DUBAI Developments & Attractions
New Theme Parks and Resorts - (6/6/13) Atlantis, The Palm will open The Tower of Poseidon this August in the Aquaventure waterpark. The new expansion will feature several new unique and world’s first slides all launching from the 40 meter tall Tower of Poseidon. According to the press release it will, “feature a number of world firsts, including the world’s largest diameter slide, the world’s first vertical banking family ride with a double hump at the end, and first double slide within a slide experience, allowing tube riders in one ride to watch the other ride sliders dramatically in action, suspended above them.” In addition to high thrill slides, it will feature two family rides allowing for groups up to six to ride together.
Aquaventure will also seen be home to the longest zipline circuit in the Middle East, allowing riders to zip down over the waterpark and Aquaventure Beach area. All new dining experiences will also be added to Aquaventure featuring a variety of options.
(5/14/13) ThemeparX reports that the Atlantis Dubai Resort has now begun construction on a new expansion of the resort’s Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark area. Also in Dubai another ‘Amusement and Water Park” project has begun construction called Al Montazah.
(5/13/13) According to interesting updates about the Universal Studios Dubai project posted to ThemeparX, several Universal execs and Dubai businessmen were seen taking a tour of Universal Studios Florida the other day. This could be in regards to the possible revival of the Universal Studios Dubai project, possibly as part of the new Mohammed bin Rashid City complex. According to another post, they will take their time with that one, with the first phase of the project (which may include the theme park) not set to be complete until around 2020.
Meanwhile new pictures from the Dubailand area show that an actual attraction has actually opened at least… the Dubai Miracle flower garden. Check it out here plus some other pictures of the nearby area.
(5/3/13) ThemeparX has a new update this week showing off a few pieces of concept art for the new Dinosaur zone of the IMG Theme Park as well as shots of the building under construction. So far it still looks like a bunch of footers in the ground and not much else. Lets hope they pick up the pace.
(5/1/13) A third themed zone for the IMG Theme Park in Dubai has been confirmed as The Lost Valley, in a partnership between IMG Group and Falcon Treehouse. The Cartoon Network and Marvel themed zones have already been confirmed and they promise that the details for the 4th unknown zone will be announced very soon.
The Lost Valley will feature animatronic dinosaurs and dinosaur themed rides, including a Velociraptor Launch Coaster.
(4/23/13) Another new attraction has been announced for Dubai… this one called Dubai Safari. The plan of Dubai Safari is to build a huge natural animal habitat. They report that the first phase of construction is complete and that they hope to open the 29 hectares park by late 2014. Once open, the park will replace the existing 1.5 hectare Dubah Zoo in Jumeirah.
(4/9/13) Want to see the progress on the new Marvel indoor IMG attractio in Dubai? Head on over to ThemeparX… a new theme park and attraction construction site from our friend The Theme Park Guy.
(3/14/13) Disney & More takes a look at the various pieces of concept art from Falcon’s Treehouse showing off what kind of things we may find in the Marvel themed indoor park under construction in Dubai. The rendering show off a Marvel City concept, where the entire multi-level attraction would have been entirely Marvel themed (think DisneyQuest, but themed to Marvel) but this is no longer the case, as Marvel will simply be one themed of many inside this new IMG Theme Park project. There will also be the just announced Cartoon Network Zone, and according to Disney & More there will also be a section with large dinosaur animatronics from Kokoro of Japan. (I wonder if this is what happened to all those dino-tronics Kokoro made in advance for Dubai’s never-built Restless Planet attraction.)
(3/4/13) Considering that the project area just appears to have started construction not long ago, I’m surprised to read that the IMG Theme Park (the indoor park home to Marvel Adventure Zone) in Dubai is claiming they will open by this December. The same group has also signed a deal to bring a “Cartoon Network Zone” to the site as well that will feature attractions based on “The Amazing World of Gumball”, “Adventure Time”, “LazyTown” and a new 5D ride themed to “Ben 10”.
(2/22/13) New construction pictures from the IMG Theme Park / Marvel Adventures site in Dubai reveal that work on “something” has indeed started on the large building. Check it out over ar TheThemeParkGuy Construction Board.
(2/18/13) Dubai is at it again, this time with a plan to build the Dubai Eye, the world’s biggest Giant Wheel that would stand 688 feet tall. Construction on the Dubai Eye is supposed to start sometime in 2013 if all goes well, so stay tuned. The wheel is part of a larger “Blue Waters” project area and you can see a bunch of pictures of a model they had set up on display here.
(1/29/13) According to this article a metal lighting panel broke free from a Ferris wheel at the Global Village funfair in Dubai and fatally struck one of the guests. According to a second report, two other guests warned the ride operator that a piece of the ride had come loose just before the accident took place. Three members of management at Freij Entertainment have been arrested by the Dubai Police and the rest of the rides set up at the Global Village are closed until further notice.
The man who was killed was a member of the UAE armed forces who was walking next to his cousin who he managed to push away from the falling piece of the ride at the last second before being struck and killed. Even more shocking is the report that the ride continued to operate for 30 minutes after the accident took place before they began to remove the riders and finally shut it down over and hour later.
(1/10/13) According to the latest update posted to The Theme Park Guy Construction Board, new layout art released for “Mohammed Bin Rashid City” now shows off what looks very much like the old Universal Studios Dubailand layout as part of this new plan. The image is tiny, and details are almost impossible to make out, but the comparison of this new Universal Studios Dubai project to the old Dubailand one are striking. Could Universal Studios Dubai be back on the development track?
(11/28/12) An aerial piece of artwork, overlayed over a photo of Dubai (click here) shows off the conceptual layout of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Gardens project, which is said to be a part of the larger Mohammed Bin Rashid City project. More art and even a video showing off the Gardens project can be seen here. I’m told that this is closer to the city than the old Universal Dubailand site, which can be good… though it has also been pointed out that while they claim Universal is involved, and there will be a theme park, we don’t know for sure what form this park may take. This could be more of an indoor Universal Studios Experience style project, like the one proposed for Russia. Actually, if you read the exact text, they really only link Universal to the mall project and not the theme park, which seems odd, but the park could have nothing to do with Universal at all at this point.
That said… it also looks like others in Dubai may be trying to jump on the bandwagon. It was reported that a $2.7 billion complex was announced promising five theme parks projects: one based on Bollywood, the Dubai Adventure Studios (an “adventure park featuring Hollywood brands), a water and marine life park, a children’s park and a night safari. This project, developed by Meraas Holding, will be located in the Jebel Ali area. This project was given approval by the ruler of Dubai, but I’m currently under the impression that it is a separate project from the Mohammed Bin Rashid City project. Anyone else know more?
(11/27/12) According to this news article, Dubai’s new Mohammed Bin Rashid City project will have a theme park built as a collaboration with Universal Studios included in the first phase. Phase two will focus building the world’s new largest mall, to be called “Mall of the World”. The new “city” area will also be home to over 100 hotel facilities to accommodate the needs of the guests as well as a few golf-courses. The new city project will be developed by Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties.
“The new city will be located between Emirates Road, Al Khail Road and Sheikh Zayed Road, and will include Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens Project.” It will also be connected to Downtown Dubai and Businesss Bay through something called Cultural Crossing, which will include a number of art galleries.
Now that we have a basic rough location, does anyone know if the old Universal Studios Dubailand site that had previously begun early ground work construction falls into the site area of “Mohammed Bin Rashid City”, or will they be starting over somewhere else?
(11/26/12) Fox News reports that Dubai has unveiled plans for a new tourism based “City” that will feature a massive mega-mall for retail shopping and dining, luxury hotels and a theme park. Little in the way of actual hard details were released yet, but they say that the mega-mall itself is planned to “outclass” the existing Dubai Mall, which currently is the world’s biggest. Unfortunately, I’ve found no details on just what kind of theme park they are planning just yet. They are calling this new ‘city’ the Mohammed Bin Rashid City, named after the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bid Rashid Al Maktoum.
While we have seen many a plan in Dubai promoted and quickly fail to materialize build over the past several years, the fact that this one is named for Dubai’s ruler does seem to put some pressure on the parties involved in making this one project actually get built as promised.
In a stark comparison, just the other day TheThemeParkGuy has posted a very interesting update to his forum, showing off the previous Dubailand theme parks and major project plans and aerial photos of the sites as they appear today, partially built or even totally empty. Several pieces of artwork show off five separate theme parks projects, all attached to a CitiWalk style retail corridor that ran in between them. The parks are unnamed, but we can assume we may be looking at the sites for the once proposed Legoland, Dreamworks, Marvel and Six Flags Dubailand projects. The Universal studios site was located a bit further away, as was the F1-X theme park intended to go in next to the race track at Motor City as you can see in the aerial photos posted back in July.
(9/28/12) Falcon’s Treehouse has announced that they have reached an agreement with Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group (IMG Group) to offer themed entertainment design solutions at the upcoming indoor destination at the City of Arabia, Dubai.
“Created by IMG Group, a premier development group in Dubai, this indoor destination will bring some of the world's best themed characters under one roof set to be realized under the creative guidance of Falcon's Treehouse.
Providing Creative Guardian Services, including Media and Audio Production, Falcon's Treehouse will lend their storytelling and entertainment design expertise to IMG's indoor destination. This will include a fabulous selection of stories and characters from Marvel Entertainment, along with other world famous Intellectual Properties (IPs) and an incredible dinosaur IP created exclusively for IMG.” (Is the Dino themed Restless Planet attraction still alive? The dinos were said to have been built and kept in storage in Japan several years ago...)
Falcon’s Treehouse worked on two new attractions for SeaWorld Parks in 2012: TurtleTrek 3D/360 (SeaWorld Orlando) and Manta (SeaWorld San Diego). You can find their official website here.
(8/29/12) Concept artwork showing off the new version of the Jumeirah Sceirah slide opening soon at at Wild Wadi can be found here.
(8/28/12) Dubai’s Wild Wadi Waterpark will open the new Jumeirah Sceirah slide on September 4th. The new tandem slide experience is 32 meters tall and will start off by dropping sliders down through a trapdoor floor, accelerating them up to 80kph before splashing down at the bottom.
(7/31/12) TheThemeParkGuy has posted a new update from Dubailand, with a quick look at the status of how the site is today, as seen close up from the view of a bike rider who ventures up close and personal with a video camera. The sites of several other Dubailand projects are now seen in Google Earth as well such as the Motor City race track area with the early foundations in place for the dead F1-X theme park, the desert slowing taking back the land clering once done for Universal Studios Dubaialand, the rotting site of the Tiger Woods Golf Course, City of Arabia, Mall of Arabia and more.
Now it is also interesting that a new revised promotional video for Dubailand was released on YouTube back in May showcasing the more modest vision for Dubailand, focusing more on what has been built so far (See below). If you wait until the very end of the video however, they do have a brief section on future attractions where they show off that they still seem to be planning to build the Universal Studios Dubailand and Legoland Dubailand theme parks.
(7/6/12) I’m scratching my head at this latest news bit for Dubai… as the city is planning to submit a masterplan bid in December with the hopes of landing itself as the site for EXPO 2020. They’re hired some of the best planning experts to work out the details… but I’ve got to wonder how this is any different than all the other big resorts, theme parks and other major projects that were planned and announced for Dubai only to fail to materialize. Sure, Dubai has built some rather impressive features over the past decade but for every project built, there were several others that were not. I’ve got to think that this fact alone may weigh heavily against their bid to host EXPO 2020.
(7/2/12) The Theme Park Guy has posted new pictures on the forum of the location for the Marvel Adventure park location in Dubai, which still looks to be in an abandoned state. The thought that this could be up and running by late 2013 just doesn’t seem possible right now.
According to our sources, the planning of this Marvel project, who’s agreement pre-dates Disney’s purchase of Marvel, is the product a company called Rethink Attractions who I really don’t think I’ve heard of before. According to the rumor mill the park has a number of good sounding attractions on the design books… though we’ll have to wait and see just what gets built in the end. The list of attractions is said to include some kind of 3D theater attraction themed to The Avengers, a high end 4D Dark Ride experience and more. According to an article at NewsParcs, IMG, the developers behind the City of Arabia project have ordered a launched Blue Fire style roller coaster from Mack as well. I’m not sure if this is for the Marvel park or just something they are going to stick into the retail area of the mall independent of the Marvel attraction.
According to other sources, Disney isn’t said to be too happy about this project. As the agreement pre-dates their purchase of Marvel and they are planning to eventually bring back control of all the Marvel properties when available. It’s safe to say that Disney was simply hoping this idea was just another Dubai project that would turn out to be vaporware.
(6/27/12) According to this news report a small indoor “Marvel Adventure” family entertainment center will be built in Dubai and is expected to open by the end of 2013. Marvel Adventure will take up a 1.2 million sqft facility inside the City of Arabia development. I hope to find out a bit more about what’s expected to go inside in the near future.
(5/17/12) Dubai… you have my deepest interest once again. According to this report at Bloomberg, a crazy new project is in development for Dubai called the Water Discus Hotel, described as “a luxury underwater hotel”. This project comes from Dubai-based Drydocks World and Swiss consulting and engineering firm BIG InvestConsult. The technology for the resort comes from Deep Ocean Technology of Poland, which will feature 21 two-person rooms with huge windows to view world from 10 meters down, as well as an underwater diving center. Want more? Apparently the plan is for the underwater disc structure to slowly rotate as well.
The surface portion of the hotel above the waves will feature a spa, garden area, and a swimming pool for those not wanting to swim in the real ocean. The hotel itself is actually more of a free floating ‘ship’ than a building, as it is not attached to the ocean floor in any way. The hotel section can be brought back to the surface in as little as 15 minutes for repairs or in case of evacuation, or when they are ready to tow it to a new destination.
Maybe it’s just me, but this whole project really reminds me of the underwater Sea Castle base from Disney’s old Horizons ride that used to be at Epcot. In fact, check out the Horizon’s inspired Retro Poster. It’s like they merged the Mesa Verde building with the Sea Castle into one structure. Hmmm… Deep Ocean Tech may end up owing Disney Imagineering royalties for that one…
That aside… it’s also worth noting that another underwater resort project called Poseidon is also currently under construction and hopes to open in about 20 months off the coast of Fiji.
(4/5/12) TheThemeParkGuy has posted a nice little collection of artwork and details about several various theme park projects once announced for Dubai. This includes the Al Sahara Kingdom project which wants to get off the ground again, Six Flags Dubailand, Marvel Dubailand and links news article about F-1 X, Restless Planet, Legoland Dubailand, Dreamworld Animation Park and many others.
(3/5/12) According to this report Saudi Arabia based developer Al Hokair Group is hoping to restart construction on their Dubailand projects in 2013, which are to include the Al Sahara Kingdom hotel, an indoor theme park, restaurants and retail components, along with some residential areas. They hope to start off with work on the hotels and theme park in 2013, and should be ready to open their first phase by the end of 2014.
With all the different theme park projects pitched for Dubai years ago, does anyone remember which indoor park project this was?
(12/22/11) According to ArabianBusiness.com, a new $600 million movie-based theme park project will start construction in early 2012. The park will be called Dubai Adventure Studios and will feature five themed zones, attractions based on major US-branded movies, and hopes to open by sometime in 2014. Dubai Adventure Studios is just Phase-1 of a 3-Phase project from Meraas, a Dubai based real estate company.