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Dubailand

Theme Park Guy Rating: 0
Date Visited:
December 12, 2007 / October 25, 2008 / June 27, 2009
October 26, 2009 / July 18, 2010
Website: www.dubailand.ae
Location: View on map

Construction Update July 18, 2010

Dubailand was the trademark project of Tatweer, a subsidiary of state-owned Dubai Holding that recently merged into Dubai Properties, a developer of residental and commercial high-rises in Dubai. Current brochures state that Dubailand Phase 1 is 'fully operational': Dubai Autodrome (a race track that opened in 2004), Dubai Sports City (a cricket stadium, golf courses and villas), Dubai Outlet City (a mall), Global Village (a seasonal fun fair operating since 1996) and Al Sahra Desert Resort (a show venue in the desert).

Well, if Dubailand is about residential property and recreation, it can claim some progress. But if it's about gargantuan world-class theme parks, as the name suggests, it's a cursed story. The biggest series of back-to-back theme park announcements in history involving brands like Universal Studios, Dreamworks Animation, Marvel, Six Flags, Lego and Paramount results in not even a single one materializing? What a chimerical tale!

Yet, the final chapter may not have been written. No theme park construction whatsoever took place in Dubailand's desert territory last year. During the same period, the massive Ferrari World indoor theme park has been rising subtly from the sand in neighboring Abu Dhabi. Due to open later this year, its massive structure looks a bit like a piece of the insane Dubailand sales center model still exhibited to the public today. It's going to be the first world-class, monster-budget theme park in the Middle East and I believe its success or failure will co-determine the fate of the title holder of this review.


Dubailand gate Dubailand gate

Sales center entrance Sales center entrance

Dubailand sales center model Dubailand sales center model

Legends Dubailand office Legends Dubailand office

Entrance to the former Marvel office Entrance to the former Marvel office

Former Marvel office Former Marvel office

Marvel in Arabic Marvel in Arabic

Universal Studios sign Universal Studios sign

Universal Studios gate leading to the former site office Universal Studios gate leading to the former site office

Universal Studios Dubailand Universal Studios Dubailand

Universal Studios security notice Universal Studios security notice

Dubai Outlet Mall with Universal Studios gate in the background Dubai Outlet Mall with Universal Studios gate in the background

Construction Update October 26, 2009

As far as I can see only one theme park, 'Restless Planet' in the 'City of Arabia', is going ahead in Dubailand. I saw the construction workers and I saw them working on the site of the future dinosaur theme park. So I guess – and hope – that this one is still going to happen. After all, the animatronic dinosaurs – stored in Japan for a couple of years already – aren't getting any younger and are waiting for their Middle Eastern home! We might not see it before 2012, though.

The only addition to Universal Studios Dubailand since my last visit is the sand left behind from the scorching wind that washes over the desert site. However, some say the plan is to abandon the old site (this has already happened) and build the Universal theme park at a new location, closer to the city and the Dubailand sales center. I couldn't find anything to confirm this, so it's just a rumor for now.

The cranes of F1-X theme park haven't moved since my last visit in May; it is still on hold. Given that there is a Formula 1-themed park called Ferrari World in the advanced stages of construction in close-by Abu Dhabi, this might actually be not a bad idea. New residential buildings are sprouting up here and there and the sales center is still selling the old dream with the old deadlines that can't be met anymore. What happened to Dubailand?


Dubailand sales center Dubailand sales center

Sales center from inside Sales center from inside

Restless Planet billboard Restless Planet billboard

Restless Planet billboard up close Restless Planet billboard up close

Restless plastic dinosaurs Restless plastic dinosaurs

The dedicated site for Restless Planet The dedicated site for Restless Planet

Mall of Arabia construction site Mall of Arabia construction site

Mall of Arabia and Restless Planet model Mall of Arabia and Restless Planet model

Restless Planet model Restless Planet model

F1-X theme park site F1-X theme park site

F1-X on the left, future Marriott hotel on the right F1-X on the left, future Marriott hotel on the right

F-1 X theme park up close F-1 X theme park up close

Dubailand sales center seen through F-1 X construction Dubailand sales center seen through F-1 X construction

F-1 X billboard, with Burj Al Arab in the background F-1 X billboard, with Burj Al Arab in the background

Universal Studios Dubailand construction site progress sign Universal Studios Dubailand construction site progress sign

Universal Studios fence Universal Studios fence

Desert claiming back the abandoned Universal site Desert claiming back the abandoned Universal site

Dubailand sales center from a different angle Dubailand sales center from a different angle

Construction Update June 27, 2009

Unfortunately, the only news I can deliver from here is that the majority of the Dubailand billboards (which were everywhere on my last visit) have been removed and no visible construction of theme parks is underway.

The most likely survivors of Dubai’s very own crisis were Universal Studios Dubailand and the F1-X theme park. While construction of the former is currently not progressing, the latter was entirely put on hold by developer Union Properties due to lack of funding. As for Aqua Dunya, Restless Planet and Legends of Arabia – no signs of construction.

Dubailand, announced in 2003, could be on the way to becoming a bit of an unfortunate story. I hope this won't be the case: the idea of creating a massive theme-park city in the desert of the Middle East is bizarre and fantastic. Who knows what might happen, but with construction in hibernation here, this ambitious plan might take some years to come about. If anyone involved in one of the Dubailand projects reads this, I’d love to hear from you.


Dubailand sales center entrance Dubailand sales center entrance

Slow construction Slow construction

Motor City skyscrapers Motor City skyscrapers

Dubai Autodrome circuit Dubai Autodrome circuit

F-1 X billboard F-1 X billboard

F-1 X site plan F-1 X site plan

Site plan up close Site plan up close

Abandoned F-1 X theme park site Abandoned F-1 X theme park site

Construction came to a halt here Construction came to a halt here

F1-X construction as far as it went F1-X construction as far as it went

Location of the F1-X office Location of the F1-X office

Completed residential area in Motor City Completed residential area in Motor City

Global Village annual fun fair Global Village annual fun fair

Global Village entrance Global Village entrance

Global Village office building Global Village office building

Temple inside Global Village Temple inside Global Village

City of Arabia site City of Arabia site

Mall of Arabia site Mall of Arabia site

Half-empty billboard Half-empty billboard

Al Sahra Desert Resort entrance Al Sahra Desert Resort entrance

Al Sahra logo Al Sahra logo

Skyscraper construction in the middle of nowhere Skyscraper construction in the middle of nowhere

Falcon City of Wonders villas Falcon City of Wonders villas

Empty billboard Empty billboard

Former Aqua Dunya billboard Former Aqua Dunya billboard

Former Universal Studios billboard Former Universal Studios billboard

Former DreamWorks theme park billboard Former DreamWorks theme park billboard

Tiger Woods golf course billboard Tiger Woods golf course billboard

New 'City of Arabia' billboard New 'City of Arabia' billboard

Cricket stadium in Dubai Sports City Cricket stadium in Dubai Sports City

Construction Update October 25, 2008

DUBAILAND! Doesn't it sound great? I live here while I write this (July 2008), so let's go a little bit into detail:

Dubailand was announced in October 2003. When I moved to Dubai in the spring of 2006, I discovered an impressive showroom in the desert displaying the planned theme parks on a giant, awe-inspiring model. However, up until this day I can’t see any sign of construction of roller coasters or water slides in the Dubailand area. New villas, apartments, film studios and a sports stadium are going up, but, apart from the amazing Universal Studios Dubailand (the desert has been flattened and prepared for construction, but no rides on location yet), where are the theme parks?

Here are the incredible projects with July 2008 status updates:

• Aqua Dunya Water Park, announced in 2006, scheduled opening in 2009. Status: Desert
• City of Arabia Restless Planet, announced in 2005, scheduled opening in 2009. Status: Flat desert with a road
• Legends Dubailand Theme Park, announced in 2004, scheduled opening in 2008. Status: Desert with a showroom
• Falcon City of Wonders, announced in 2005, scheduled opening in 2008. Status: Villas under construction but no theme park
• Sunny Mountain Skidome, announced in 2004, scheduled opening was in 2006. Status: Desert
• Dreamworks Animation Park Dubailand, announced in 2007, scheduled opening in 2012. Status: Desert
• Paramount Pictures Park, announced in 2007, opening date not announced yet (smart!). Status: Desert
• Bawadi, announced in 2007, scheduled to opening in 2010. Status: Desert road with billboards
• Six Flags Dubai, announced in 2008, scheduled opening in 2011. Status: Desert
Universal Studios Dubailand, announced in spring 2007, scheduled opening in 2010. Status: under construction

I'd love to see this gonzo concept of a theme park city come to live as it appears in the Dubailand showroom. Announced date for opening of the first phase in 2010. Let's see! 

Universal Studios Dubailand has its own section on TheThemeParkGuy.com.


10 December 2010 proposed launch date 10 December 2010 proposed launch date

DreamWorks Animation theme park billboard DreamWorks Animation theme park billboard

DreamWorks billboard up close DreamWorks billboard up close

Dreamworks theme park poster Dreamworks theme park poster

Shrek in the Dubailand sales office Shrek in the Dubailand sales office

Freej theme park billboard Freej theme park billboard

Freej theme park model in the sales center Freej theme park model in the sales center

Freej model from a different angle Freej model from a different angle

Proposed Freej coaster Proposed Freej coaster

Six Flags Dubailand billboard Six Flags Dubailand billboard

Six Flags poster in the sales center Six Flags poster in the sales center

Six Flags coaster model in the sales center Six Flags coaster model in the sales center

Marvel theme park billboard Marvel theme park billboard

Marvel theme park poster in the sales center Marvel theme park poster in the sales center

Plantation Equestrian Club billboard Plantation Equestrian Club billboard

Legoland poster in the sales center Legoland poster in the sales center

F-1 X theme park construction wall F-1 X theme park construction wall

F-1 X vision, the first F-1 X vision, the first

F1-X vision, the second (pretty different) F1-X vision, the second (pretty different)

F-1 X coaster cars F-1 X coaster cars

F-1 X theme park construction site F-1 X theme park construction site

On location in Dubailand On location in Dubailand

Legends headquarters Legends headquarters

Legends office Legends office

Legends theme park model in the sales center Legends theme park model in the sales center

Residential property or office buildings in the making here! Residential property or office buildings in the making here!

Legends office in the middle of nowhere Legends office in the middle of nowhere

Former Aqua Dunya billboard Former Aqua Dunya billboard

Aqua Dunya model in the sales center Aqua Dunya model in the sales center

Aqua Dunya site, nothing happening here Aqua Dunya site, nothing happening here

Global Village entrance Global Village entrance

BinLadin site office BinLadin site office

Dubailand construction fence Dubailand construction fence

Mall of Arabia site Mall of Arabia site

City of Arabia building rising City of Arabia building rising

Mall of Arabia looks a bit deserted Mall of Arabia looks a bit deserted

Mall of Arabia (and Restless Planet) foundations Mall of Arabia (and Restless Planet) foundations

City of Arabia dinosaur exhibited at a local trade fair City of Arabia dinosaur exhibited at a local trade fair

Dubailand map Dubailand map

Dubailand map, the second Dubailand map, the second

Dubailand map, the third Dubailand map, the third

Billboard, sales center coaster and rocket against the backdrop of Dubai skyline Billboard, sales center coaster and rocket against the backdrop of Dubai skyline

Construction Update June 30, 2008


Dubailand sales center from the helicopter Dubailand sales center from the helicopter

Closer look, Dubailand sales center Closer look, Dubailand sales center

UFO-like infrastructure behind the sales center UFO-like infrastructure behind the sales center

Residential construction in front of the Legends office Residential construction in front of the Legends office

Falcon City of Wonders villas under construction Falcon City of Wonders villas under construction

A non-Dubailand theme park development called Stargate A non-Dubailand theme park development called Stargate

Construction Update December 12, 2007

Here is my very first Dubailand update, it's December 2007 and I just started this site about two months ago.

It feels a bit weird to me that my current place of residence shall have that many theme parks all at once. Nevertheless, you don't get anywhere if you don't get things started, so we'll see where it goes.

Enjoy the photos!


Dubailand gate Dubailand gate

Dubailand sales center Dubailand sales center

Giraffes at the sales center parking lot Giraffes at the sales center parking lot

Dolphins and rockets, as well Dolphins and rockets, as well

Giant biker on giant coaster track Giant biker on giant coaster track

Huge models over here (see the two workers?) Huge models over here (see the two workers?)

Universal Studios in Dubai? Universal Studios in Dubai?

Sales center view from inside Sales center view from inside

Giant, insane model Giant, insane model

Endless theme park territory Endless theme park territory

Film studios Film studios

Model sheikh Model sheikh

Aqua Dunya water park model Aqua Dunya water park model

Proposed Ski Dome Proposed Ski Dome

Dinosaur models in the sales center Dinosaur models in the sales center

Real tiger in the sales center Real tiger in the sales center

'Going Live in 2010' 'Going Live in 2010'

Global village fun fair office Global village fun fair office

It's been an annual fun fair for years It's been an annual fun fair for years

Aqua Dunya water park billboard Aqua Dunya water park billboard

Restless Planet indoor theme park billboard Restless Planet indoor theme park billboard

Falcon City of Wonders billboard Falcon City of Wonders billboard

Bawadi billboard Bawadi billboard

Something is happening. Is it really theme park construction? Something is happening. Is it really theme park construction?



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