Dubai's amazing range of kid-friendly attractions has been drawing in families for years, so it's hard to believe that this destination could get any better for parents and children. However, thanks to the arrival of an impressive six new theme parks, that's exactly what looks set to happen.
Most of these parks will be located within the brand new Dubai Parks and Resorts complex - a huge entertainment and leisure facility located opposite Palm Jebel Ali, all due to open October 2016. The final park is an indoor extravaganza that's said to be the world's largest indoor theme park.
Dubai Parks and Resorts - a snapshot
Easily accessible from Dubai International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport and central Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts is set to attract more than four million visitors in its first year alone. And it's little surprise, considering that will be home to three major theme parks, in addition to the Legoland Water Park, which will be part of the wider Legoland theme park, and Riverland Dubai, an entertainment and leisure facility that links the various parks together.
Now, we will take a look at the five parks in total that make up Dubai Parks and Resorts, as well as IMG Worlds of Adventure, the indoor theme park set to take the emirate by storm.
Dubai's new theme parks
Best for: Movie lovers.
Spanning just under two million square feet and including 27 attractions, Motiongate has partnered with Sony Picture Studios, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate to create an incredible mix of movie-themed experiences. Everything from roller coasters and water rides to multimedia theatre and interactive play labs are available here, giving the whole family a chance to step into the exciting world of film.
Motiongate is split into five zones, which each offers something different. In Studio Central, for instance, you can explore the golden age of Hollywood and the world of filmmaking with theatrical shows, executive offices and more.
Over in Sony Pictures Studios, meanwhile, you and the children can have a host of high-octane adventures as you enjoy rollercoasters, water rides and shows that give you the chance to battle alongside the ghostbusters, take on vampires and much more.
Kids who love the Smurfs, meanwhile, can enter their magical village to discover five great attractions, including interactive play zones that little ones are bound to love.
Entirely indoors, the DreamWorks zone again offers something different. Enjoy rides and attractions based on four family hits - How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. Finally, there's the Lionsgate Films zone, which boasts not only thrilling attractions based on The Hunger Games, but a stunning live stage show.
Best for: Bollywood fans, and families looking for something a little different.
This theme park is particularly exciting because there's nothing quite like it anywhere in the world. This is a place where families can explore the world of Bollywood blockbusters by soaking up the entertainment, attractions and rides across five colourfully themed zones.
The zones are: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios featuring Hall of Heroes. What's particularly nice is that each offers a different way to experience the world of Bollywood. In the Boulevard, for instance, you can enjoy a mix of live entertainment and vibrant places to eat.
Speaking of places to eat, Mumbai Chowk lets you explore the celebrated streets of Mumbai, with its tempting food and excellent shopping. In Rustic Ravine, meanwhile, there are a host of thrilling adventures to discover, including Babangg: Stunt Spectacular Show, which combines Bollywood songs and dance with daring stunts. Also not to be missed is Sholay: The Hunt for Gabbar Singh, a 3D interactive dark ride that lets you battle against villain Gabbar Singh with lasers.
Over in the Royal Plaza, you can experience the dazzling spectacle that is the Rajmahal Theatre. Here, you can see Dubai's first Broadway-style Bollywood musical. And the Bollywood Film Studios? This is the perfect place to find out all about how blockbusters are made.
Best for: Families with children aged two to 12.
The first Legoland in the Middle East, Legoland Dubai is set to be an absolute must-visit families. Specially designed with families with children aged two to 12 in mind, this fun-filled theme park is jam-packed with exciting things to do and see.
Rides, shows and building experiences and split across six zones, the first of which is Factory. Here, you and the children can learn all about how Lego bricks are made, and even visit the largest Lego shop in the Middle East - the perfect place to pick up a treat or two for the kids.
Over in Lego City, a host of exciting adventures await, including the chance to fly a plane or even get a Legoland Driving Licence. Imagination zone, meanwhile, is bound to be the star attraction for little ones and big kids alike who love to be creative. Why not build your own Lego race car - and test it out afterwards?
Head back to medieval times in Kingdoms to conquer dragons on exciting rollercoasters and much more, or visit Adventure zone to have a host of exciting escapades - including an underwater adventure. Lastly, don't miss Miniland, where you and your children can discover the entire city of Dubai reproduced with 20 million Lego bricks. Spot key landmarks, and watch models come to life at the press of a button.
Best for: Families with children aged two to 12.
Like Legoland Dubai, of which it is a part, Legoland Waterpark is designed for families with children aged two to 12. This makes it stand out from Dubai's other major water parks, which, while excellent, tend to cater largely to older children and adults. So, Legoland Waterpark provides younger families with somewhere they can fully enjoy.
Plus, as well as splashing about on family-friendly water rides, there are a host of other attractions - in fact, you can even have a go at building your own raft and seeing how well it sails! This interactive element is bound to be one that kids really love.
Best for: Families looking to relax, dine out and catch live entertainment.
Riverland Dubai connects the various theme parks in Dubai Parks and Resorts. Unlike the other parks, it's focused on providing families with a place to eat, explore and relax at their leisure, without rides and similar attractions.
However, there is plenty to do here. For instance, on the Boardwalk you can experience the charm of 1950s America, while the French village will take you all the way back to 17th century Europe. India Gate, meanwhile, will whisk you to Asia for family entertainment, shopping and casual dining, and the Peninsula provides a venue for outdoor festivals and concerts.
IMG Worlds of Adventures
Best for: Families with older children.
You'll find IMG Worlds of Adventure in central Dubai, next to Global Village, where it opens in August. Located entirely indoors, this theme park promises year-round fun protected from the intense heat of Dubai.
Like Motiongate, many of the attractions here have a movie theme and, as with the rest of the theme parks, the various rides and other entertainment are split into different zones, including Marvel and Cartoon Network, allowing you and your children to navigate by interest.
In the Marvel zone, you'll find rides themed around a host of favourite comic book characters, including Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor.
Over in the Lost Valley - Dinosaur Adventure zone, you can encounter all kinds of rides and attractions that'll whisk you back to the prehistoric age. These include the thrilling Velociraptor rollercoaster and the Adventure Fortress playground.
Other zones include Cartoon Network, where you can experience rides and attractions based on favourite like Adventure Time and Ben 10, and IMG Boulevard, which is the park's welcome zone - a good place eat and shop. Plus, the theme park is also home to a 12-screen cinema.
It's worth bearing in mind that there are height restrictions for most rides here, meaning it's best for families with older children.
How will these parks change Dubai for families?
The addition of so many family-focused attractions at once is bound to act as a huge draw for parents and kids alike. What's great about the selection of parks that are opening is the variety. Not only are there different themes spanning everything from Bollywood blockbusters to Lego, but there are attractions for virtually every age too. This is particularly appealing in terms of the Legoland Waterpark; after all, while there are plenty of excellent waterparks in Dubai, one that is designed specifically for younger children is fantastic for families.
Personally, I like particularly like the sound of IMG Worlds of Adventure, because the rides there seem fast-paced and span a nice range of themes. But to be honest, I'd like to visit them all!