IMG Worlds of Adventure and Global Village
After getting in relatively late from Yas Island the night before, there was no rest for the weary and I was up early the next morning to head to my first park of the day: IMG Worlds of Adventure.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
So IMG does have a shuttle but I’ve read multiple reports about it being unreliable, either showing up late or just not showing up, so I just bit the bullet and took an Uber. Like all of the other Ubers I took it was relatively cheap and easy! I ended up showing up to the park about 15 minutes before opening, giving me plenty of time to get my ticket and settle in at the turnstyles. The park itself is really impressive looking, being this massive multicolored building with a Mack launched coaster out front but I can see why they have attendance issues. The place is literally in the middle of the desert. Naturally, since this is in Dubai, there’s a massive mall being built next door but besides that, it’s a big trek out from the city, which presumably makes it a less attractive option for locals or tourists. The park was pretty dead all day for me with the only big group being a group of girls from a local school.
But regardless, the time for opening quickly came and after a quick show featuring Marvel Superheroes (Iron Man and Black Widow), dinosaurs and Cartoon Network Characters (Gumball I think), I immediately headed to the Marvel area to knock out the first of the credits I needed.
Spider-Man: Doc Ock’s Revenge
For my first ride of the day I chose this Gerstlauer spinner. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it’s an exact clone of Sierra Sidewinder at Knotts. And just like Sierra Sidewinder it was good fun without being too spinny for me. I did like this ride much better due to the theming in the queue and ride itself.
The majority of the ride sits in a show building but the best part of the ride is when it pops out from the facade, does a quick turnaround over the midway and enters the show building facade again, except this time the hole in the building has foreboding looking claws attached.
After riding Spider-Man, it was time to go knock out Predator, the park’s Eurofighter. It still was extremely dead at this point with employees almost certainly outnumbering guests. But after a couple of minute wait to get enough riders to send a train, we headed off.
Overall this was a fairly forgettable Eurofighter being a clone of Untamed I’d ridden at Canobie Lake Park. I will give the park credit for ride signs since both Predator and Velociraptor featured top notch signs.
And now it was time to round out the coasters at the park and hit a milestone for me: 300 coasters! I chose to hit this number on Velociraptor since I was really excited to get on my first Mack launched ride. Enthusiasts like to diss Blue Fire and its clones for having a forceless launch and being rough but I found it to be the opposite. I sat in the front seat for my first ride and the back for my second and found the launch punchy and the layout interesting. The inversions gave some good forces and there was a good airtime moment or two. The restraints were also extremely comfortable which is always a plus for a ride. The preshow before the launch was a little cheesy but I appreciate the effort that they certainly didn’t need to do. Overall I was very happy with the ride.
After riding I wanted to buy my picture since it was my #300 but amusingly the credit card machine refused to take my card. Eventually the attendant gave up, printed my picture out and told me to come back later when hopefully he’d have it working again (and he did later in the day).
After riding all of the coasters, it was time to hit the rest of the interesting rides in the park. And first on that list was Forbidden Territory, a dark ride set in the Lost Valley. The plot of the ride went something like this: a member of our expedition group had their jeep crash outside of our secure compound and are now stuck with the dinosaurs so we need to go rescue him. So we hop in our jeeps and go to save him. All is fine when we run across a few friendly dinosaurs and rescue our colleague but then we run into the T Rex who stalks us through the jungle until we manage to get away. Whereas most of the friendly dinosaurs are practical (the baby dinos animatronic is my favorite), the T Rex is mostly screen based which is understandable since they wanted to give him dynamic movements but would’ve been much cooler with more practical effects. It was an interesting ride without a doubt but it was also an extremely weird one, not to mention that we’re riding in a jeep but not only can our jeep move like a car but it also has the ability to smoothly rotate around its axis which I found amusing. Not a bad dark ride but definitely not one of my favorites on the trip.
At this point I stopped to eat lunch. Since I was starting to feel a little homesick for the US, I decided to head to something familiar that was in the park: Wingstop! Dubai is funny since it has sooooo many Western brands in its malls but even I wasn’t expecting Wingstop in a park!
And now for my most anticipated ride at the park. It’s no secret that I’m a big Marvel fan and a dark ride themed to the Avengers is right up my alley.
So after walking through the well themed queue we make our way to the preshow elevator (side note: Dubai loves elevators as preshows, this ride, Batman and Haunted Hotel all feature preshow elevators and that’s just off the top of my head) where Nick Fury explains that Ultron is attacking and we need to get him a prototype weapon that can stop Ultron.
So we board our 12 passenger vehicles which are mini Quinjets piloted by Hawkeye and Black Widow and get ready to head out. The vehicles are extremely interesting since I’ve never seen this vehicle configuration being used elsewhere. I won’t go too far into depth about the plot but the ride itself was just fine. Like dark rides like Spiderman or Jsutice League it does use a combination of screens and physical props but unlike those rides, Avengers tends to just use the physical props as surroundings instead of bringing them into the action itself. So the ride tends to feel like “watch this screen” then move past a broken building facade, then “watch another screen”.
The Marvel area here gives me huge flashbacks to IOA.
Next to Avengers is Tony’s Skydeck which is supposedly IMG’s highest class restaurant. But it wasn’t open the day I went and allegedly isn’t open much at all.
After riding Avengers I finished out the last of the rides in the Marvel area (minus the Quinjet spinning ride) by taking on Hulk. I knew that this was some sort of theater ride but I wasn’t sure what to expect. We enter a gamma base to watch a weapons demonstration but naturally our demonstration is hijacked by The Leader. We’re ferried into the main circular theater which functions as our escape pod. We strap in and watch as the circular dome above us plays the ride video. What I wasn’t expecting is that we’re sitting on a motion base which not only can tilt but can also spin. So we try to escape the Leader only to get saved by Hulk. At the end of my ride, the screen went black and they had to rotate the motion base back into position before they could let us off which is kind of funny. But I did really like this ride. I thought it was really unique and a concept that I think should come to more parks. It’s more unique and thrilling than a normal 3d theater while still having a small footprint.
Haunted Hotel is one of the most out of place rides in any park ever. It is located on IMG Boulevard which is this clean, modern cityscape until you get to this random haunted looking facade. Although I knew about the ride going into the park, I wasn’t sure whether it would be a walk through maze or a ride through ghost train style ride.
So after you go through another elevator preshow, you’re let out to walk through a traditional haunted house. Since it’s a permanent maze, they did a pretty good job with the theming and setup, having a couple of really interesting moves and also incorporating some screens. It’s clear that they saw this as some sort of franchise since this ride had more merchandise than any other ride in the park strangely enough. It’s definitely not HHN but is a fun and interesting maze that I wish more parks featured!
After finishing the Haunted Hotel I just needed to finish up the Cartoon Network area and then I could get some rerides on my favorites!
Okay so I have no idea what Adventure Time is but I saw the ride vehicles rolling over the Cartoon Network section of the park and I had to check it out. We board suspended 4 person ride cars and take a leisurely trip above the streets of the Cartoon Network area.
There’s some sort of story and a couple of shows scenes but they were wasted on me for sure and I just mostly enjoyed the birds eye view of the park.
Another ride based on an IP I didn’t know about. But this one was a lot more fun! In a preshow, it’s explained to us that Gumball created a device for his science fair that animates inanimate objects but that it’s out of control and we need to go through and zap the objects to deanimate them. So we ride around and shoot the objects. Overall it’s a fun shooting dark ride and it does an excellent job of mixing screens and physical targets, something it does better than many of the other shooting dark rides on the trip!
So after riding Gumball and getting done with riding all of the rides I cared about at the park, it was time to go around and ride rerides. I leave out my thoughts since nothing really felt much different on reride.
So overall IMG was a weird park. Like I mentioned there were so few people that I thought that it gave the park a really weird vibe. In addition to that I found it really strange that everything sold in the park was on sale. And I do mean everything. Even things like comic books and IP related items that you would expect to be included. This park’s money troubles haven’t been a secret for sure but that makes me wonder how much longer the park has. To be fair, it is currently the global shopping festival in Dubai but the signage gave no indication that that was the reason for the sales. And the lack of attendance is a shame.
Is this the best park ever built? No. But is it a really fun and well done park for what it is and worth a visit if you come to Dubai? Of course yes. I ended up staying longer than I expected, from opening at 10am to 6pm which goes to show how much there is to do at this park.
After IMG it was time to visit Global Village since it’s located only a mile or two from the park. This park is interesting since it’s more of a fair only being open for a couple of months of the year and featuring a mix of permanent and traveling rides. The defining feature of the park is definitely the Epcot like country section with most world countries having a booth and facade set up selling their country’s food and giving info about the country. Like you’d expect, more emphasis was put on the Middle East and Asia with the Americas getting one single booth to represent every country in North and South America. But after exploring the countries for a bit it was time to head over to the fair section to ride the coasters!
After getting my card and loading it with the money I needed I headed to the first coaster, Mumbai Express. This is an SBF spinner and actually the first one I’ve ever ridden. It was surprisingly fun actually and I’m actually kinda looking forward to riding more of these in the States!
And the biggest coaster at the park is London Loop, a Vekoma family boomerang. This ride was a ton of fun too. It felt pretty fast and was extremely smooth. I actually got a moment or two of airtime too. Wish I could’ve gone around again!
After riding both coasters I was extremely tired and decided to head back to my hotel to prep for another full day at the parks, this time at Dubai Parks and Resorts parks!