x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Theme park fan awaits arrival of more attractions in Dubai

Having reviewed more than 200 theme parks around the word, Stefan Zwanzger believes Dubai's planned new theme parks could offer something out of the ordinary.

An artist’s impression of IMG Worlds of Adventure. Courtesy IMG Group
An artist’s impression of IMG Worlds of Adventure. Courtesy IMG Group

DUBAI // A man whose life’s mission is to review every major theme park in the world has spoken of his excitement at plans for seven new attractions in Dubai.

Stefan Zwanzger, who has reviewed more than 200 theme parks in 50 countries for his website thethemeparkguy.com, says he thinks the new theme parks will offer something out of the ordinary.

“It’s not as though they’re branches of Disney or Universal Studios,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s all experimental stuff. I would love to see them happening.”

The first of the planned parks, IMG World of Adventure, is due to open next year as the largest indoor theme park in the world.
It will be based around characters from the Marvel comic universe and Cartoon network and will be in Dubailand.

The park will have four zones, and feature a super-fast roller coaster that will go outside the building and will have more twists and turns than Formula Rossa, at Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World.

In November last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s development company Meraas announced a Dh10 billion plan to build five linked theme parks.

The first of which, named Dubai Adventure Studios, is also expected to be ready next year. The remaining projects, which will be completed in phases, will include a theme park based around Bollywood movies, a park themed around water and marine life, a children’s theme park and a “night safari” park themed around the adventures of the wild desert.

Those parks will be located in Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid City, with a Universal Studios theme park – the details of which remain uncertain.

Mr Zwanzger, originally from Germany but now based in Abu Dhabi, said he could not say how he expected the developments to be without knowing a great deal more about them. “There’s the possibility that if there are five theme parks next to each other which are each on the same scale as Disneyland, that could overheat the market,” he said.

“But a lot of the details are vague, and if it’s in fact five themed areas, with separate gates and ticketing, that could work.”

He said that Ferrari World was the only true theme park in the UAE, with the remainder being themed water parks.

However, he said he had given Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, top marks.

“It’s a really great coaster, one of my favourites.”

mcroucher@thenatinal.ae