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a circus theme. Further parks are planned including a night safari, hilltop amusement park (to complement the icon structure) and a waterpark. Chimelong already operates the world's busiest waterpark in Guangzhou, but this will be on a different scale, announces Chris Ho, deputy general manager of international business affairs: “We are not building a waterpark, this is going to be a water city!” he smiles. “But we do not want to rush eiher that or the hilltop amusement park. First we will build the night safari because it is less complicated and we have more experience in that field.”


Theme parks are one of several tourism categories being encouraged as part of Hengqin's island's development, and Malaysia's Genting Group (via Macau subsidiary Treasure Island Entertainment) is one of the other players that has already expressed an interest in building a park to complement Chimelong's offering.


Mr Su and his team say they welcome the competition, whether it's here or from attractions in Hong Kong. It's too simplistic to use the Orlando analogy, but once the Macau- Hong Kong bridge is built and other attractions come on stream, theme parks fans in this part of the world will be spoiled for choice.


zh.chimelong.com


Chimelong Ocean Kingdom attraction by attraction Walrus Splash by Mack Rides


On arrival at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, guests are greeted a giant curved 4K LED screen measuring 70 x 33m (230 x 108ft) and shaped like a manta. Supported 34m (110ft) above the ground, it acts as a canopy over the walkway and various shops and snack outlets inside Ocean Avenue. The light show that takes place overhead is reminiscent of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. The immersive media content was produced by Falcon’s Treehouse from Orlando and includes nearly 40 realistic CGI manta rays gliding throughout a natural coral reef environment, plus a firework display as if viewed from below the ocean’s surface. The effect is stunning – almost as much as the real fish inside the park!


Ocean Kingdom is split into six themed zones – Mt


Walrus, Fun Zone, Polar Horizon, Ocean Beauty, Hengqin Ocean, Amazing Amazon and Dolphin Cove – clustered in a classic loop format around a central lagoon (Hengqin Ocean).


On Walrus Splash, an elaborately-themed Mack Rides Super Splash, passengers float past the inhabitants of Sealion Bay before the boat climbs the lift hill. Featuring a similar 390m-long configuration to Atlantica SuperSplash at Europa- Park, the ride includes a 9.5m dip between the lift hill and the main drop, which the boats travel through in reverse after being switched around by turntable. A second turntable returns them the boat to the forward-facing position before beginning a 26.5m descent, reaching speeds of up to 78kmh as it passes between two mammoth rock Walrus heads and then crests a camelback before the big splashdown. Overlooking the action, as well as the sea lions and walruses themselves, is Spirit of Adventure, a pirate-themed Zierer Kontiki raft ride featured as part of a harbour area. Close-by is the Sealion Theater, one of park’s three live animal shows.


The Fun Zone, aimed at kids, is the only zone not to feature a headline attraction, although children will enjoy such experiences as the Happy Bump Bump Bump dodgems (by IE Park), Octopus Carousel (by Chance), Stingray Encounter, beaver exhibit, tide pools and a games arcade.


Penguin selfie! (Pelfie?) 36


Polar Horizon features three big attractions including the Beluga Theater. Much of the track on Polar Explorer, Mack’s 877m-long water coaster, is hidden from view, except for the two splashdowns (15m and 21m). The elevated part of ride is identical to Poseidon a Europa-Park, but the channels and the pools are different. Ocean Kingdom guests also get the added excitement of seeing live polar bears inside the Everest-style mountain in which they spend much of the ride. Visitors are also free to explore part of the bear’s home on foot, just as they can with the the adjacent penguin exhibit which, after the Whale Shark Aquarium, is the park’s most popular animal exhibit. As the name would suggest, the aquarium is home a whale shark (just one for now). It’s rare to see such creatures in captivity, but like the Georgia


Aquarium in the USA, previously the world’s largest until Ocean Kingdom took the crown, Chimelong clearly feels its facilities are big enough in Zhuhai. The large mammal had just arrived at the time of our visit, and created lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” from guests as it glided past the 39.6 x 8.3m (130 x 27ft) window that functions like a large live action cinema screen as the focal point of the building. A sneak peek of some of the other species in the aquarium can be enjoyed on the Deep Sea Odyssey dark ride. Featuring an omni-mover ride system by Mack, at one point the cars turn and tilt upwards to afford passengers a glimpse of the marine life swimming above. The attraction incorporates a Nemo-esque storyline, following the journey of fish-like submarine character Pao-Pao, using both real props/theming and various digital effects. Falcon’s Treehouse was responsible for media content and character development. In a park brimming with superlatives, it’s hard to pick a signature attraction, but clearly the Parrot Coaster by Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) is going to high on many guests’ “must do” lists. Chimelong previously installed China’s first B&M Dive Coaster at its park in Guangzhou back in 2008, and now its got the nations’s first Wing Coaster too. With the mountain as its backdrop and the park’s lagoon close by, the ride offers a breathtaking experience as it swoops and soars through almost 1.3km (4,192ft) of green track. Its theme is less aggressive than some of the other Wing Coasters out there, but it blends in well with the lush greenery of Amazing Amazon, where other attractions include a manatee exhibit. Dolphin Cove is, you’ve guessed it, home to a dolphin exhibit, but also a dolphin conservation centre, the Dolphin Theater and two rides. Battle of the Pirates is a Twist ‘n’ Splash by Mack, while the Dolphin Round Ride is a Flying Fish lifting jet ride from Zierer. A 1,000 seat '5D' theatre will complete this zone when it opens at the end of the year. Henqin Ocean is home to the Musical Fountain Spectacular and nightly multimedia finale Glamorous Sky Over Hengqin. Further live entertainment takes place each afternoon as the Chimelong Ocean Parade snakes its way around the lagoon.


JUNE 2014


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