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More full ride and show videos from Bollywood Parks and Motiongate Dubai

December 20, 2016, 4:07 PM · If you can't make it to Dubai to visit the new Dubai Parks and Resorts development, you can get a taste of what this new three-gate theme park resort might be like with our videos from the resort's grand opening last weekend.

We'll start with what was our favorite of the three parks — the world's first Bollywood-themed park, Bollywood Parks Dubai.

Here's the full video of Lagaan Thrill of Victory, a "Minion Mayhem"-style motion base theater ride, based on the movie Lagaan, in which Indians at the turn of the 20th century learn cricket to meet a challenge from their British colonial masters and win a bet that will free them from paying taxes for a year. The ride simulates a roller coaster and another steampunk carnival attractions, where you ride from the perspective of a cricket ball.

Sholay: The Hunt for Gabber Singh is a 3D interactive ride based on the period action film Sholay, a bandit film that evokes American's westerns.

Krrish: Hero's Flight is the Middle East's first flying theater attraction, based on the Krrish science fiction franchise, starring the eponymous superhero.

Now let's head across the Riverland shopping district to the western-themed movie park at the resort, Motiongate Dubai. About two-thirds of the rides at the park are still yet to open, including the Hunger Games rides in the Lionsgate land and the entire indoor Dreamworks Animation land.

The highlight of what's open in the park is the Step Up Dubai All In show, a live hip-hop musical that I was not able to record. Of the three dark rides in the park, I preferred the Smurfs Studio Tour, a "Fantasyland"-style dark ride that unfortunately suffered from a couple of lighting lapses, including the final scene with villain Gargamel. When I rode, a couple of maintenance supervisors were in the car behind me, noting all the lights that needed to be fixed, so the lighting issues should be temporary.

Ghostbusters Battle for New York is an interactive dark ride. I found the guns a bit on the heavy side, but when I held the gun in my left hand and fired the trigger with my right (dominant) hand on the next ride, my score tripled.

Hotel Transylvania is trackless dark ride that's drawing the most ire from fans across the Internet. Take a look for yourself:

I didn't take video of my lunch at the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs-themed Baby Brent's Luncheonette.

Baby Brent's Luncheonette

But I felt I had to order something here with meatballs, so I opted for the spaghetti with meatballs lunch (AED49, or about US$13 - all locations in the theme parks will accept payment in dollars and euros as well as dirham). I have to admit that I missed the pork blend in these all-beef meatballs (you won't find pork anywhere in the Middle East), and I found all the beef I ate in Dubai tasted a little bit gamey compared with the beef I'm used to in the United States. So I ended up skipping the meatballs and ate just the spaghetti, which was fine as it was, but not worth $13 when served alone in a plastic bowl like this.

Spaghetti with meatballs

The resort's third park, Legoland Dubai, offers a familiar line-up for anyone who's visited one of the six other Legoland theme parks around the world. But Dubai does offer a unique indoor Miniland.

Finally, let's take a look at the resort's recorded live stream of its lavish opening ceremony, featuring a live performance of the resort's theme song by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award-winner and Disney Legend Alan Menken, a drone show, light-up pendants on the audience that coordinated with the show, and a fusillade of pyro across the skies of the resort. This is the full ceremony, including pre- and post-show walking tours of the parks with Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Marktoum. The ceremony starts around 46:00.

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This week's coverage from Dubai:

Replies (20)

December 20, 2016 at 5:08 PM · Are any 'E-ticket' rides planned? Are any audio animatronics utilized in any of the rides? Are any of the parks full day experiences?

It looks like every ride is screen centric or carnival type or a copy of what Disney and Universal have already offered for decades and are planning/beginning to replace.

They said the parks would exceed Disney and Universal... what happened???

December 20, 2016 at 10:55 PM · Started to watch each one, but turned them off...boring!
December 21, 2016 at 12:18 AM · Who on Earth said that these parks would exceed Disney and Universal?

Again, two-thirds of Motiongate is not open yet. And FWIW, I still think Lagaan > Minion Mayhem, and Krrish > Soarin', and Smurfs > most Fantasyland dark rides. The Step Up show ranks favorably among many Disney live shows. Ghostbusters was a "good enough" shooter ride, and Sholay was better than Iron Reef at Knott's. Hotel T was the only ride where I cringed.

Dreamworks will have multiple dark rides, including a dark ride coaster for How to Train Your Dragon that's getting good buzz. So it's not only way too early to write off Motiongate, I think it's just foolish to dismiss Bollywood, unless your standard is to dismiss anything that's not DisneySea or Diagon Alley. If that's the case, fine. You're right. But that really limits the number of theme parks you can enjoy.

December 21, 2016 at 12:27 AM · One more point, I think DPR actually hurt itself from a PR perspective by enforcing the "no photos, no video" rule so strongly during Step Up. That means there are no videos out there of the park's best show, denying it some positive buzz that it could use since the rides that are open are the ones that were the easiest to get ready... and, therefore, perhaps not the most original and complex attractions the park is creating.
December 21, 2016 at 8:23 AM · Those rides are atrocious.
December 21, 2016 at 10:35 AM · When I first read that there would be a ride based on "Lagaan" I couldn't imagine what they'd do. This treatment really blew me out of the water! Not only does it incorporate some sense of the film, but it also manages to be fun, witty, and beautiful. I'm impressed.

Of all the parks you've shown us I'm most interested in visiting Bollywood--it seems the more sincere park somehow. And I'd love to see the show.

December 21, 2016 at 10:53 AM · Videos or not, I wouldn't travel halfway around the world to see a dance show, plus some middling attractions. Are they charging full price for one-third of this park?
December 21, 2016 at 11:39 AM · Robert - Wondering if you know if the Hotel Transylvania ride had been planned all along to have static figures, or if along the way the budget got changed and the animation was take out to save money. I have to admit, I was taken aback by your comment about Fantasyland dark rides. When you put it that way, you are right. Most of the figures in those attractions are similarly static. I think we all give that a pass because at the time those rides were built, the sophistication of dark ride figures was more basic. Now I think we just expect more, but we all still find the classic Fantasyland rides to be charming and perfect in many ways. I've got high hopes for the as yet unopened rides.
December 21, 2016 at 1:50 PM · The author of this blog post asked, "Who on Earth said that these parks would exceed Disney and Universal?"

A simple review of Dubai Parks and Resorts 2015 Annual Report states (and their Investor Relations team used the capitals)...

"ENTERTAINMENT DOESN'T GET ANY BIGGER AND BETTER THAN THIS
Dubai Parks and Resorts is where the best of East meets the best of West to create a world of fun and adventure unlike any other.

EVERYTHING IN ONE LOCATION
Spread across 25 million square feet, you will find three world-class theme parks and a water park side by side, with over 100 rides and attractions in total."

Would you consider Disney and Universal's (West) parks "world-class"?

Would you consider the rides that Dubai Parks has opened with "unlike any other"?

Yes, they have more rides and attractions to build, but they are being reviewed on today's results not a 'Just wait!' promise.

The best comparisons are Disneyland Shanghai and the artwork presented for Universal Beijing, scheduled for a 2019 opening.

I'm sure the blogger would agree FACTS matter and a theme park needs to be more than a show that "ranks favorably" against Disney or a ride that is "good enough".

I guess the question is...
Should Dubai Parks and Resorts be held to their own PR or the standards we hold Disney and Universal too???

December 21, 2016 at 2:26 PM · I think I have to agree with the sentiment about Motiongate. I'm in the UK, so Florida and Dubai are about as equally viable.

I must admit the smurf land made me goo "Woo", but I don't know if it was just the camera angle, but in the POV video there seemed to be a few things that suggested that either a few corners were cut, or was rushed to get it operational - why have beautiful 3 Figurines and then include a flat cardboard Gargamel behind them? There also seemed to be a few other elements that weren't working.

The Columbia section seemed to be a real disapointment. Green Hornet? A 2011 movie that didn't do well at all? Okay, its based on a cult Radio Drama, so maybe if you're 90 you've heard of it, but seemed to be a very poor choice (or a case of "we ran out of money, so this is the only IP we could get with the lint in our pockets. The rides so far seem... dull. Shooters and Dark rides.. Yay.

Dreamworks had better be holding something special, or I just can't see this as somewhere I'd go out of my way to go. Now maybe it doesn't have to be - Dubai has enough attractions elsewhere to warrant a visit, so an also-ran park isn't doomed to failure... But It may just be that the Bollywood land ends up being the true anchor of the park development.

December 21, 2016 at 2:51 PM · It is always difficult to get a true sense of something from a video. However, I do not see anything groundbreaking at the Dubai parks, and I think that is where a lot of disappointment is coming from. The rides are mostly good (though I'm not sure I'd call any great), the theming is excellent, and the IP choices are unique, but there really isn't anything that hasn't been done before at these parks and that is what people expect from a destination park. I think Motiongate in particular does a really good job of illustrating one of the fallacies of IP-based attractions...it's not as much about the IP as it is what you do with it.

At the same time, I think Dubai will be a viable destination for theme parks once everything is running at 100% and they've got both Six Flags and the new IMG park open. It will never be a true destination theme park resort, but think of it as a bunch of top tier regional parks all at one destination. Would I go to Dubai just for theme parks? No, absolutely not. However, the ability to spend a few days at quality theme parks in addition to several days doing other activities does make the trip significantly more appealing.

December 21, 2016 at 3:22 PM · This looks trash. Especially in a place like Dubai where everything is over the top luxurious and impressive.
December 21, 2016 at 3:51 PM · To 24.205.29.101 (whom I happily would address by name if I knew it, despite the fact that s/he will not extend me the same courtesy, instead opting to call me "the blogger"),

If you watched my Bollywood tour video and don't consider that park "world class," then I can't help you. We're just going to have to agree to disagree. That park's decoration, theming and attraction line-up would fit at any Disney theme park resort. (It's miles better than Walt Disney Studios Paris and I'd rank it above DHS at this stage, since as you say, we have to judge these things today and not by their future potential.) Also, since there is no Bollywood theme park anywhere else in the world, its inclusion alone makes DPR a destination "unlike any other."

Regardless of your need to rush to judgment, I *am* reserving judgment on Motiongate until I see Dreamworks, which I suspect will meet that "world class" designation (which I take to to mean something that a wealthy and dedicated theme park fans would fly across international borders to see). Step Up already is world class-quality, as is the general decoration of the park, even if I think that we're moving away from studio theming.

Is there room for improvement, setting aside the stuff that's not open? Absolutely! Food service in Motiongate needs to improve. Hotel T need to animated its scenes, and Smurfs needs to fix its lighting issues. But I don't think that DPR is any further from its PR hype than any other theme park resort is.

December 21, 2016 at 4:23 PM · If you watch the Bollywood video again, as suggested by the blogger, you will see a "World Class" theme park. The blogger also says, "It's miles better than Walt Disney Studios Paris and I'd rank it above DHS at this stage..."

The blogger knows that the Walt Disney Company has deemed DSP a failure and determined that DHS could not survive against the newly funded USO (Harry Potter, etc.). Thus, the planned massive rebuild of WDSP and current rebuild of DHS.

How do you answer the question...
After the Walt Disney Company completes the rebuilds how does Dubai Parks and Resorts respond?

Nothing wrong with Dubai Parks and Resorts trying to compete. But, if you're going to call your parks "ENTERTAINMENT DOES GET ANY BIGGER AND BETTER THAN THIS" you should deliver on 'Day One'.

After all the blogger pointed out how Walt Disney Studios Paris and DHS didn't deliver on 'Day One'.

December 21, 2016 at 6:04 PM · "Smurfs > most Fantasyland dark rides."

Whoa, I take issue with this statement. Let's compare each DL Fantasyland dark ride to the Smurfs dark ride.

1. Peter Pan-There really is no comparison here. Beginning with the facade, the Smurfs exterior are big colorful mushrooms that look like plastic. The Peter Pan exterior is the beautiful Big Ben tower that does not look cheap or cheesy. Additionally, the audio-animotronics, the suspended ride vehicle, and show scenes are all better in PP's Flight. I could go on, but will still stop here.

2. Alice in Wonderland-Arguably one of the best dark rides at Disneyland and the world in general, especially after the refurb. An utterly unique experience with incredible special effects and immersion. The Surfs dark ride, at least judging by the video, looks lifeless and bland.

3. Snow White's Scary Adventures-Again, the exterior is a nice European structure with a well-themed queue. The animotronic with the ugly witch turning to the Evil Queen is still quite impressive. The Smurfs dark ride looks like you're in a big warehouse setting with no real transitions between each scene, whereas SWSA has smoother transitions with opening doors and archways.

I understand that this might be a great theme park and well worth a visit. The disagreement came with the statement that you made that the Smurfs is a better dark ride than most Fantasyland dark rides.

December 21, 2016 at 7:27 PM · I find it odd that Robert is vehemently defending the place, when his review smacked of disappointment (oh, except for that gang-busters dance show). While people may go to Dubai for other reasons, and visit the theme parks as only a small part of their trip, let's not forget the name of this site.

I hope to go to Tokyo one day, primarily (or maybe exclusively) for Tokyo Disney Resort. From everything I've read, that would be worth the trip. From what I've seen about Dubai's parks, that is not the case, and may never be. I think that's the main point that people are making in this thread.

December 22, 2016 at 8:53 AM · Is Robert Disapointed though? He seems to be delighted about the Bollywood park, and he acknowledges that not even all of phase 1 of Motiongate is open. I think I agree with his stated comment that judgement on motiongate should be reserved until dreamorks can be experienced... but I would add they better have something amazing in that shed for this park to not end up being the DHS of the resort, cos at the moment as much as I said "woo" to the smurfs, I'm not sure it would get me away from another Dubai attraction to experience it.
December 22, 2016 at 12:41 PM · In the early 80s, I rode "Smurf Mountain" at Kings Dominion in Virginia. Back then, it was a better ride than what I saw in this video. Not at all what I imagined.
December 23, 2016 at 11:50 AM · Is it just me or these parks seem super empty in all the videos floating around the internet? When IMG opened, it looked like a ghost town.
December 23, 2016 at 12:23 PM · I should clarify that I shot most of the Bollywood video before the park was open to guests and the Motiongate video right at park open. Like many outdoor attractions in Dubai, the crowds also get much larger after sundown, when temperatures cool.

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