DUBAI Developments & Attractions
General Area Attraction News - (9/25/21) Video footage of a fascinating new indoor coaster project from Intamin has been posted to Instagram this week. This is for STORM, a new coaster built inside the “Dubai Hills Mall”. The coaster features a unique magnetic vertical lift and spiraling coaster track that runs all around the walls inside the large 50 meter tall cylinder shaped building. Nothing was said about an opening date, but a news article I dug up from August mentions that the planned opening of the Dubai Hills Mall project was pushed back to sometime in Q1 2022. This should include the amusement area we see in the video as well as the rest of the premium shopping mall project that is unseen in the video that is part of the greater Dubai Hills Estate project.
(11/20/20) ProSlide has announced that they are working on the expansion of the Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark in Dubai. The planned expansion of the waterpark will feature some new “cutting-edge water ride technology”. This will include a Dueling PIPElineBLAST, “the world’s first and only true-dueling water coaster.” The attraction will feature head-to-head sections and powered uphill RallyPOINTS.
(11/16/20) BlooLoop reports that WhiteWater has announced they are working on a new waterpark project in Dubai. The new waterpark will be called Jungle Bay which will be an exclusive attraction for the guests staying at the Westin Mina Seyahi and La Meridiean Mina Seyahi hotels. With construction already underway they believe the work should be finished by the end of this year and the new attraction ready to open sometime in January 2021. Follow the link to see some of the excellent concept work, and take special note of the unique three-lane mat racer slide that actually departs from the top of a lighthouse structure and includes enclosed and open slide sections.
(5/26/20) According to the tweet below, the Dubai Hills Mall project will feature a new 48m tall, 700m long launched coaster. No word on who is making it, but something about the concept art does give me an old-school Premier Rides coaster vibe, like a modern take on the old Outer Limits / Flight of Fear coaster concept.
2021 - Ain Dubai / Bluewaters Island - (8/30/21) After being under construction in Dubai for the past several years, the Ain Dubai, the tallest observation wheel in the world, is now set to open to the public on October 21, 2021. The massive wheel stands an impressive 250 meters in height and will offer a variety of special experience cabins for guests to reserve, custom designed for nightlife and party events as well as special unique dining and culinary options. All together, Ain Dubai will have a total of 48 passenger cabins.
The height advantage for Ain Dubai is clear when compared to the heights of other popular giant observation wheels. Currently the tallest wheel is the High Roller in Las Vegas, standing 167 meters tall. Other well know wheels include the Singapore Flyer (165 meters), the London Eye (135 meters) and The Wheel at ICON Park (formerly the Orlando Eye) is just 122 meters.
(4/20/18) According to the news Caesars Entertainment is working with Meraas to open two luxury hotels, a conference center and beach club at the Bluewaters Island project. The first to open will be the Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, which could be ready by the end of 2018. If the Bluewaters name sounds familiar, it should... as this is also the location of where the giant Dubai Eye observation wheel is under construction.
One other interesting note regarding the involvement of Caesars Entertainment... apparently these will be non-gambling resorts. Despite the fact that casino style gambling is what the Caesars' brand is primarily known for, these will be their first two non-gaming resorts.
(12/26/17) After several delays it looks like the basic circle structure of the Dubai Eye giant wheel is finally complete. I don't know what the final height actually is, but I believe the proposal was for a 210 meter wheel (689 ft) which will be the world's tallest giant wheel when it actually opens. Currently the tallest wheel in the world is the High Roller in Las Vegas which stands 168 meters (550ft).
(11/7/16) A reader tweeted out a photo of the support structure in place for the Dubai Eye giant wheel over the weekend which you can see here. It doesn't look like much in the way of progress has been made to the wheel since our last photo was posted way back in May when they put the massive central "hub" piece in place. After 5 months I would have thought they might have made some progress on assembling the actual wheel by now.
(5/31/16) A reader has sent in a new picture from Dubai showing off the progress of the Dubai Eye giant wheel (210 meters tall) taking place as the large central spoke piece of the wheel has now been lifted into place.
You can compare this to the previous photo we were sent back in June 2015. Looks like construction kind of halted on the wheel for much of the past year until now, but the rest of the island has been moving along quickly.
Meanwhile I'm told that the rest of the building development taking place in the background of the photo is something called Bluewaters Island which appears to be a big touristy-beachfront style development that will fill out the rest of the island behind the wheel.
(7/18/15) A reader submitted photo from Duabi this week shows off the latest progress on the Dubai Eye giant wheel.
(6/30/15) According to the local news, the two huge A-frame support structure pieces for the Dubai Eye giant wheel have been installed on Bluewaters Island. The Dubai Eye is supposed to stand 210 meters (688.9 ft) tall when complete. Currently the tallest Giant Wheel in the world is the High Roller in Las Vegas which stands 167.6 meters / 550 feet tall.
(4/22/14) The design plan for the $1.6 billion Bluewaters Island project set to be built off the coast of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residences is being changed. Under the old plan, it was to be split into three zones, one that would primarly feature residential sites, an second earmarked for only resort hotel development and the third would contain a mix of retail and leisure based sites along with the Dubai Eye, set to become the world’s tallest observation wheel standing 210 meters tall (689 feet).
However, according to this article, the entire Master Plan has been redesigned to make it “more inviting for the guest”. No further details were made available to the public just yet, but this could be an interesting development to keep an eye on.
(2/18/13) Dubai is at it again, this time with a plan to build the Dubai Eye, the world’s biggest Giant Wheel that would stand 688 feet tall. Construction on the Dubai Eye is supposed to start sometime in 2013 if all goes well, so stay tuned. The wheel is part of a larger “Blue Waters” project area and you can see a bunch of pictures of a model they had set up on display here.
2020 - EXPO 2020 DUBAI - (5/11/20) According to this report it is now official… Expo 2020 Dubai will be postponed until 2021. The Expo will now take place from Oct. 1st, 2021 through to March 31, 2022. Given that it takes a lot of work to build an Expo, I’d like to think that having an extra year to finish the various pavilions and attractions within may have a positive impact on the overall Expo. Having the extra time will allow for some extra polish and work-time to go into making all the details just right.
(11/30/18) With the World Expo coming to Dubai in 2020, an interesting announcement was made earlier today about the US Pavilion. According to a report at BlooLoop, the US Pavilion will feature the premier of the Hyperloop in a partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One.
(4/22/20) According to this article it is being proposed that Expo 2020 Dubai be delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Much like what is being done with the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, the Expo board is planning to vote on the postponement by late May, which would see the Expo 2020 Dubai changed to take place from Oct. 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. (But it will keep the Expo 2020 name…)
The United Arab Emirates themselves suggested that the event be postponed for a year back at the end of March, as the Expo relies on participation from the nations of the world, who are all focused on the pandemic at the moment.
After Dubai, the next planned Expo will take place on Osaka, Japan in 2025.
(7/4/19) Who’s ever had the chance to visit a World’s Expo event? While the events are few and far between these days, they were something of a staple experience that happened at a new location every few years, especially in North America, up until the Vancouver ‘86 Expo. Disney modeled the concept of the Epcot Center theme park that opened in 1982 after the World’s Fair concept, which perhaps could have been a reason they no longer took place in the region shortly afterwards.
Growing up I had the pleasure of visiting two of them, the afore-mentioned Vancouver one in 1986 and the one in Spokane, WA that took place in 1974. I was just 4 then, but I do remember going and seeing some of it, including a fun aerial tram ride that went out over the Spokane Falls that I believe is still there to this very day.
That was the interesting thing about the Expo’s… as they were designed with the intent to leave certain landmark structures behind that would serve as tourist attractions and city icons for the years to come. Some examples of these icons include Seattle’s Space Needle tower and monorail system, the Unisphere from New York’s 1964 World’s Fair, the Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN and even the Eiffel Tower itself, which was left over from the “Exposition Universelle” that took place in Paris in 1889.
With this in mind it is worth keeping yet another eye on Dubai, a city already known for it’s own man-made landmarks, who will host Expo 2020 next year. The Expo is set to be huge, with over 192 different world countries signed on to participate in a unique landscape where the majority of guests will be international visitors instead of local inhabitants. A lot of planning and prep-work is already taking place and you can read a bit more about what is going on so far at BlooLoop where they interview the Marketing Director for Expo 2020. A video showcasing 16 of the released designs for various world pavilions can also be seen below.
???? - Marsa Al Arab - Announced - (6/30/19) Seems the previous plans have been changed and instead of the big island with a marine park, new Wild Wadi waterpark and more, they are now planning on a smaller island that may just contain a large new hotel structure and replacement marina. I don’t know for sure, but it sounds like the existing Wild Wadi waterpark may be staying where it is for now, but it is hard to say as delays to the project will also ensure it misses the previous 2020 opening date, and are now probably looking more at 2022 or 2023 for anything, land clearing in the marina has just begun earlier this year.
(5/15/17) The big dreams don't seem to stop in Dubai these days. The latest big project announcement came this week from Dubai Holding for a Dh6.3 billion "Marsa Al Arab" project that would see the addition of two new islands like penisulas added to either side of the Burj Al Arab hotel that would include marinas, a Cirque du Soleil theater, new hotels, retail areas, new business and residential areas, and a brand new double-sized version of the Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Why the new waterpark? Because the plan is to scrap the existing one to make room for the new expansion islands that will also include a new marine life park. They plan to move on this quickly, as they want it finished in time for the 2020 Dubai Expo.
Be sure to get a good look at that model for the new Wild Wadi Waterpark, build with a large fake mountain structure and what looks like a tube slide and roller coaster that will roll in and out of underwater tunnels through the open mouths of giant shark shaped structures sitting in the water.