Published: January 18, 2009 at 8:56 AM
What's happening in Dubai currently is a mixed bag. Universal Studios is being built with cranes on site. Legoland will presumably be built since the Dubai government itself owns 20% of Merlin Entertainment and LL is not an expensive park to build. The Snow Dome park has been shelved; it was basically a bigger version of Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates. The Aqua Dunya waterpark has been canceled; Dubai already has two world-class water parks in Wild Wadi across from the 7-star Burj al-Arab hotel, and the brand new Aquaventure at the Atlantis Resort on the Palm Jumeirah. There's a ton of cranes out in Dubailand right now building City of Arabia, which is a huge project including what will be the largest mall in the world, plus hotels, a revolving building, offices, villas, apartment buildings, etc. The "etc." part is what interests us because that would be the Restless Planet dinosaur theme park. It will open in some iteration when the Mall opens, but how much of a spectacle it will be is anyone's guess at this point. It is being built though as a draw for the mall since all the new malls in Dubai have some kind of "it" attraction to draw in shoppers. All the other stuff such as the Six Flags park, Marvel park, Dreamworks park (probably will simply have elements in the Universal park), Busch Gardens, etc. is not due to open until 2012 or later so they haven't made any decisions or started construction yet.
Abu Dhabi (the richer, though quieter) emirate in the UAE is full-speed ahead in construction of the first Ferrari theme park due to open in 2010. The Warner Bros. park has been put on hold. My guess is that the Warner Bros. park never gets built, and that Disney builds their next park in Abu Dhabi with the second richest royal family in the world, 10% of the world's oil reserves, along with Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed (who has bailed on DLP numerous times), footing most of the bill. The Abu Dhabi rulers go for the highest and classiest quality with the Louvre, Guggenheim, Ferrari projects all under construction; Disney would be a further crown jewel.
In short, to say that nothing will happen in Dubai, or the UAE, is inaccurate; they know their post-oil future depends on these projects.