Welcome to Halloween: Part 4 of our look at Ocean Park

At the 2013 IAAPA Attraction Expo in Orlando, Ocean Park was again recognise by IAAPA and won a Brass Ring Award in the Best Digital Campaign category.

In 2013, the park realized that given the finite number of thrill seeking young adults in Hong Kong, it was impossible to grow attendance at Halloween Bash under the current format.  No matter how good the content was or how effective the publicity came across Hong Kong, attendance was pretty much capped at 600 000 guests in good years for the Halloween Bash event.  They went for a new approach: move away from the hard ticket format where guests had to buy a separate ticket at night to attend the madness to an included with daily admission approach.  It worked as it now allowed them to target families who came during the day and to have transforming attractions. It turned one of the year’s slowest months into the second busiest of the year, easily compensating for the lost revenue of the hard ticket event.

Transforming attractions are a unique innovation where the same house will have different characters during the day and a less threatening approach, making them safer for families.  At night, the lights do down and the demons go into full threat mode, providing the familiar scary experience.

The park innovative approach to haunted houses continued in 2014 with H14, a completely unique experience.  Groups of one to six guests registered in advance and when they started their journey, scare actors grabbed one of the member’s and brought him to a room equipped with CCTV (Close Caption Television). The guest then had to monitor their group using the CCTV and try to guide them through the house, helping them avoid traps and monsters.

In 2015, the park signed up with AMC to bring to unlife the famed TV show “The Walking Dead” in Hong Kong.  It was composed of an incredible forced perspective picture opportunity where it appeared a guest would be falling into a room filled with zombies and a haunted house.  The haunted house was called “The Walking Dead: Survival” and recreated famous scenes from the Serie such as the Prison, Terminus and others.  Both Walkers and Survivors took turns scaring guests as they tried to escape the infected.

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Using a curved mirror, guests would lie down at one end of the set.  Once they took the picture of the mirror, it would look like Walkers would be reaching out for them in the Prison.

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The exterior of the Walking Dead house.

Whisker’s Harbor became the home of Doraemon, a popular Japanese Manga for Halloween Fest 2015.  One of the facility inside became the Doraemon@ The Halloween Movies Studio.  Filled with fun photo opportunities, this was a wonderful experience for kids and also allowed older fans of the franchise to take part as well. Doraemon was an extremely smart choice of an IP since many people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and other areas of China grew up with it.  It bring them back incredible memories and even as adults, they will want to transmit that to their children.

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Whiskers Harbour entrance was redecorated for the occasion.

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A simple driving game was decorated as well.

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Various statues of the characters were placed around Whiskers Harbour.

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Doraemon @ The Halloween Movie Studio was the main attraction for families this year.

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It was filled with fun interactive experiences and photo opportunities.

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One of the great set inside.

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Some items seen in the Serie are also present, such as this Restoration Ray.

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In a fun sight gag, you can take a picture where you also appear to be running away from the dreaded Pumpkin Bats!

 

In honor of the 15th Anniversary of Halloween Bash/Fest, the area previously occupied by the Space Wheel was home to a tent housing 15 Years of Horror.  Ocean Park went back to their archives and recreated iconic scenes from previous houses such as the cursed Carousel from Terror Park (2010), a Haunted Elevator from Estate of Horror (2008) and a grisly wedding from the Chinese Wedding of the Departed (2012).  Also, both Luna Midnyte and Lady Gwai-Gwai made their return as hostesses for this special house.

The Scaremonies were moved to a brand new location in The Waterfront, the Applause Pavilion.  This allowed them to go further with more elaborate stunts and effects.  The name in 2015 was the “Hellympics” and the idea was that two groups of demons engaged in a contest to win passes to the Human World.  To give you an idea of how over the top the competitions were, a beautiful “Old Demon” burlesque singer competed against a “Young Demon” Pole Dancer.  It started with the Burlesque Dancer singing “Do you Burlesque” and after she went through a few costume changes, she left the stage to the Pole Dancer, who take over with his very elaborate Pole Dancing.  The Demon Judge was going to award the medal to the Pole Dancer… until the Burlesque Singer bribes him with a brand new Smartphone to win!  The show concludes with the head Demon having enough of the foolishness and putting an end to the Contest.

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The entrance to the Hellympics Scaremonies.

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The Applause Pavilion, decorated to blend in and look like a forest.

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The huge stage had many screens and a great light and sound system.  The building is also rated for pyrotechnics and those are used to great effect during the show.

In addition to the Hellympics, many dance and novelty acts were performed around the park during Halloween Fest.

During Halloween Fest, the park repurpose a beautiful path that goes around the mountain in the Waterfront.  “Trick or Treating” is not something that is common in China and the park allows its guests to experience it on that trail.  It is decorated with pumpkins and along the way, various actors are ready to give out candies in exchange for silly dances, songs and others.

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Trick or Treat Pumpkin Trail entrance.  Chupa Chups, Mentos and TamTam were the sponsors in 2015 and provided the candy that guests received.

Food was an important component of Halloween Fest 2015 with special set menus served at Café Ocean, Neptune Restaurant and Tuxedos Restaurant.  Bento boxes were also offered at Panda Café and pastries at Aqua City Bakery.  The Hungry Ghost Festival Set Menu brought visual appearance of food to another level and the taste was out of this world.  It was served exclusively at the Café Ocean in The Summit.

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First, you started with an appetizer of Coconut Jelly shaped like a brain laying on a Smoked Chicken Salad bed.  The eyes were composed of Australian Prawn.

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Next, the Lemongrass Tomato Soup.  It had the appearance of a bowl of blood (perfect for Vampires) with two cookies shaped like human fingers sticking out.  Details went as far the nails, which were edible and made of almond pieces.

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The Main Dish has the appearance of a Chinese grave, complete with cookies marked with funeral rites.  For especially mischievous or daring guests, diners could book in advance and reserved their grave with their name written on the gravestone!  This did not happen often as this was seen as extreme bad luck by many guests.  The dish itself is composed of a Fried Rice filled with Sustainable Seafood served with Conpoy Sauce.

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The dessert was even creepier, as it was composed of an Osmanthus Jelly with human remains inside made of White Chocolate. Osmanthus flowers are used to flavor the jelly and give it its yellowish brackish water appearance.

Doraemon also had its own special set menu, served at Tuxedos Restaurant and Neptune Restaurant.  This was the adult menu with a children’s version also served.

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The appetizer was composed of a Smoked Salmon and Lobster Salad, Bacon and Wild Mushroom Quiche and a Skewer of Baby Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil.  As you can see, the talented chefs at Ocean Park were able to transfer the characters right to the food.

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The soup has Doraemon running across a grassy field with a yellow bat chasing him.  The green soup was a Spinach and Scallop Chowder.

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The main dish was either a Braised Veal Shank in Tomato Sauce, served with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables or a Seafood Lasagne.  The Seafood Lasagne payed homage to Halloween since it was made of Pumpkin and was also served with Seasonal Vegetables and Tomato Sauce.

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The dessert is literally Nobita in edible form.  The hair is a Chocolate Brownie and it is served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruits.  As you can see in the picture, someone was celebrating a special occasion.

In 2016, the park went to a new IP for Halloween: the Ghostbusters. It is the main driver for both a flagship haunted house, a family experience and a unique menu.  They also introduced a new app where guests can use their smartphones to enjoy 3 new ways to get haunted around the park.  First, the Ghost Hunter game is a collection of games guests play while waiting in line.  Next, the Third Eye allows guests to take pictures of ghosts at marked locations around the park and even take selfies with the playful spirits.  Last, similar to a very popular game that came out in the summer of 2016, Ghost Detector allow you to capture ghosts.  While walking through the park, the phone will vibrate whenever you’re within 10 feet of a ghost.  You then pull out your phone and try to capture it.

Guests who are successful and participate in this App are rewarded with in-park coupons, promotions and even special front of the line access to some attractions.

Five haunted houses are featured in 2016 and following the trend since the transformation to Halloween Fest, one of those is transforming.  Legendary Palace uses the App to have guests see elves, spirits and other playful spooks in this family experience.  At night, as night falls across Hong Kong, the palace transforms and the elves hide while demons and monsters crawl out of the shadow for a thrilling experience in the Palace of Death. Ocean Park provided us with the Halloween Fest 2016 pictures seen in this article.  For more information about Ocean Park, please visit https://www.oceanpark.com.hk/en

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You can see here a family exploring the Legendary Palace.

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This is a great picture showing off what the app does to what appears to be a simple element of scenery.

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A playful spook could appear next to your child.

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The actors will also participate in the app activities.

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During the day, the Legendary Palace…

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At night, what fate awaits us in the Palace of Death?

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The lights go down, smoke fills the Palace and the Actors turn to Scareactors.

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It is incredible to see how they are able to transform a house from family friendly to scary on a daily basis.

Club Blood make a dramatic return to Ocean Park in a new location, at the Cable Car terminal in the Waterfront. Asian idol Danson Tang is the host of the brand new club and he is throwing a blood curdling party.  Using innovative projection technology, he welcomes his victims… sorry! Guests at his mansion and while things appear at first to be quite a lively rave party, the truth is more sinister and it is a trap to provide food for the vampires minions of Danson Tang.

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Need a drink?  The Club has its fully stocked bar.

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A great example of set design and integrating a scareactor in the scenery.

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You can see here that while the guests are distracted by the things litterally hanging over their head… a scareactor will come from the opposite direction for a very effective scare.

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Premium Ticket Holders have access to an exclusive room in many houses.  This is the one inside Club Blood.

The School of Shadows is located near the Abyss and is housed in the Café Ocean restaurant.  The theme here is that we are visiting an abandoned school and nearby residents have heard screams and other strange noises coming from the building.  Turns out the school houses a rotting necropolis and ghosts are trapped in mirrors and other pieces of furniture.

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Welcome to the School of Shadows.

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One of the many mirror gag used inside the attraction.

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One of the School teacher.

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A student is very unhappy to see living visitors.

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This window diorama is incredibly well done.

The Ghostbusters Live! attraction is composed of two experiences: the first is a haunted house through scenes from the reboot movie that premiered in 2016.  Second, Ghostbuster Academy give guests a crash course on hunting ghosts using proton guns at the firing range and explore the Fire Station that serves at the Ghostbusters HQ.

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Welcome to the Ghostbusters Academy.

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A photo opportunity with the Stay Puff monster was offered.

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Inquiring new Ghostbusters start at the Academy, getting geared up with a Proton Gun.

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They then explore their secret hideout and the training range, shooting various targets.

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It is an incredible family attraction as everyone can participate and compete.

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Over at Ghostbusters Live!, things are creepier.

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Guests get to explore the Subway tracks where a ghost appeared in the 2016 movie.

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The subway station.

16+ is like its name suggest, restricted to guests 16 and older as it aims to be more extreme than the usual houses.  The theme is one where guests are invited to enter a very exclusive club and thanks to the age restriction, guests are treated to a very sensual show that bring their guard down.  Next, a host invite them to put on a carnival mask and then take them through a tour of the exclusive back rooms… Among terrifying things they will see are human experiments, lots of blood and many scenes of torture.  Also, it is a rare house where scare actors are allowed to touch the guests.

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The location for 16+ was the Special Event space near the Raging River, inside a tent.  This had a good effect of helping spread the crowds around the park since the event’s special house was built at the farthest point from the entrance and this helped raise ridership at both the Mine Train and Raging River.

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The beautiful show at the beginning.

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One of the terrifying scene inside.

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The scareactors did a great job conveying fear and madness.

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The masks guests have to wear inside.

Trick-Or-Treating returns to Ocean Park and in the same location as last year.  Chupa Chups, Mentos and TimTam provided the treats this year and participants had to take part in various missions given by the Pumpkin Elves.

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The name this year was the Sugary Spook Village.

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There were many photo opportunities along the trail.

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Solving a puzzle was one of the game this year.

The Scaremonies returned at the Applause Theater and this year, the name is Project Deathway.  The theme of the show: Top Models who happen to be demons from Hell strut down the runway to show off their looks and along the way, dance and sing to popular songs.  The content and jokes is reflective of current events and can be changed from show to show, depending on what is happening in Hong Kong and around the world.  It again take advantage of its permanent theater home by presenting incredible stunts and acrobatics that would be very difficult to do in its old outdoor location near Tai Shu Wan entrance.

Food is again featured in both funny and scary set menus.  The scary set menus were served at Café Ocean and we will go through it course by course.

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First, how about the Ghostly Toilet of Death?  Served in a custom toilet shaped bowl and set upon an authentic looking ceramic tile coaster, this Tomato OX-Tail Soup is thankfully delicious and not like what its full size version would be…

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The Main Course would be a useful meal to serve at a good medical school, since it a Biology Class of the Damned.  This assorted platter served on its dissection table has a delicious Pan-fried Beef Striploin, Deep-fried Chicken Breast with Brie, Roaster Chicken Fillet along with a Chipolata Sausage served in Tomato Sauce.  A Seafood Vegetables Pate complete our ghastly course in human anatomy and it is served with Garden Green Salads with Thousand Island dressing.  For those unfamiliar with Thousand Island dressing, it originated in the Thousand Islands region of Ontario/New York State and it use Mayonnaise as its base and various other sauces and finely chopped ingredients give it a great varied taste and texture.  A variant of it is the famous “Spread” used by In-N-Out Burger in California. It is quite a rare sight outside of North America and it brought great variety to this course at Ocean Park.  A special edition Ocean Park mini ketchup bottle of Heinz Ketchup is included in every set.

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The Possessed Chalkboard Eraser complete our set and it is served on its chalkboard.  The Eraser itself is a Charcoal Helvetic Roll which is a rolled up sponge cake colored and shaped to look an old fashioned chalk eraser.  The Chalks themselves are pieces of White Chocolate.

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Kids were not forgotten at Café Ocean as their meal is served in a box shaped like the Ocean Express car.  Inside, they can find a Spaghetti with a Hot Dog sausage and Tomato Sauce.  Steamed Seasonal Vegetables served with Olive Oil complete the main dish and a Chocolate Cup Cake with Haagen-Dazs ice cream is their delicious dessert.

Another special Set Menu served at Café Ocean is the Club Blood set menu.  The same Toilet is served as an appetizer, but the main dish is now a Roasted Chicken Roll with smoked Turkey and Meat Sauce.  Potato Wedges and Seasonal Vegetables complete the dish appearance as a severed hand.  A Chocolate Mousse in a spider web topped with a Cookie Bat is the dessert in this set and in addition, guests each receive a complimentary D.T. T-Shirt and Tote Bag Collector’s Edition set.

The Funny Set menu this year was the Ghostbusters Feast, served at Tuxedos Restaurant and Neptune’s Restaurant.

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First, we start with the Marshmallow Man, in this case Sauteed Scallop and Bacon in Tomato Sauce.  It is topped with Mashed Potatoes and served a Green Salad.

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Next, the Ghostbusters logo, made with a Bell Pepper and Tomato Soup and shaped to look exactly like the famous logo.

For the main dish, three choices were offered:

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Slimer is on the loose! He has been spotted in our plate and he possessed a Seafood Spinach Puff.  Inside, one can find Creamed Spinach with Scallop, Lobster and Mussel and thankfully, a Proton Pack is not needed to capture him.

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A Charcoal Bun Beef Burger is another option, served on a beautiful black plate.

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Slimer has had another sighting, this time in a Spaghetti of Assorted Vegetables with Pesto Sauce.

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The dessert consist of yet another enable Ghostbusters logo, this time a Chocolate Mousse served with Fresh Fruits.

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For Kids, the same Ocean Express box is used the Mini-Ghostbusters Feast.  Baked Scallop with Mashed Potatoes, Spaghetti with Shredded Chicken in Tomato Sauce and Smiley Potato Rings along with Steamed Seasonal Vegetables are inside.  A chocolate Cupcake topped with Lime Jam is the spooky dessert.

We would like again to thank Ocean Park for their help with this article.  Please visit https://www.oceanpark.com.hk/en for more information.

 

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