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Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:27 pm

So, I just thought that this would be a fun project for me to do. Anyway so, welcome to a little topic i've decided to do about the interesting and complex history surrounding Dubailand and what happened to it. Each post will explain the history surrounding each project that went on during its life, what went wrong, its possible future and what it was to include. I've decided to do it because this whole area interests me and i'd like to know more and take you guys along for the journey.

So the first project im going to talk about isn't a park, but the WHOLE of Dubailand itself. Each park will have a separate post, this one is just about the area.

Introduction
Dubailand was announced on October 23, 2003 and was part of a vision buy the Emir (basically the king) of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was stated that "Dubailand is a tourism, real estate, hospitality, entertainment, leisure and retail mega project under development in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It will cover an area of 3 billion square feet and its initial infrastructure will be built at a cost of AED 3 billion (£659,376,265). The Dubailand themepark area will contain 45 mega projects and over 200 sub projects, making it the most ambitious tourist destination ever created. Dubai land is being created to appeal to the widest audience of tourists, covering all age groups, nationalities and activities. On completion, Dubailand will be twice the size of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, making it the biggest theme/amusement park resort in the world. Dubailand is being built in 4 phases, each of which will last for 5 years. The first phase of development, from 2005 to 2010, will include the development of initial roads and infrastructure. This will follow with concentrating on the unique leisure and entertainment products until its completed in 2020."

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The various projects being built in Dubailand would have been categorized into six themed zones, each which focus on a different aspect of the Dubailand experience, these would have been:
Attractions World - Would feature a critical mass of themed and large-scale attractions
Experience World - encourage the growth of visits to other attractions within the world
Sports World - Would include a mix of sporting venues that will incorporate a dynamic program of international rugby, cricket and other sports tournaments as well as extreme sports activities.
Eco-Tourism World - Would comprise a series of nature and desert-based attractions
Themed Leisure/Vacation World - An area with lots of resorts
Entertainment World - Would be a mixed destination offering a variety of retail, dining and entertainment facilities.

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So what happened?
Well, construction did start on some of the projects going on inside the area, the first thing that got completed was the Dubailand sales office:

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Inside this building was a large model on what the area would look like when completed, and its pretty cool looking:

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After this planning permission was granted to start on many of the projects, these included themeparks, shopping malls, hotels, housing areas and golf courses. Most of these started construction and only a few got finished. However soon things started to go wrong...

Due to the Global financial crisis of 2008–2009, several mega projects in the area had been put on hold, including Dubailand, this came at a bad time, as lots of money had already been spent preparing for it. Only for it to end with no end result. As a result of it virtually all of the staff and workforce were fired, with people leaving the city rapidly.

Yet despite this, some projects continued to be made, some new ones even got announced (most of which didn't happen) and at this point, Dubai Properties Group took over Dubailand from Tatweer (the previous owners), resulting in some companies such as Six Flags, dropping out of the area.

So whats it like now?
Well, even though the theme parks never saw the light of day, the project still is going on. Some land had to be sold, just to stay alive, but the area is still massive. What did see the light of day were various housing compounds, schools and a golf course. The only (sort of) parks that did get completed were Dubai Miracle Garden, which is like a large flower show, and Global Village, a yearly event which hosts venues dedicated to various countries (Epcot style) with various rides scattered about. Image

The only themeparks that did start construction were Restless Planet (only the groundwork slightly started, when stopped was demolished and is now the site of IMG Worlds of Adventure), F1-X Dubai (which stopped halfway through the making of it, the corpse of it still remains) and Universal Studios Dubai (Groundwork got completed, now remains empty in the desert). A park that although was never part of Dubailand, IMG Worlds of Adventure, did get completed and is in the Dubailand area and opened earlier this year.

The Future?
Well, Dubai has recovered faster from the financial crisis than most other countries and now its economy is growing in a higher rate than its counterparts because of its zero tax policy and economic free zones. Construction resumed in mid-2013 and updates in 2013 show that $55 billion has been raised towards the works. Current estimates predict that a lot of Dubailand will open before 2020, however this isn't necessarily themeparks.

Even though some projects moved to Dubai Parks and Resorts, Dubailand is silently making a comeback, while once an ambitious project it was just a case of concept not meeting reality and thats a shame.

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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:39 pm

Thank you :) This is really interesting and such a great read.
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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:17 pm

A great read!!! Thanks!
Ride count 2017: 91!
Ride count since the beginning of 2015: 602!
Cred count: 63!

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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:47 pm

Thanks for posting this, really interesting. I eagerly await the next post!
 
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Marvel Superheroes Park Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:44 pm

So the first topic about a i've decided to talk about was the Marvel Superheroes Park, which was a planned indoor/outdoor park.

Introduction
Marvel Superheroes Park Dubailand was announced on March 22nd 2007 and as the name suggested it would be an entire park dedicated to the character from the Marvel Comics franchise. The park was expected to open in 2011 and was going to cost $1 billion, the first of its kind in the region, was being developed by U.S. based Marvel Entertainment Inc (who licensed the comic book heroes) and UAE-based construction and real estate company Al Ahli Group.
"Marvel is a brand that is recognised globally via its ever expanding list of superhero characters," said Mohamed Khammas, head of the Al Ahli Group, in a statement. "Now, it won't be much longer until the children in Pan Arabia and the world can experience new and exciting rides with Marvel's Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and many other superheroes right here in the UAE."

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The companies said the park would set a new standard for theme parks worldwide and will include new technology and unparalleled visitor experiences. This can be seen in the proposed park layout, as the areas of the park are "Crater Lake", "City of Superheroes", "Oasis of Magic" and "Marvel's Mythical Mountain", all look great. Surprisingly there is another land based on Nickelodeon properties dubbed "Nick Neighbourhood" which is obviously aimed at kids.

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The front gate of the park showed a night time setting.

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Towards the start of the park people would enter through an indoor section with lots of buildings, a New York if you will, and actors dressed as superheroes and villains would battle it out to save the day.

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Now in terms of rides, the concept art and information that I could find showed/suggested that there would be quite a few attractions. An easy first one would be a 4D cinema, such as those in Madame Tussauds.

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Another ride was a Spider-Man dark ride, probably would have been very similar to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.

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The Fantastic Four was going to have a ride, most likely it would have been a rollercoaster, if you look at the park map.

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The "Oasis of Magic" was to be a very green, calming area of the park as you can see.

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Iron Man would have had a ride in the park, by the looks of things, it would have been a Robo-Coaster themed to Stark Laboratories.

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The parks plan was to have a very interesting and stunning coaster in the "Crater Lake" section of the park. It was thought to have been a Maurer Söhne X-Car or a Euro-Fighter which would have plummeted into a underwater tunnel, Oblivion style. People have dubbed it as the "Underwater Coaster".

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This area was probably scrapped but I found it interesting anyway. An area dedicated to the comic storyline "Planet Hulk" was made on the drawing board, but I imagine this was scrapped early on and maybe was an expansion plan.

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So What Happened?

Well, after it was announced as part of the Dubailand lineup, billboards started to appear all over dubai promoting the parks construction.

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But after that, silence...
Nothing was heard about the park for quite some time, until 2011 where the project was revived! Into an indoor park with hardly any rides...... This park was now dubbed "Marvel City" and was more of an exhibition park, the only rides that were thought to be inside was the same 4D cinema from the previous park and a 360* 3D Thor ride.

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But then once again silence! Until 2012 when IMG group brought the rights to make the park and renamed it "Marvel Adventure", this park was to also be indoors, but also be an actual themepark. Not much is known about this other than the interior "dome" of the park was to be covered in LCD which display spectacular things. This park actually had its construction ceremony!

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But then the IMG group decided to pull the plug on the park, only to resurrect it as an area of a park that did actually get built IMG Worlds of Adventure.

So What's It Like Now and Is There a Future?
Well, the original location of the park was rumored to be part of an area with another 4 parks, which was never built and is currently desert.

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But the original vision did come to life at IMG Worlds of Adventure and included rides such as "Avengers: Battle of Ultron", "Spider-Man: Doc Ocks Revenge" and Thor: Thunder Spin to name a few, and i'm happy to say, it turned out great.

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While the likelihood of an actual, full, Marvel park in this area of the world is small, IMG has said they will expand and i'm sure that this also means for the Marvel section as well.

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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:45 pm

^ Great read, thank you.
 
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Freej Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:31 pm

Next up is a rather obscure park that never came to be, Freej Dubailand.

Introduction
Freej is a 3D animated Arabic TV show for children, the show is the tale of four old Emirati women living in a secluded neighbourhood in modern-day Dubai and they try to live a peaceful life in the midst of the ever-expanding city around them, but the city’s boom unveils new social issues every day that they would have to tackle in their own simple way.

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The show is incredibly popular over here and so some guy thought it would be a great idea to make a park based on these characters and so, on May 1st 2008, Tatweer,a member of Dubai Holding, announced Freej Dubailand, a four million sq ft family entertainment destination based on the much-loved animated characters. The development would be the first theme park to focus on Arab culture and creativity, heritage and achievement.

Saeed Al Muntafiq, Executive Chairman of Tatweer, said: "It is indeed a proud moment, not just for Tatweer but for the whole of the UAE that the success and popularity of a home grown product is being recognised with a dedicated world-class theme park."

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Freej Dubailand would boast hotels totalling 2,600 keys, and feature retail, food and beverage outlets, as well as a spectrum of entertainment attractions. Comprising 1.2 million sq feet of open space, it wouls welcome over two million visitors a day. (Ummm what? 2 million a day?? Typo, I guess!)

Mohammed Saeed Harib, the creator of Freej, said: “Tatweer’s decision to bring the Freej characters to life marks an extraordinary recognition of local creativity. The concept of this theme park comes as a natural progression of the show’s popularity that cuts across all age groups and genders. Reflecting world class standards and offering inspiring entertainment, we are confident the Freej theme park will prove to be as popular as its television counterpart.”

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Mohammed Al Habbai, CEO, Dubailand, said: “Freej Dubailand will add holistic value to the entire development, complementing Dubailand’s services and activities. As the first theme park born out of national talent, we consider this a landmark achievement.”

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In terms of rides, not much is known about the selection, if we look at the models then we can guess that there would be a log flume of some kind, an indoor roller coaster and maybe a couple of dark rides in the various areas. The areas would have been Window on UAE, Golden Age of Discovery, Myths and Legends, and the Land of Freej.

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So What Happened?

Like the Marvel Park, billboards started to appear around Dubai, promoting the place.

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And also like Marvel, silence!
Silence foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (and ever, ever, ever)

So What's It Like Now and Is There a Future?

Well, like Marvel, it was rumoured to be in an area with 4 other parks, which were never built and is currently desert.

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The Freej TV show is still running and is a massive success over here, they are even the mascots on the airline Fly-Dubai! The likelihood of the park returning is also, incredibly unlikely, but if it ever does come to life, I'm sure people of all ages would love it.

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Arabian Legends Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:50 am

Next up is Arabian Legends.

Introduction

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On April 18th 2004 Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) marked its entrance into Dubai, with the signing of a theme park resort in Dubailand, this park was to be called Arabian Legends.

"We are looking at an investment size of $1.5 billion in Arabian Legends," said CEO of GFH Esam Janahi. "We are committed to our shareholders to invest in real estate assets which promises high returns and we are confident that Dubailand is a sterling opportunity."

Also according to him the company would develop the theme park in line with its concept that emphasizes regional culture based on legendary themes and landscapes.

The concept of Arabian Legends is themed into five unique segments – Tales of the City, Tales of the Sea, Tales of the Desert, Tales of Adventure and Travel and Tales of the Future – offering rides and entertainment to visitors, the park was set to open in 2013.

Now, not much is known about this park as its information is scattered all around the place. At one point it was dubbed "Pharaohs Theme Park" where it would have had a heavy Egyptian theme to it.

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A water ride would have been at the park.
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Full park overview.
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But then on the other side of things, the actual Arabian Legends park looks like it would have been an indoor/outdoor park (the city and houses not included) Image

Some more concept art.

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So What Happened?
Well, unlike Marvel and Freej, this park only had the model in the dubailand sales center as its promotion. An office for the park did get built and lots of behind the scenes work was going on to make the park seem like a reality, more contractors were getting in on the project and they ended up announcing 2 more parks (Legends of Nature and Legends of the World) as well as changing the first parks name to "Legends of Arabia".

But then as always, silence....

So What's it Like Now and Is There a Future?

Well the original location of the park still exists (even though its just desert) and the housing project actually got completed and is now available for people to move in!

But what about the possibility of the park? Well the location is literally right across the road from where IMG Worlds of Adventure is, so they have teamed up together and in the IMG Worlds of Legends park, a whole area of it is dedicated to the "Legends of Arabia".

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While the original park will never come to be, IMG is really honouring the past of Dubailand and this story of the world, so look forward to the future.

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F1-X Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:53 pm

Sorry for the long hiatus, but I'm back! This time we look at F1-X Dubai.

Introduction

F1-X Dubai was a proposed theme park, dedicated to the theme of Formula One and was announced in October 2006. The park was to be built by Union Properties and was being designed and developed by several leading F1 teams.

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"We are delighted to be able to bring the world of Formula One, past and present, to the public," Said Bernie Ecclestone, The President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration. "F1-X is sure to be an exciting place for families, adults, children, and anyone who enjoys adventure and is open to experiencing something completely different in entertainment."

"F1-X will allow visitors to eXplore and eXperience the world of Formula One like never before. From eXtreme thrills to eXhibits, from shows and ceremonies to interactive eXpos, guests can decide whether to participate or spectate. Whether they are a fan of F1 wanting to get closer to the action or simply seeking the ultimate in family eXhilariation, fun and entertainment, F1-X Dubai will have it."

According to designs the park would be the home to 3/4 rollercoasters. A duelling racing coaster, a "vintage coaster" and a Launch Tower coaster.

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The park would have been designed to feel like a F1 paddock and each ride/attraction would fit the spirit of F1

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Layout of the park

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Walkway with a looping coaster

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The launch tower coaster.

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The entrance

Other rides at the park would include simulators, a water ride, a go-kart track, exibits and live shows which would bring the park to 270 hours of productions.

So What Happened?

For me, this is one of the most unlucky and interesting situations the park had, because this park actually started construction!

Yes, this was one of the only parks in Dubailand to start construction, it started in late 2007/early 2008 and was slated for opening in late 2009. Billboards advertising the park started appearing around town, and building picked up rapidly.

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Buildings were going up fast, advertising was going up and track for the coasters had been ordered and some were even delivered to the site!

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But then, everything just crumbled. In March 2009, it was reported that the site's originally planned opening in the third quarter of that year would be delayed as banks and other investors had pulled funding for the Dubailand project. This and the economic crisis made the future of the park look bad. The final nail in the coffin was only an hour away down the road, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi opened in 2010 and had the worlds fastest coaster at its location, this and the fact that both parks had a similar theme made the project pretty redundant.


So Whats It Like Now and Is There a Future?

Sadly the park now sits abandoned with its buildings left half completed.
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Its quite strange as I pass the site everyday on my way to school! This is what it looked like only a week ago.

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As for those coaster pieces, I've heard that some are still there and rusting away. (Such a waste....)
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However that red track actually got reissued to Belantis in Germany and opened as "Huracan"
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But now for some good news...
Dubai Union Properties have renewed plans to build a "motor racing themepark" in the Motor City part of Dubailand. The company said that it is currently developing a feasibility study for the project, which was cancelled in 2013, used to be dubbed as "F1-X Dubailand" and was actually left 30% completed. The masterplan will be revised however, making the original theme park designs smaller and more affordable while relocating half the land for mixed-use development. So maybe this is the start of a 'rebirth' of Dubailand!

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Re: Disney's Arabia/Dubai Disneyland - What Happened? The Gu

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:04 pm

Completely forgot about this topic, so I thought for this iteration of the guide, I'd talk about a park that didn't actually get announced, in fact, concept art for the park only surfaced in 2014. This park is often completely overlooked, so with out further ado, here is Disney's Arabia, or Dubai Disneyland.

Introduction

So Disney likes to expand its brand with new parks, so its no surprise that Disney is looking at various new locations to place its parks. A rumour came about that locations for new parks would be located in South Africa, India and Dubai, all of which were pretty much denied by Disney.
However....

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In 2014, A user on the Themeparx forum posted a link that went over to a blog about Disney parks and more, which shared a number of potential concept art pieces apparently providing a visual representation of what a Disneyland Dubai would look like.

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Now, whats interesting is that these images were allegedly designed by Favilli Studio, a company that often works with Disney to create concept art for, I find it strange how is you look at this video the art work is strikingly similar to these concept art images.

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This by the looks of things would be the entrance of the park, taking inspirations from classic Disney parks, the film Aladdin, as well as from Arabia in general. Things like this is what made some people dubbed the park as "Disney's Arabia".

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The park would blend into each other well, with live entertainment everywhere.

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The Castle its self would have a 'very Arabian' feel to it, being inspired from Aladdin.

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A 'Jungle Cruise' type of ride would be present

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The Tomorrowland area would have more of a Star Wars theme to it.

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As well as a Cars Land area of the park.

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And an indoor Pixar section.

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Heres a partial overview.

So What Happened?

Literally nothing.

The park was never officially announced, it might not even be real. However, if this is real, it was most likely a side plan to have in the bag, incase Dubailand suddenly blew up and became a massive hit. Or maybe they just want to see how well Dubai Parks and Resorts will do incase they want to throw their hat in the ring.

So Whats It Like Now and Is There a Future?

Non-existant.

As for a possible future park, Disney have stated that they aren't any plans for a park in Dubai, however it is an "Attractive market for possible future development". Professinals have stated that "Dubai needs a Disneyland if it’s to attract regional visitors in great numbers beyond the Expo 2020 in order to survive", so maybe things will change in the future.

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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:03 pm

I love reading these. Its so fascinating. Thank you so much :)
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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:43 pm

Yes likewise. Moved to this forum as think it is relevant.
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Re: Dubailand - What Happened? The Guide

Mon May 15, 2017 2:09 am

I actually had never heard of Dubailand before. I've known and quite familiar with Dubai Parks and Resorts and have already seen many of the arts for Dubai Disneyland though! I don't think that Disney would have wanted to open up in Dubailand though, there would be serious competition as well as the failed Universal Studios project. All very interesting though...

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