By Jamie Goodwin
Dubai’s mega theme park will open on August 31, says CEO Lennard Otto
Nothing will delay the dawn of Dubai’s theme park era this time, according to IMG Worlds of Adventure's CEO Lennard Otto.
The $1 billion mega project, which will be the world’s largest indoor theme park, will open on August 31 – two weeks later than its scheduled 2016 launch date.
It opened for members of IMG’s partner companies and Dubai media on Sunday when guests were invited to tour the fully functioning four zones – Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard – and ride the attractions within.
But while park facilities within the dome looked set for the launch, work including some landscaping and service road construction remains incomplete. However, Otto says this will not prevent the gates from opening to the general public on August 31.
When asked if he expected the outstanding work to cause any more delays to the opening of the park, which can host 30,000 visitors a day, Otto said: “Absolutely not.”
“We are all ready to go,” he said on Sunday. “All the attractions are running. All the restaurants are in operation. All the retail stores are done and the merchandise is going onto the counters. We are doing the final training over the next ten days, doing the last bit of cleaning, beautification, adding some more landscaping to the car park, but other than that, the park is good to go whenever we want to.
“The road itself is finished to get into the car park and the only thing left for us is the service roads which is not critical to park opening and then adding the landscaping to the front, which will happen in the next ten days and maybe even the next month after that to make it as beautiful as possible.
“[We will finish] all cleaning, final touches of paintwork and training of the staff. When we open on the 31st, we want the experience to be perfect. We don't want to disappoint. Every day for the next ten days, we have a very similar environment. We are inviting groups whether it's the media or other groups from the internal companies to test the staff as much as possible.”
IMG Worlds is the first in a wave of theme parks planned in Dubai and the Middle East over the coming years. Its August 15 launch was postponed after a “last-minute call” to ensure the park opening went according to plan, said Otto.
“We were all go to get to the 15th and from an approval standpoint and from a completion standpoint we had no issues, but we believed we needed another 15 days to make sure the experience is perfect on the day of launch,” he said.
“We didn't want to jeopardise the experience for [the sake of] a two-week delay, so the two weeks was a logical move for us to make sure that the experience will not be hampered on the day of opening. We felt that if we had opened on the 15th, the experience might not have been what we wanted on the first day. It was a last-minute call. We left it as long as possible to see if we could get it to where we wanted it to be, but we just didn't feel that it was worth the risk.
“You have got one chance to open the park and we wanted that experience to be perfect because the expectation is very high, the market is very competitive and we want the day of opening to put us on the global map as a theme park operator.”