A very scientific, very accurate, very objective ranking of Water World Ocean Park rides. Just in case you need a handy cheat sheet come 21 September.
Water World Ocean Park — touted as Asia’s first all-weather, year-round water park — is a short shuttle-bus ride away from the main entrance of Ocean Park, covering close to 700,000 square feet in Tai Shue Wan. At the media preview, the Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong team, thankfully, did not slip or fall even once (there was, however, one scraped kneecap and a couple of bum rashes), but please be careful; very slippery surfaces ahead. Also, for an optimal day at the park, make sure you bring towels, a waterproof disposable camera (or one of those clever watertight, transparent holdalls for your phone), extra face-masks and at least three friends. Some rides are contingent on weight, so you’re going to need the bodies.
Cyclone Spin/Tropical Twist: 8/10
So, it turns out I love any slide with a pool-ring pre-requisite. It’s a comfy, squishy seat that floats you up just enough where you, if you’re quite careful, do not get wet. Comfort meets a fun, only-slightly-damp time — what more can you ask for at a water park.
The Cyclone Spin/Tropical Twist is a great ‘First Ride of the Day’. There aren’t crazy drops or stomach-churning twists; just a good, easy, wholesome ride that can be enjoyed all by your lonesome or with one other person on two-seater pool rings. Both slides have the same entrance point: the former (orange) is pitch-black whilst the latter (yellow) is translucent, so choose your own adventure.
Skyhigh Falls: 10/10
Skyhigh Falls is Water World Ocean Park’s best ride, in my opinion, and here’s a laundry list of great things about it:
Inflatable pool-ring as vehicle, check.
A three-to-six-pax circular seating arrangement so you can easily, effortlessly, scream in your friends’ faces rather than the backs of each other’s heads, check.
Its name is one word from Sky High (2005), the Disney movie about superhero teenagers, check.
And finally, it has a very, very steep ramp that plunges, slides up and plunges down again, check.
No points deducted; we went on twice.
Lazy Cruise: 7/10
My age might be showing because the Lazy Cruise — Water World Ocean Park’s equivalent of a lazy river — was kind of nice. The course is separated into four different climate-themed zones; think ‘It’s a Small World’ with less stimulation.
If you have kids in tow or just want to drift, the Lazy Cruise is a great breather in-between more exciting attractions.
Horizon Cove: 5/10
It’s an indoor wave pool — that’s really all there is to it. Points given for the massive skylight that really explains why Water World Ocean Park is an “all-weather, year-round” destination.
The wave patterns were deemed “too aggressive” by our editor Lorria, but rest assured, Horizon Cove is very child-friendly. Here’s a tip: if the waves get too strong, just stand up.
Whiskers’ Splash: 3/10
Essentially a toddler’s playground, Whiskers’ Splash honestly looked quite fun — especially the giant water bucket that drenches the zone every so often — but it feels very strange taking up space intended for smaller humans. So we didn’t! The rating would be very different if you have children, or are a child.
We waited in line for a full 30 minutes (our longest wait yet!) for a turn down Vortex! — and it was well worth it. The swirl through the striped, outdoors bowl spins towards views of the Mine Train (RIP) and the South China Sea, so try going before sundown.
Full disclosure: the entrance alongside Vortex! opens up to a twin slide named Cavern Chase (the lack of a turn in Vortex!’s bowl being its major difference), but we didn’t want to wait another half-hour to go down a lesser Vortex!, so there’s no rating for it. But it’s there, it exists.
Thunder Loop/Daredevil Drop/Bravery Cliffs: 7/10
The Daredevil Drop is Water World Ocean Park’s Abyss equivalent (also, RIP); a straight-down, free-fall, near-vertical drop that gave even me — an unabashed lover of that little stomach swoop of adrenaline — a moment of pause.
Once you’re strapped in with arms, legs and all ten fingers crossed, it’s game over. The curved Perspex bolts around you, the attendant pushes the button and the floor (also clear acrylic so you can see exactly how far down the slide goes) literally splits open beneath your feet. That is, unless you do the embarrassing thing and opt out for a saunter of shame down to the baby Lazy Cruise instead. No judgement. Maybe a little.
Thunder Loop has the same floor-dropping-out mechanism, albeit with more twists as opposed to the death drop, while Bravery Cliffs makes you do the hard work — you’re going to have to summon the courage to launch yourself down.
It’s a lazy river-esque concept with an infinity pool at the end that looks out towards the South China Sea. It’s fine! Fun, even! But there are better rides. Do Skyhigh Falls again.
Rainbow Rush: 6/10
We walked off the Rainbow Rush with matching scrapes off our knees, so points taken off for skin taken off. Make sure you hover your legs above the racer mat or have them planted knees-down on the mat.
Another reason for deducted points: it’s no fun if you’re doing it alone. Bring seven friends and race, there’s a timer to make things official! Or, make friends; it’s a water park!
Surf Striker: 4/10
Billed as Hong Kong’s first indoor surfing simulator, the Surf Striker is less of a ride and more of a work-out.
The picture is a little misleading — there will be lines and throngs of people waiting and, worst of all, watching. Not for those with weak core strength or performance anxiety, but there are trainers on-site in case you need a hand or words of encouragement.
Big Wave Bay: 7/10
There are two wave pools at Water World Ocean Park; the Big Wave Bay is, in my correct opinion, the better one. It’s outdoors, has incredible views, is right next to the al-fresco canteen and has sun loungers so you can really pretend you’re on vacation. Or at least pretend you’re at the beach — it’s Big Wave Bay, after all.