Dubailand developers not willing to quit just yet
Perhaps the ill-fated Middle Eastern project should be the symbol of the bubble-driven development in the theme park industry. Planned in 2008 to include multiple theme parks, including ones from Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, Legoland and even Six Flags, which hasn't built a new park in decades.
When the real estate/financial bubble burst, so did the project, and U.S. theme park companies began dropping out. But Dubailand's remaining backers are soldiering on, looking for new theme park partners.
The latest news has Dubailand again pining for Disney to come to its rescue. With no interest from the House of Mouse, the project's developer is looking for an alternative, too. "We need an entertainment anchor for the family, something like Disney but not Disney," the president of the development company said.
Dubai's not a destination that many - if any - Americans consider. But Dubai draws millions of sun-seeking Europeans south each year. The Ferrari World theme park recently opened in neighboring Abu Dhabi, so the area's not a complete bust for theme park projects. Perhaps some of our European visitors might like to comment on whether they have any hope for a theme park project in Dubai, and if so, if they'd be willing to plan a visit.
When I was last in Dubai in April there was little - if any- change to the Dubailand area from when I visited in January of 2010.
Dubai, as middle eastern countries go, is very much a moderate and western friendly place to visit.
Western companies have invested billions, if not trillions, into the U.A.E, so I'm not sure it can be seen as an unstable investment.
Point, but also realize that the bulk of the money invested in the UAE is in oil. Oil is a commodity that will continue to be viable even if the area around it is unstable. Tourism on the other hand, a whole different story.
The U.A.E., in general, is very friendly to westerners. For the foreseeable future, Dubai is going to be a cash cow. A company like Six Flags could reap the benefits since they have a relatively low investment cost and could easily pack up in 20 years, if need be. I can see why Disney would back out, though, since their investments are long-term. Disney's economists are sharp - they know which markets are going to be robust and give the strongest returns, e.g., Shanghai.
Seriously, Dubai? I know this is a family theme park board but I have to say I would never, ever go to Dubai. Read up on its labor practices and how they treat their workers. The poor people are practically prisoners there. They take away their passports and, if they want to quit, takes weeks and months to try and get them back. One former employee was told to go ahead and leave. Leave where? You're in the desert! Don't even get me started on their living conditions and that their paychecks are sometimes weeks late. Even if they had the newest, fastest, rollercoaster there I wouldn't go.
Being a former military man with personal experiences in this region of the world that have instilled some sentiment in me that might at best be regarded as 'unpopular' and at worst 'offensive', suffice to say that I would NEVER venture to this region of the world for pleasure or leisure....
from an austalian point of view - when we fly to europe if we dont want a 21 to 23 hrs non stop flight, then we basicly stop in Singapore with the new Universal studios at Sentosa, Hong Kong with it's small one coaster Disney park or go via Aba Dabi with the new ferrari park. If you have very small children then HK is your best choice, Aba Dabi has ferrari and lots of sand and I think once time is there enough as theres not much else to do. so the real answer is Singapore apart from Universal which I think is on a par with some USA parks and its still growing - the great thing Singapore has lots more to offer as a holiday destination for family members who are not into parks. Dubai has become a stopover for Australian travellers as a shopping stop, I really think it would be on a par with Aba Dabi go once and that would be it,
Just returned from a trip to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi yesterday. I met my brother there and we enjoyed ourselves going to all of the biggest, fastest, tallest, most luxurious, etc. that Dubai has to offer. We went to Abu Dhabi specifically one day to go to Ferrari World- it was absolutely desereted at 12pm (when it opens). There were no lines at all and we rode everything we wanted multiple times. I will tell you that Formula Rossa (the world's fastest roller coaster) was absolutely incredible. 0 to 240kph in 5.8 seconds. We were holding on for dear life, the other rides were well done as well. It seemed like there were more staff at the park than visitors. Excellent customer service.
I'm in Dubai right now, and it could use another marquee attraction. Universal Studios is a no-brainer since Europe does not have one, and the winters in Dubai are beautiful. It could be a seasonal park that closes in the summer when it's just too damned hot. Having a cluster of parks like the original plan never made much sense, but Universal does, and I expect that it will get built at some point.
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