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Robb & Elissa in the UAE - 2017! Dubai & Abu Dhabi!

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Day 1 - Arrival and Hub Zero Indoor Theme Park

Day 2 - Ski Dubai, Dune Bashing, BOOBS!

Day 3 - Wild Wadi Water Park

Day 4 - Ferrari World with the World's Fastest Roller Coaster!

Day 4 - Yas Worldworld Water Theme Park!

Day 6 - IMG Worlds of Adventure Part 1!

Day 6 - IMG Worlds of Adventure Part 2!





After five years we have finally made a return trip to the UAE! W[/[/url]url]e kept putting it off as more and more new attractions kept opening up, and I'm glad we did because there is a lot of great new attractions in the area and it made for a fantastic trip! While I miss Dubai as it's easily in my top three places in the world to visit, waiting it out was quite the payoff. There was actually DOUBLE the amount of major parks this visit that during our last visit, and we are already looking towards 2020 as a possible date for our next visit, and there will be almost twice as many more new attractions then!


This first part of the report will focus on our arrival into the UAE and visiting a small "virtual reality" part called Hub Zero which opened recently as part of a new "City Walk" indoor/outdoor entertainment complex. (And no, it's not part of anything Universal related!)


I have a feeling this report is going to be quite long as there is a ton of cool stuff to cover! Let's get started just like how we got started... our flight and first evening in Dubai!

IMG_7431.thumb.JPG.c530aa3acf1295ee86d00957afa0499c.JPGThis was our first ever time flying Emirates and we have nothing but GREAT things to say! The seats were comfortable the service was great and the plane made it there in one piece. That's a solid review, no?


IMG_7439.thumb.JPG.f911352a0ff1a4f969bb9ea81df9af6c.JPGI sat down in my seat and Moana greeted me. I knew we were off to a good start!


IMG_7455.thumb.JPG.8116d5f6ec8a39fa819fb2a2952e53b3.JPGI love it when planes have an board cameras so you can get a POV of your take-off and landing!


IMG_7526.thumb.JPG.73534ae6b829a0ee0167ab591b31a898.JPGLet me just say that this was a VERY LOOOONG flight!


IMG_7515.thumb.JPG.29440bfdbc8c8cbf432dd8515355ca61.JPGThis was the first time I have been on a plane that had a fiberoptic "star field" when all the lights were turned off for sleeping.


IMG_7548.thumb.JPG.984873ce68901d500095fe95bd0c10e9.JPGThe first thing you notice when you land in Dubai is "WOW! This place looks *JUST LIKE* LAX!!!"


IMG_7551.thumb.JPG.797ff7b8168fbc96d87f43cc089d3151.JPGOk, ok. Joking aside as I realize some of you may have never been to the shithole that is LAX...


IMG_7552.thumb.JPG.67b9cd30813abdcfc768614ac7610e3a.JPGThis looks NOTHING like it! lol


IMG_7553.thumb.JPG.48ad0606a982f198b3961d1ebed82126.JPGThe next thing you notice when you go outside is... "There are LOTS of buildings here. Many of them are very tall."


IMG_7555.thumb.JPG.30cb2465ca2f1762348ec1cd8934ad8a.JPGWe decided to drop our bags at the hotel and immediately head out to one of the GIANT malls you find all over the UAE. This was a good plan because at this time our jetlag was pretty screwed up and we needed an excuse to stay awake!


IMG_7557.thumb.JPG.6bd35f6b79e8b24739d5ec05c8a2707f.JPGAhh, yes. If there is one thing that is amazing about Dubai is the wide selection of food. You see, because the country is mostly run by expats from all over the place, the country is imported restaurants from "all over the place" so you find some of the best chain restaurants in the world, many of which you won't find in other countries, here in Dubai. Din Tai Fung is here (which we do not have many of in the USA) so we had to eat!


IMG_7561.thumb.JPG.e74a7168be6187dd8158e32fddca5f80.JPGIf you're not familiar with Din Tai Fung, it's a Taiwanese based dumpling restaurant and they are known for the meticulous way they make their dumplings. "Clean room" suits are required and they are carefully constructed.


IMG_7562.thumb.JPG.de0566b295e150f16eb802abf182a106.JPGThis results into some of the most amazing things you'll put in your mouth!


486276663_IMG_7562a.thumb.JPG.cc30304dfb2e63ff37210d64f2e7a397.JPGThis is a picture of Elissa. At this point I'm not sure why this picture was taken. It could have been to show off "Look, ma, here I am! (even though ma was with us) or it could have been to show how to make the dumpling sauce, or it could have been that we were jet lagged and decided to take a picture with no real explanation. In any case. Here's a picture of Elissa. Enjoy it!


1149663272_IMG_7575a.thumb.JPG.ec3729408cf561c3add012710fc075ad.JPGThis is what Kristen's personal heaven looks like. (If we believed in such a place.)


IMG_7575.thumb.JPG.dbcf035bc5c2f3f370ed7ab62421d1aa.JPGWhat are the chances that Scott Pilgrim's sister is working in this location?

(Also note that this is a Canadian Chain... but it's here in Dubai!)


IMG_7579.thumb.JPG.96caee28f69e0a3d957fba8528a061c5.JPGAnother look at lots of really tall buildings. There will be lots of them on this trip!


IMG_7580.thumb.JPG.b2ddf5068159fad37a33d0383518ee08.JPGYou know... While I give Dubai a lot of credit for having lots of different restaurant options from all over the world, did we REALLY need to import "Applebees???" REALLY?!?!?


IMG_7582.thumb.JPG.af374092952227639bcd3a487419010d.JPGJust your average ordinary kind of Rolls Royce dealership. You know. Like the ones you see on almost every street corner in Ohio...


IMG_7586.thumb.JPG.e562936bebcb76abeeb5a51e93272f9e.JPGThis was the new City Walk not far from our hotel. I think it has just opened in the past few months. In fact some of the attractions at Hub Zero were still under construction. Nice place and isn't tied to Universal at all, just in case you were wondering.


IMG_7589.thumb.JPG.7d536fe8c31f9b4756dbf52c3ab8f737.JPGIt sort of has a "Freemont Street" kind of vibe except with a lot more Ferrari's and a lot less Coors Light.


IMG_7593.thumb.JPG.244bc89dbeb72fd931ba6adb2703a124.JPGHere is the entrance to Hub Zero. I know this because there is a sign with these words on it.


IMG_7596.thumb.JPG.7aa4dbdd31f4fef9e136335499e13bfc.JPGThe entire indoor park was a giant "virtual reality" playground. Very much like what DisneyQuest would look like if it was built today.


IMG_7598.thumb.JPG.9cd965a1ca485685f4d2188e43bf7d66.JPGThe theming was great and there were a lot of "big name" video game franchises that you would recognize.


IMG_7600.thumb.JPG.300a943e5fa0e8374ffcdbfe915a3605.JPGWe didn't ride or experience too much here because it was mostly VR or media-based experiences, similar to what you'd find at a park like Joypolis in Japan.


IMG_7601.thumb.JPG.55c9492022a150410fa0233284174b23.JPGBut we loved walking around and checking it out!


IMG_7605.thumb.JPG.ebef870678d834dfaca9f47369ff403e.JPGLots of "simulator" type rides. I feel like almost every simulator you'd see on the IAAPA show floor was here!


IMG_7614.thumb.JPG.0d18890a14a28f3be9889a5bcfaa5043.JPGWe did check out the Resident Evil shooting dark ride!


IMG_7614a.thumb.JPG.84135a31372fadcee10f14747b4b8d91.JPGFun shooting dark ride ride! This is an AlterFace creation using a trackless ETF dark ride vehicle. The ride itself was small but really fun!


resident-evil.thumb.jpg.c92559f23c49045263570d1ec660c700.jpgHere's the layout of the ride. You can see they had a small space to work with, but it's really crammed full of fun!

(Photo: Alterface)


IMG_7614b.thumb.JPG.526462050e6026d8101f07de4065a674.JPGFirst of all you get to shoot zombies, so what could be better?


IMG_7614c.thumb.JPG.13d0bd540ab99c881e7283f6dd90017d.JPGThere are also physical targets along the course.


IMG_7614d.thumb.JPG.be9ef5c143ee5cb98ea473ce2b5b0488.JPGAnd also physical sets and props! Seriously for a smaller attraction, we really enjoyed this!


IMG_7621.thumb.JPG.81751f5afa80c6456095e174e2bc36c5.JPGThe Vertical Adventure Zone was a Ropes Course Inc play area. Looked like fun! These are always great so I'm happy to see one installed in this location.


IMG_7625.thumb.JPG.b913943eab00e3ccb789323f127c3f0b.JPGKristen spent some time in the Plants Versus Zombies area!


IMG_7630.thumb.JPG.bee83333fcb754f59d2e8ba2bffda55b.JPGThis whole play area was very well themed!


IMG_7630a.thumb.JPG.c021989fe7431ce0406d26c3d106e42e.JPGAnd there was a ton of stuff in here for kids to do!





IMG_7631.thumb.JPG.a6f63b2fdbe346f86b497b74ddf3e727.JPGlol! Loved all the Plants Versus Zombies stuff all over the place!


IMG_7642.thumb.JPG.7afa60d3323259fa9e3bc64bf2f81b19.JPGSeriously, this entire park was very well done and the theming was great!


IMG_7650.thumb.JPG.0fc20e32241cde249feb927fb1c19f26.JPGSo while Kristen was playing in the Plants Versus Zombies area I decided to go upstairs and check out the arcade. For those of you who don't know, I spent the majority of my adult career in the video games business and love retro gaming (You should check out and LIKE my Retro Games Fan page!)


The absolute LAST thing I expected to find was a giant retro video games arcade in Dubai!


IMG_7653.thumb.JPG.94d7ae11fdd8d140d1c2fc315acba110.JPGThey had TONS of machines here!


IMG_7661.thumb.JPG.94515d2c4d2415f11b423a96f2336305.JPGNow these were not "originals" as you would find in the 1980s in the US arcades, but that is mainly due to the fact that not many of those original machines would have made it to Dubai in the first place.


IMG_7671.thumb.JPG.95337276bd8d10452a663b3e4204567a.JPGSomeone has gone through the trouble of painstakingly re-created all the original side art, control panel overlays, and marquees used.


IMG_7675.thumb.JPG.f4597b919e323cfdfd7637a195b256f6.JPGI will warn you right now that there are a LOT of arcade machine photos so if this sort of thing doesn't interest you, please scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll down to where they end!


IMG_7676.thumb.JPG.9e15fc7761700e7ede00066309953544.JPGAll of this side art and control panel looks almost identical to the real arcade machine!


IMG_7683.thumb.JPG.e44d503f30835fe0ed3dd6b887a928b4.JPGAnd while the original controls were not always 100%, they did the best they could.


IMG_7695.thumb.JPG.574136f6f4f6e9d3344da2c6de58e62e.JPGSeriously there were a LOT of games here and some that I wouldn't have expected.


1352190729_IMG_76962.thumb.JPG.f6707388b9ef4a15e0732f93590caee1.JPGSpace Invaders makes sense as this was a very popular game.


IMG_7812.thumb.JPG.0f1930cca316085180ba93747a6559a5.JPGBut a dedicated "Lady Bug" machine is not something I would have expected to see here!


IMG_7711.thumb.JPG.f36abe10352bcedb69a038984f2897d9.JPGI think in total there were about 50 different machines!


IMG_7720.thumb.JPG.051acfdb0b460881aef5c9fc96eb8c84.JPGOh, and a handful of pinball in case anyone is interested!


IMG_7733.thumb.JPG.b166efe6dc4fc46b0395f68eda00f5e2.JPGBut the collection of video game cabinets was impressive.


IMG_7788.thumb.JPG.76b398ec550ce369df9ca407c74b2451.JPGMost of the retro "barcades" I've seen in Orlando and New York don't have anywhere near this many machines!


IMG_7813.thumb.JPG.8c0190a076284f10827a23f507e6d4f2.JPGOk this is the last arcade machine photo, so you can stop here! lol


IMG_7828.thumb.JPG.8714051dd74c0f20d8613c1220290bda.JPGI feel this picture right here represents a true bonding between the United States and Canada!


IMG_7854.thumb.JPG.aa24e69c3b66709ab00630470ce6b61f.JPGGetting back to the hotel I just have to stop and pay my respects to these dudes. Thank you for making this all possible!


IMG_9502.thumb.JPG.84263b14f32f618ad753511dc1e03c28.JPGAnd for those of you a little more unfamiliar with the culture of the UAE, let's just say that this poster in our hotel is quite representative of how they are! lol


We will be back with more Dubai fun! Don't change that channel! Don't click away from TPR's website! (seriously just stay looking at this page for a day or two...don't even sleep) Ski Dubai and a "woman who can balance a sword on her boobs" is coming up next!


Oh yes, be sure to POST YOUR COMMENTS!!!

(we took the time to write the report, the least you could do is say something nice about it!)



Construction Photos from early Feb 2005

Edited by robbalvey
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I've only been through Dubai as an air stopover... would love to go back sometime and stay there for a while to get a good look around - it's such a modern and very interesting city!


Ski Dubai and a "woman who can balance a sword on her boobs" is coming up next!

Oh my...


Looking forward to the trip reports to come!

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Perfect timing, I'm in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in a few weeks. Let us know if it's worth heading over to Warner Bros to see what they are building?

It's right next door to Yas Waterworld if you happen to be going there. But really what they are building at the moment is one giant box and there isn't much to see so I wouldn't waste your time and go out of your way...


Edited by robbalvey
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So far Dubai looks so much better than the last time you guys were there! It's on my list to visit some day...after Japan again.

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you. Can't wait for your next updates and appreciate the Arcade got some love.

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Count me in as one who can never get enough of the retro video games. I think that anyone in their 40's can appreciate them because it reminds them so much of their childhood.


Definitely some rare ones at that place like LadyBug....I used to own that game on Coleco Vision along with Donkey Kong and Zaxxon.


Great start to the report...looking forward to seeing more!

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Elissa, if you don't mind me asking, but Robb's last picture has me curious, you obviously loved it there, was there anything that needed to be avoided or where you were uncomfortable/worried?


Dubai is really high on my list of places to go but I think my wife is always a little worried about. You read articles occasionally of horror stories that I just ignore but I think she's got it in her head that she's going to forget where she is and get in trouble for instinctively going to hold my hand or taking pictures and someone accusing her of them being in it. More worried I think if something happens since we'll have our son with us. I think she worries way too much but be interesting to hear your thoughts.

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