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May 6, 2008

Add Legoland to the Dubai mix


Universal? Check.

Busch Gardens/SeaWorld? Check.

Six Flags? Check.

And now... Legoland?

Check.

Merlin Entertainments, Legoland's owner, announced a deal with Tatweer, which will build and operate Legoland Dubailand, a 3 million square-foot theme park to open in 2011 as part of the Dubailand project.

So, of the big five theme park operators, that leaves only Disney off the map in the rush to make Dubai the Orlando of the Middle East.

At right: Legoland California Master Model Designer Eric Hunter with a 17-foot-9-inch-tall Lego replica of The Burj Dubai, which will be the world's tallest building when completed. Image courtesy Legoland.

Readers' Opinions

From Dan Rosenberg on May 6, 2008 at 11:45 AM
I think its great that all of these theme park chains are sort of getting together to make Dubailand. It will be like the melting pot of the theme park world.
From David Graham on May 6, 2008 at 12:04 PM
Yes, can I get a 5 day hopper pass for ALL the parks please?
From Derek Potter on May 6, 2008 at 1:36 PM
The Dubai concept is astounding to me. At least some of that oil money is being put to good use. This resort stuff is all that Dubai will have when it all runs out though. The question is this. Why are all of these US theme park companies jumping on the bandwagon of Dubai so quickly? The only major ones that haven't are Disney and Cedar Fair. There has to be more to the story. Money is a flyin'
From Robert Niles on May 6, 2008 at 1:45 PM
Imagine the amount of money that Disney must be leaving on the table by not committing to a Dubai project.

Then... imagine the amount of money that Disney (might be)/(is) holding out for. ;-)

I suspect that Disney also has Disneyland Paris influencing its decision whether or not to go in Dubai. Dubai's primary market seems to be Europeans, and Disney's got its Paris franchise to protect in that market. (Which is why I found the Legoland announcement a bit curious. Perhaps Merlin's taking a counter-intuitive approach and hoping that its presence in the heavily-hyped Dubailand project drives interest back to the closer-to-home European Legoland parks?)

The name "Cedar Fair" has no brand value. Cedar Point has limited brand value outside the Midwest and the Peanuts franchise has lost much of its brand value over the past decade. So I can't see CF as a player in Dubai. I think that Six Flags has that market niche covered.

From James Rao on May 6, 2008 at 9:34 PM
Dubai makes less than 10% of its income from oil. They are huge in financial services (lots of rich folks stashing their dough in foreign bank accounts) and tourism.

Maybe this whole Dubai thing is just some very secret US Government plot to further Westernize the Middle East?

You heard it here first....

From Kyawt Tin on May 7, 2008 at 10:42 PM
That's great news, my kids love Legoland here in California, and we're moving to Dubai this fall... so LL will be one less thing to miss from here.

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