There can be few better settings for roller coasters, themed attractions and big budget rides than a city where bigger, better and faster has almost become a mantra. Dubai has been steadily ramping up its attractions over the last few years with a bumper crop of new family theme parks and immersive experiences for big kids opening apace, including IMG Worlds of Adventure, Motiongate, Dubai Safari Park and even the city’s very own Crystal Maze. Visitors can expect everything from rides recreating the Hunger Games film trilogy or Avengers super hero movies to the world’s highest water slide, zip line and roller coaster. With that in mind, here we look at the most exciting rides to make a beeline for on a trip to the emirate...
Ride of your life
Jumeirah Sceirah, Wild Wadi Water Park
The epic Jumeirah Sceirah water slide proved so popular after it first opened that Wild Wadi Water Park decided to add a tandem chute and lengthen it to make it twice as fun. The ride’s clever standing trap-door start is probably the scariest part, with visitors required to stand in a tube at the top of a high Arabian-esque wind tower waiting for the floor to give way beneath their feet.
Capitol Bullet Train, Motiongate
Dubai’s recently-opened Motiongate theme park is akin to Florida’s Universal Studios (which incidentally scrapped plans to open a Dubai branch several years ago). Instead of rides based on Universal Pictures, Motiongate takes its inspiration from the hit movies created by DreamWorks, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures. This jewel in the new theme park’s crown is a new rollercoaster from renowned ride-makers Mack that uses state-of-the-art magnetic technology to recreate the super-smooth sonic speed of the Capitol Bullet train from the popular Hunger Games film trilogy.
The Dragon, Legoland Dubai
For family-orientated rides with few height or age restrictions, head to Dubai’s Legoland for its superbly-themed Adventure Land attractions such as Submarine Adventure, Lost Kingdom Adventure, and the Merlin’s Challenge mini coaster. Big kids will love The Dragon steel rollercoaster that begins inside an enchanted castle before flying around the grounds at break-neck speed.
The Velociraptor, IMG Worlds of Adventure
A Jurassic Park-style ride with some primeval landscape theming and 3D dinosaur imaging, this outdoor coaster in the Lost Valley is actually part of the world’s largest indoor theme park – IMG Worlds of Adventure. The rollercoaster’s rapid start is preceded by a T-Rex turning to roar, at which point the Velociraptor wastes no time in tearing out into the Dubai desert, performing a series of death-defying and disorientating twists and turns, high climbs and loop-the-loops that will have you screeching and hanging on for dear life.
Atlantean Flyer, Aquaventure Waterpark
On a drowsy day under the desert sun, the whoosh of air and flash of excitement offered by the Atlantean Flyer zip lines is just the antidote. Dropping from 20 metres up above Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis The Palm, it’s one of the Middle East’s longest zip lines, and when you get tired of climbing up the tower and zooming over the park, there are a few cool water-coasters to try out too.
Madagascar Mad Pursuit, Motiongate
Super fast and half in the dark, the brand new Madagascar Mad Pursuit ride is themed around the animated Madagascar movies and designed by renowned rollercoaster makers Gerstlauer especially for Dubai’s Motiongate theme park. Although the indoor non-inverting infinity coaster doesn’t go upside down, it’s still one of the best new indoor white knuckle rides in the Middle East. Clever illusions give riders the feeling of tumbling through whirlpools and wormholes.
Jumble, Al Barsha
Also new to Dubai, Jumble was inspired by the city’s escape-room fad and offers a similar experience to the TV show Crystal Maze. Working against the clock, teams of 3-6 people tackle a choice of 30 fun mental and physical challenges contained in different rooms, each testing puzzle-solving skills, agility and strength.
The Aquaconda, Aquaventure Waterpark
Aquatic rides have obvious splash-appeal on the sun-scorched Arabian Peninsula, so it’s only natural Dubai should boast the world’s largest water slide. As its name suggests, the Aquaconda at Aquaventure Waterpark is a long snaking leviathan of a water chute with powerful jets sending rubber dingy rafts hurtling down a tunnel. Parts of the ride are pitch black and there’s a huge topsy-turvy half pipe to navigate before the final splashdown.
Avengers: Battle of Ultron, IMG Worlds of Adventure
Fans of the marvel comics and films are in for a real treat at Dubai’s IMG Worlds of Adventure, which has a whole zone dedicated to them. Similar to the Transformers ride at Universal Studios, the Avengers: Battle of Ultron experience is a motion simulator ride through a series of dark sets using 3D surround-animation to place you right in the heat of the Avengers battle and features all your favourite superheroes including Iron Man, Hulk and Thor.
Elephant drive-through, Dubai Safari Park
Part of the Safari Village, which is the main drive-through attraction at the brand new state-of-the-art Dubai Safari Park, the elephant exhibit boasts the largest herd of big friendly giants in the UAE. This delightful experience is one of several interactive animal attractions at the new Dubai Safari Park where you can watch the elephants eat, play, swim and even have a mud bath, while an experienced guide explains what you are witnessing.
If you’re still hungry for thrilling rides after you’ve tried all of the above, Ferrari World in the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi has yet more record-breaking attractions including the world’s steepest coaster with the highest loop and the Formula Rossa, billed as the planet’s fastest rollercoaster.