IMG Worlds plans larger, second gate for its Dubai resort

December 6, 2016, 8:10 PM · The owner of IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world's largest indoor theme park, which opened earlier this year in Dubai, has announced plans to build a second, even larger theme park.

IMG Worlds of Legends will be located next to the existing theme park, connected by a sky bridge, making the destination a multi-gate, multi-day resort. The new park will be one-third larger than the existing park, for a size of two million square feet. It will feature nine themed zones, including IP from partners Nickelodeon, Mattel, and Ubisoft, among others. From the park's press release:

IMG Worlds of Legends, situated adjacent to IMG Worlds of Adventure, will feature futuristic interactive rollercoasters, state-of-the-art rides, breath-taking water-based attractions, and spectacular live entertainment. With its temperature-controlled environment and retractable roof, guests are offered the choice of enjoying the thrilling rides safely protected from the desert heat in summer or basking in the sun on the sky-high coasters in winter as IMG Worlds of Legends is open 365 days a year, offering the best of both worlds.

IMG Worlds is name-checking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Assassin’s Creed, Raving Rabbids, Power Rangers, Pokemon, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Bob the Builder, and Thomas & Friends as IP for the park's attractions, though it has yet to match any individual IP with specific experiences in the new park.

IMG Worlds also did not yet reveal a planned opening date for the second gate, though officials are eager to open in time to capitalize on an expected surge of visitors to the emirate from the Expo 2020 world's fair planned for Dubai. The emirate has a goal of attracting 20 million visitors to Dubai by that year. (For a couple of comparisons, Dubai welcomed 14 million visitors last year, while Orlando welcomed 66 million in 2015.)

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are working to develop a critical mass of themed entertainment destinations in an effort to make the United Arab Emirates an even more popular tourist destination for visitors from the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. In addition to the existing IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai and Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Parks and Resort is opening three theme parks this year: Legoland Dubai, Bollywood Parks, and Motiongate Dubai. That resort has plans to open the region's first Six Flags park in a phase two by 2019. In Abu Dhabi, a Warner Bros. theme park is in development for a 2018 debut on Yas Island, home to the UAE's annual Formula 1 race.

From the opening of IMG Worlds of Adventure:

Replies (20)

December 6, 2016 at 10:42 PM · Wow, that's interesting. It seems from the recent article on this site that the first park was dead quiet. This idea seems foolhardy, but maybe like you say with enough parks they will be able to entice enough tourists to make it worthwhile.

Admittedly, the parks are only part of the bigger picture in the UAE, cause more tourists bring more money in to hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and markets: all if which benefits the Emirates who invest in these projects. These parks are part of the bigger picture for the UAE, who are trying to establish themselves as a tourism and business centre for when the oil runs out. It's a really nice place to visit if you have the chance.

December 7, 2016 at 12:54 AM · Distance wise (and jet-lag wise) as a european I would be tempted to visit Dubai.
But Dubai is so much more expansive than Florida. Brand clothing and shoes are much cheaper in Orlando.Judging from the video's I've seen the parks and rides are not up to the standard of the offerings in Orlando. With (maybe) the exception of Bollywood Parks Dubai but that one is quite small.
December 7, 2016 at 1:57 AM · "Build it and they will come" is no longer enough. The competition between Universal and Disney have raised the level visitors expect from theme parks. Difficult to judge if the Dubai parks are and will be at that level (I have not been there). However, for these parks, it's also like in real estate: location, location and location. Given some geopolitical perspectives, can Dubai be up to Orlando? Not sure. Money can buy a lot of things, but not everything.
December 7, 2016 at 5:27 AM · Also factor in crippling heat (I know all indoor parts are air conditioned but step outside and it's like walking into a blast furnace) and a still very dubious record on human rights (fancy being prosecuted for being the victim of rape?) and Orlando still seems to me to be a far more attractive destination, no matter how many enticing attractions they develop in the UAE....
December 7, 2016 at 8:35 AM · I love theme parks and everything they are building in the UAE seems amazing and I would love to go. I however cannot bring myself to spend any money in a country with such poor human rights. I respect their laws with regards to alcohol and would be happy to follow these laws. I however cannot visit a place that actively goes out of their way to discriminate against gays and women. I don't want to turn this into a political fight but I strongly think its worth mentioning since they are actively trying to make themselves a world destination. They need to change their stance on social issues if they wish to become the next Orlando. Based on this and as mentioned by David Brown the weather and cost difference we will be sticking with Orlando.
December 7, 2016 at 9:37 AM · Why? The first park isn't proven to be successful. This has to be Dubai oil money financing the second white elephant. IMG needs to take a step back for its reputation is on the line if they fail and it will.

First, the parks have no connection at all with the culture of land. Anything about Dubai or the Muslim culture? Not a thing. Disney handled it better with its Shanghai Park.

Second, it is disconnected with what the Dubai guests or tourists might actually want to see. They are all mainstream American pop culture IPs that even I would hate to visit in one hyped up amusement park. It's for 2 year olds on steroids.

December 7, 2016 at 12:27 PM · David - was there a need to go off on a slightly xenophonic rant about Dubai? If you have a problem with their human rites records that's fine - but then you should also take a closer look at home and American's own human rights records, as well as their own foreign policy, as well as slave labour exploitation of Mexicans. China, UK, all have their own issues. But you constantly only seem to hate the muslim Dubai.
December 7, 2016 at 1:37 PM · Having been to Dubai it would only add to the reason why to go there and not be an only reason, I do not think you would say let's go to Dubai just for a theme park, it just would not work, yes as said in the summer months of June, July and august its hot, been there and done that but if they can keep the temperature at a sensual end level during these months the rest of the year is very pleasant and not too bad weather wise, as for the men v women post I don't think that will change but a lot of what your saying goes on behind people's closed doors and they do have a choice and I think it's wrong of anyone to tell another culture to change even if we agree or disagree with what they are doing, just my opinion.
December 7, 2016 at 1:58 PM · I get where you're coming from, JK. But, the punishment for being gay in the United Arab Emirates includes being executed. And, woman who are raped can be imprisoned for having an extramarital affair. (That happened to a British woman in October.)

I don't think it is wrong to publicize those ugly truths. Nor do I think it's wrong to say that their country needs to change.

December 7, 2016 at 3:23 PM · I can't wait to see Ubisoft video game land of this theme park. How they are going to make Assassins Creed and Just Dance into dark rides.
December 7, 2016 at 5:03 PM · This is a curious move, especially given that the first park seems to be underperforming. It seems like a better option would be to make the first park work rather than essentially ignoring it and going straight for a 2.0 next door. Also, much like the original, World of Legends sounds like a park that would be extremely appealing in the US, Europe, or Japan, but I'm not so sure that it will catch on in Dubai.
December 7, 2016 at 7:37 PM · Dubai does not execute gays. Like Singapore and other non-Western countries until recently, gay behavior is illegal, but to be arrested for it in Dubai you would have to do something blatantly obvious like start making out in the mall with someone of the same sex. And it's illegal for heterosexuals to make out in the mall as well. There are plenty of gay people living just fine in Dubai, including local Emiratis.
The recent rape case was of a Western woman who went to the police and accused two Western men of rape. The police investigated and found camera video from one of the men's phones that clearly showed it was consensual sex. Therefore she falsely accused the two men of rape. It is illegal in Dubai for unmarried couples to have sex. It is very rare for anyone to be charged with this crime as hotels do not ask for marriage licenses when registering a room. But if you report it to the police in the first person then they have to uphold the country's legal code.

In any case, America commits so many human rights abuses domestically and internationally, that it is beyond galling that any American could feel justifiably sanctimonious in calling out any other country. The leadership of the UAE is not perfect but they are more enlightened and tolerant than that of the incoming US administration. Americans really need to get off their high horse.

December 7, 2016 at 8:20 PM · UAE is a "Absolute monarchy, or despotic monarchy,[1][2] is a form of monarchy in which one ruler has supreme authority that is not restricted by any written laws, legislature, or customs."

So how is ithe UAE more enlightened than the incoming Trump Administration?

If you define tolerant as not killing you, then why weren't you afraid of Obama who gave himself the right to kill anyone including US citizens? Maybe you're afraid the presidential powers Obama accumulated for himself will be used by Trump. Then it would be wrong.

I do think anyone should be concerned about traveling to Middle Eastern countries for getting entangled with the law is just nasty business. One guy was arrested for merely taking a picture in Saudi Arabia. Spent a long time in jail until deported.

December 8, 2016 at 1:10 AM · On the basis of some of the logic stated previously should I as a black man not go to the States for a vacation in case I get shot by a cop? Because that is the sort of story I hear about very regularly. Or would you advise I go there with an open mind and judge for myself what things are like in reality?
December 8, 2016 at 1:21 AM · Outside of the Avengers ride, nothing looked that impressive at Worlds of Adventure (gonna introduce WoA as an acronym), so I wouldn't get too excited over anything in the second park.
December 8, 2016 at 8:23 AM · I share many people's concern with regards to the UAE. I'm from Canada and it’s fair to say that the USA has problems and so does Canada but there is a HUGE difference with having homophobic people and having laws against it. The fact of the matter is simply being gay in the UAE is a crime. If it were only the fact that people were hyper conservative I could handle going there and simply not showing affection in public. I don't do this here in Canada anyways. My point is that Dubai is trying to become a world destination which simply does not work if they have these discriminatory laws like they do. There are many homophobic people in both Canada and the USA but at least here I know the laws would protect me if something were to happen. Can the same be said about the UAE? I don’t think so. The best case scenario is that we would be deported thus ruining our trip. Worst case scenario is we go to jail for X amount of days. (Which has happened BTW). My issue is not with the morality of the Emirates but rather their laws. Why on Earth would I go to a place were simply existing is illegal to them? People like to compare China and I have been to that beautiful country 3 times. Yes they have problems too and human rights issues as well but you know what? It’s not illegal for me and my husband to exist there. So our next international theme park trip aside from Orlando will be Disneyland Shanghai and Universal Studios Beijing when built. No thanks UAE.
December 8, 2016 at 8:39 AM · I can understand why the various oil rich kingdoms are trying to diversify from their dependence on oil revenue. Even Saudi Arabia is starting to get in on the game. But I'm doubtful the tourist angle will work to the extent they hope. Even though much of this stuff is indoors, why would people be attracted to go to a climate that is close to being hell on earth, and a rigidly conservative political/religious situation. I can't see them significantly increasing the tourist numbers they are already getting and reaching an Orlando type level. Getting casino gamblers demographic is one thing, but a theme park demographic is a whole different ballgame.
December 8, 2016 at 2:13 PM · Tony: Note that I wrote that the punishment for being gay includes execution. That is a fact.
December 8, 2016 at 6:16 PM · @Alex: No, the capital punishment clause is for homosexual rape, not consensual sex. If you're reading the legal code in English translation (which is what the sites you're getting your information from do), then you're getting it wrong. You have to read the code in Arabic as that is the only language the UAE courts recognize and use, and the capital punishment clause is in the context of rape. And no one has been executed for homosexual rape in any case.
December 9, 2016 at 3:38 PM · As an African American 30 y/o homosexual, I haven't encountered any of those horror stories I've read about while visiting/living here for business purposes for the past three months. Although they have strict UAE laws, they aren't heavily enforced in Dubai and Abu Dhabi due to retaining such a thriving tourist destination. Whether that's a good or bad thing, you be the judge.

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