The United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi is a burgeoning hub for infrastructure development. Recently, the city earned the TomTom International Award for World’s Best City in Developing Infrastructures Related to Traffic Management. Core infrastructure projects are ongoing throughout Abu Dhabi and have the potential to boost the city’s economy, but one large-scale resort and theme park could bring in a significant amount of money from foreign visitors.
Summer 2018 Opening
In April 2016, Warner Bros. announced plans to build an immersive theme park on Abu Dhabi’s manmade Yas Island that would feature the world’s first Warner Bros.-branded hotels and rides based on the studio’s popular characters, such as Batman, Bugs Bunny, Superman, and Wonder Woman. At the time of the announcement, the plan was to have the $1 billion theme park ready to open by summer 2018, and that target has remained intact with the superstructure of the indoor park complete and ride installation nearly finished as of January 2018.
Funded by holding company Miral Asset Management, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be a completely indoor park spanning 1.65 million square feet. Its construction has engaged some 5,500 craftsmen, laborers, and specialist engineers. Upon approaching the theme park, guests will be greeted by a 61-meter, 300-ton water tower, which, inspired by the iconic Warner Bros. tower in Burbank, California, is now one of Yas Island’s tallest structures. The inside of the park will feature the following six themed areas:
Warner Bros. Plaza
This dining and entertainment hub is a celebration of both Warner Bros. and the Golden Age of Hollywood, while also serving as a hub for whole park. Additionally, the art deco-style plaza will feature a variety of dining options, and Bugs Bunny will host a theatrical lighting and majestic media show at night.
The Stone Age town of the Flintstones is re-created for this family-friendly section of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. Guests can explore the area, interact with iconic characters such as Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty as they celebrate “Stonetennial Day” and enjoy a selection of dino-sized ribs and burgers. Bedrock is also home to some of the 29 rides available at the theme park.
This area of the park is inspired by the storied rivalry between Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner as they chase each other through a recreation of the American Southwest desert landscape. Other family-friendly activities here include prospecting with Yosemite Sam and exploring a crater with Marvin the Martian.
Cartoon Junction brings together the many classic Warner Bros. animated characters that fans have loved for decades. Guests can expect to come across the likes of Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, and Tom and Jerry, among other popular characters. Eight of the theme park’s 29 rides, including Tom and Jerry: Swiss Cheese Spin and Ani-Mayhem, are based in Cartoon Junction. Other cartoon-inspired rides include a vertical jump tower, a children’s car ride, and the ACME Factory, which is an obstacle course complete with suspended rope bridges, tunnel mazes, crawl tubes, and spiral nets for climbing.
Based on the fictional hometown of Bruce Wayne, Gotham City features D.C. comic book characters like Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, and The Joker. At dusk, Wayne’s superhero alter ego Batman emerges from the shadows to help good triumph over the evil super villains who occupy the land during the day.
In addition to seeing superheroes like Superman, Batman, The Flash, and Green Lantern, guests can revel at Metropolis’ majestic skyline and enjoy rides such as Justice League: Warworld Attacks, Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis, and Teen Titans Training Academy, the latter of which is a multi-level play area with rope bridges and zip coasters, among other obstacles.
Part of a Larger Effort to Increase Tourism
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is far from the only investment in the city’s cultural infrastructure as of late. In a concerted effort to keep up with the UAE’s largest city, Dubai, Abu Dhabi has focused on increasing tourism, particularly on Yas Island, which is already home to Ferrari World, which boasts the world’s fastest roller coaster, and Louvre Abu Dhabi. Plans are also underway for SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, which will become the first non-U.S.-based SeaWorld when it opens in 2022.
According to the director-general of the city’s Department of Culture and Tourism, Saif Saeed Ghobash, nearly 5 million visitors stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels in 2017, but that number is expected to rise to 6 million in 2018. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi should play a sizeable role in that regard as a family-friendly attraction. Additionally, the park is expected to increase Yas Island’s traffic to 30 million per year, up from 25 million in 2015, while the island itself has a goal of attracting 48 million annual visitors by 2022. “We continue to invest a lot in promoting the emirate abroad in our source markets and are very optimistic about the future,” Ghobash said.