Who Wants a Free Ride to a Theme Park?

May 2, 2023, 5:26 PM · Here is an idea that I would love to see more theme parks copy. Dubai Parks and Resorts is offering guests a free roundtrip drive to its parks from anywhere in Dubai.

The deal is available via discount codes for Careem, an app used throughout the Middle East that includes car-hire service. Guests can get the discount code when buying four tickets using the 'Ride On Us' special offer on the Dubai Parks website.

Guests may get one return trip per day per family and must book at least 24 hours in advance. And pick up and drop off is available within Dubai only, so no free trips over from the neighboring Abu Dhabi attractions. The offer takes effect today and is subject to car availability.

Dubai Parks and Resorts includes the movie-themed Motiongate Dubai and Legoland Dubai theme parks. Located nearly 40 miles south of the Dubai airport, the resort is accessible by bus that connects with Dubai's train system, but a private car will get you there quicker.

Dubai is the second-most-visited city in the world, behind Paris, according to a recent report, but its theme parks haven't drawn the numbers of other area attractions. Free drives to the park eliminate one expense that might have stood in the way of tourists visiting the parks, which are located a fair distance away from other Dubai attractions.

And, speaking from the perspective of a selfish tourist, it would be a nice perk for other parks around the world to offer. Especially if it helps tip the scale away from the expense of having to rent a car to accommodate a theme park visit.

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Replies (7)

May 2, 2023 at 10:33 PM

According to the Interwebs: Bangkok, London, Singapore and Macau all get more annual visitors than Dubai. (There doesn't seem to be any stats online that show Dubai as the second-most-visited city in the world.)

May 2, 2023 at 11:56 PM


May 3, 2023 at 2:54 AM

Robert, the report you linked to is not for the most visited cities in the world. It is for the most "attractive" cities. According to the report, they rate the "attractiveness" of a city based on: "(1) economic and business performance, (2) tourism performance, (3) tourism infrastructure, (4) tourism policy and attractiveness, (5) health and safety, and (6) sustainability."

May 3, 2023 at 3:51 AM

Yeah, no the most visited and definitely not the most "attractive" city for visiting theme parks.

May 3, 2023 at 8:59 AM

WDW was the obvious innovator here with its Magical Express, but who knows if that will ever return as even Disney couldn't justify the costs of giving guests a free trip to and from the airport. I think this is a decent perk for an attraction trying to gain some traction in a high tourist area (like Dubai), but it's probably not sustainable long term as a true comp.

Frankly, this sounds like a bit of a Hail Mary from a resort trying to create any sort of publicity to drum up more business for the summer tourist season.

May 3, 2023 at 11:28 AM

It will never catch on. Miss all that “ancillary revenue” from parking? Forget it.

May 9, 2023 at 4:43 PM

I visited LEGOLAND, part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, in late March. R/T from my hotel near the Mall of the Emirates, I tried both transport options:
1. Public transit: metro Red line, Gold carriage, with free transfer to the DPR1 bus line. 90 minutes at 10 AED (~3 USD).
2. Taxi: 25 minutes at 100 AED (~17 USD).

I enjoyed LEGOLAND, but went only because I got 30% off the 330 AED gate price via the My Emirates Pass seasonal promotion. There are YouTube videos about low attendance at the DPR parks whose gist is basically "the builders did poor market analysis: too expensive for locals, not a top priority for foreign tourists." So I can definitely see where gratis transport would tilt the decision.

FWIW, I wouldn't call Dubai a "city" because it creates unrealistic expectations and misplaced comparison with somewhere like New York. The attractions are in multiple urban centers spread across 40 miles. That's like calling Central Florida a city and getting the vague idea that you can easily commute between Busch Gardens Tampa and Disney on a daily basis. Rather, you have to plan around specific districts of Dubai. (In part, I blame the confusion on the way digital maps are too easy to zoom, and many modern printed tourist maps omit the scale-bar.)

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