1. Built environment
October 2, 2014updated 21 Sep 2021 9:49am

Dubai still hazy on ETA of world's largest theme park

By City Monitor Staff

Awww, man, this is terrible. This just blows. Remember that Dubai was going to build the world’s largest mall? A mall so big it’s big enough to include the world’s largest family theme park?

From Emirates 24/7:

“The first phase of Dh25-billion Mall of the World will overlook Sheikh Zayed Road and will be completed in three years’ time once the ground is broken next year, according to a senior Dubai Holding executive.

“‘The phase one will definitely have hospitality and retail components…’ Khalfan Belhoul, Vice President, Strategy, Dubai Holding, said addressing the media at Cityscape.


“But the phase one is unlikely to have the much-anticipated theme park, the largest in the world with a glass dome, Belhoul said.”

He went on to say that Dubai Holding, the government investment firm planning the giant development, has yet to even decide where to put the (world’s largest family) theme park. And probably won’t do until early next year.

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This is quite simply the biggest betrayal of trust ever to happen in the entire history of the Middle East. 

The domed theme park, which, in renderings at least, looks like a crazed mash-up of Disney World, Centre Parcs and that bit with the waterfall from The Goonies, was by far the most interesting bit of the Mall of the World development. And surely, if they still don’t know where to build it, there is at least a small possibility that the theme park isn’t going to happen at all.  

Most property developers, before committing to a scheme as enormous of this, would surely have at least some idea of where they were going to put it. If they don’t they’d be unlikely even to announce it. So why make so much noise about it in the first place?

Two possibilities spring to mind. One is that – Dubai being Dubai – “feasibility” isn’t really a factor. There’s a lot of empty land, plus a lot of cheap labour and oil money with which to fill it up. A Dubai property developer literally built a miniature world. Theme park? Pah, easy.

The other is that the theme park was included in the plans in large part to get media attention for what is, let’s be honest, just a big bloody shopping centre.

And we fall for it, every bloody time.

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