Shaikha Al Shamsi, head of destination marketing at Motiongate, with Po the panda Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Want to go for a ride? How about 27 of them?

This October, motiongate Dubai, a 1.9 million square foot theme park (that’s the size of 24 football pitches, for those wondering), is opening its doors to the public. And we got the virtual tour.

Alongside the rides (listed below), there will be comedy, music and kids shows. Guests can experience all this through five different zones, featuring titles from three major film studios: Lionsgate, DreamWorks and Sony Pictures. (Not surprisingly for Dubai, this is the first time that this has been done anywhere in the world.)

The park will be open all year long, rain or shine; staff are even being trained to deal with sand storms.

21 of the attractions will be indoors, 12 of them at the DreamWorks building, which stands at 450,000 square feet. (200 performers will be hired from around the world, and about 4,200 overall jobs created; 1,000 of those will go to Emiratis.)

Don’t rush online to try and find tickets just yet. We’re told that the season ticket passes will be released soon, and that prices will be comparable to what’s being sold on the market.

Motiongate is part of the Dh10.5 billion project, Dubai Parks and Resorts. The area, located in Jebel Ali between Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport, will also feature Legoland Park, Legoland Water Park, Bollywood Parks Dubai (another theme park), Riverland Dubai (a walkway of shops and restaurants) and Lapita Hotel, a Polynesian-themed resort that will also open in October.

It’s not to be confused with IMG Worlds of Adventure, the upcoming 1.5 million square foot themed entertainment destination in Dubailand that will feature attractions by Marvel, Cartoon Network, etc. Or the 20th Century Fox theme park to be opened sometime before Expo 2020 by Al Ahli Holding Group.

Without further ado, get to know the five zones and what you can expect at each one:


The entry point into the theme park, Studio Central replicates a New York City movie set — from the architecture to the costumes.

Early birds will be welcomed with a song-and-dance Broadway-style show, taking you into the golden age of Hollywood.

You might even be scouted and cast in an interactive roaming show by what they call the Backlot Crew. Beware of the eccentric director.

On a more practical note, you can grab strollers, cameras, batteries, sunscreen, souvenirs and a bite to eat before you head in.


Number of attractions: Seven

Ideal for: Fans of the supernatural.

The Green Hornet — High-Speed Chase: A super speedy, super twisty rollercoaster — a classic.

Ghostbusters: Battle For New York: If you’ve ever wanted to shoot up ghosts, this is the ride for you. It’s another family-friendly, interactive dark ride. Just aim and blast.

Hotel Transylvania: A dark and chaotic ride through the world’s only monster hotel.

Zombieland: Blast Off!: A 58-metre free-fall ride. They’re going to launch you into the sky and let you free-fall down — but what happens there is still a surprise.

Underworld 4D: A multi-sensory theatre experience in 4D, so that you can experience vampires and werewolves with practically all your senses. Effects include seat vibration, air blasts, mist, wind and a light show.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs: River Expedition: A ride for the whole family — get splashed as you go through the Swallow Falls on an inflatable raft.

Flint’s Imagination Lab: For those who want to play at being scientists for the day, step inside here and mess around with supersized foam food items.


Number of attractions: Five

Ideal for: Kids and parents and families.

Smurfs Studio Tour: Get behind the scenes of a working Smurfs studio with this family ride.

Smurfs Village Playhouse: Kids can make friends with animated Smurfs in this interactive, live theatre show. That means they can talk to them while you kick back and relax.

Smurfs Village Express: A mini rollercoaster for first timers, scaredy-cats and children alike. A good initiation into the big, bad world of theme park-ing.

Woodland Play Park: What’s better than an old-school playground to keep the kids happy? Think rope bridges, slides and mushroom houses.

Smurfberry Factory: Large foam Smurfberries roaming around for you to play with. Enough said.


Number of attractions: 12

Ideal for: People who love wild animals, forests and fantastical settings — especially all three at once.

Shrek’s Merry Fairy Tale Journey: An immersive, dark ride that tells the love story of our favourite ogres: Shrek and Fiona.

Swamp Celebration: If you’re feeling adventurous, get inside this family-friendly, hollowed-out log that spins and slides.

Madagascar Mad Pursuit: One of the fastest rollercoasters in the theme park — with some turbulence. Get ready for a windy ride full of sharp turns.

Melman Go-Round: Join the Madagascar characters on this animated carousal ride.

Penguin Air: Rotating, hang glider aircraft. Another one for the whole family.

Kung Fu Panda: Unstoppable Awesomeness: Inside the Valley of Peace, you’ll find this multi-sensory theatre experience. The film, in 3D, is being made especially for the UAE by the DreamWorks team in California.

Mr. Ping’s Noodle Fling: The good ol’ teacup ride, except this time with noodle bowls. You decide how fast you want to spin.

Kung Fu Panda Academy: Does your kid want to learn kung fu fighting with the best of them? They can learn with the help of Po during this live and interactive stage show.

Dragon Gliders: Inside the Village of Berk (yes, it’s being recreated indoors) is this suspended steel rollercoaster, attached to the roof, so that you can fly over tree tops. You’ll feel like you’re flying with the dragons themselves.

Camp Viking: A water-play fortress that’s moored on the banks of a lake inside the village. Kids can play around in wet and dry areas.

Swinging Viking: Another classic — a swinging Viking ship that will rock you up and down.

Fountain Of Dreams: A multimedia fountain that goes through your favourite DreamWorks characters.


Number Of Attractions: Three

Ideal For: Hunger Games fans. And dance lovers. But mostly, Hunger Games fans.

Capitol Bullet Train (Hunger Games): An explosive roller coaster ride that goes backwards and takes you on a 360-degree turn. Not for the faint of heart.

Panem Aerial Tour: A 3D, state-of-the-art simulator ride that will recreate the feeling of riding in a soaring hovercraft.

Step Up Dubai: All In!: Taking place inside of a 1,000 capacity venue, Step Up Dubai: All In! is a stage show featuring hip-hop dancers, pop singers and rap stars.