Construction update on Arizona's Mattel theme park resort

March 8, 2024, 5:57 PM · The resort home for the upcoming Mattel Adventure Park is now aiming for a 2025 grand opening. We heard that news during a press tour of the VAI Resort property in Glendale, Arizona yesterday.

Saturday update: Officials with Mattel Adventure Park reached out to say that they are still planning a late 2024 soft opening for the indoor theme park in conjunction with VAI Resort’s sneak preview.

VAI Resort will be Arizona’s largest hotel resort when all phases are open next year. The four hotel towers at the resort include one designed around the resort’s 11,000-seat amphitheater, which is designed to accommodate national headliner acts. We will have more about the VAI Resort in a post later today. [Here it is: Can Arizona's VAI Resort reinvent the concert experience?]

On the far side of the resort will be the Mattel Adventure Park, the nation’s first Mattel-themed indoor park. The exterior track for the park’s two Hot Wheels-themed Chance Rides roller coasters are largely complete, as you can see from these construction photos.

Mattel Adventure Park
Construction view of Mattel Adventure Park

Hot Wheels Twin Mill Racer track
View of the Hot Wheels Twin Mill Racer track

Hot Wheels Boneshaker: The Ultimate RideCloser view of Hot Wheels Boneshaker: The Ultimate Ride and the facade of the park

In addition to the Hot Wheels coasters, Mattel Adventure Park will feature the world’s hottest IP right now, with a Barbie Beach House that has been announced to include a rooftop bar, Barbie Flying Theater and Barbie Dream Closet experience.

Another major IP in the park will be Thomas the Tank Engine, which will provide the theme for the park’s Thomas and Friends: World of Sodor land. Attractions in that will include Thomas Adventure Train: Treasure Hunt, Thomas and Friends: Party Station, Bertie’s Bus Stop, Bulstrode's Stormy Voyage, Flynn's Firefighting Academy, Harold’s Helicopter Tour, Sodor Balloon Ride, and Dockside Play Park.

In addition to the two coasters, the park’s other Hot Wheels attractions will include a Hot Wheels Unleashed 4D ride and Hot Wheels go-karts. Additional attractions in the park will include Masters of the Universe-themed laser tag, Uno Wild Climb, and Mattel games themed mini golf course.

Epic Resort Destinations will operate the park under license from Mattel, as a tenant of VAI Resort. According to VAI Resort officials, no decisions have been finalized about pricing for the theme park or specific benefits for VAI Resort guests.

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Replies (3)

March 9, 2024 at 9:59 AM

I was in Phoenix recently for a business trip and drove by this site. It was just a couple of weeks ago and I could tell that they were going to have to really haul butt to be ready for a 2024 opening.

March 11, 2024 at 9:37 AM

I really wonder what the long term prospects are for projects like this. Concert venues can occasionally draw the tourist crowd, but are typically geared towards locals. Obviously this venue seeks to offer a unique setup for top tier acts that should result is an elite schedule of performances, but I wonder if enough locals will be willing to spend for what are likely to be some high end tickets. The Phoenix region has always drawn a lot of tourists thanks to its big events (like the Final Four in a few weeks), and plethora of resorts centered around golf, MLB Spring Training, wellness, and outdoors activities, but I just don't see a market that's big enough to justify such a large resort in a city that's struggling to support its existing entertainment options - the NHL's Coyotes play on ASU's campus right now (by far the smallest venue in the league) and are prime candidates to relocate.

I get the feeling that Phoenix is chasing Las Vegas for tourist dollars, a competition they'll NEVER win, as well as trying to energize their locals to spend more, but there just isn't enough money to go around. This resort has already been downsized a bit, and I just don't see how it's able to sustain itself once the initial shine wears off. Eventually, acts will find a newer, shinier venue to play at, and the schedule will be the same as you can get in other major cities around the country. At one point, the Phoenix/Tempe/Glendale/Scottsdale region was one of the fastest growing regions in the country, but it has significantly slowed over the past 5-8 years. I'm not sure how this resort really fits into the sprawling metropolis' thinking when they're focusing more on smart growth.

March 11, 2024 at 10:38 AM

I have a story that I am working on about just that issue, Russell. But I am holding off for the moment while I await some additional information from Epic and the MAP team.

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