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  1. #1

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    Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland

    HONG KONG — Sometimes, beating Mickey Mouse means schmoozing bankers or lobbying the government for a subway line. Sometimes it means pleading with Chinese officials to part with a pair of pandas. And sometimes it means parading in front of the cameras in a jellyfish costume.


    Dings to his dignity aside, Hong Kong entrepreneur Allan Zeman is determined to do what it takes to fend off the threat from Hong Kong Disneyland and keep families coming to Ocean Park, Hong Kong's oldest amusement park.


    So far it's working. Ocean Park, David to Disney's Goliath, has defied the doomsayers to post record profits. In May, it broke its annual attendance record — 4.4 million visitors — with almost two months to go in the fiscal year. "People started believing," says Zeman, brought in as chairman four years ago to salvage the place. "Suddenly, there was this buzz."
    Dressing for success
    Zeman doesn't hesitate to go with his instincts. When he noticed visitors lingering in front of the jellyfish in the Ocean Park aquarium, he collected 1,000 of the creatures and gave them their own popular exhibit. At the debut of the "Sea Jelly Spectacular," Zeman slipped into a jellyfish costume and hammed it up for delighted newspaper photographers.


    Ocean Park has pulled off other coups: The Chinese government agreed to donate two pandas to the park, bringing the park's total to four; the public can see new arrivals Le Le and Ying Ying on July 1, the 10th anniversary of the hand-over of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule.


    Zeman says the Hong Kong government has approved a subway line to Ocean Park, like the one it built for Disney. Zeman has lined up financing and government loan guarantees for a $700 million expansion that will double the park's attractions to 70 by 2012.


    He hopes to win more loyal customers like Hong Kong college student Chu Wai-yan, 20. She figures she has visited Ocean Park 20 times since age 12. "I just bought a season pass," Chu says. "Of course I'll be back." And Hong Kong Disneyland? "I liked it," she says. "But once is enough."

    Source : USA Today (for details of the News Article)

  2. #2

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Trust me, this park needs all the help it can get, and if they pull off the plans I saw on their preview center, they will definitely become a force to reckon with. But as of now? Ocean park is below par. I think the fact that it's breaking records has more to do with the cheaper admission price and transportation fee, and benefitting from the any added tourists that may arrive in Hong Kong via the more enjoyable offerings of HKDL and the adult destination Macau is becoming. I was honestly shocked how below par Ocean park is, and dumbfounded why it is so popular.

  3. #3

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    In terms of theming and so on, HKOP is definitely behind HKDL. But the Chinese public care less about the theming than the actual pricing and the number of attractions available. We love our rides and attractions much more than any amount of theming.

    The low entry fee is also very attractive and practical. Disney's entry fee is almost double with 1/2 the attractions, yeah they have a very nice park and everything is beautiful, but it is not worth a repeat visit unless they build at least ten more new attractions there.

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Well... again, to each his own. I am happy for you that you enjoy the feel and look of cheap carnival rides, which is why Ocean Park charges the right (lower) fee for. I want and expect much more than just carny rides in a "themed park" experience and am willing to pay the higher price to enjoy it. Plus, lush surroundings are the icing in the cake.

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    the main reason why HKOP charges the lower fee is because it is a non-profit organization. and that's why it can offer affordable marine animal education and entertainment to the general public.

    The new HK$5.55 billion redevelopment (excluding the 3 new hotels which are separate projects) at HK Ocean Park is very promising. Watch Out, Hong Kong Disneyland (the theme park)!

    Everything counts in this competitive world, that includes pricing, theming, quality, size of the park, number of attractions, atmosphere, live entertainment, food, affordability, landscaping, location, ease of transportation, surrounding, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, safety, word of mouth, etc..

    If you don't do anything, you (HKDL) will definitely lose out to HKOP sometime down the road.

    HKOP is now working on correcting its weakness. We'll see a challenger here.

    Lets compare the 2 parks at around 2012 (when HKOP completes its redevelopment)
    Last edited by HongKongDisneyland; 06-17-2007 at 11:51 PM.

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Yes I agree with you up there, and I mentioned in my HKOP trip report how HKDL will be having a hard time competing with HKOP if they don't get their act together. I was quite quite impressed by their future plans... and I sure hope they can pull it off beautifully. I would even buy an AP to HKOP if this project turns out as fabulously well as they show on their preview exhibit.

    Like HongKongDisneyland said above... WATCH OUT HKDL!!!

  7. #7

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    I also have to admit, and speak about it a bit in my 'column' this week, that HKOP has the edge at the moment on HKDL. Between the wildlife, the rollercoasters and the other attractions, Zeman seems to have several markets covered. I was most impressed by the claim that they will "double the park's attractions to 70 by 2012". I'd certainly go back there for that.
    “I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.” - Bill Hicks


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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Ocean Park's "off the shelf" reputation precedes it. This is why vacationers avoid it like the plague. Parks such as Sex Flags, Cedar Fair and Paramount offer pretty much the same themelless non-family thrill park venue. Like cowards, they locate themselves wherever real theme parks are not.

    Ocean park, I believe, has been in it's present locale long before Disney showed up. It is noble that it isn't taking competition from the Mouse lieing down.

    Nevertheless, if the park's plans are to create immersively themed interactive family attractions, and actual separated, individual lands, then I would say that it stands a fighting chance. If it plans to simply add more off the shelf carnival rides, backers can then kiss their assinine butts goodbye. I do wish my best for Ocean Park's succes with it's future endeavers, though.
    Last edited by Ride Warrior; 06-18-2007 at 08:52 AM.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Asa View Post
    But the Chinese public care less about the theming than the actual pricing and the number of attractions available.
    This most definitely seems to be the case, a lot of published comments from mainlanders seems to be that they expected more from HKDL or that it wasn't worth the money.
    It all depends on your own personal cultural preferences but it appears that the Chinese stereotype of the price being the primary focus seems to fit this situation.

    If Ocean Park's expansion turns out as nicely as the models and drawings show then it should be a good remodel but I fear that they could've made similarly exciting sketches and models for their current setup if they'd wanted. It's all down to perspective and artistic license. I'll believe the expansion when I see it finished, details seem to be too wishy washy at this stage.
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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    When H&M opened here, there was a give away. first 50 people got a Madonna signed jacket and the next group (250? Correct me if I'm wrong someone.) got a free pair of sun glasses. way too many people lined up at the door. For what, the good prices, the clothes...No! the freebees. One man was quoted in the SCMP as saying he really didn't want the freebee but it was free so why not. He got sunglasses, and said he would never wear them because they were free. HKDL vs. OP, my opinion stands, you get what you pay for. Ok, I think the animals are great. The kids section just plain sucks, and that's why we didn't buy an AP this year. my 5 year old said it was boring and the park at Grampa's house had better rides (he's in central Illinois.) The thrill rides are too rickety for me so there is NO WAY she is going on them.
    If the OP expansion goes something like what they have shown, maybe I'll rethink the AP.

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride Warrior View Post
    Ocean park, I believe, has been in it's present locale long before Disney showed up. It is noble that it isn't taking competition from the Mouse lieing down.
    You did not read my trip report or saw my pics, did you? *tisk*tisk*

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    You did not read my trip report or saw my pics, did you? *tisk*tisk*
    Your report was written in what you have described as two different parts. I had read part 2 prior to responding. I just finished part 1 which you had written on a previous day.

    They were both very well written, informative and entertaining. However, you did not make mention anywhere as to how long Ocean Park had been around. A few minutes ago, I took the liberty to research it. The park opened on January 10, 1977, and was built on the donations of what is now the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

    You do not realize how lucky you are to be in position to visit all of these parks, TDLFAN. I certainly cannot afford to go to the parks in Japan and Hong Kong. We have over 1,000 members in MiceChat currently. It is apparrent that most are not able to visit these parks...or all kinds of people would be posting trip reports.

    DisneySea in particular is an outstanding park, and deserves even more acclaim than what it has received. As bad as I feel having to remain content in reading about these exciting resort destinations, your reaction to me all the way around has always been confrontational.

    I am one of the people that read and responded to your latest thread. If it is your intention to make people such as myself feel like crap in spite of the fact that we are not as fortunate as you are, CONGRATULATIONS! You have accomplished your purpose.

    Enjoy the good times!
    Last edited by Ride Warrior; 06-19-2007 at 01:01 AM.
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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Be nice TDLFAN, we're all fans of your trip reports.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Great theming is awesome, but few people are going to pay a hundred bucks to walk around in a well themed environment. At this point, theming is just about all that HKDL has. A shame, considering the large portfolio of rides that the Mouse already possesses. At a minimum, core classics like Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates should be present on opening day in any "Magic Kingdom" built nowadays..

    Why Disney do this to themselves, time after time, is anyone's guess. They build a park on the cheap and then have to spend years making it profitable.

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    Re: Ocean Park takes on Hong Kong Disneyland, USA Today

    Given that Disney got burned burned building Paris Disneyland they seem to be a bit more cautious at HKDL expansion. I guess this is business sense. There won't be much business in HKDL without decent set of attractions, that's the only way to get more people into the park.

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