In Memoriam: Universal Studios Dubailand

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Universal Studios Dubailand

Photo c/o AP

Universal Studios Dubailand is an odd subject for In Memoriam, in that it was never actually built. Work began on the site in 2008, but stopped when the global financial crisis hit. We covered Universal Studios Dubailand in last week’s Podcast (shameless… utterly shameless plug), and the site has sat abandoned since 2009.

It’s a shame, as the publicity material for Universal Studios Dubailand, as well as the models that were created for this Park were exciting to say the least. At least five lands would have featured, including Hollywood, New York, Surf City, Epic Adventures and Legendary Heroes. The first two lands would be similar to their Universal Studios Florida counterparts, with the New York area featuring a Ghostbusters Dark Ride. Surf City would have been a boardwalk area, and Legendary Heroes would feature Revenge of the Mummy, as well as the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad from Islands of Adventure. Perhaps more excitingly though, Epic Adventures would have featured Jurassic Park, Waterworld and a set of duelling coasters themed around 2005’s King Kong reboot.

Work began on Universal Studios Dubailand, with a gate constructed, and visible work on the Park’s central lagoon. There was also talk of a Jurassic Park themed hotel. All exciting stuff, but alas, the Park, and the entire Dubailand project in general, is dead. The gate sits abandoned, being slowly reclaimed by the surrounding desert. It’s a sad thing indeed.

The plans for this Park were ambitious, and like everything in Dubai, the complex would have been huge. However, all is not lost, as in November 2012, Dubai’s leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the renewal of large-scale construction projects like Dubailand on the outskirts of Dubai, including the construction of the World’s largest shopping mall. He also stated that this mall would feature a Universal Studios family entertainment centre. What this entails exactly, and whether it will carry the moniker of Universal Studios Dubailand is unknown, but it certainly breathes new life into the possibility of a Universal Studios Park in the Middle East.

You can find the site for the Park, owned by Tatweer Holdings, Universal’s partner for the project, here, and you can also check out some awesome construction photos over at Theme Park Guy.

What do you think? Would you have travelled to Dubai to see this Park? What would you like to have seen here? Let us know in the comments!

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Luke Dunsmore

Luke Dunsmore is a lover of Theme Parks, and is the editor of ThemeParkInvestigator.Com, a news, review and opinion site dedicated to the fascinating World of Theme Parks. He lives in Manchester, UK.

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