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Why the UAE will be the theme park capital of the world

Why the UAE will be the theme park capital of the world

Developers are launching at least four new theme parks in the coming months

By the end of the year, the United Arab Emirates will have become a hub for theme park enthusiasts.

Aiming to capitalise on growing tourist figures – expected to hit 20 million per year in Dubai alone by 2020 – developers are launching at least four new theme parks in the coming months, with three more joining them in the next few years.

Led by Marvel superheroes, Bollywood stars, cartoon characters and LEGO creations, the amusement parks are set to revolutionise the UAE’s leisure and entertainment market – a long-held dream for the country before the financial crisis put plans on hold in 2008.

With the ambition to become a global theme park destination soon to be realised, we round up the biggest and best of the bunch, and examine what there is to look forward to this year and beyond.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds Of Adventure Exterior Coaster The Velociraptor resized

Scheduled opening date: August 2016

Location: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Dubai

Size: 1.5m square metres

Ticket price: Dhs 300 for adults, Dhs 250 for children

Cost to build: $1bn (Dhs 3.67bn)

Details: With more than 20 rides and attractions, the world’s largest indoor theme park will feature four zones: Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley, and the IMG Boulevard. A Novo Cinema will join the fray soon.

Star attraction: What could be more exciting than joining Marvel superstars Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, the Hulk and Hawkeye on one of their adventures? In Avengers Battle of Ultron you will get to do just that.

Motiongate

motiongate

Scheduled opening date: October 2016

Location: Jebel Ali, Dubai

Size: 2.3m square metres, combined with Dubai Bollywood Parks and LEGOLAND

Ticket price: Annual pass Dhs 865

Cost to build: $2.86bn, combined with Dubai Bollywood Parks and LEGOLAND (Dhs 10.5bn)

Details: The park’s 27 rides will be based around 13 Hollywood films including Ghostbusters, The Hunger Games, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon. Water rides, live shows, dining and shopping options will also be on hand.

Star attraction: The ‘trackless’, 2,800 square metre, seven-minute long Hotel Transylvania ride features 27 separate carriages going in different directions and reaches 42 metres in height.

Dubai Bollywood Parks

Bollywood-Parks-Dubai-_-Bollywood-Boulevard

Scheduled opening date: October 2016

Location: Jebel Ali, Dubai

Size: 2.3m square metres, combined with Motiongate and LEGOLAND

Ticket price: Annual pass: Dhs 755

Cost to build: $2.86bn, combined with Motiongate and LEGOLAND (Dhs 10.5bn)

Details: A celebration of the colourful films and music of the Bollywood Industry, with live performances, themed restaurants and a variety of rides based on cinematic classics. The five separate zones will be complemented by the 850-seat Rajmahal Theatre, featuring musical shows several times per week.

Star attraction: The 4D ‘flying theatre ride’ Krrish: Hero’s Flight sounds like fun, immersing you in a battle to save Earth from an alien invasion.

LEGOLAND Dubai

Legoland Dubai 2

Scheduled opening date: October 2016

Location: Jebel Ali, Dubai

Size: 2.3m square metres, combined with Dubai Bollywood Parks and Motiongate

Ticket price: Annual pass: Dhs 765

Cost to build: $2.86bn, combined with Dubai Bollywood Parks and Motiongate (Dhs 10.5bn)

Details: Aimed at children between two and 12 years old, this park will feature more than 40 rides, shows and attractions across six themed lands. Some 60 million LEGO bricks are being used to create 15,000 models. In addition, there is the LEGOLAND Water Park with 15 water slides, a build-a-raft feature and toddler play areas.

Star attraction: Young knights and princesses should relish the opportunity to save the day in Kingdom Land.

20th Century Fox

Scheduled opening date: By 2020

Location: Dubai-Al Ain Road

Size: 372,000 square metres

Ticket price: TBC

Cost to build: Undisclosed

Details: Attractions will be based on Fox shows and movies including The Simpsons, Ice Age, Night at the Museum, Planet of the Apes and Titanic. There will also be a 200-room Fox-branded resort hotel inside the park.

Star attraction: The promise of a ride based on the Alien movie franchise sounds tantalising.

Warner Bros.

Scheduled opening date: 2018

Location: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Size: Undisclosed

Ticket price: TBC

Cost to build: $1bn

Details: A reported 19 rides will feature some of the most famous Warner Bros. characters, from Batman to Bugs Bunny and Superman to Scooby-Doo. A hotel and multiplex cinemas are also expected to be included in the park, which is said to be more than 30 per cent complete.

Star attraction: While we do not know what the attractions will be yet, a ride through Batman’s stopping ground of Gotham City could be interesting.

Six Flags

Scheduled opening date: 2019

Location: Jebel Ali, Dubai

Size: Undisclosed (original plans were 2.3m square metres)

Ticket price: TBC

Cost to build: Undisclosed (original plans were $2.7bn (Dhs 10bn))

Details: Announced by Dubai Holding in 2008 but postponed in 2010 due to financial difficulties, Six Flags was resurrected in 2014 – this time with Meraas Leisure and Entertainment. Now part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, there has been no confirmation of what to expect, other than ‘big, bad and beautiful rollercoasters’.

Star attraction: With so little information it is hard to say. We just hope the rollercoasters are as big as expected.

Existing: Ferrari World

Ferrari World

Location: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Size: 86,000 square metres

Ticket price: Between Dhs 250-500 for adults, Dhs 205-415 for children

Details: Dedicated to the famous Italian car manufacturer, Ferarri World is a must-visit destination for tourists and residents in the emirate. The park features five rollercoasters plus numerous other thrill, family and children’s rides.

Star attraction: The fastest roller coaster in the world – Formula Rossa – is an obvious choice, but this year the park opened Flying Aces, which has the world’s tallest non-inverting loop, and Vortex.

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