IMG Worlds of Adventure
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“Dubai’s largest indoor theme park… and it’s huge indeed”
Let me take you to the City of Arabia, a part of Dubailand. When Dubailand was presented, it was supposed to become the largest entertainment resort on the planet. Move over, Walt Disney World, Dubailand will soon have more theme parks, hotels, water parks and restaurants. Or at least… that was the plan. Unfortunately, the project was far too ambitious to become a reality. And when the United Arab Emirates encountered a major economic crisis in 2008, most of the Dubailand plans were cancelled. However, a project called IMG Worlds of Adventure wasn’t cut and it was completed in 2016. At opening, IMG Worlds became the world’s largest indoor theme park. And although that world record has been taken over by Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi in 2018, IMG Worlds remains an incredibly large venue. It features a cinema and an amusement park with 4 themed lands. Air-conditioning is active, so this park can even provide an enjoyable day during the hottest days of the Arabian summer.
IMG Worlds boasts a total of 3 roller coasters and they’re all quite thrilling. Two of them are located in Lost Valley, an area themed to dinosaurs. Predator is a compact Euro-Fighter manufactured by Gerstlauer. I’ve said it before and I’ll gladly say it again: I’m not a fan of these 97° drop coasters. Their vertical lift hills are uncomfortable and the transitions are a little too rough for me. Still, I’d like to mention that IMG’s version is considerably smoother than most of the other Euro-Fighters. Decent coaster, but one ride is more than sufficient for me.
Velociraptor is the signature roller coaster at IMG Worlds of Adventure, but it can’t be seen from inside the park. Unlike IMG’s other attractions, this launched coaster is placed outdoors. The (huuuuuge) queue and the station are located inside the dome, but the rest of the layout can be found in the Dubai desert. Europa-Park enthusiasts will be happy to notice that Velociraptor is an exact copy of Blue Fire, including a short dark ride section at the start. The ride is a little bumpier than its German cousin, but it’s an excellent coaster nevertheless. Theming and landscaping are nonexistent, though.
Last but not least, IMG Worlds is home to Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge, another Mack product. This one is a spinning coaster which is similar to Sierra Sidewinder (Knott’s Berry Farm) and Dwervelwind (Toverland). I really appreciate these rides because they always tend to be more intense than you’d imagine. This isn’t any different at IMG Worlds: Spider-Man provides a rather disorienting ride with a few excellent near misses. There’s also a good amount of decoration, so please don’t underestimate this ride. It’s quite awesome!
The best family rides are located in the Marvel section. Avengers Battle of Ultron is a screen-based dark ride similar to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at the Universal parks. It’s not as incredible as the Universal version, but it shouldn’t be missed during a visit to IMG. Another unique ride is Hulk Epsilon Base 3D, which should be described as Circle Vision meets flat ride. This is a 360° movie in 3D with a revolving theatre. The performance is more thrilling than I expected, so I wouldn’t recommend Hulk Epsilon Base if you suffer from motion sickness. Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.
IMG Worlds of Adventure has rides for every age group and the overall quality is good. Children will adore the Cartoon Network-themed land, which includes an inverted monorail, a nauseating Zamperla flat ride, an interactive dark ride and some typical kiddie rides. Oh, by the way… if you’re a Halloween fan, the park’s Haunted Hotel is perfect for you. This horror maze is open year-round and it doesn’t require an additional admission fee. Theming is clearly inspired by Disney’s Hollywood Tower Hotel, but that doesn’t bother me. In fact, IMG Worlds did a great job with this haunted house and the actors play their roles quite well. Even despite the strict social distancing measures that were in place during our visit, they delivered some decent scares.
Another attraction which was influenced by Disney Imagineering is Forbidden Territory. This dark ride is IMG’s version of Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It has a similar story line and it even features vehicles with the same possibilities as the Disney EMVs. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends. The animatronics are weak, lighting seems unprofessional and the finale is very disappointing. No, this isn’t the park’s best work.
WORTH A VISIT?
In short: yes, I’d definitely recommend a visit to this huge indoor theme park. IMG Worlds of Adventure has a great selection of rides, theming is more than okay and staff are well trained. Still, I’d like to point out that IMG isn’t the best theme park in this region. Better roller coasters may be found at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, while Motiongate and Warner Bros World provide more immersive theming. So if you don’t have sufficient time to visit all of the famous theme parks in the UAE, it wouldn’t hurt to skip IMG Worlds.
Have you visited this air-conditioned theme park in the Arabian desert? Do you think that a Blue Fire clone is good enough to be a park’s signature attraction? And were you disappointed after riding Forbidden Territory? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.