Global Village is the largest cultural and entertainment destination of its kind in the world, featuring country pavilions celebrating cultures from all over the world, together with a large onsite fairground.
|Last Visit||18 March 2017|
|Season||September - April|
Global Village began in 1996 with a number of small kiosks, each representing a different country. Since then it has grown into a massive seasonal tourist attraction in Dubai, attracting more than five million visitors over the course of the six months it is open each year.
The kiosks have been replaced by towering pavilions, some of which are extremely ornate, decorated in line with the country they represent. Inside each pavilion are shops selling "local" products, and sometimes other cultral demonstrations.
Of course, the "local" products are all Emirati friendly, clearly designed to appeal to residents of the UAE with money to spend. While there are some more unusual items on offer, the bulk of offerings comprise perfumes, cloth and various foods.
The pavilions share their picturesque riverside setting with Fantasy Island, a large fairground run by the UK-based Mellors fair family. Highlights include a large observation wheel which gives views over the entire site, and the old runaway mine train coaster from England's now defunct American Adventure theme park. However, in Dubai the power has been turned up, leading to a fast, crazy, out of control ride!
Global Village also features a number of stage shows which seem immensely popular with the locals. These are headlined by the Speed Chase Action stunt show, but there are also dance shows and smaller cultural demonstrations scattered all over the site.
As the UAE version of Epcot, Global Village has clearly hit upon a winning formula. Locals flock to it (as evidenced by the remarkable attendence figures - similar to Europa Park in half the time!) and it generates huge revenues. As a visitor to Dubai, it's a must-see - even if seen as a glorified shopping experience, this is the most visually stunning one most will have ever encountered.
Almost 50 countries represented, from the Middle East, Europe and further afield
Large observation wheel offering amazing views over Global Village and into the desert beyond
The old mine train from American Adventure has found a new home in Dubai
Dancing, stage shows and cultural demonstrations happen regularly throughout Global Village