Dubai: One of the hallmarks of the winter season here in the UAE is going to the amusement park. With the great weather staying with us for the next few months, it’s time to truly take advantage of winter and experience action-packed rides with friends and family.
The thrill of being upside down on a rollercoaster, the excitement on the faces of the kids and the smell of popcorn in the air. What’s not to love?
Bollywood Parks re-opens: What you need to know
One particular theme park, Bollywood Parks, is re-opening on Thursday just ahead of the weekend and Gulf News went down for an exclusive look at the new rides that the popular venue has to offer including one that breaks a world record.
The Bollywood themed park is a fun family destination that promises a whole day of entertainment, and immersion into popular Indian culture. The first-of-its-kind venue showcases rides, attractions and live shows based on some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters.
However, you don’t really need to be a Bollywood fan to enjoy the park. It can be enjoyed by anyone looking for a fun day out with the family. But it helps if you are familiar with classic Bollywood films, as they blast popular songs throughout the venue ensuring all of the Desi customers never stop dancing for a second.
The attractions, combined with popular foods from the city of Mumbai, draws in the tourists and residents.
What are the new rides?
The park is reopening with fun-packed family rides and kids’ attractions that have been inspired by the vibrant Indian culture. First up is the introduction of the world’s tallest swing ride, the Bollywood Skyflyer, that stands at 460-feet tall.
The Bollywood Skyflyer
The world’s tallest swing ride that gives people the experience of hang gliding and swinging, and riders will be lifted and dropped at various speeds.
A colourful family ride that recreates the sense of flying on a hang glider.
The Abraa Ka Dabraa
A swinging ride that brings to life an Abra ride that rocks, swivels and twists across the rocky waves.
Wheel of Stars
A 55-meter Ferris wheel that gives people a bird’s eye view of Bollywood Parks Dubai and beyond from the top of the ride.
A splash ride that will take riders on a monsoon adventure. It also allows guests to spray each other while they spin.
Tanga No. 13
This one takes riders on a trip around the Gateway of India in its ornately decorated horse-drawn carriages on a fun, circular motion that produces a wave effect.
The Rocket simulator
An adventurous space-shuttle tower ride for the kids. Seated in a chair lift style, riders will be lifted up and down, dropped and bounced.
An exciting 88-meter family rollercoaster that has been inspired by Mumbai’s famous yellow-black cabs. A thrilling high-speed roller coaster ride for the young ones that includes sudden and dramatic acceleration, climbing, tilting and dropping movements, it takes riders on what is meant to be a simulated journey through the streets of Mumbai.
Rodeo Ki Sawari
A family ride with triple spinning action that has been inspired by a traditional Indian Rodeo experience. Two circular platforms rotate and move the 10 vehicles from one to the other along a figure-eight shaped path to allow riders to feel like they are in a real-life rodeo.
Enjoy Indian street food
The park’s food and beverage offering has also been updated to include an authentic Indian cuisine restaurant. This means food and beverage experiences across the park that will give guests the opportunity to discover and enjoy the delicious flavours of Indian street food.
Namaste is the latest F&B outlet to open at Bollywood Parks. A fine dining restaurant that gives you an authentic Indian dining experience. With interiors set to impress and cuisine that pays homage to the ancient kings. This restaurant is inspired by the iconic film Mughal-e-Azam that depicts the Mughal prince Salim’s love affair with the courtesan Anarkali.
Dine in a train bogey stalled at the replica of Mumbai’s iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Enjoy fast-food native to the city as the roof of the bogey turns into a stage for dance performances.
Visitors will also be able to experience the buzz of Mumbai’s fantastical streets with the introduction of a new shopping destination, Bollywood Souq Bazaar, offering a wide selection of shops and stalls selling fashion and accessories, custom souvenirs, ethnic and handcrafted gifts, urban home decor and lifestyle merchandise sourced from India for a true and authentic Indian shopping experience.
Located along Bollywood Boulevard is stocked with themed merchandise and souvenirs while Maharani Sweets is the classical Indian ‘mithai’ (sweets) shop next to it.
This one offers high-end merchandise based on the film Mugha-E-Azam.
The place where you can buy some merchandise, accessories and souvenirs.
This is is your “village marketplace” in the Rustic Ravine selling handicrafts and souvenirs reminiscent of Lagaan, Sholay and Dabangg.
Buy yourself an iconic mask or souvenirs such as photo frames, mugs, keychains and magnets with Ra.One motifs from the Heroes Vault in Bollywood Studios area.
10 theme parks to visit in UAE
1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the award-winning Ferrari inspired theme park, opened its doors to fans in 2010. The theme park is home to numerous rides, family-friendly attractions, state-of-the-art simulators, live shows, as well as popular seasonal events and festivities that bring together performances from around the globe. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, as well as record-breaking roller coaster Flying Aces. The Park’s guests can enjoy a range of exciting experiences that include Benno’s Great Race, Karting Academy, Junior Training Camp, Driving Experience, Fiorano GT Challenge, and many more. Ahead of its 10th anniversary celebration in November 2020, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi welcomed a brand-new attraction offering even more Ferrari fun; the state-of-the-art Family Zone. Designed to entertain guests of all ages, the Family Zone features four miniature versions of the theme park’s most iconic rides for the entire family to enjoy.
2. Warner Bros. Worl Abu Dhabi
Warner Bros. World is one of the world's largest indoor theme parks, delivering a fan experience. While at the Park, guests are transported to six immersive lands, including DC's Metropolis and Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros. Plaza, and enjoy 28 rides, interactive family-friendly attractions and unique live entertainment. From the action and adrenaline-fueled adventures of DC Super Heroes to the wacky and wonderful world of Looney Tunes, this interactive experience brings together some of the world’s most iconic characters and stories under one roof for the first time in the region including: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman as well as Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones, among others.
3. Motion Gate
Motiongate Dubai, the region’s largest Hollywood-inspired theme park is an immersive and exciting experience, where you can go beyond the screen with the characters that you know and love. Motiongate Dubai is part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, and brings together three major motion picture studios: DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Studios, Columbia and Lionsgate for the first time in a theme park environment. This is a global first, so visitors will get an experience that isn’t offered anywhere else in the world. Motiongate is connected to its sister parks, Bollywood Park and Legoland by Riverland Dubai, the free to enter recreational hub with a multitude of dining, shopping and entertainment options perfect for friends and families of all ages.
Legoland Dubai is a year-round theme park destination in the Middle East for families with children ages two to 12. This park allows families to take part in a full day Lego themed adventures through 60 interactive rides, water slides, shows and Lego building experiences. Legoland Dubai is the first Legoland Park in the Middle East and features over 40 interactive rides, shows, attractions, Lego building experiences. It has six themed lands, each unique in its experience, entertainment and educational offering.
5. Global Village’s Carnival
The Global Village mainstay is now home to more than 30 kids, family and thrill rides, as well as dozens of skill games and no fewer than 100 arcade games. Popular rides include the Ferris Wheel, the rollercoaster as well as Manila Mayhem’ that hovers seven meters above ground with a 360-degree rotation at 20 revolutions per minute. Meanwhile the kids’ theatre is welcoming new character shows including Peter Rabbit, Octonauts, Care Bears and ‘Don’t Do the Dodo’ based on the popular children’s book ‘The Curious Tale of the Dodo’.
6. IMG Worlds of Adventure
The world’s largest indoor theme park, it’s home to Marvel superheroes, Cartoon Network friends, dinosaurs and more. It was Dubai’s first mega themed entertainment destination with four adventure zones in one location. Two of the four zones represent renowned global brands Cartoon Network and Marvel, while IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zones are original concepts. IMG Worlds of Adventure is the largest temperature controlled indoor themed entertainment destination in the world, covering an area in excess of 1.5 million square feet. With the capacity to welcome more than 20,000 guests a day, the destination is featuring adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, thrill rides, and attractions based on popular Cartoon Network characters, iconic Superheroes and dinosaurs.
7. Hili Fun City
Located in Al Ain, this flagship family entertainment destination has been a firm favourite since opening in 1985 when it became the Arabian Gulf region’s first theme park. It was refurbished in 2009 and features more than 30 rides and attractions, a family show amphitheatre and picnic and play areas. It’s also home to an ice rink.
8. Hub Zero
Hub Zero, the region’s first immersive gaming hub by Meraas, is a one of its kind gaming destination featuring a slew of sensory offerings such as rides, games and attractions, catering to fans of various genres with first person shooters (FPS), fantasy, action, and sports games recreated into thrilling and innovative gaming experiences. Some of the really exciting attractions are the virtual cave, laser tag, a 3D immersion tunnel, an indoor roller coaster, children’s go-karting track, and karaoke rooms.
5 UAE residents reveal what their favourite ride in the UAE is
"I absolutely love the Madagascar Mad Pursuit at Motiongate rollercoaster! I love rollercoasters in general; they're fun and just very exciting. This one in particular is unique because you don't really know what to expect. It's slow at first and then speeds up all of a sudden inside a dark room - such an adrenaline rush!"
-Maisoon Mubarak, 28, resident based in Abu Dhabi.
"The Powerpuff Girls/Mojo JoJo ride at IMG. It always makes me laugh so much! It's so bright and colourful and one of the most entertaining rides for me."
-Aamna Iqbal, 27, resident based in Dubai.
"Something at Global Village for sure. The Carnaval there is full of thrill rides. I love that it caters to both kids and adults. From rollercoasters to carousel rides."
-Jonathan Hashton, 39, resident based in Dubai.
"Bumper cars are my favourite thing to do at any theme park. I am not too picky about where as long as it is a nice game of bumper cars."
-Ibrahim Ahmed, 33, resident based in Dubai.
" I absolutley love the Dragon Gliders ride at Motiongate. It's based on the toothless dragon animation and it is such a fun rollercoaster.
-Shamael Al Riziqai, 29, resident based in Dubai.
How to keep safe while visiting theme parks during the COVID pandemic
Generally, amusement parks in the UAE have taken extra COVID-19 precautionary measures to keep people safe. In addition to existing health and safety protocols that UAE amusement parks are enforced to do, the pandemic has brought further enhancement to procedures in-line with the announcement of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s approved international practices.
Here’s what you can do to have fun and stay safe
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Wear your facemask at all times, even on the rides. Make sure you have a spare incase one of them flies off.
Keep hand sanitiser with you and sanitise or wash your hand every time you finish a ride.
Wear UV protective sunglasses and a hat or cap for blocking the sun, especially if you are outside.
Drink water and stay hydrated.
If you notice any sign or symptom of sickness, you should report to the in-park Clinic where you can be attended to.
From the parks’ point of view
In UAE theme parks, tables, seats, counters, lockers and queues are arranged and marked accordingly to ensure social distancing.
Routine deep cleaning and disinfection should be taking place across all areas.
Alcohol-based Hand Rubs should be available at strategic locations across the park.
Specially dedicated bins are provided for the disposal of used personal protective equipment like masks or gloves.
In case of a medical emergency, the parks should implement a set of standard protocols adherent to WHO, DHA, Dubai Municipality and other government authorities.
So why do we love theme parks so much?
Why do humans love riding a roller coaster at the speed of light. So Gulf News speaks to Dubai-based Psychologist Sneha John to understand the psychology behind why we love Amusement parks. Is it the thrill? Feeling alive? Almost winning that prize? Here’s what she had to say
Theme-park psychology has become a popular field of study over the last few years. Memorability is the aim of theme-park designers. When visitors remember their experiences, they would leave feeling satisfied. The key to making experiences memorable at attractions, , consists of the emotions that occur within the experiential episodes. While the process of experiencing is subjective to each one of us, there are several elements that contribute towards this. Park visuals for example, focus our attention on the attractions, making things appear larger than they are. In essence, these offer visitors a quick escape from their busy lives where they engage in a “larger than life” experience for a few hours.
Colors may be carefully planned out where red incite impulsive behaviour such as red paint on roller-coasters. Blue, green and neutral tones trigger feelings of calm and happiness. Emotions are triggered by very small things, be it the upbeat, repetitive music played throughout the park or a smile from the staff member. Our emotions have two dimensions, pleasure and arousal. During the amusing theme park experience, positive arousal influences visitor pleasure positively.
Engineers use the intimidation of roaring sounds and large beams to increase the height, speed, and excitement of a ride. The anxiety felt while waiting in line stimulates our fight or flight response which can increase the intensity rides. Long lines give visitors the impression that a certain ride may be popular and worth the wait. The draw of roller coasters is the enjoyment of the visceral sensation of fear itself.
Physical signs of fear such as a pounding heart, faster breathing and energy boost caused by the release of glucose cause the all-famous “adrenaline rush” that keeps visitors coming back. Apart from thrill rides, the aroma of carnival food infused into the atmosphere can positively affect mood and leave us feeling nostalgic. We may try recreating carnival food at home to revisit the happy moments spent at the park.
Interestingly, many of us may even hum theme-park music heard before either consciously or subconsciously. Hearing music is associated with strong emotional feelings. Experiencing strong emotions further affects our memory. Theme-park music may elicit feelings of happiness and contentment which causes our brain to store this information for the long term. Theme-parks offer sources of reward and immediate pleasure to visitors. They are carefully curated to offer a tantalizing experience using components of behaviour psychology so that we have a consistent experience with every visit.
Sneha John is a Clinical Psychologist at the Camali Clinic for Child Adult Mental Health in Dubai.