If there is one toy that has stood the test of time, is loved across genders, nationalities and ages, surely it’s got to be Lego?
It therefore doesn’t surprise me that the folk at Lego have chosen Dubai to be the home of the 7th – and possibly biggest and best yet – Legoland theme park! With an incredibly diverse culture – almost every nationality in the world is represented in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) workforce – its the place where the seemingly impossible is made possible. Who on earth thought they could build the world’s tallest tower? An indoor ski slope? the biggest flower garden in the world? Well move aside Dubai Parks & Resorts are now about to open the biggest and best theme park destination in the Middle East!
In typical Dubai style, ground was only broken a few years ago and already they are touting an October 2016 launch date. In fact, the first of 15,000 Lego models which will use an estimated 60 million Lego bricks has just been shipped into place during February. The 230,000 brick Red Dragon will be part of the Kingdoms area of Legoland and will breath smoke from his nostrils before families board the Dragon Roller Coaster which will be one of the 40 interactive rides and shows available.
What you can expect from Legoland Dubai?
Legoland Dubai will be part of the new Dubai Parks & Resorts – a vast new entertainment district currently under construction in Jebel Ali, Dubai. It is situated right on the border with Abu Dhabi emirate, so flying in to either Dubai International Airport or Abu Dhabi International Airport, you will be in close proximity (under an hours drive away). There will be one hotel built on site but a plethora of other options within easy driving distance (see UAE hotels you can book here). The Group are estimating that in their first full year of operation they will receive a staggering 6.7 million visitors – not bad for somewhere that still looks like a giant sand pit!
Within Legoland Dubai itself, there will be 6 themed “lands”. Much like other worldwide Legolands, each of these lands will include entertainment and educational element, including popular attractions like the Driving Academy, Merlin’s Flying Machine and a Duplo Academy for the smallest tots. The centrepiece of Legoland Dubai though and what will make it unique to other parks is the first indoor, air conditioned Miniland in the world. There will be a giant replica model of the Dubai skyline as well as other Middle East wonders and international iconic landmarks. There will also be an opportunity for kids to build their very own skyline to marvel that of Dubai with a 10 metre long interactive construction table (move over kids, I think I’ll be having a piece of that!!).
I had the opportunity to ask Legoland Dubai General Manager Siegfried Boerst about how the theme park will cope with the weather extremes we experience in the UAE (summer day time temperatures can reach 50 degrees)
“LEGOLAND Dubai has a great mix of indoor and outdoor attractions, with more indoor features than any other LEGOLAND Park in the world, which will make it perfect for year-round visitation.
LEGOLAND Water Park is next door, featuring more than 20 water slides and attractions, each offering its own different and fun-soaked experience to keep families cool in the heat.”
The LegoLand Water Park is really the perfect touch for the Middle East. It will be the perfect way to cool off after a busy day at Legoland Dubai, or even visit for a day trip on its own (note there will be separate entry fees). The beauty of this park for us will be that its specifically aimed at those aged 2-12 so plenty of age appropriate attractions and activities to enjoy.
What else will there be at Dubai Parks & Resorts?
If your still not convinced that Legoland is your thing though, Dubai Parks & Resorts are also be building a motiongate theme park – billed to be the largest Hollywood based theme park in the Middle East as well as a Bollywood Park on the 25 million square foot site. All the theme parks will be connected by Riverland – an entrance plaza and entertainment boardwalk that will connect the three major theme parks and hotel, complete with a canal running water taxi’s, and a tram service.
All the parks are due to be completed and open simultaneously in October 2016. Mr Boerst advises me that all the attractions at Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park will be ready to experience from day 1! Perhaps another first for Dubai…?
Want to be the first to enjoy Legoland Dubai?
The official opening date is yet to be announced however annual passes can already be purchase in advance directly from the Legoland Dubai website. Priced at 995dhs for the double pass Legoland Dubai & Legoland Water Park, or 765dhs for Legoland only – this adds up to fantastic value compared to many other UAE family attractions. (In USD this translates to approx. $270 and $210).
Customers purchasing now will not only get 12 months unlimited access to the parks without blackout dates, they will also be invited to pre-opening park reviews and events and be the first families to try the attractions. There is no separate pricing for adults/children – an annual pass is needed for all family members aged 3 and up.
If you are just visiting the UAE as a one-off, day passes will of course be available but pricing has yet to be released. A questions mark hangs as to whether UAE residents will receive any special discounts, but I am assured by Mr Boerst that the annual passes will easily pay for themselves within three visits.
Will this be the end of our international theme park travels? Possibly. On several occasions now we have made the trek to Florida for the theme park madness. We have enjoyed it, but the 16 hour flight to get there as well as the time zone adjustment is grueling. Having a comparable international brand theme park, perfectly suited to the under 12 crowd right on our door step is going to be hard to surpass. Although we already have the world’s largest indoor theme park, Ferrari World only moments from our house on Yas Island, there are several attractions that are inappropriate for small children – and I’ll be honest without entry vouchers it is pretty expensive day when you wont be fully utlising everything! (Between 250-500 dhs per person).
So are you as excited as we are? Will you be attending Legoland Dubai when it first opens? I know for sure there are some little Globetrotters in our house obsessed with Lego who can’t wait to go!
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Construction images © Legoland® Dubai