A giant movie inspired theme park, a land filled with Lego, a world record-breaking roller coaster, a thrilling water park, fun play venues, plus new schools and nurseries — it’s all coming to the UAE in 2016.
You won’t find bigger fans of the family-friendly destinations in Dubai than Time Out Kids. We absolutely love them and sing the praises of the waterparks, snow park and many other attractions loudly and often. But there’s a lack of roller coasters in the emirate, and we’ve made many a trek to Abu Dhabi to enjoy Ferrari World.
In 2016, however, Dubai will finally get its own roller coasters, and much more. With Dubai Parks and Resorts about to open, in addition to more entertainment options coming to Abu Dhabi, we investigate the best of the year ahead.
Dubai Parks and Resorts spans a vast 25 million square feet of desert. The entire project, located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, will become the UAE’s largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination, compromising five separate theme parks. So what are they?
Set to be the region’s largest Hollywood-inspired theme park, this will feature 27 rides and attractions spread across five zones. Sony Pictures Studio, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, Smurfs Village and an entry via Studio Central will be the bases for all movie-inspired activity. There will be attractions inspired by films such as Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Ghostbusters, Smurfs, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, The Hunger Games and Step Up. These attractions include roller coasters, play areas, white water rapid rides, multi-sensory shows, motion simulators and live stage shows. This being Dubai, it almost goes without saying that there will be an abundance of shopping and dining options as well.
Motiongate Dubai opens in October. www.motiongatedubai.com.
Bollywood Parks Dubai
With over 1.7 million square feet of Bollywood themed attractions, expect rides, displays and dance performances inspired by Lagaan, Sholay, Rock On, Krish and more of the biggest Bollywood films. What’s more, the Rajmahal Theatre will stage major performances every day of the week. When it comes to big performance and glitzy spectacle, we have a sneaking suspicion that Bollywood Parks Dubai will bring razzle, dazzle and amazing choreography to a new level in a city already known for doing things big. Bollywood Parks opens in October.
Described as the gateway to Dubai Parks and Resorts, this waterside district will be an outdoor entertainment area with themes including The French Village (a mock medieval town), Boardwalk (a 1950s American high street) and The Peninsula (a hive of street life, performances and faux 19th century buildings). The highlight of Riverland will be a waterside dining district with themed venues and some familiar snack stops.
Riverland opens in October. www.dubaiparksandresorts.com.
And then there is Legoland Dubai, the seventh Legoland in the world. It will host over 60 interactive rides, shows and attractions, and will be made from 60 million Lego bricks and 15,000 Lego model structures.
We spoke to master builder (with the much more grown-up job title of general manager) Siegfried Boerst for all the inside gossip.
Time Out Kids can’t wait for Legoland to open. How are you feeling about the project?
I am very excited about Legoland Dubai. This will be the seventh Legoland park in the world and the third that I have had the pleasure of opening. It’s thrilling to see all of the elements coming together and we are well on track for our October opening.
What can residents and visitors expect?
In total, Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park will feature more than 60 rides, water slides and attractions over a total of three million square feet. Both parks offer hands-on experiences, allowing families to take part in unforgettable Lego-themed adventures and building experiences. It is set in six themed areas: Lego City, Adventure, Lego Kingdom, Imagination, Factory, and Miniland. Legoland Water Park will feature more than 20 slides and water attractions, including a half-million gallon wave pool and a lazy river where families can create their own raft with Lego
Will it be suitable for the entire family?
Absolutely. Legoland Dubai is unique to the emirate in that it is designed specifically for families with children aged two to 12, and Legoland Water Park will become the Middle East’s first water park designed for families with younger children.
Will the park have any exclusive features?
Yes. At the heart of every Legoland is Miniland. In this Miniland, millions of Lego bricks will be used to recreate scenes and famous landmarks from the UAE and Middle East region that do not exist in any other park in the world. The Dubai park has a great mix of indoor and outdoor attractions, with more indoor features than any other Legoland in the world, which will make it perfect for year-round visitation.
How many visitors are you hoping to attract in the first year?
We are sure Legoland Dubai will be as successful as the other parks in the world. We are sure that we can help contribute to fulfilling Dubai’s vision of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020.
What is your favourite ride at the park?
It really depends who I visit with. If I’m with my daughter, then we always have to ride The Dragon. As a family, The Lost Kingdom has always been a favourite. We like that all of us can actively be involved.
Do you think one day we could have a special Time Out Kids Lego figure created? Our Time Out mascot is a little bear called Elliott...
The amazing thing about Legoland Dubai, along with the rides and shows, is that visitors will all have the opportunity to build their own Lego models in the park. So maybe we will see Time Out Kids’ mascot being built there!
Legoland is due to open in October. For more information, visit www.legoland.com/Dubai.