From bricks to big plans, LEGOLAND Dubai Resort's GM shares details
Now Reading
From bricks to big plans, LEGOLAND Dubai Resort’s Tim Harrison-Jones shares details

From bricks to big plans, LEGOLAND Dubai Resort’s Tim Harrison-Jones shares details

The general manager of LEGOLAND Dubai Resort tells us why the destination remains a favourite with guests of all ages from across the world

Neesha Salian
From bricks to big plans, LEGOLAND Dubai Resort's Tim Harrison-Jones shares details

From the clatter of colourful bricks in a child’s playroom to mind-boggling and intricate LEGO sculptures adults build, there’s no denying the universal love for LEGO. Here, in the UAE, that love is writ large at LEGOLAND Dubai Resort, the first of its kind in the entire region.

The destination opened in 2016, becoming an integral part of an expanding list of mega theme parks in the UAE that draw visitors from all over the world.

To throw in an interesting statistic, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) recognised the UAE as the fastest-growing amusement park market within the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region in 2023. This bodes well for the theme park considering consumer spending at theme parks and related destinations in the MENA region is projected to grow at an annual rate of 10.9 per cent, according to IAAPA. By the end of this year, it is forecasted to reach $474m.

A family favourite, LEGOLAND Dubai Resort hosts six themed lands, including Factory, LEGO City, Kingdoms, Miniland, Adventure and Imagination, with 40 interactive rides, attractions and ‘building’ experiences. Like a treasure trove, the goodies don’t stop; there’s the LEGOLAND Water Park with 20 slides and other fun attractions, and last but not least, the LEGOLAND Hotel. This wonderland features 250 LEGO-themed family rooms, including 15 suites, 191 themed rooms and 44 fully themed rooms, making it a great family destination for residents and visitors.

The resort consistently features activities and experiences to keep young fans entertained, says Tim Harrison-Jones, general manager, LEGOLAND Dubai Resort.

Harrison-Jones says he has enjoyed every day on the job since stepping into the role a little over a year ago (visualise yourself surrounded by 60 million LEGO bricks, 15,000 models and loads of happy children and adults – sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?).

We caught up with him at the recent Arabian Travel Market to discover how the destination brings the magic of LEGO to life for families.

Here are excerpts from the conversation.


It’s been over a year since you took over as general manager of LEGOLAND Dubai Resort. Tell us about the developments during the period that have strengthened the brand.

It’s been an incredibly interesting year with a lot to learn about the LEGOLAND brand and its ethos. We’ve strengthened our partnership with LEGO and LEGOLAND, leading to a deeper understanding of the core values that both brands represent. This has allowed us to focus more on enhancing the guest experience and embedding those brand values at the heart of everything we do.

We’ve also been collaborating closely with Merlin Entertainments, our park operator, which got a new CEO and executive team in 2022. Additionally, we have flourished as part of Dubai Holdings Entertainment. We’re looking ahead at the next five to 10 years, planning our investment strategy to ensure continued growth and innovation.

Since LEGOLAND opened in 2016, we’ve faced challenges, including the impact of Covid-19. However, we’ve gained momentum thanks to the exciting developments at Dubai Parks and Resorts, such as Real Madrid World, and we expect more positive developments in the coming 12 to 18 months.

How do you see the popularity of the resort growing?

We’re aiming to enhance our destination awareness campaigns, particularly as Dubai continues to grow. Projects like the expansion of Al Maktoum
Airport and developments at Jebel Ali Palm and Dubai South are set to expand rapidly over the next five to ten years. This growth brings excitement and potential for new opportunities.

We’re hopeful for the addition of metro stations at Dubai Parks and Resorts, which would significantly improve accessibility and further establish us as a prime destination. These developments, along with ongoing investments, could be real game-changers for us.

The Middle East is witnessing a tremendous growth trajectory in hospitality and leisure, with Dubai leading the way. We see a blend of creativity, innovation, and world-class projects across the region, making it an increasingly attractive destination for families.

As Dubai continues to grow as a year-round tourist destination, with summer becoming as busy as winter, we are adapting our offerings to cater to this demand.

How has Q1 2024 been in terms of footfall?

This year’s first quarter started strong, but we faced challenges due to two significant rainstorms, especially the one on April 16. The storm caused disruptions, including difficulties for staff to commute, which led to temporary closures mandated by Dubai Municipality. Despite these challenges, our team worked hard to ensure guests staying at our hotel were well taken care of, and we reopened parts of the park as soon as possible.

Our hotel hosted guests from over 160 nationalities, more than any other LEGOLAND Hotel worldwide. This diversity highlights the global appeal of our brand.

Understanding the impact of global events and targeting our marketing efforts accordingly is crucial. For instance, we’ve successfully tapped into the Chinese market, and in February, China was our largest source market for the hotel. We’re also focusing on other key markets such as CIS, India, and GCC countries, balancing our visitor demographics and ensuring steady growth.

The LEGO brand is globally recognised, and we are proud to be the custodians of such an iconic IP (intellectual property). The partnership between LEGO and Merlin Entertainments is strong, and we are committed to maintaining the integrity and purpose of the brand.

What can guests look forward to in the future at LEGOLAND Dubai Resort?

The LEGO Ever-changing Play Box opened its doors in April. The indoor attraction is set within MINILAND, home to iconic brick-built models such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Airport, and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, all crafted from 20 million LEGO bricks.

This six-part interactive experience invites guests to step into the LEGO world, sharing the story of how LEGO was created, offering build experiences and showcasing 3D-mapped creations. It’s a fantastic addition to our overall offering.

We’re also introducing new events at the water park, like our supercharged water park parties in July and August, tailored for young children. These events will be fun-filled and perfect for summer.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to evolve our offerings with seasonal events such as Halloween, Christmas, and National Day.

Our goal is to create unforgettable family memories, and when children leave saying, “That was the best holiday ever”, we know we’ve done our job well.

Fun facts

Did you know?

  1. The first LEGOLAND Park opened in 1968 in Billund, Denmark
  2. Nine more parks are located across five countries: UK, US, Germany, Malaysia, Korea, UAE and Japan
  3. In Dubai, LEGOLAND Theme Park opened in 2016, LEGOLAND Water Park opened in 2017, and Legoland Hotel opened in 2022

You might also like


Scroll To Top