Dubai’s delayed IMG Worlds of Adventure theme park to open early 2016

The park, which has appointed a new chief executive, was originally due to open in 2011.

The installation of the 69 state-of the-art dinosaur in the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zone, marks one of the final stages of completion for the theme park. Courtesy IMG
Powered by automated translation

Dubai’s IMG Worlds of Adventure has pushed back its planned opening date to early 2016, about two years after it completed the steel frame of the main building in the theme park.

The park that is set to feature Marvel comic heroes, Cartoon Network characters and dinosaurs, has appointed Lennard Otto, the former general manager of Al Ain’s Wadi Adventure, as its new chief executive.

Mr Otto, who is being promoted from his role of general manager, will be the park’s first chief executive. He joined the company in April 2015 after working at Wadi Adventure for five years.

The 1.5 million square feet theme park is located in Dubailand on the outskirts of Dubai.

The company agreed a Dh1.2 billion syndicated loan to build the park in April last year.

In August 2013, the park owners Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari (IMG) Group said that it had completed the giant dome- shaped steel roof skeleton and the park was scheduled to open in early 2014. The date was subsequently revised to late 2014 and then 2015.

In a statement, the company said: “IMG Worlds of Adventure has evolved from being a 1.2 million sq ft project, when it was first announced, to being a colossal 1.5 million sq ft containing four zones: Marvel; Cartoon Network; Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure; and IMG Boulevard. The IMG Worlds of Adventure offering has been substantially expanded and, as is natural with a project of this scale and size, construction times have adjusted accordingly.”

IMG said that the scope of the project had been increased to include 28 eateries and 25 shops. The number of parking spaces was also doubled to 4,500, while the ride mix was also increased.

Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, after IMG bought the rights to use Marvel characters as a theme for its rides.

Designed as the first phase of its City of Arabia scheme, which was also to include a 4 million sq ft shopping mall, the park was originally due to open in 2011.

The delay is likely to put IMG Worlds of Adventure in competition with Dubai Parks & Resorts’ 25 million sq ft theme park complex which is currently being developed in Jebel Ali and which is also due to open next year.

Last week Dubai Parks reported that it had completed 50 per cent of construction work at the complex.

IMG said that in his new role, Mr Otto will oversee the strategic vision, direction and operational leadership of the park.

“As the first world-class theme park in Dubai to open next year, we will offer our guests an interactive and immersive entertainment experience,” Mr Otto said. “I am also excited for the future development of the park as I believe we have a highly replicable model that we can look to take into a global space in the future.”

Phil Taylor, managing director at Team Leisure, said: “IMG found itself at the front of the queue to build the first major theme park in Dubai. If a theme park ticks all the boxes and provides family entertainment, people can become loyal quickly, and IMG seems in danger of losing first-mover advantage.”

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter