DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — As summer temperatures soared outside, the world’s largest indoor theme park, featuring popular Marvel and Cartoon Network-branded rides, opened its doors to the public in the Middle East’s tourist hub of Dubai — the latest in a myriad of new attractions here.
The first visitors at the 1.5 million square foot (140,000 square meters) – park reflected the diverse crowds that visit and live in Dubai, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Middle East’s largest mall and a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree that is dotted with luxury hotels.
Saudi women dressed in abayas, the traditional loose black robes, and the full face-veil, rode alongside tank-top wearing British tourists and Indian families on the park’s roller coasters and attractions.
Several families with young children complained that some of the rides stalled several times. Others said they were thrilled by the adventure park’s indoor boulevard that leads visitors through Marvel and Cartoon Network zones, a Haunted Hotel and a Lost Valley Dinosaur zone.
The IMG Worlds of Adventure park recorded about 3,000 visitors Wednesday as temperatures rose to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) outside.
Ali al-Subai, a visitor from Saudi Arabia, said he was happy the Gulf region has a place like this to visit during the summer. The 26-year-old said he visits Dubai at least four times a year and hopes his country too can one day open similar theme parks.
“It’s very, very nice. Better than I imagined,” he said. “We wish for this in Saudi Arabia — the rides, the cinemas.”
Dubai ruler and United Arab Emirates Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid toured the more than $1 billion park earlier on Wednesday. More info