Having visited Orlando 9 times and worked a summer at Universal Studios, it’s fair to say I love theme parks. So off I went to check out IMG Worlds of Adventure, which proudly brands itself as the world’s largest indoor theme park, spread across 1.5 million square feet (that’s 28 football pitches). Protected from the Dubai heat, this theme park is in a fully air-conditioned giant warehouse, only 15 minutes from central Dubai.
It will set you back 245AED for a day ticket BUT if you are working over here as a teacher or any other government employee then you will get a sweet discount down to 165AED. Which reminds me, if you have a gov ID then ask for discount everywhere. We have been saving a lot in the last week since my other half got his ID through.
IMG has three different adventure zones; Marvel, Cartoon Network and the Lost Valley. It then has IMG Boulevard which is full of fun eateries and shopping outlets, as well as the Haunted Mansion which is an immersive live actor haunted house. Overall, there are 22 rides, 25 retail outlets, and 28 places to buy food and drinks.
For the big kids, you’ll be wanting to head straight for the biggest roller coaster which is in the Lost Valley. The adrenaline pumping Velociraptor loads you onto the ride inside before thrusting you outside into the hot Dubai desert. This was definitely my favourite. For anyone who has been on Rita at Alton Towers, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney or The Hulk at Universal – it has a similarly powerful and sudden launch, reaching 100kmph in 2.5 secs, with lots of twists and turns to follow.
My second favourite ride has to be Predator, their second roller coaster. With a 90 degree start, sudden drops and exhilarating rolls, this one is very much like Saw at Thorpe Park.
Moving on to Marvel, you can encounter Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Spiderman across this collection of rides and eateries. We literally ran in excitement for Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge. This ride has you spinning and swinging through the New York city skyline with Spider-Man in a 4 person rotating car. Due to the nature of the ride, if you caught a spin whilst on a twist in the track, you were in for an extra thrill. Certainly, a ride not to be missed. Think Sonic Spinball Whizzer at Alton Towers, Dragon’s Fury at Chessington, or an adapted version of Primeval Whirl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Whilst in the Marvel area be sure to try out the 360-degree 3D Hulk Epsilon Base, Thor Thunder Spin and The Avengers Battle of Ultron too.
The Cartoon Network area does host rides for a slightly younger audience, with the likes of Ben 10 as their main attraction. But don’t be put off the kiddies rides, even if you’re visiting with no little ones in tow. Two of my favourite rides were in this area. The Powerpuff Girls Robot Rampage was a spinning sensation that surprisingly didn’t give me travel sickness like I had anticipated. Then there was The Amazing Ride of Gumball which is your classic, every-theme-park-must-have, laser beam shooting ride. Our scores were definitely much higher than the kids sat in front of us on that one.
Food wise, the park is home to over a dozen high-quality restaurants. We opted for Chang’s Golden Dragon, which is a Chinese restaurant in the Marvel area. We selected spring rolls to start, followed by the sweet and sour chicken, kung pao chicken and two rice dishes which came to around 130AED. The menu itself is in comic book style, the food was truly superb and the price was fairly reasonable for a sit-down dinner inside a park.
The park was open 11am-11pm on the day we visited and gradually got busier nearer late afternoon, though for most rides we pretty much didn’t queue. There were just 2 rides that had us queue about 15 mins each. Hence, I’d recommend you don’t buy the fast pass. If you end up needing it, you can always get it later in the day.
So is IMG Worlds of Adventure worth a visit? If you like theme parks then you should check this place out. For your planning purposes, you likely wouldn’t expect to spend longer than half a day here. It probably falls short of being on par with the worlds greatest parks; that’s simply down to the limitations of being indoors, alongside finer details like colleagues being in an IMG uniform rather than ride themed costumes. But it is great to have access to a theme park for some quick thrills and we did have an awesome time doing something different in Dubai.
If you’re after more theme park fun in the area, then you can also visit Motion Gate at 235AED for a day ticket. Most of the rides look like they’re smaller so we won’t be heading to this one just yet, but do let me know your thoughts if you go!
I am also eagerly awaiting the opening in 2018 of Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, which will feature six immersive lands: Metropolis and Gotham City, inspired by the universe of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains; Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, and Dynamite Gulch, themed after iconic animated properties such as Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera; and Warner Bros. Plaza, reminiscent of old Hollywood, where these seminal characters and stories were originally brought to life.
You can always check out more of what I have been up to on my IG: @LondonJem