Why You Shouldn't Buy a Ticket to Motiongate Dubai Just Yet
The Middle East's biggest Hollywood theme park opened in December 2016, a big deal considering the Universal Studios planned for Dubai was eventually abandoned. So I got myself down there this past weekend to check it out.
motiongate is part of Dubai Parks and Resorts (which also has Legoland, Legoland Waterpark and Bollywood Parks, as well as its dining and entertainment hub, Riverland, plus Polynesian-style hotel Lapita) and situated out in Jebel Ali.
Theme parks can be somewhat overwhelming so when I arrived I armed myself with a map to make sure I could strategically plan the day around what rides were a must-do and what could be missed depending on when my friend and I tired ourselves out.
There are four main areas, Columbia Pictures, Smurf Village, Dreamworks and Lionsgate so we basically prioritized by avoiding rides which had no minimum height requirement. Beginning with Columbia and working our way around, we jumped on the Green Hornet ride (no Ryan Reynolds included) - a speedy one but steep drops or looping upside down so it was an ideal one to get the heart rate up.
Also in the same zone is Zombieland and the Ghostbusters rides, both of which happened to be out of order when we came by to give them a whirl so we settled for watching performances of the Backlot Beat crew singing and dancing to Smurfs and Ghostbusters. Luckily, after checking out a few other places, they were in use again.
Zombieland Blast-Off is especially thrilling and the type of ride that you won't want to eat a heavy meal before going on. With a sudden 56m drop, it's sure to send flutters through your stomach, if not much worse. From high up there you can see there's still quite a bit of work to be done on the park – for example the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs River Expedition is still in testing mode.
The Ghostbusters: Battle For New York game gives park-goers the opportunity to gun down ghouls on various screens while being wheeled around the attraction. Another experience worth checking out is the Underworld 4D cinema experience… but I'll refrain from providing any spoilers.
Dreamworks is mainly a place for the young ones but we enjoyed the Madagascar Hot Pursuit ride so much that we went on a twice. This one is shoots off like a bullet to begin with and goes on a super exciting roller coaster ride indoors that will leave you screaming so much you'll want to hide the screens showing your mid-ride photograph.
When heading over to the Lionsgate zone, it was only then that we discovered it wasn't ready yet. Annoying, seeing at The Hunger Games rides and attractions were one of the main reasons I wanted to visit motiongate. Fans of the Step Up movies will be happy to know that the stage shows are in progress but I'd hold on to my money if I were you and wait until the park is in Phase 2 (expected at some point in the first quarter of 2017). Right now it seems there are more merchandise stores and dining outlets open than anything and as there were not many people there on a Saturday afternoon, we didn't particularly need to use our fast-track passes to bypass queues. So if you hate long lines, don't want to pay the extra price, and are not obsessed with Katniss Everdeen, perhaps now is a good time to visit.
Check the website to see which rides are and are not open now and see the photo gallery for more of what's inside.