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Photo TR: Robb & Elissa go to Dubai!

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So...can the UAE afford life insurance?


Life insurance is forbidden in Islam, it's like you're playing God or something.


Jews are fine in the UAE. Frank Gehry comes regularly to design the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi. I know Jewish people who live here with no problems. The locals separate the religion (Judaism) from the state, or entity as they would call it, (Israel). Joey will be fine in the UAE.

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One things I'm surprised you didn't do is take a desert safari. They take you in a SUV and you race up, down and through sand dunes. It's like a roller coaster ride!


This I strongly agree with!!! There might be moments where it get's really hot, but it's so much fun!

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A few replies:


A few comments:


Did you not see the water fountain show in front of the Burj Khalifa? It's one of the highlights of Dubai, and much better than the Bellagio IMO. It's in a self-contained area where you can eat dinner at any number of restaurants with a great view. They've also incorporated fire into some of the shows. Don't miss it on your next trip, it's spectacular.

We know about it, but to be honest fountains shows are just not our thing...and really, once you've experienced the world is a carousel of color, any other show in the world just pales in comparison. I may never see another show again!


but for theme park fans there's a "hidden" dark ride inside Khalifa Park that almost no one, including locals, knows about. It's a Peter Pan style hanging track ride that takes you past vignettes of Gulf history and an aquarium. It might be worth a small side trip since you'll be the only ones there and one of the few to have ridden it.

We know about this, but decided to skip it. Again, it just wasn't really out thing. Maybe when we go as a group, we'll do it. But we had so many other stops on our agenda that this just simply didn't make the cut.


Also in AD, you posted a pic of the Sheikh Zayed mosque, which is as grand as the Taj Mahal. I know TPR doesn't focus on cultural attractions, but that mosque is almost like a theme park attraction breaking many records for largest chandelier and carpet in the world.

We actually considered going, but to be honest, out of respect for the culture, we decided to pass. We just felt like we'd be a bit out of place. Also, we passed it on our first day, and now that we know a bit more about the culture, and that it would probably be "ok" to go, we might consider for the next trip.


You can wear shorts that extend to your knees (no NBA style shorts from the 1970s tight era), though it's pretty much only western tourists who do so. ...In a nutshell, it's good to respect local cultures and customs


Our thoughts exactly. Neither one of us said you couldn't wear shorts, we just chose not to because we really didn't see many other people, besides tourists, wearing them. All the travel sites recommend that you wear long pants, even though you don't *have* to. When we go to international destinations, we try as much as we can to respect culture and not "stick out like a sore thumb." Not sure why Ratsuso keeps bringing it up, because no one is saying he's wrong, we just wouldn't want to be seen with him if he's wearing shorts and a Metallica T-shirt around Dubai!


When we do a TPR Dubai trip, we will actually enforce a dress code of no shorts. And if someone doesn't agree with this, then they don't have to go with us!


One things I'm surprised you didn't do is take a desert safari. They take you in a SUV and you race up, down and through sand dunes.

Another thing we did consider, but honestly we've done so many other things similar to this on cruise ship excursions, etc, that we didn't feel we needed to, but would most likely include it with the TPR trip.


Great trip report, thanks.

Your welcome!



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The reason why most older parks in the UAE are becoming rundown, are the shopping centres. Since big shopping centres began to rise, nobody wanted to go outside parks where there are no AC. As you know the temperatures in the UAE are generally very high from April to October and winter isn't any cold either. Nowadays most shopping centres have some kind of theme park and arcades so no one bothers to visit outdoor parks.


I have Emirati friend who's told me the parks like Wonderland and Hili park in Al Ain were full of people in 80s and 90s but not anymore. Hili Fun City is the most saddest theme park I've ever visited. It's 3 years since visiting there and I've heard they renovated it in 2009-2010 so can't know how it looks now but back then, it was nothing but a ghost town. I've been in Wonderland 5 years ago and at that time it wasn't as rundown as shown in your pics. I visited many rides there but yes, there weren't many visitors. Just one school class of girls around 10 years old and few teenage girls. Spinning Coaster didn't exists in Dec 2005 but it was built the next year, I've only seen it from outside as I've only been once in the park. Roto Shake (Knott's Hammerhead) was operating in 2005, I was the only one riding it. Also visited Taga Disco, pink Coaster, Space Shot, karting cars etc. I remember at least 95 % of the rides were operating just 5 years ago. This park has really changed when looking at ur pics.


I visited also this ride which is covered under blanket in ur pic.


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They crank up the air-conditioning in the malls anyway so it's a good idea to wear pants if just for that reason. Short-sleeves are fine for a t-shirt or polo. Even the local guys wear them when they're not wearing a dishdasha. Ironically, Iron Maiden played Dubai about two years ago. I didn't go but wondered if they sold t-shirts with Eddie on them.


While World of Color at DCA is the king of all water shows, the Dubai Fountain with the Burj Khalifa in the background is still pretty impressive. On a trip, I'd schedule it with dinner at one of the many restaurants around the fountain's perimeter.


I'm sure as you already know, schedule a trip some time from December to April so you're not here during the oppressive heat. November is still incredibly humid so I'd choose even May over November even if the temperatures in November appear comparatively cooler.


I was last in Wonderland with my family about a year ago and it looks like it's declined even more since that recent trip. Did you see the worst "dark" ride in the world with sleigh vehicles around a track with slightly animatronic mouse dioramas? It's incredibly bizarre. As said above, I've been told by locals that Wonderland used to hopping back about 10 years ago, but with the rise of the malls it's fallen into disrepair.


Wafi Mall has a hi-def overlay projection show now similar to what Disney is doing on Small World in Anaheim, and Cinderella Castle in Orlando. The Christmas show was quite good, but the current Egyptian one is still technically impressive, but not as engaging, to me anyway. Wafi Mall is intensively Egyptian themed with a really cool bazaar in the basement called the Khan Murjan Souk and a Turkish restaurant in the middle with an open air atrium on top. The mall is usually empty so you feel like this uber-luxury mall was put together just for you.


The Grand Hyatt on the Corniche has an all-chocolate buffet that is worth checking out for chocoholics. There are some top-notch chocolate shops in the upscale malls that will make you never eat Hershey's or Godiva ever again. And for gelato, Morelli's in Dubai Mall is incredible.


Best wishes putting together your TPR outing to Dubai and the UAE.

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I'm not sure if the fountain show is working. When I was there, jsut a few weeks before R&E, there were some construction signs up. Asking around, it seemed like it had been down a while, and perhaps because of the lack of interest. Like perhaps it was down just to save money, since few people were there to watch it anyway.


You can see in the pics from the top of the Burj, that the pool doesn't seem to be totally filled.


Do you have a link to info on the dark ride? I may try to hit it on my next trip, since I'm a pretty big dark ride fan.



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Man that's awesome. I love to snowboard, ride coasters, cars, and waterparks. Maybe when the winter season here is over I might start planning a trip out there. I've never wanted to go to a city more then I do now. Also, a new maybach starts out at about 500 thousand, and I'm pretty sure the one that you saw was the new special one, and that's closer to 1.2 million dollars!

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Forgive me if I missed some of the information by skimming through this thread but Robb could you or Elissa or anyone else who has visited UAE or Dubai recently comment on the cost of things compared to the costs of similar products in America (which is currently my only legitimate reference point). How do prices for meal/hotels/attractions and park admissions compare to somewhere like Orlando. I know you said the Burj Khaliaf observation deck was $40 which seems kinda pricey but honestly if that attraction were in Orlando or Vegas it would probably still be close to that price.

I hate to ask questions about money in the forum but I am interested in pricing comparisons of Ski Dubai to a lift ticket at a regular American Ski resort, or Wild Wadi or Aquaventure admission price compared to Blizzard beach or Aquatica. Or American Outback Steakhouse compared to Dubai Outback Steakhouse, and other meals and hotels and candy bars and condoms. .


I really really want to visit Dubai sometime in the next few years, but we'll see !

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The cost of things in the UAE was very similar to the US, surprisingly. Wild Wadi was about $50. Food was very similar, especially if you realize there is no tax, and few places took tips. Outaback was the only place I ate at that had a tip line on the receipt.


My hotel, right near the airport, was a bit pricey. I think it was about $200 after the "fees" that were essentially airport taxes. But, it was a very nice hotel, right at the airport. You'd pay the same, if not more in LA.


Taxis weren't too bad either. My 30 minute taxi ride to Wild Wadi was around $25, iirc.


As for souveniers, the duty free shop at the airport had all the oil lamps, hookas, and dates you needed for very good prices.



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I'm guessing UAE gets the brotherly discount on gasoline.


Not that much actually, at least not compared to Saudi. In the UAE a gallon of regular gas is a bit over $2. There were two 15% increases last year, and it's rumored another 15% increase will be applied again soon.

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Went for dinner at Dubai Mall last night and the fountain was working fine. If it had any down time, it must have been really short. Hard to imagine they'd let it go down for long since it's the peak tourist season and Shopping Festival month. Noticed that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" has been added as one of the Fountain songs.

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It's funny how this TR came about, not long after I'd seen an episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, where Tony went to Saudi Arabia, and, despite alcohol being banned in that country, still had a wonderful time.


Now I see Dubai up close, and despite it's differences, it's a far cry from the Middle East we usually see on cable news back here in the states. Certainly, there are differences, and yes, these countries have their share of religious nuts who hate our guts, but it seems there is an even mix of people who have no issues with our country and its obvious influences whatsoever. That's something that's almost never talked about in most places, and only seems to come up on non-news related media, such as this site, and shows like No Reservations. Very interesting.


Anyway, I'm loving this TR. Sure, there's not much in the way of coaster action, but just like Japan, there's something about this place, even in photos, that just seems to pull you right in. Kudos to you, Robb and Elissa, for having the guts to explore places where most coaster enthusiasts would never think of even checking out.

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