Dubai is the home to the world’s largest indoor theme park. (Photo courtesy of IMG Worlds)
Dubai’s mega malls have been a major attraction for tourists and locals—with their massive aquariums, indoor ski slopes and hundreds of shops and restaurants. But during the blistering summer months, families looking for fun have another big option: the world’s largest indoor theme park.
Marvel’s comic book characters, and Cartoon Networks’ animated heroes are some of the stars of IMG Worlds of Adventure, which spreads out across 1.5 million square feet in the desert 20 minutes from downtown Dubai.
There’s a lot for visitors to like, and we take a look at some of our favorite features:
The Rides and Attractions
Four themed areas make up the park, with one featuring Marvel’s Avengers in a New York City street scene.
Five rides feature the heroes in that land, with two designed around Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers, while Spider-Man, Thor and the Hulk get their own individual attractions.
Among them is “Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge,” a spinning roller coaster that twists through the NYC skyline. Cutting edge motion technology and 3D visuals is put to cool effect in “Avengers Battle of Ultron,” in which guests take the skies in Quinjets to help the Avengers fight the evil Ultron.
The area is similar to the Marvel-themed land within Universal’s Islands of Adventure park in Orlando.
The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, and Jake and Finn from “Adventure Time,” are the stars of the Cartoon Network zone, with “Ben 10 5D Hero Time” incorporating sights, sounds, smell, touch and motion in a unique new ride.
Dinosaurs run amok in the Lost Valley, which features 69 lifelike animatronic beasts in a jungle setting.
Five signature rides make up that part of the park, including “The Velociraptor,” a 1.1 km rollercoaster that blasts out of the IMG Worlds of Adventure complex as it goes from 0 to 100 km in 2.5 seconds.
The “Predator” is a 400-meter vertical rollercoaster, while “Forbidden Territory” is a family friendly safari that takes visitors through IMG Worlds of Adventure’s version of Jurassic Park.
Meanwhile, IMG Boulevard is for the non-thrill seekers, providing an array of eateries and shopping options, as well as a NOVO Cinemas multiplex for guests to watch movies.
Continuing a trend of better food offerings inside theme parks, IMG World Adventure will include 28 outlets—16 standalone restaurants and 12 kiosks—serving up 13 different cuisines. Over 700 dishes were created.
There will be a mix of food trucks and themed eateries, including Stark Tower, which will house a fine dining option called Tony’s Skydeck, modeled after Tony Stark’s apartment. Head chef Daniel Anelka, who has worked with top chef Alain Ducasse, plans to have a chef’s table option on site.
The Marvel land features Downtown Shawarma, a restaurant faithfully recreated from the end credits scene in “The Avengers,” with traditional doner kebabs on its menu.
CN Feast will feature characters in the space that will also have a ride passing through above diners. Mr. Smoothy is based on the restaurant in “Ben 10.”
IMG hired over 80 performers—dancers, acrobats and jugglers–to entertain guests throughout the park with parades, shows and character meet-and-greets. There will be daily performances in Cartoon Network’s LazyTown theater, for example.
A ghoulish cast of characters will also scare guests at an attraction called the Haunted Hotel, in which guests run from its scary staff through corridors. Visitors must be at least 15 years old to check in.
For a city that likes to outdo itself—world’s tallest building, world’s biggest mall—the building is part of the attraction. It’s 10 stories high and spreads the equivalent of 28 football fields.
Inside, there’s also the innovation behind the attractions on display.
In the Lost Valley, for example, the largest dinosaur, the Barosaurus, is five-stories tall and took Japanese animatronic firm Kokoro five years to develop and build.
Everything moves in “Hulk Epsilon Base 3D,” a 100-seat theater whose chairs move based on the battle taking place on the 360-degree screen that surrounds guests.
Tickets to IMG Worlds Adventure cost Dh300 for adults and Dh250 for children for a day. Children under three are free. The park stays open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.
It’s located near Arabian Ranches and along the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed road, which also has a unique food truck attraction called Last Exit.