Hong Kong has two theme parks; the homegrown Ocean Park and internationally heavyweight Disneyland, but which is the BEST theme park in Hong Kong?
Having been to Ocean Park three times together, and Disneyland three times together, as well as additional times without each other, we feel that we know enough to answer the question “What is the best theme park in Hong Kong?”. Some might consider Noahs Ark a theme park, but as it’s just for kids, we are ignoring it.
Disneyland is on Lantau Island. It not only has its own stop on the MTR, but its own entire line; connecting Disneyland to the rest of the MTR network.
Having its own line means the train is completely covered in Disney. With Mickey Mouse shaped windows and handles, and Disney characters painted on the inside of every carriage, you can feel the excitement on the train. It’s that trademarked Disney magic.
Ocean Park is on Hong Kong Island, and with the South Island Line opening a few years ago, it now has its own stop on the MTR. Making it a lot quicker to get to than before.
Disney wins this hands down (spoiler). There are 2 shows that you absolutely MUST watch; Festival of the Lion King & Mickey and the Wondrous Book. They will both be packed, so try to get there an hour before the show starts. And go to an earlier show in case it’s full and you need to go back later.
With the Lion King show, it doesn’t matter if it has been 15 years since you watched the film, as soon as they start singing, you are transported back in time.
The lyrics are suddenly at the front of your memory, you sing along in your head and then at the end of the song, your other half will look at you and ask why you were singing. “What? You could hear that?”, but don’t worry, by the end everyone is clapping, dancing, moving to the beat.
In addiction to the shows, Disneyland has two parades; one in day and the other at night. If you are pushed for time, they are both as good as each other, but if you visit more than one day, then check them both out. There used to be Fireworks every night, but they stopped that in 2018.
Ocean Park has a dolphin show, but the shows are infrequent to say the least, and it is a 15 minute walk from any other attraction – not worth it, unless it’s really your thing.
Disney has two famous mice, some ducks, dogs and other fictional animals.
Ocean Park has lots of very real animals; Pandas, Penguins, Koalas, Sharks & Sloths, to name a few.
For a while the oldest panda in the world lived in Ocean Park, up until it died in 2016, aged 38. But there are still plenty of Pandas to see, if you know how to find them.
It may be 35 degrees Celsius outside during the summer, but as soon as you walk into the penguin enclosure, you’ll wish you brought some long trousers and a jumper.
It’s a nice escape from the heat, and who doesn’t like watching penguins? They walk, they fall into the water, they swim, and then they do a massive leap out of the water and land on their feet.
The same penguin we watched slip over and fall into the water, was some how able to do a Olympic Gold Medal worthy gymnastic leap out of the water and land on its feet. Incredible. Be sure to check out the feeding times for some added levels of entertainment
Be sure to visit Pacific Pier to see a big fat walrus elegantly swim around and the, not so elegant, sea lions, as they bounce around on the land and in the water.
Winner: Ocean Park
Disney have a few good rides. Space Mountain is thrilling. Iron Man Experience is some top quality Virtual Reality fun.
Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars is brilliant, and an absolute must! An absolute must! (That’s not a editing error, that’s for emphasis. If you go to Disneyland, you absolutely must go on that ride!).
The rest; boring, unless you are a kid.
The rides definitely look cool. Who doesn’t want to ride Slinky Dog as he’s chasing his tail. Ocean Park has essentially the same ride; Rev Booster.
It doesn’t look as picturesque, but it goes so much faster. You’ll be holding on for dear life, experiencing levels of G-Force that fighter pilots don’t even have to go through.
Ocean Park is also home to what is considered one of the most scenic roller coasters in the world; Mine Train. However, you’ll only be able to enjoy the view if you keep your eyes open!
Mine Train has just one bar to hold you in place, but don’t let that fool you in to thinking it’s a slow roller coaster. It goes fast and you can feel your stomach trying to catch up with you body as you go over the bumps.
We went with 2 friends who hate roller coasters and when they saw the ride with just a bar to hold you in, they asked “how bad can it be?”. We had both forgotten the answer, but it didn’t turn out to be the relaxing ride they expected.
The Abyss is a simple roller coaster; you go up, you go down. The problem is when you look down, it seems a lot further and it just accelerates at speeds you never thought were possible. It is possibly the scariest ride in the world.
Ocean Park also have a hair raising roller coaster with multiple loops and spins, aptly named Hair Raiser. On a hot day, The Rapids is a perfect water ride to cool you down and see some random Capybara’s doing their thing.
Winner: Ocean Park
Don’t expect much from either. Have a decent breakfast before you go, and just top up during the day.
Christmas & Halloween
Disney adapt the parades to give them a Christmas theme and have 1 or 2 scare house at Halloween.
Ocean park has around 5 scare houses, with at least 2 of them being really good. There was one set in a bar, that was probably the best over the last few year because, you know, it’s relatable. Many locals will go to ocean park in the evening just for the scare houses.
Winner: Ocean Park
At Disney, you can meet the characters and take a picture or get them to sign your book. Disney also have their own hotel, so if you are a complete fan and have got money, then stay there.
Ocean Park has a cable car, which takes around 15 minutes, and gives you great views of the park and the ocean. Alternatively, Ocean Park Tower gives nice views from very high up!
Ocean Park: $480 – if you’re a HK resident, you can go for free on your birthday!
Winner: Ocean Park
And the best theme park in Hong Kong is…
We both agree Ocean Park is the best theme park in Hong Kong and there is a general consensus amongst locals that Ocean Park is better. But everyone is different.
If you want theatrical shows, parades and Disney, go to Disneyland.
If you want better rides, lots of animals and a 15 minute cable car ride, go to Ocean Park.