IMG Worlds of Adventure
Marvel superheroes, dinosaurs, and cartoons. This eclectic mix of themes sounds sort of like Islands of Adventure minus Harry Potter, doesn’t it? Except I’m talking about IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai. It’s advertised as the world’s largest indoor theme park and it seems as such.
Not only is IMG massive, but it’s gorgeous too. The dark, sprawling roof isn’t the most inviting, but it allows the park to be illuminated. There’s something magical being at a theme park after sunset and at IMG, you have that feel all day long.
I started with the Mack mega, Velociraptor. More specifically, I started with a queue that rivals the Bat and American Eagle in sheer length. I don’t know what kind of crowds IMG forecasted, but I’d poop my pants if it were ever full. I think there were 4-5 sizable rooms with an endless sea of switchbacks.
Instead it was a complete walk-on all day (as was every other ride). I loved Blue Fire when I rode it two years ago, so it was no surprise I also liked Velociraptor. The outdoor section was barren, but the coaster did have a cool pre-launch with a screen big enough to make Universal jealous.
I love Mack launchers, but I do not like Mack launches. Slinky Dog Dash has A+ presentation, but in terms of raw power, that launch is nothing special. And it isn’t even the worst Mack launch I’ve experienced (just wait for Capitol Bullet Train). The exceptions are Blue Fire and Velociraptor. Mack got it right with their first design. This launch has some kick to it.
Velociraptor is inherently rerideable. It’s smooth and a jack-of-all-trades. You have a launch, a funky top hat that rides more like a wave turn, some hangtime-filled inversions, a few spots of air, and a violent (in the best way possible) barrel roll to end the ride. 9 out of 10
Next door was Predator, the Gerstlauer EuroFighter. The dinosaur figures and plants around the ride were a nice touch, but I only rode once since my home park has an identical clone. And to be honest, that’s about as often as I ride Untamed per visit as well.
The coaster has a marvelous first drop loaded with ejector air and a fantastic stall. But the coaster has some neck-chopping transitions, particularly on the cutback and helix. It’s a solid coaster given its compactness, but I much prefer the ones with lap bars. 6 out of 10
Forbidden Territory was intriguing. It was a toned-down version of Dinosaur. The vehicles seemed capable of the same range of motion as Disney’s EMVs, but the whole ride seemed to take place in slow motion. I’d estimate the vehicles and motions were performed at 1/3 Dinosaur’s speed.
I also want to call it a budget Dinosaur, but that’s not really fair. The animatronics on this one are no match for the ones on Dinosaur. However, Forbidden Territory doesn’t have any empty sections that have you asking whether or not Dinosaur’s budget was slashed during development. 7 out of 10
One of my guilty pleasure attractions are slides of death. Few can top the near-vertical slides of the City Museum or the drunk slayer at Oktoberfest, but Adventure Fortress beat those slides in terms of size. It was a gigantic play structure with a slide seemingly as tall as Predator.
Accessing this slide was a tight-squeeze, but I made it. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one struggling. I was followed by an employee. I start my work day with a cup of coffee, but the workers manning the slide have to ascend a 70 foot tower
The slide itself was fun, but not as fast as I hoped. 6 out of 10
Marvel Universe felt very reminiscent of the similar land at Islands of Adventure. Everything from the shops to the signage to the character cutouts had me thinking I was in Orlando. Except instead of a massive B&M, the icon of this area was Stark Tower.
Avengers Battle of Ultron was sort of like Spiderman minus the motion simulator. Basically it was a 3D dark ride. If you’re a fan of superhero battles, this ride is for you. The animation may not be as crisp as a Disney or Universal ride, but it sure beats that of your garden variety regional park. 8 out of 10
Stark Tower also houses Tony’s Skydeck. If you read the TPR report from a few years ago, this upscale restaurant looked amazing. It had steak, fish, and all sorts of goodies you often don’t find at a theme park.
Unfortunately it was closed. Further, the employee working Battle for Ultron said it has been closed for a while. Considering it’s still listed on the website, maybe it was closed since I visited during a lighter period? Instead I tried shawarma for the first time as a consolation prize.
Mack spinners are one of the most underrated coaster types if you ask me. I’m a fan of spinners to begin with, but the Mack spinners tend to have more speed an ferocity to them. For that reason, I was really looking forward to Spiderman.
To be honest, I think it just barely cracks the UAE’s top 5 coasters. Technically it’s a clone of Sierra Sidewinder, but it sure doesn’t feel as such when you add in the lights, fog, and cutouts. Those elements make an already disorienting coaster even more disorienting. 8 out of 10
Thor Thunder Spin was a royal pain to ride. I think it’s easier to get opening night tickets for the Avengers. It was a similar situation to my visit to Yas Waterworld, but the park was so empty that Thor couldn’t meet its 10 passenger minimum requirement.
Six of us hung around for 15 minutes as the ride operator enthusiastically badgered guests to ride. Eventually she courted a family of four. Success! But not so fast. She whipped out the measuring stick. We nervously bit our nails, but the youngest was just barely tall enough.
The ride itself was the best top spin I’ve ridden outside of Phantasialand’s. The theming really added to the experience. The underrated star in particular was the mind-warping curved wall. It completely messed with my equilibrium. Then the program itself had more flips than you’ll find in the US, especially since these rides are going the way of the dinosaur. 8 out of 10
Like Islands of Adventure, IMG has a Hulk. Except this one is a one-of-a-kind 3D simulator. I’d describe it as your 360 degree theater on steroids. The secret sauce is the ride vehicle. I figured it’d rock like most simulators, but this one spun like a top. The spinning pulled some serious Gs too!
This motion combined with the frenetic action was overwhelming. The 360 degree screen is cool, but being restrained in a seat causes you to miss any action that takes place behind you. Thankfully you can see about 4/5 of the film uninhibited, but the periodic blind spots were a slight bummer. 8 out of 10
I was more of a Disney and Warner Bros. kid growing up. So while the IPs of the Cartoon Network land didn’t appeal to me, I do have to admit the land was quite vibrant with the bright colors and booming music. Plus having a suspended monorail constantly in motion helped.
So I guess I’ll start with that monorail, Adventure Time: a name so long that it beats Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum. I’ve ridden a few monorails, but I’ve never ridden one that tries to tell a story. And that’s exactly what Adventure Time does.
In between the aerial tour of the land, there are a few indoor scenes. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch Adventure Time, but I was lost. I felt like I was in the middle of an acid trip. But it was a happy trip at least. Oh and that song is still stuck in my head. 7 out of 10
I was ecstatic to see the Amazing Ride of Gumball using the same ride system as Ani-Mayhem. While good, it had some drawbacks. For one, the IP. There may be some IPs I’m not enamored with (see Winnie the Pooh), but I just found Gumball unbearable. Maybe I’m just getting old.
The other issue I found was the brevity at each screen. The screen-based shooting was a ton of fun, especially since you could lose points if you hit the wrong thing, but I just wish it went on longer. Still it’s a heck of a lot better than most shooters thanks to that ride system. 8 out of 10
Last but not least, there was the Haunted Hotel. Free of any IP, the Haunted Hotel looked incredible. The park is definitely proud of their haunt. There’s no better example of that than the fact that this haunt fully fleshes out the story beforehand through a preshow.
The experience is restricted to guests under the age of 15, so I was intrigued just how scary it’d be. My takeaway is that the UAE doesn’t really have haunts. There were 5-6 rooms and each room only had one actor. But that actor ran around chasing us. For me, the thrill is the initial jump scare. But the locals were pooping their pants and cowering in the corner at this.
While the scares weren’t quite what I expected, the set design was top notch. Ultimately I’d say this is a hair above your seasonal haunt, but not quite as good as the full-time haunts like the ones at Liseberg or Morey’s. 7 out of 10
I ended my night with an hour marathon of Velociraptor. It was easily the best attraction in the park. For most of those rides, I was the lone rider. I also ended my night with an ungodly amount of steps. The park permitted one reride, but required guests to walk around afterwards.
I did notice the train had a noticeable shimmy to it. It wasn’t rough or uncomfortable, but it was quite loud. It sounded like someone jangling a box of screws. I noticed the same thing on the Capitol Bullet Train the following day, so maybe it was the desert heat?
IMG Worlds of Adventure was a very well-rounded park. I can’t think of any area where the park struggled. It had some nice attractions, good theming, and a friendly staff. As a whole, the UAE had excellent service but I think IMG was the best in this area.