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Dubai Parks & Resorts Discussion Thread! Motiongate, Lego...

P. 7: Meraas seeking to take DXB Entertainments private

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^I haven't been following the UAE stuff as much recently, but I can tell you from past visits that I wouldn't just race through the parks.  IMG really blew us all away as they had some really fun rides and attractions as well as amazing food.  Motiongate and Bollywood can probably be done in a day, but again, there are such bizarre attractions in Bollywood that you won't find anywhere else that it's worth taking some time. I mean, there's a ride where you're playing Cricket!!!??  The woodie has been testing for months, but this is also the country that has a giant coaster that's been sitting around for years so who knows.  Please let us know how your trip goes!

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  • 3 months later...

It's been a while since I posted a trip report on TPR! To be honest, while I still include amusement parks in my travel rotation, my travel priorities in recent years have been a bit broader, including driving tours of Route 66 and the Florida peninsula, as well as some international destinations. When I do go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg or HersheyPark or Knoebels, it doesn't make much sense to follow up on here because these are the same parks everyone goes to, and has been to, time after time, year after year.

So while I still use TPR as a travel planning tool, I don't stay as current on the message boards as I used to. So tell me... where did they finally end up relocating the Big Dipper? How's Freestyle Music Park doing these days? What are the big plans for Blue Streak's 85th anniversary?

Anyway, back in January, I had the privilege of knocking a long-held travel goal off my bucket list: attending a World's Fair. And I traveled halfway around the world to do it! I enjoyed eight days at Expo 2020 in Dubai. But I couldn't take this one-in-a-lifetime trip without checking out at least one theme park. Based on everything I could find, it seemed like Motiongate was the one that best fit my park philosophy, in that coasters (especially woodies) are great and all, but nothing beats a well-themed dark ride. I wasn't disappointed.

Since this isn't a park most Americans get to experience, I thought there might be some value in an in-depth trip report. I'll break it up into sections to make it easier to view, which was a thing back when I was a regular poster here. If it's not anymore, then... please forgive the dinosaur in the room!

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Mr. Stay-Puft says: "This way to Motiongate!"

 

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"Ready for my close-up, G.B.!"

 

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There it is! Get excited!

 

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We see you, giant old-timey camera building!

 

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This park was a lot smaller than I thought it would be (I was expecting something on par with the size of Universal Orlando), but they packed a lot of quality AND quantity in such a compact space. The "Main Street" section, called Studio Central, provided a short but well themed segue way into the park's "hub."

 

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Ring toss, anyone?

 

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First stop: Columbia Pictures!

 

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Time for a little "Green Hornet" action!

 

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Fun fact: J. Jonah Jamison's dislike of super heroes began when he was a young lad, reading about the exploits of the abominable Green Hornet in the Daily Sentinel. Funner fact: I just made that up.

 

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I approve of any cue that includes s car with machine guns!

 

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Biggest takeaway from this picture? Motiongate is a Pepsi park. You've been warned!

 

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Check out the Gerstlauer layout!

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Hungry after all that crime fighting? Stop for a bite at Kato's Coffee! (Nearly every attraction at Motiongate is accompanied by its own restaurant or snack stand -- or both.)

 

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With two exceptions, the first being "Green Hornet," the Columbia Pictures section is where Motiongate stashes all of its "ghost and monster" attractions. So next, we're on our way to the Ghostbusters' firehouse!

 

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Who ya gonna call?

 

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Wait, what's all this now?

 

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So, it turns out that no one is calling the Ghostbusters anymore. Because they've all retired, and their New York firehouse has been turned into a museum/historical landmark overseen by the not-for-profit Ghostbusters Historical Society. Or something like that.

 

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Spooooky!

 

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Larger-than-life portraits of the original Ghostbusters adorn the cue area.

 

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Vigo the Carpathian!

 

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And the painting that replaced him!

 

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This suit was once worn by original Ghostbuster Dr. Peter Venkman. It even comes with a certificate of authenticity, which I just printed and certified myself!

 

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I don't remember the proton packs looking quite like this.

 

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And I definitely don't remember them being made of used sewing machine parts!

 

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Though the original Ecto-1 isn't present at the "museum," its importance in "Ghostbusters" lore is evident -- and helps set up the ride!

 

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Wait... the Ghostbusters "franchise"? Dude! You're breaking the fourth wall!

 

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We're finally ready to start the ride!

 

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Time to board our "Ecto Pod." These are miniature Ecto-1s that will take us through the "Ghostbusters Experience," a shooting dark ride inside the Ghostbusters Museum that allows visitors to participate in a recreation of the Ghostbusters' most famous battles (Gozer, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, etc.). It's literally a dark ride-themed dark ride!

 

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No photos allowed on the ride (though they were on others), so here's a shot of the "safety instructions" area. Have fun blasting, everyone!

 

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Every major attraction at Motiongate included an exit through the gift shop.

 

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And many of them included a pressed "penny" machine.

 

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Except pennies aren't really a thing in the UAE, so it was more of a "pressed metal blank" machine instead.

 

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The final result!

 

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Hungry? Grab a Stay-Puft milkshake or Slimer signature hot dog at Slimer's Diner... when it's open. Which it wasn't when I visited. In fact, most of the restaurants were closed, and nearly every ride was a walk-on. I suspect they weren't setting any attendance records that day.

 

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Look out for that giant Stay-Puft hand! He's holding a giant "D"! What could it mean?

 

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Turns out it's the symbol for Etisalat, an Abu Dhabi-based bank with ATM service at Studio Central. The random Stay-Puft connection near the "Ghostbusters: Battle for New York" ride is just that... random.

Up next: More Columbia Pictures!

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The Motiongate fun continues in the Columbia Pictures section. Castle bigger than Disneyland's? Check!

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I know social distancing is important and everything... but did they really have to put the decal right in the middle of the logo?

 

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And what's the logo for, you may ask? Why, "Hotel Transylvania," of course!

 

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Theoretically, every line was a Q-Fast line today!

 

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"Hurry back! Hurry back! Don't forget to bring your death certificate!"

 

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This is what Wi-Fi looks like in Transylvania!

 

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I'm not sure that backpack is screen-used....

 

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That's a wrap! No wait... the ride hasn't even started yet!

 

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Our Doom Buggy awaits!

 

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This is the scene you get while you're waiting for your ride vehicle. With the exception of a few video screens in one area, the ride consists almost entirely of static figures with lines from the movie piped in when your vehicle triggers a sensor. A little disappointing, but at least the sculpts and trackless ride system are well done.

 

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This yeti has exactly as much movement as the one at DAK!

 

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Remember those video screens I mentioned two captions ago? Savor them while you can!

 

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The attraction recreates the story from the first "Hotel Transylvania," in which Blobby is a very minor character, still a couple films away from achieving the fan-favorite status he enjoys today. But he's still here, nonetheless!

 

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"Come on, baby... let's do the twist!"

 

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This is one of the only scenes that features limited movement, with the spit turning over the fire. I have to assume that, once the motor burns out, they  won't bother replacing it.

 

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Small crowd tonight at Oga's Cantina!

 

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This is the part in the movie where Johnny has to fill in for Chuck Berry's cousin on stage at the dance so his parents will fall in love and he and his siblings won't be erased from history.

 

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"I don't have enough pictures of myself on this wall. Someone go find a camera!"

 

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Nothing like a faux stained glass window to add some class to the ride!

 

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Back outside, the moat extends all the way around the side of the castle, which is excellent theming... though they probably could have hidden the fire escape on the "Ghostbusters" building a little better.

 

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Why, what's this quaint little inn?

 

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It's the Hotel Beastro, of course! Also closed the day of my visit.

 

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But Taco Vida was open for business! Featuring Mexican favorites like popcorn, slushies, snack mix and Baskin-Robbins ice cream (no tacos).

 

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Hey! It's Drac and Johnny!

 

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Out of my way, Johnny! I need to get to the gift shop!

 

Up next: Even more Columbia Pictures!

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Last of the scary stuff!

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Such a beautiful view! Hmm... I wonder what that tower with the big "Z" on top could be.

 

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Wow, the years have really taken their toll on Pacific Playland!

 

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Wait... that's not Pacific Playland! It's "Zombieland: Blast-Off!"

 

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No scream shields in Dubai!

 

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There are no restaurants in the park's small "Zombieland" section. Instead, there is a "midway" of games themed after Columbus' rules of Zombieland.

 

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Nothing says "family friendly" like a midway game with a chainsaw on the sign!

 

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"Braaaaiiiinnnns!"

 

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About half the rules are just blunt objects you can use to kill zombies. (Because "zombies" in this franchise are really living, breathing humans infected with a highly contagious brain disease and, thus, can be killed -- more family fun!)

 

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Zombies accept Apple Pay!

 

 

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"Mutated cabbage heads! Get your mutated cabbage heads here!"

 

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"Om nom nom!"

 

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I wasn't aware of the "Underworld" film series before this ride, but apparently it's quite extensive.

 

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I approve of any warning sign shaped like a tombstone!

 

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This crossbow display in the queue area was the only clue I had about what the storyline would be. No pictures or filming in the 4-D theater, unfortunately.

 

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I'm going to assume this is some sort of gift kiosk when it's open. It looks too small to be a snack stand or game... but maybe! I didn't get the chance to find out.

 

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Onward to our final attraction in the Columbia Pictures section: the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs River Expedition." Note that Etisalat makes another appearance here.

 

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I've never seen this movie. I think it has something to do with a scientist trying to end world hunger by turning weather into giant food? Based on the theming in this section, I guess his father doesn't believe in science and wants him to go into the family bait business instead. Either way, that would make the river theming make sense.

 

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Bait, tackle and lockers!

 

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Indoor playspace = closed for COVID.

 

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No submarine for you!

 

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Oh, also, there's a character in the movie named Baby Brent. And he owns a luncheonette.

 

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What do you call footwear made from bananas? Slippers!

 

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So, just in case you miss the "Ghostbusters" gift shop... and the "Hotel Transylvania" gift shop... and the gift kiosk outside "Underworld"... and the small gift area as you exit "Green Hornet: High-Speed Chase"... there's also a Columbia Pictures Studio Store literally footsteps away from each of those venues!

 

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Noted!

 

Up next: Time to get Smurfy!

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The time has come to move on from Columbia Pictures. Where to next, signpost?

 

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Excellent idea!

 

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No Gargamels allowed!

 

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It must be a sign!

 

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I had dreams like this in grade school....

 

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Vanity? Is that you?

 

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Playspace = closed for COVID. Smurfs Shop = closed for attendance.

 

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But the outdoor playspace is open!

 

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If there were any children in this park at all today, you can bet some of them would be here, maybe!

 

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I spy a twisty slide!

 

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All aboard!

 

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Hey! It's Conductor Smurf! (Joke's on you... there is no Conductor Smurf!)

 

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It looks like a train station...

 

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...but that doesn't look like a normal train!

 

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Hey, wait a minute! It's a roller coaster!

 

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Going up!

 

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Oh no! Not the Howlibird!

 

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Yep! The Howlibird has been here, all right!

 

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Let's move on to a less violent ride!

 

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The premise is that the Smurfs have opened a movie studio. But since there are only 100 or so Smurfs, the cast, crew and audience essentially are all the same. Lame!

 

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Cultural appropriation! Not cool, Smurfs. Not cool.

 

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Believe it or not, there really was an episode of "The Smurfs" in which nearly all the Smurfs turned into zombies who could only say "Gnap." Look it up!

 

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Fun fact: "Panic Undersmurf" was the first film with an S-13 rating.

 

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It's not quite the GlamorTram, but it'll do.

 

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We're on the list!

 

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"Welcome to my studio!"

 

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Of course Painter Smurf is in charge of the paint department! This ride actually incorporated some characters I didn't expect, including Wild Smurf and Baby Smurf. No Grandpa Smurf, Grandma Smurf or Smurflings, though. And forget about Johan and Peewit.

 

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Of course Handy Smurf is in charge of set construction! It's worth noting that, despite some static displays, there was enough limited motion throughout this ride that they weren't as noticeably static as the ones in "Hotel Transylvania."

 

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Such a diva!

 

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Oh no! It's Gargamel and Azrael! They're sneaking on set to cause expensive production delays and put Smurf Studios out of business for good! (No, really. That's the plot.)

 

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Look! It's Indiana Smurf in "Smurfers of the Lost Smurf!"

 

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"Huh? What's a 'pork sword'? Who writes this stuff?"

 

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Pivotal scene from "The Day the Smurf Stood Smurf."

 

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Time for the finale: "A Salute to All Imaginary Blue Creatures But Mostly Smurfs."

 

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"Ready for my close-up, D.B."

 

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Little did they know about Gargamel's paint fetish....

 

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"Autographs! Just $50! Add a photo for only $100 more!"

 

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They apparently ran out of budget at the very end of the ride, so we get a "Monstars of Smurf" finish.

 

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Exit through the gift shop!

 

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Wait... the gift shop is so large that it has TWO exits!

 

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Does anyone know where I can buy a plush Smurf? If anyone sees any plush Smurfs for sale anywhere, please let me know, OK?

 

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Today's show: "Closed for COVID" starring Invisible Smurf!

 

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Am I the only one who finds the Smurf version of the "Thalia and Melpomene" masks more than a little disturbing?

 

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Time for a very Smurfy lunch!

 

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Just like the gift shop, the Smurfs Village restaurant is so large, it has two entrances/exits at opposite ends of the building.

 

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Let's take a look at today's Smurfy specials!

 

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Gargamel Burger FTW!

 

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#TheMoreYouSmurf

 

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Be sure to safe room for Smurf cream... er, ice Smurf... er, maybe we should just skip dessert.

 

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Smurf Snacks? More like Smurf NOT Snacks!

 

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Farewell, Smurfs Village. Legend tells that we'll never be able to find you again.

But that's OK because next, we're going to find the DreamWorks section of Motiongate!

 

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Did you ever stop to think that the kid on the moon in the Dreamworks logo is actually fishing for humans on Earth? No, you didn't. Because you only ever think about yourself.

 

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"Welcome to DreamWorks! I'm a Scottish ogre for some reason!"

 

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"And I'm a martial arts panda with a camera!"

 

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"And I make more money for Ben Stiller than 'Zoolander'!"

 

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"And I'm a dragon behind a 'Please do not touch' fence. I'm so lonely!"

 

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No souvenir purchases from the DreamWorks Mobile today #sad

 

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This magnificent fountain greets guests inside the building in an area that serves as a "hub" for most of the "lands" in the enclosed structure.

 

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"Motiongate is grr-eat!"

 

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"They wouldn't let me do this at Epcot!"

 

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Even the ceiling is themed (though the Sistine Chapel it ain't).

Come along as we explore each of DreamWorks' "lands" one by one!

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2 hours ago, printersdevil78 said:

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No Gargamels allowed!

I'm not even gonna lie, I thought Gargamel was droppin' trou.

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Time to lower your Shrek-spectations! Ha! Get it? Because it's "Shrek"?

 

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Fun fact: I got to ride inside this, virtually, at Universal Studios. Bet no one else here can say that!

 

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"They make me stand here all day to guard the Baskin-Robbins."

 

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Be sure to social distance as you take the stairs!

 

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The Candy Apple, like from "Snow White"... but in a tower, like from "Rapunzel." I'm so confused!

 

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I'm not sure, but I think this area is for birthday parties or something? Or maybe a stage show? Character meet-and-greets? Regardless, it wasn't being used during my visit.

 

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Nope! Still not being used!

 

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I had to look this up becauseI had no idea what it was. Apparently it's the home of a character named Dama Fortuna, whose only screen appearance is in an alternate opening to the original "Shrek" that was never fully animated? Some of the details at Motiongate bordered on obsessive... and this is coming from someone who obsesses about details!

 

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The Swamp Celebration ride is tied to the birthday scene in "Shrek Forever After."

 

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Its a highly themed Zamperla Rockin' Tug, for the uninitiated.

 

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The highlight of this "land," though, is "Shrek's Merry Fairy Tale Journey," a dark ride that follows the narrative of the first "Shrek" film in puppet form.

 

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The queue is extremely detailed, starting with Shrek's house.

 

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Here's the prelude....

 

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Well that's not very nice!

 

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Hello, Mr. Spooky Tree!

 

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Ha! They amended the sign!

 

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Geppetto's workshop

 

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The projection window allowed various "scenes" to take place outside. I would imagine it's a fun distraction when the line is long and slow (but not today).

 

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Pinocchio wants our money!

 

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Onward to the swampmobiles! (I have no idea if that's what these vehicles are really called.)

 

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Oh, I love a good puppet show!

 

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Here's the audience!

 

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Fiona and Shrek are the puppeteers!

 

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And now we've been shrunk down to the size of puppets for a unique POV of the show!

 

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"This is Farquard's forest now, holmes!"

 

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"Wipe your... face! Duloc is a perfect place!"

 

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Poor Mama Bear :(

 

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Well isn't that special?

 

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"I spy with my little eye...."

 

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It's like they're married already!

 

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Every dragon likes a little Farquard inside her!

 

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It's like Smash Mouth in puppet form!

 

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And they lived happily ever after... with some strings attached.

 

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Exit through the gift shop!

 

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"Buy my crap!"

 

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Gift shop theming!

 

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You also exit the entire "land" through a gift shop! But it's canon, so we'll allow it.

Next stop: "Madagascar"!

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So, "Madagascar" is a movie I haven't seen (Spoiler alert: The only movie in the DreamWorks section of the park I actually have seen is "Shrek"), but I know it has something to do with animals trying to escape the circus and return to Africa. Then I looked it up and saw it co-starred Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett Smith (among others). The whole thing smacks of coincidence....

 

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All the ambiance of a circus with none of the smells!

 

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So, I guess one of the animals is musically talented or something?

 

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Fun house mirror!

 

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Evil kitty cat train! Or something.

 

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"I'm big, evil kitty cat train! Feed me people!"

 

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Such careful brush strokes. The artist really brought out his armpit hair!

 

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So, I'm guessing from the wear and tear on this poster and the general malaise on the characters' faces that these are the bad guys who used to be the most popular acts at the circus until those young upstarts started getting all the attention. So they convince the other animals they'd be better escaping captivity. And then once the others flee to Africa, these two can reclaim the center ring. Am I close?

 

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Most of the DreamWorks "lands" had one signature attraction, one flat ride, a gift shop and a restaurant. "Madagascar" broke the mold with two flat rides, including "Penguin Air."

 

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Pure craziness!

 

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This penguin approves!

 

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The other flat ride in "Madagascar" is the "Melman Go-Round." I prefer to call it the "Merry-Go-Ross."

 

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I have no idea who any of these characters are!

 

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We see you, Zebra Chris Rock! Personally, I thought the tiger jumping through the ring of fire was the coolest design on this carousel. I also thought it was cool that the carousel was "sunken" so the ride platform was flush with the floor; that would be a great ADA feature to bring to U.S. parks when feasible.

 

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But the main attraction here is "Madagascar Mad Pursuit!"

 

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Lots of space under this big top!

 

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The queue included a full-sized circus train car!

 

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Let's look inside!


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Are these contented horses characters in the movie, too? Or are they just part of the paint job?

 

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I want to say this framed test pattern probably is where the safety video appeared, but I was the only person in line, so I just zipped right by it.

 

204.thumb.JPG.516314f6711e5f0510f79ea3448ffc12.JPGOh, did I mention that "Madagascar Mad Pursuit!" is an indoor Gerstlauer launched coaster? NBD. Also, I read online that this is themed after "Madagascar 3." They made three of them!?

 

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Exit through the gift shop!

 

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"Hi! I'm Lion Ben Stiller! Wouldn't you like to sleep on my face?"

 

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Hey look! An open restaurant! I didn't know they did that kind of thing at Motiongate anymore!

 

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Lion guy and lemur guy were happy to see me! (Or anyone, for that matter.)

 

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Thus brings us to the conclusion of Madagascarland. But not to fret; we'll be back soon with a look in front of the scenes at "Kung Fu Panda"-land! Stay tuned!

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Who's ready to enter the world of "Kung Fu Panda"? I know I am!

 

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What up, turtle dude?

 

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Lots of lanterns! Zero people. Just the way I like it!

 

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Scary dragon!

 

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Scary... Yoda wannabe? Based on what context I was able to draw from this "land," I assume this is Mr. Ping. Only because he has a noodle on his nose. At least... I hope that's a noodle!

 

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"Hiya, kids!"

 

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Of all the DreamWorks "lands," this one had the most laid-back ambiance. Not what I'd expect from a Jack Black movie.

 

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Behold! The mythical bench!

 

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These character lanterns were super cool!

 

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"Kung Fu Panda Academy" = closed for COVID :(

 

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Hey there, Panda Jack Black!

 

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This "land"'s flat ride was teacups!

 

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Er... sorry. Noodle bowls!

 

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But "Unstoppable Awesomeness" is what we're really here for!

 

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Follow me down the ancient kung fu hallway!

 

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Please wait for the attendant at the mythical dragon tunnel. No pictures allowed inside the simulator, so this is the best you'll get today!

 

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Exit through the shrine and gift shop!

 

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Faux-jade Panda Jack Black says, "Hey you! Buy a tiger!"

 

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Not only does Mr. Ping have his own ride; he's also the proprietor of the restaurant in "Kung Fu Panda"-land.

Coming up: Our visit to the DreamWorks section of Motiongate culminates with "How to Train Your Dragon"-land!

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This was the "entrance" to "How to Train Your Dragon"-land from the DreamWorks hub with the fountain... but how do you get in? I assumed this land was a "future attraction" or closed for renovations during my first pass through the park.

 

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On my second rotation, I discovered this entrance in the back of the "Kung Fu Panda" section. Most of the "lands" connected to each other in this way, but this one was the only one without its own separate entrance from the hub. Weird!

 

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"I'm craaaazy Viking statue! Give me your candy!"

 

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Oh... so it's THAT kind of party!

 

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I don't think Viking ships are supposed to move that way....

 

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Hobbit hole!

 

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Much of "How to Train Your Dragon"-land consisted of Camp Viking, a sprawling play space that was... open! Indoors! In Motiongate! During COVID! What!?

 

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"I know! I can't believe it, either!"

 

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OK, so this ride, right here. This is the reason you need to visit Motiongate. Seriously, this instantly became one of my top five dark rides of all time. The ride system reminded me of "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey"... if the ending of "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" consisted of the ride's bursting right out of Hogwarts Castle and taking you on a high-speed aerial tour of the entirety of Hogsmeade!

 

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Enter the Viking Circle! Because that's totally a thing.

 

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Dare you pass through the Door of Dragons? Because that's totally a thing, too.

 

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Welcome to Viking House! Where the questions are made up and the points don't matter! Unfortunately, right after this room, we were made to surrender all our worldly possessions (because otherwise stuff WILL fall out of your pockets on this ride). So no pictures of the ride itself. But take my word for it -- it was a thing of beauty!

 

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Exit through the gift shop! Er... workshop!

 

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"Hey! Dig my sexy tattoo!"

 

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Panda Jack Black says, "So long, DreamWorks visitors! Please spend more money next time!"

Up next: a look at Motiongate's final section, Lionsgate.

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very cool report, and pics from a park I've not seen much about ever.

 

To be honest, out of all the properties thus far?  there's been *maybe* one (Zombieland), that I have even a somewhat interest in. . . but that doesn't matter!  the Theming in this place appears to be quite incredible, and I'm really impressed.

the attractions themselves all look like a ton of fun too, even if I don't care about the IP it's based in.

 

thanks so much for sharing. . . looking forwards to seeing more if you have more coming!

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Welcome to "Lionsgate," the final section of Motiongate. Featuring attractions based on such thrilling films as... well, I bet you can't name a single Lionsgate film, can you? That's OK. 90% of all attractions at Universal theme parks aren't based on Universal properties, and they seem to be doing OK. No one cares which studio is putting out this crap.

 

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Fun fact: "The Hunger Games" is a Lionsgate film. It's also the only "land" in the Lionsgate section that was open the day I visited (more on that later).

 

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I think we all know what "The Hunger Games" is, correct? I'd seen the first film in the series and had a passing knowledge of the rest, so I sort of got it. In the year fifty-two-bajillionty-eight, a communist government has united the North American countries into a single landmass called "Panem" and divided the area into 12 industry-related districts where the Panemian people more or less do as they're told or else. In District 6, for example, everyone's job is to chant, "Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor Mantenganse alejado de las puertas."

 

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Just kidding! District 6 is the Transportation District! Its people build and operate such incredible, mind-blowing, far-off future vehicles as trains. Because when I think of the 38th century or whenever this is supposed to be, I think "trains"! Also, the Transportation District is centered around the Detroit area because everything in Panem is based on what industries existed where in the 20th century. The future!

 

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The people of District 12 are charged with mining coal. Because nothing says "the future" like the continued reliance on the dirtiest, deadliest, most difficult-to-extract fossil fuel. After all, something's got to power those future-trains! (Also, District 12 is based around West Virginia and not Wyoming... which makes absolutely no sense if you know anything at all about U.S. coal reserves!)

 

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If my iPhone was better at capturing JumboTron images, you'd see that the Hunger Games are currently in session! Instead, you're seeing what it would look like if the Predator were watching the Hunger Games.

 

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Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice....

 

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Oooh! Panem Aerial Tour! This could never go badly!

 

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I had to Google the significance of these white roses. (Actually, they look yellow to me... but white roses apparently are significant in the franchise, so I assume that's what these are supposed to be.)

 

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Wait a minute... we're just one triangle away from turning the Hunger Games into the Squid Game!

 

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So regal! So intimidating! So... empty!

 

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Wouldn't it make more sense for the aerial tour to depart from the Transportation District? Or even the Capitol (which most of the ride is set, anyway)? WTF wants a tour of the most depressed district in Panem?

 

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If you had wings... had wings... had wings....

 

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District 3 is the Technology District, centered around current-day San Francisco. Check out that high-tech pencil and clipboard! Also, everyone there wears Steve Jobs turtlenecks. That's how you know it's the future!

 

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District 10 (basically Texas, all of Mexico and what's left of Central America) is the Livestock district. Don't even ask what's in the pipe!

 

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Even children mine coal in District 12! Let's see a 5-year-old assemble a microchip over in District 3. Go ahead. We'll wait.

 

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Notice that in the future, Florida is underwater and New England is a wasteland where all the nation's trash is sent. There's a joke about Boston in there somewhere....

 

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The future!

 

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Our pilot today will be Luke Skywalker.

 

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In District 1 (the Luxury District), people make fine perfumes and jewelry. In soviet Russia, fine perfumes and jewelry make people!

 

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"Help us, Obi Wan. You're our only hope."

 

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The concept is that we are the lucky winners of a free aerial tour of Panem. (Second place is TWO aerial tours of Panem!) Around the time we get to the Capital, rebel interceptors hijack the view screens to inform us that we've fallen for a trap, and they've come to rescue us. In the end, we're saved and receive an invitation to join the resistance. Then the pilot promises us that he'll do better next time and offers some lame excuse about how he's still getting used to his programming. Fin.

 

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Once again, no photos or video allowed in the simulator, so enjoy this sneak peek at the safety video instead. (Edited to add: For those who want to see the ride, there are a couple videos from others on YouTube... but I wasn't going to risk a date with the Dubai judicial system for your amusement!)

 

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Here we go....

 

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The other "Hunger Games" ride is the "Capitol Bullet Train."

 

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Fun fact: It's a Mack coaster! (Coal powered, I assume.)

 

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All that tyranny got you down? Why not stop for a bite at Peeta's Bakery? Peeta's -- for the best cuppa coffee in beautiful downtown District 12?

 

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I mentioned earlier that "Hunger Games" was the only "land" open in "Lionsgate" during my visit. That's because the park's two newest coasters, "Now You See Me: High Roller" (land entrance pictured) and "John Wick: Open Contract" (seen in the distance behind the Lionsgate gate at the beginning of this post) weren't open quite yet during my visit.

 

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I'm guessing this is why the park was so quiet during my visit -- everyone was waiting for the big new rides to open. Regardless, this was the only day I had available in my schedule for Motiongate, so I was thankful for the thin crowds that allowed me to experience most everything else multiple times!

Up next: The grand finale, with a dusk-time pass through Studio Central and a look at Riverland after dark.

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The one attraction I kind of would have liked to have experienced that I didn't get a chance to was the "Santa's Sweet Surprise" show. I'm a fan of theme park stage shows, and I think it would have been interesting to see one in Dubai.

 

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Alas, I was busy with other things during the two showtimes that day, so it wasn't meant to be.

 

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Being there shortly after Christmas, though, it was cool to see some of the park's holiday decorations still around.

 

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Pretty in pink...

 

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...green with envy!

 

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I don't know if this was just a decorative sign or if movie nights really are a thing at Motiongate, but it would be a cool venue to see an outdoor film.

 

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Good night, Grand Hotel!

 

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I enjoyed the window dressing along the "Main Street" area on the way out.

 

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Finally, we end up right back where we started.

 

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See you later, giant film reel! (But probably not.)

 

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From the outside looking in....

 

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Bollywood Park was right next door! If I'd had an extra day to spend in Dubai, I might have checked this place out, even though I know nothing of Bollywood. (I could have sworn I also took a picture of the entrance to Legoland Dubai, the third park in this three-park complex, but I can't find it now, so apparently I didn't.)

 

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Riverland is the "Downtown Disney"-style shopping and dining district that ties the three parks together. You have to walk through at least part of it to get to any of them.

 

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I can't imagine how it got its name!

 

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That's the fanciest-looking Olive Garden I've ever seen! (There was a Famous Dave's, too, but it appeared to have been out of business, or at least closed for COVID, along with some other Riverland storefronts.)

 

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And, of course, every authentic faux European village in the Middle East needs a McDonald's!

 

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So long, Riverland! We enjoyed your quaint charm and golden arches!

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1 hour ago, bert425 said:

To be honest, out of all the properties thus far?  there's been *maybe* one (Zombieland), that I have even a somewhat interest in. . . but that doesn't matter!  the Theming in this place appears to be quite incredible, and I'm really impressed.

the attractions themselves all look like a ton of fun too, even if I don't care about the IP it's based in.

Agreed! I was excited for the "Ghostbusters" and "Hotel Transylvania" rides, nostalgic for "Smurfs" and curious about the "Zombieland" area (even though I don't do multi-story drop towers); beyond that, I had either only a passing knowledge or none at all about the rest of the IP. But there wasn't a single attraction I didn't thoroughly enjoy. The theming was great, and the park had a good mix of rides, not just coasters, off-the-shelf flats and screen-based attractions that dominate so many corporate parks right now. As I mentioned, I'm a big fan of dark rides; Motiongate probably has the largest collection of them outside of Disney.

Thanks to everyone else for the positive comments, as well. I'm glad I could provide a detailed look at a seldom-seen park and happy to be back!

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Thanks for this huge trip report, very helpful as I plan on going at some point. Good to see there's at least some eateries in River Land left, it's hard to plan things post-covid as you never know whether things have returned to normal yet. 

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