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Themed Design: Fun, Fun, Fun x 1 Million = Sarner’s Funicular

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Hong Kong’s Ocean Park reports that 3 million visitors have ridden Ocean Express in the first 10 months

Internationally renowned theme park design company, Sarner, was responsible for the creative and technical implementation of Ocean Express, the first and only themed funicular ride in the world.  Ocean Express is not just a ride, it’s a fully immersive show that has already captivated and entertained 3 million visitors whilst transporting them from the Waterfront to the Summit at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park.  Sarner’s imaginative and creative execution of visuals and technology makes this simple method of transportation more than just a way to travel around the park and leaves visitors wanting more.  

Once guests embark the submarine-like carriages, they are ‘transported’ below sea level and fully ‘submerged’ deep into the Ocean thanks to beautiful underwater visuals and cleverly created programming from Sarner’s technical team who made use of sophisticated audiovisual technology, animation and surround audio effects.  The mesmerising visuals are viewed on 42 ceiling mounted Samsung LCD screens which look like windows into a colourful and true-to-life underwater world.  

Although the passengers feel that they are underwater, in reality, the funicular train travels through a tunnel that is just under one mile long and was created by digging through rock and excavating over 71, 000 square metres of earth.  It has been built to transport up to 5000 people per hour in each direction and travels between the Park’s two main lands in under 3 minutes.  This is in total contrast to the current cable car ride, which takes 12 minutes and offers scenic views from a great height.  The journey between the two lands is not passable by foot so, until now, visitors were only able to get to the Summit of Ocean Park by scaling the great heights of the cable car.  

Ocean Park Chief Executive, Mr Tom Mehrmann comments, “This underwater adventure is a valued addition at Ocean Park.  With visitor numbers expected to reach 7 million by 2017, we realised that the capacity of our current cable car system would be inadequate and we required an alternative route for visitors.  Sarner’s creativity has enabled us to offer a truly unforgettable ride.”  Ross Magri, Sarner’s Managing Director, adds, “The brief from Ocean Park was for us to bring the ride to life and the theme of the Ocean works as a juxtaposition to the scenic views of the cable car ride which runs simultaneously.  For us, the key was to ensure that the magic of the day continued through every aspect of a visit to Ocean Park and we feel honoured that so many visitors to the park are using this new and exciting way to travel to the Summit.” 

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