For a while now, I’ve been aware of some goings-on down the road: the construction of a massive building with mosaic walls; an escaped dinosaur on the loose; signs that the race to open a whole raft of theme parks in the emirate is about to be won.
And we all know Dubai doesn’t do things by half.
This August will see the opening of Dubai’s $1bn IMG Worlds of Adventure, followed by – two months later – an even bigger offering in the form of three linked theme parks (the Hollywood-inspired theme park Motiongate, Dubai Bollywood Parks and Legoland).
Move over Ferrari World (and Global Village!).
It’s all part of the Dubai government’s aim to increase tourist numbers to 20 million visitors a year by the end of the decade, up from 13.2 million in 2015. At a press conference today, featuring life-size comic characters, IMG said it expected to attract 4.5 million people in the first year of opening alone.
So what can we expect? Here’s a sneak peak at just a few of the attractions at IMG, which, when it opens on 15 August, will be the largest indoor theme park in the world – roughly the size of 28 football fields.
• Avengers Battle of Ultron: Join Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America and the Hulk as they take to the skies in the Quinjet to battle the evil villain Ultron.
• Hulk Epsilon Base 3D: Hold the motion sickness. Enjoy being virtually propelled through a battle scene in which Hulk takes on his deadliest foe, The Leader.
• Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge: Save New York from the sinister Doctor Octopus on this 400-metre spinning coaster.
• Thor Thunder Spin: Free skin-firming on this one. You’ll be pinned to your seat on this dizzying top-spin experience as Thor attempts to rescue adventurous riders from the clutches of Loki, God of Mischief.
LOST VALLEY – DINOSAUR ADVENTURE ZONE
• The Velociraptor: Hit 100 kilometres an hour in 2.5 seconds on this thrilling 1.1 km rollercoaster, taking riders from the deep dark prehistoric jungles of the Lost Valley out into the Dubai desert and back.
• Forbidden Territory: Go on safari and spot 70 prehistoric, life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.
• Predator: Calling all adrenaline junkies. The sharpest drop track in the region, with a heart-stopping ‘beyond-vertical’ plummet to Earth.
• Dino Carousel: The first dinosaur-themed carousel in the world.
CARTOON NETWORK ZONE
• The Powerpuff Girls – Mojo Jojo’s Robot Rampage: Save the world before bedtime.
• Adventure Time – The Ride of OOO with Finn & Jake: Soar across the sky with Finn and Jake through retail and themed F&B outlets in the magical land of Ooo.
• The Amazing Ride of Gumball: Visit the town of Elmore where Gumball and Darwin’s school science project has gone out of control.
There’s loads more – an adventure fortress, LazyTown Playground and live stage show, street entertainers – too many things to list here. Tickets go on sale online tomorrow at www.IMGworlds.com, costing AED 300 for adults and AED 250 for children.