IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world's largest indoor theme park. It features Cartoon Network and Marvel IP themed areas, plus the Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure that hosts Velociraptor, IMG's only outdoor rollercoaster which blasts riders out of the park building and into the desert.
|Opened||31 August 2016|
|Owner||Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari (IMG) Group|
Opening at the end of August 2016, IMG Worlds of Adventure has had a few months head start on its rival, Dubai Parks and Resorts, which lies 35 miles down the road. It is owned by the Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, hence the IMG title. The park is almost entirely indoors, with its main building covering more than 1.5 million square feet making it the world's largest indoor theme park.
The park's main entrance leads to IMG Boulevard, an area housing several shops and restaurants as well as The Haunted Hotel. This live-action horror maze allows brave visitors to explore the rooms of a haunted hotel (I guess the name gives that much away!), encountering a variety of live actors along the way. It is one of the most popular attractions in the park, and due to its low capacity and limited opening hours, it is well worth finding out its opening time and planning on being near the front of the line.
Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure is the largest area in the park and contains two of IMG's three rollercoasters. Velociraptor is the larger of the two, a Mack launched coaster and a clone of Blue Fire at Europa Park. Riders board via a station inside the Worlds of Adventure building, but most of the ride takes place outside. The launch track propels riders out into the desert - quite a shock both in terms of the heat and sunshine coming out of the gloomy air conditioned environment. Sadly, the desert conditions seem to already be taking their toll on the ride and, unlike the magnificence of Blue Fire, it is already becoming a little rough.
The other coaster in Lost Valley is Predator, a rather standard and boring Gerstlauer Euro Fighter. Lost Valley's other major ride is Forbidden Territory, a dark ride with a great ride system which takes riders through a prehistoric adventure onboard a very wild truck. However, the ride is let down by the quality of its theming ... at one point riders encounter a "volcano" which looks more like the fake electric fireplaces that graced countless living rooms in the 1970s.
Worlds of Adventures' other rollercoaster, Spider-Man Doc Ock's Revenge, is located within the Marvel Zone. This is a Mack Spinning Coaster, and takes riders for a spin around a nighttime cityscape in persuit of Doctor Octopus. It was easily my favourite coaster at IMG, both for smoothness and pure fun. The zone's other major rides are made up of Avengers Battle of Ultron, a motion simulator; Thor Thunder Spin, a prototype top spin; and Hulk Epsilon Base 3D, an old fashioned Tagada ride which sits under a giant cinema dome screen. Definitely a good way to bring a traditional fairground ride up to date!
Cartoon Network is the final area at IMG Worlds of Adventure, and is the closest the park has to a children's zone. The rides here are all more gentle in nature, although still fun for adults. Ben 10 5D Hero Time is a great 5D movie, while Adventure Time: The Ride of OO with Finn & Jake holds the title for the longest and most ridiculous ride name at the park. And what exactly is the Ride of OOO? It's a monorail that gives some nice views over the Cartoon Network area, but again is let down by the quality of the theming it passes by. Also in the Cartoon Network zone is the CN Live Stage Show. This features characters from Lazy Town singing some rather catchy songs, although the "eat healthy food, not sweets" message is rammed down the audience's throat rather too strongly.
Talking of food, IMG prides itself on the quality of its gastronomy. There are a huge variety of restaurants to choose from, from the usual hotdog stands offering the usual park food right up to Tony's Skydeck, the park's premier restaurant which serves premium priced steaks and seafood dishes. All the food is of extremely high quality - I ate at Chang's Golden Dragon and can highly recommend it for fans of Chinese food.
Planning is well underway, and there is evidence of building activity on site, for a second neighbouring park, IMG Worlds of Legends which is due to open in 2020. This park will be even larger than IMG Worlds of Adventure, with nine themed areas spread over 2 million square feet. The park will feature a giant retractable roof and will connect to its sister park via a sky bridge. Again, the park will rely heavily on third party IPs, with Nickelodeon, Ubisoft, Pokemon and Mattel amongst those announced so far.
IMG Worlds of Adventure is another example of the high quality theme parks which have opened in the UAE recently. The ride hardware is good, and there are some great simulator experiences on offer alongside the three rollercoasters. However, compared to Bollywood Parks and Motiongate at Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG is let down by its lower quality standard of theming. It would be acceptable at most parks around the world, but DPR has really set the standard in the Emirates and at the moment IMG is falling behind. They do, though, serve some of the best food I've ever eaten at a theme park. Alongside IMG Worlds of Legends, there is plenty of space to expand at Worlds of Adventure, so the future of IMG is looking very exciting as the region prepares itself for the influx of visitors expected at Expo 2020.
Indoor spinning rollercoaster that takes riders soaring over a nighttime cityscape
The park's largest and only outdoor rollercoaster, launching out into the Dubai desert sands
An indoor dinosaur themed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter rollercoaster
Live action horror maze through a hotel with rooms full of ghostly surprises
Join characters from Lazy Town for a music-filled live stage show
Large dark ride adventure through a prehistoric land
Battle alongside The Avengers in the Battle of Ultron
Top Spin ride, with riders spinning over and over as Thor attempts to rescue them from Loki's clutches