this common in Chinese Parks? We saw one or two numbered people in Disney but we barely saw them at all the other tour spots of Hong Kong and i've never seen them in Hong Kong but most of the day was spent dodging around big lines of people following the flags. Sadly despite all the numbers I never did find a man with the number 6 badge, he must have already escaped (or did he?)

 

I also under estimated how how much time it would take me to walk from ride to ride, we genuinely used most of the day just walking back to quieter rides for re-rides.

 

Normally when I do bigger updates I tend to talk about the park here but since there's fewer pictures this time i'll leave my comments on the pictures.

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Welcome to Ocean Park

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There was a lot of construction going on outside Ocean Park, although there were numerous buses it seems they are extending the MTR so it will service the other side of the mountains. Great news for me since although I don't normally get car sick, having to sit backwards or stand on the buses to Repulse Bay during our vacation or the ones that raced down from Victoria Peak around corners made me feel pretty ill.

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Since the chairlift was down and a line had formed for the express, by the time we got to the summit there was lengthy queues and the single rider was not open so we decided to check back later and opted to head to the older parts of the park first.

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Going by the coaster paint I can only assume it's Puff the magic dragon.

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It was strange to pass 40 minute lines for the observation tower and then find these rides completely empty.

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I had to wait quite a while for a car to come round.

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loop-de-loop

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It has a great view but the ride experience..... not so much

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I was far happier enjoying the view and watching the coaster than riding it.

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Stunning view

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Down for maintenance sadly.

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I waited and waited for a car to go but in the end gave up.

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My first ever Condor, it was fun but having never seen one in real life before, i'd assumed it would spin faster than it did (that's me riding so I could get a picture of it in action.

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Jin insisted we see the dolphin show

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I just took in the view instead

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We hit up the mine-train next

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Has anyone mentioned how great the view is.

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Again lacking riders

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Another shot as we headed to the summit

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I've always wanted to ride these, once I got it swinging I had so much fun on these, I wish the line had been shorter it was really, really fun.

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One thing I noticed was that most people didn't swing it, they played with the lever on the ground and used it once or twice in the air then gave up, I didn't see anyone really make them swing by doing it for most of the ride cycle.

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Didn't get a chance to ride this sadly.

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Such a fun ride.

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I thin i've now ridden all of the park versions of these having also been on the one at Fantasy Island 10 years ago.

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They are fun but nothing special.

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Off to the newest area

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I'm not sure why I waited so long for this I don't even consider it a credit

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It was a fun little family ride but pretty standard.

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For some reason I thought this would go inside and outside, it kind of helixed twice and then went back to the station and did 1 more lap.

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There was a great view from the line though

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Since it became obvious that the single rider wasn't going to open today, I sucked it up and joined the 45 minute line. I was kind of surprised to see only 1 train, I didn't see a second anywhere, does it even have one? I don't mind being assigned seats when i'm in a single rider line since that's what you agree to but it sucked they made you go to an assigned seat after the normal wait. I got put at the front on both waits and had quite a noticeable rattle for both rides. I'd have liked to try the back seats and see if my experience was any different.

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I'm not sure if the entrance is cool or creepy

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With the chairlift down, there wasn't many photo opportunities.

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The inversions were fun but the bunny hop was my favorite part by far, I think I got more airtime from that than most B&M Hypers.

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Twisty

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Best bit about the penguins? Not needing to wait in line for a ride to seem them.

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First time ever seeing a panda so i'm glad it wasn't sleeping.

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Halloween decorations were everywhere

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Attack the pumpkin

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For a park that is still constructing its shark exhibit there were a lot of sharks in the main aquarium, the aquarium seemed the busiest part of the whole park more so than the rides, even visiting it last in the late afternoon we could barely move inside, it was even busier than when we visited the Osaka aquarium. Although reading recent Ocean Kingdom TR's, it seems people like to visit the theme park aquariums

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Unlike Japan, the manta ray on exhibit didn't seem to be advertized as much. Although unlike Aqua Stadium at least the tank seemed big enough for it. Aqua Stadium always seemed like a weird aquarium to me, the main bit seemed really tiny , one of the tiniest i've seen compared to others and the tunnel tank seemed barely big enough for the manta ray (i'm assuming its deeper than it appears from below) yet it had a really big dolphin stadium with pilot whale and sea-lion show

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Even when we left late afternoon there were still tour groups pouring into the park.

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So many numbered people coming in, it was strange since the main turnstyle and ticket booths were empty but there was this line and more flags coming up the steps as we left.

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