One moment you are securely fastened to your seats, the next you are soaring through the skies. This one sentence aptly describes the overall experience at Dubai Parks and Resorts, an integrated theme park in Dubai, UAE. With a plethora of rollercoasters, multimedia theatre shows, live performances, water slides and much more, the theme park provides visitors of all kinds a thrilling, adrenaline-pumping experience. Spread across 30.6 million square feet, it consists of three theme parks: Hollywood-inspired Motiongate, Bollywood Parks and LEGOLAND, which includes LEGOLAND Water Park as well. Besides these, it also encompasses Riverland, a retail and dining destination, and the family resort, Lapita Hotel. “At Dubai Parks and Resorts, we have created a one-of-a-kind mega leisure and entertainment destination. It’s the first time our guests can experience four distinct theme parks in one destination, all within walking distance of each other. Theme parks are places for families to come together and the choice of parks means there will be something for everyone to enjoy whether they are residents or visiting the UAE,” says Ahmad Hussain Bin Essa, general manager, Theme Parks, DXB Entertainments PJSC, the company that owns Dubai Parks and Resorts.
For an Indian visiting the park, the first stop should be Bollywood Parks Dubai, a first-of-its-kind theme park showcasing Bollywood. The park includes themed attractions and rides spread across five zones such as Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Bollywood Film Studios, etc. The rides here are all based on popular Hindi films such as Lagaan, Sholay, Krrish, Don, etc. Take, for instance, the Krrish: Hero’s Flight ride. Part of Bollywood Film Studios, this 4D flying theater ride takes visitors on an epic journey with superhero Krrish, as he saves the earth from an alien invasion. As you soar through the skies (while still fastened to your seats), you can enjoy panoramic views of India’s spectacular landmarks. “Each attraction at Bollywood Parks uses experiential technology such as motion simulators, flying theatre or 4D media to take visitors on an adventure with their favourite movie characters,” Essa says.
The flagship offering here is the 856-seater Rajmahal Theatre, which is home to a Broadway-style show called Jaan-e-Jigaar. There are also six themed restaurants that offer India’s various cuisines, as well as retail outlets that sell filmy memorabilia.
On being asked why they decided to include a Bollywood-inspired park, Essa says, “With a legacy of over 100 years, Bollywood has influenced a global audience of over a billion people, a fan base that transcends geographical boundaries, bound by a love for the music, dance, drama, fun and flavour of Hindi cinema. In the Middle East, Bollywood is one of the most dominant cinema industries and a major source of entertainment. Whether it’s the larger-than-life movie sets or catchy songs, Bollywood is in demand across the globe. And the park lets guests experience this magic.”
When you have satiated your appetite for Bollywood and if you are accompanied by children, a good place to head to for some relaxation and fun is LEGOLAND Dubai. Designed for families with children aged 2-12 years, this LEGO-themed park features over 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions plus 15,000 LEGO model structures made from over 60 million LEGO bricks. LEGOLAND Dubai is the first LEGOLAND Park in the Middle East and the seventh in the world, joining locations in Denmark, England, California, Germany, Florida and Malaysia. Another attraction here is the LEGOLAND Water Park, which features more than 20 water slides and attractions.
Interestingly, LEGOLAND Dubai was the first park to open at Dubai Parks and Resorts in October 2016. “The Dubai Parks and Resorts project was announced in late 2012 and we broke ground on the development in early 2014. The first theme park, LEGOLAND Dubai, opened to the public on October 31, 2016, with the remaining parks opening during the last two months of that year. This project was built in about three years, which is unusual for such a large and complex development,” says Essa, adding, “The total estimated cost for developing the first phase of the project was AED 10.5 billion.” The second phase of the development is now underway with Six Flags Dubai (another theme park) targeted for a late 2019 opening in addition to a LEGOLAND-themed hotel. Six Flags Dubai will be the fourth theme park at Dubai Parks and Resorts and will include 27 rides and attractions for all ages across six themed zones.
Till Six Flags opens, fans of gravity-defying rollercoasters and Hollywood can head to Motiongate Dubai. Uniting three legendary Hollywood film studios—DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures and Lionsgate—the theme park allows guests to immerse themselves in the magic of Hollywood. There are rollercoasters, multi-media rides, interactive play labs and media-based theatre shows on offer here. Inspired by 13 of Hollywood’s most loved action and animated films, guests are transported into the world of movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Hotel Transylvania, Ghostbusters, The Smurfs and The Hunger Games.
Besides Bollywood Parks, Motiongate is one of the most popular sections at Dubai Parks and Resorts, as per Essa. “Madagascar Mad Pursuit (the fastest rollercoaster at Dubai Parks and Resorts), Smurfs Village Playhouse and Step-Up Dubai, All In! (a high-energy live music and dance show inspired by the Step Up film series) are some of the most popular attractions. In the Bollywood section, our most popular rides are Krrish, Dabangg and Lagaan. Rajmahal Theatre, too, has proven to be very popular among guests,” he says.
Talking about the tourist footfall at Dubai Parks and Resorts, Essa says, “Visitor numbers are a clear measure of our success and in the first half of the year we had over one million visits. More important, however, is customer satisfaction. To ensure we deliver a memorable experience to each one of our guests, we monitor customer satisfaction across various key areas… the best measure of success is repeat visitation and when visitors recommend us to their friends and family. In the first half of the year, about 30% of our visitors were international tourists and we continue to focus our efforts to drive tourists from key inbound source markets to Dubai such as India, China, the UK, Russia and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).”