Motiongate Dubai trip report

Edited: December 15, 2016, 10:13 AM

This is a trip report from Dubai, UAE covering the movie studio type amusement park Motiongate.

Motiongate Dubai opened it's doors this week to annual pass holders for a preview of the park which officially opens December 16th. I live in Dubai and took a chance on buying a season pass for this park in a country where amusement parks have historically been no where near Disney/Universal standards. It cost me approximately $217 and includes free parking. If you are not familiar with the Dubai Parks and Resorts it's an entertainment complex which when completed will have 3 amusement parks, a Riverwalk (a la Disney Springs), and a few hotels. Currently, only Legoland and parts of the Riverwalk are open.

I was dropped from the parking lot by bus to the imaginatively named French Village which is part of the Riverwalk. This area was quite charming and very well themed even with signs of continuing construction everywhere. From here I could see the yet to be opened Lapita Hotel which looked like a cross between the Animal Kingdom lodge and Loew's Pacific Resort. Prices here will be a bit over $300 a night and it's location can't be beat if you will be visiting all 3 parks.

I passed Legoland and the yet to be opened Bollywood park on the long uncovered walk to Motiongate. This open air walk will be a major concern during the summer as Dubai has 6 months of summer and six months of hell. I can't imagine walking around all day when it's 120 degrees out with 80% humidity, with a low of 99 to wake up to. I assume some type of awning system will have to be installed eventually.

Inside Motiongate I was impressed with the level of theming and attention to detail. The cast members are called ‘amazers’ and they were friendly, cheerful, and knowledgeable. This was a preview of the park so there were limited attractions open. These included The Green Hornet, Zombieland Blast-Off, and the Smurf’s Studio Tour. The Green Hornet is basically a wild mouse coaster and is well themed inside the wait area, but the track area was lacking. The Smurf’s Studio Tour is a dark ride that utilizes a trackless system. It is designed for very small children and doesn’t have any of the cool maneuvers like Ratatouille or Mystic Manor. As a kid’s ride it is fine. Zombieland Blast-off is a typical tower launch ride except that it launches you up and then stops at the top for a drop. Very cool.

The Dreamworks and Lionsgate areas were not open and looked to need a lot of work before they would be. There is a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs water raft ride under construction that looks interesting. The Hotel Transylvania nor the Ghostbusters: Battle for New York dark rides were not operating though I was assured they would be by opening day.. I will have to go back to report on those.

My overall impression was that this could be an interesting park when completed. And once all three parks plus the Riverwalk are open it will definitely be a worthy destination for amusement park fans.

Replies (5)

December 15, 2016, 10:09 AM

Thanks for the report, Brandon! I'm about to get on a plane for Dubai for the official opening this week. My wish list for rides to get on includes Ghostbusters Battle for New York, Hotel Transylvania, Dragon Gliders, Shrek's Merry Fairy Tale Journey, and the Hunger Games rides. I'll see what we get.

Edited: December 17, 2016, 12:44 PM

Got on Ghostbusters, Hotel Transylvania and Underworld this evening. Will do the Smurfs stuff and Step Up tomorrow. Hunger Games is officially "Phase 2" for next year, and DreamWorks is "very soon," but not "now." Full report to come.

December 19, 2016, 6:58 AM

Was there any news in Dubai about the 'Holy Qur'an Park', which has been promised for a good few years now?
- Crispin

December 24, 2016, 6:26 PM

That's awesome! Dubai seems insane (not literally, of course), but it's not a place I really have any interest in going. It's not my speed.

But I really enjoy seeing the trip reports of these places that are outside of the U.S. Hopefully Disneyland Paris will do something cool and noteworthy, and someone can write that up. I might be back in China in about a year, and if that's the case, I'll keep a close eye on the 1.4b Hong Kong Disneyland expansion.

But Dubai is so different. The parks are aimed at such a different crowd, and the heat creates some serious challenges, but I think it's really interesting to see how they tackle it, who will succeed, who will wither, and what becomes of it all, ultimately.

Got any photos to share, Brandon?

December 26, 2016, 11:43 AM

Hi! I also live in the region & asa DVC member I very excited to visit Motiongate but I'm waiting for a few more attractions to open!
I'm going to try Riverland this week which has the good old Dubai "Irish Village" as a temptation!

I'm also hearing rumours of THE big hitter going to Yas to compete with what's going on in Dubai! I live in hope!????????

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