IMG Worlds of Adventure: Five things not to miss
IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, welcomed recently its first biggest crowd since it opened its doors to the public.
More than 100,000 visitors from the UAE and abroad flocked to the 1.5 million-square-foot leisure and entertainment destination during the Eid Al Adha holidays.
Guests were treated to spectacular rides and attractions within the theme park, as well as a number of special activities to entertain families.
“Thrill seekers and chill seekers reported an unforgettable day out with the additional dance shows, magicians, acrobats and street artists for the Eid holiday providing a truly immersive experience," IMG Worlds said in a statement..
The turnout during Eid Al Adha has surpassed the daily foot traffic of 30,000 people. By one year, IMG Worlds expects to attract 4.5 million guests.
The theme park is fully indoors and promises to offer guests “an immersive” theme park experience. The attractions include popular characters and super heroes, featured at adventure zones, including the Cartoon Network and Marvel. Visitors can immerse in a prehistoric experience with the dinosaurs in the Lost Valley. It also has 25 original retail concept stores and 28 food and beverage outlets.
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The ceiling of the park is covered in sound-proofing black arches to muffle the noise created by the rides and the screaming guests as they fly through the air, and though it’s nearly 140,000 square metre in area, a circular format means the park isn’t exhaustingly large,. There are plenty of places to stop and rest, and be encouraged to shop for food and merchandise. It takes 6-8 hours to do 60 per cent of the park, which, says Otto, is what most people can manage in one go. Do take a sweater: The indoor park is chilly, and there are lockers all over where you can leave your belongings when needed. This is especially important as mobile phones and cameras are not permitted on any of the rides, and rides will automatically stop if anyone is spotted trying to take a selfie.
The entry to the park, this is where you’ll find the Emporium, the park’s largest shop, and food options and street entertainers.
It’s also home to the Haunted Hotel, which is sadly not one of Dubai’s latest hospitality spots, although the makers have said they may consider late-night events in future. However cheesy and un-scary it initially appears, there are plenty of frights and all-out grossness here. I won’t ruin it by describing the scenes that await, but there is one room that wouldn’t be out of place in some of the worst (by that I mean best) horror films made. It’s brought to life by an amazing cast of actors, and some choice smells. This isn’t a ride so much as an attraction that you walk through — although you definitely won’t linger.
The Marvel zone is a space dedicated to everything Avengers and Spider-Man; it’s modelled on a New York streetscape, and hence you’ll also find some good pretzels, as well as a shop with thousands of Marvel memorabilia items.
The Battle of Ultron ride, which was not open to test, is the first Avengers dark ride in the world. Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge takes riders on a 400-metre coaster through the New York skyline with the web-slinger; each car spins independently for an added thrill. Also in this zone are Thor Thunder Spin, deemed the park’s most head-spinning ride, in which a gondola of riders is flipped back-and-forth, up-and-down; and Hulk Epsilon Base 3D, a cinema in which an Imax screen wraps 360 degrees around the viewers.
Although it does bear some resemblance to a certain movie in which dinosaurs come to life and terrorise theme park patrons, the Lost Valley, the largest zone, is the brainchild of the owners of IMG Worlds of Adventure, the Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group. There are over 60 animatronic prehistoric creatures to take selfies with here, and you can explore more on the Forbidden Territory safari ride. Here also, are two of the park’s most intense rides, Predator, a vertical drop rollercoaster, and Velociraptor, which goes on a 1.1km outdoor track at 100km. For something more sedate, board the carousel and ride dinos instead of horses. The child in me would have loved to clamber all over the Adventure Fortress, a series of climbing platforms and slides.
Cartoon Network zone
Let’s say you’re only 10 years old, and have the soul of a theme-park junkie, if not the minimum height. What can you do? You’ll enjoy the Ben 10 5D Hero Time and Gumball rides. The former is an immersive cinema experience that takes users into the world of the TV boy hero.
If you don’t watch Ben 10, then, like me, you’ll be utterly baffled by the experience. Children, on the other hand, will probably want to do it over and over again. (Parents, my thoughts are with you.) Gumball is a point-scoring laser-shooting game that’s mild fun for the younger set. The really dinky types should head for Lazy Town, a large play area that will keep them busy for an hour, and the CN Live stage show (above) — it’s loud, colourful and full of song and dance.
What to eat
There are 28 separate places to eat in the park, which may make you have to make a tough choice between eating, and riding the likes of the beyond-vertical Predator. Each zone has dedicated eateries along its theme: Lost Valley is dedicated to carnivores, for example, and CN Feast is aimed at families.
My tour included lunch at Samosa House on IMG Boulevard, a spot with rickshaws for seating and variations on the popular Indian pastry snack (how about lobster and crab, Dh40; broccoli, cheese and basil, Dh30; kheema, Dh25; or spiced chocolate, Dh20?). I loved the samosa pao, a pair of warm, soft, buttered bread rolls with crisp Punjabi samosas inside. With a good level of spice and crunchy shells, they are Dh18.
*Entry to the park is Dh300 (Dh250 for children, and free for those under 3). VIP tours and annual passes will be launched on opening day.