Anyone that’s spent a fair amount of time in the UAE will testify just how rapidly things change over here – from year to year massive building projects rise from the sand, changing the skyline for the umpteenth time.
There’s one type of project that gets us really excited though and that’s the creation of a new theme park! For the past year we waited patiently for IMG Worlds of Adventure, the largest indoor theme park in the world to open it’s doors – their original opening date came and went and still we waited.
Today we finally made it along to the park (which has now been open for approximately two months) to have a go at answering the question on every coaster enthusiast’s lips – is it worth spending your hard earned cash on?
The answer is not a simple one – as much as we would love to reply with a resounding ‘yes!’ we can’t (but you might).
Read on for our IMG Worlds of Adventure review…
What We Liked
Though a park isn’t built on theming alone, IMG Worlds of Adventure did a great job of designing and creating an immersive environment. Each of the four zones are unique and reflect their brief well – from animatronic dinosaurs to rainbow unicorns, you know exactly which part of the park you’re in. The rides themselves clearly match the zone they’re in and the theming in each line matches well and holds your interest whilst you wait (for the first little while anyway – there’s only so long someone wants to wait in line, well themed or not).
All of our interactions and observations of staff were top-notch. They were friendly, professional and obviously had safety of guests at the forefront. Yes, reviews online have said that loading times are a bit on the slow side compared to more established parks which we did find to be the case but as long as this improves through training and experience, we’d rather wait a little bit longer for our ride than run the risk of not being locked in properly.
Though we didn’t stop for a bite to eat there was a great variety of food on offer – a range of restaurants, snacks and drinks were spread evenly throughout the park, making it easy to refuel mid-visit.
Some of the Rides
The Really Good One!
The Velociraptor is so good it would have been worth the admission price alone – if only we made it our first priority rather than last! This coaster shoots riders out into the desert where you go through a series of loops, airtime hills and stomach-churning rolls – the stuff of dreams!
The Relatively Good Rides
Though the Velociraptor was so good it seems a little unfair to compare others to it, we will. The other rides worth checking out (in our opinion – especially if they have short lines) were
- Lost Valley: Predator. A small indoor coaster with a vertical lift hill and a practically vertical drop on the other side. Similar to Saw at Thorpe Park in the UK.
- Marvel: Hulk Epsilon Base 3D. A flat-platform-circular motion master ride – great power on the spins.
- Marvel: Spider-Man Doc Ock’s Revenge. A rollercoaster that spins riders independently of the tracks through a large dark housing. Great for pre-teens and teens keen to take their coaster riding to the next level.
- Marvel: Thor Thunder Spin. Headache inducing fun – this ride spins guests around (a little more than I would like) and leaves you hanging out of your seat on plenty of occasions.
Issues & Improvements to be Made
Limited Information on Offer
The only thing worse than waiting in long lines at a theme park is waiting in a line with no idea of just how long you’ll be there. Due to the lack of signs, we waited in line for one ride without even knowing what it was (you can imagine the look on Nathan’s face when we made it through after cueing for 30+ minutes to realise it was precisely the type of ride that he avoids) and waited almost two hours for another ride with no ideas of the suggested wait time. Had we known, would we have waited that long? Possibly but unlikely.
The simple addition of quality signage would greatly improve the park experience. ‘Approximate wait time’ signs would allow people to make informed decisions about which rides they want to wait for and which one’s they’ll try later again in the day and ensuring signs clearly explain the nature of the ride would mean people can make informed decisions regarding whether they ride or not. An easy, cheap fix that would make a significant difference to guests.
The wait times varied from being an acceptable 30 or so minutes to a frustrating two hour slug – as mentioned above, the wait times wouldn’t actually be such a worry if you knew what you were waiting for an knew approximately how long you’d be there for. An easy fix with the addition of the aforementioned signs (and even better if you can go at off-peak times – we did read about some people only waiting 5-10 minutes on quieter days).
Sub-Par Animation and 3D Graphics
I hate to think how much it would cost to create world-class animation and 3D imagery for a modern theme park but if IMG want to play with the big boys then, in our opinion, this is an area where they could do with stepping up their game.
Animations that were meant to represent characters talking were static throughout the park and the 3D used on the rides (which many of them rely upon) was blurry. It’s far from a major issue but improving these two elements would improve the overall quality of these rides – in this case, the small details really do make a difference.
So, having read our IMG Worlds of Adventure review, is it worth heading along for yourself? Potentially, yes.
Though we won’t be in a big hurry to head back, there certainly are target markets that will enjoy the experience. First time theme-park visitors will lap the IMG experience up and those with an adventurous spirit will likely find plenty of rides to excite.
If I’m being honest, I think our expectations of a theme park are abnormally high.
Realistically, it’s normal for a park to experience teething problems in the early days and nobody expects a park to open with multiple award-winning coasters – if you take IMG Worlds of Adventure for what it is, a family friendly park with a fair few adrenaline inducing rides, quality theming and a perfectly controlled climate (a pleasant respite from the Arabian sun), you’ll have a fun day out… just try to pick up discounted tickets to minimise your expenditure.
Thinking of visiting IMG Worlds of Adventure? Pin this post to come back to it!
We purchased our tickets directly through the IMG Worlds of Adventure website on a two-for-one special which made our tickets 150AED per person. If they’re not running a special during the time of your visit, you can purchase them one or more days before your visit to lock in a 10% discount online. We visited without any association with IMG and as always, all thoughts are our own.