Universal Studios Dubailand – What Could Have Been

A Theme Park University reader sent me an Arabic brochure for the once proposed Universal Studios Dubailand, which actually started construction in 2008, but was later left abandoned. By the summer 2009, the project hit a standstill thanks to the global economy issues at the time, but this was actually going to happen!

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With all the growth Universal Parks have seen over the last few years, I thought it might be fun to take a look back on a park that was fully designed and announced, but never fully built.

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If you take a look at the rendering above, you’ll notice the original design for Universal Studios Dubailand was rather small in comparison to other Universal parks, but had some unique twists on some attractions we’ve seen before. While the roller coaster on the left of the artwork above might seem like a direct copy of the track layout of The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure (because it is), this was not to be a Marvel themed ride.

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Instead, this was to be a King Kong coaster. As a matter of fact, nearly all of the attractions in this almost-built park were intellectual properties owned by Universal Studios and not licensed. You’ll also notice some concept art for the Waterworld Stunt Show seen above, as well as the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, which was later built at Universal Singapore.

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Considering Dubai is very much a desert, there were a lot of water-based attractions proposed, as well as many indoor attractions. If you look above, you’ll notice that Jurassic Park was all enclosed underneath a dome.

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Naturally, Universal Studios Dubailand would have featured classic icons like Mel’s Drive in, but they also had plans to honor Bollywood films as well.

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This was not just a theme park, but an entire resort including hotels inspired by many of the resorts up and down the California and Florida coastlines. With new Universal parks on the horizon in Beijing and other rumored locations around the world, who knows if any of these ideas might end up there?

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One Comment

  1. freedogshampoo
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    This is great! I was in Dubai recently and took a picture of the site. There is a lone “Universal Studios” arch just sitting there.

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