Travel Note

10th October 2010

This year's major coaster trip began, not in a theme park, but in the world's tallest building. The Burj Khalifa has to be seen to be believed, towering over eight hundred metres into the sky. Photographs taken from the open air observation deck on the one hundred and twenty fourth floor look like something from the window of an aircraft, and those who suffer from vertigo need not apply.

Burj Khalifa View

Having said that, the view over Dubai also serves as a stark reminder of how badly this area has been hit by the worldwide recession; the view is dotted with partly completed skyscrapers upon which construction appears to have completely stopped. Quite a bit of the local metro system also lies unfinished and idle. One wonders how long it will take the local economy to recover fully.

 

Sega Republic

10th October 2010

On returning to ground level we walked across the Dubai Mall to our first park. Sega Republic is a particularly nice family entertainment center, featuring several brightly coloured attractions themed after Sonic the Hedgehog and friends. I was particularly taken with the appearance of the tower ride, with a larger than life Sonic at its peak. Spin Gear (#1563) is located on the second floor, and stretches maybe thirty feet all the way to the ceiling. It feels very much like a scaled down version of the design found at Mall of America, but that's not a criticism; it rides very well, with a particular highlight being an enclosed section of the ride that is not visible to riders ahead of time.

 

Stargate

10th October 2010

Stargate is a medium sized family entertainment center in the center of Dubai. Any coaster enthusiast attempting to direct a local driver towards the place should ask for gate four of Zabeel Park, a large public garden in the center of Dubai. However, only those who count their coasters should make the effort; while the park is pleasant enough, its Roller Coaster (#1564) is not.

Stargate

The train consists of five linked cars of the same design seen on the (equally awful) Magic Mouse, which marks the first major design error. Using this design of car on any operational ride is bad enough, but the problem is compounded when the front of the train reaches the bottom of the major drop before any acceleration takes place. The track layout features two outdoor helices, around which the cars gently rotate, before returning to an indoor brake run. Despite a relatively low speed the cars nevertheless manage to bounce around in a fashion likely to shake fillings loose. The overall experience would probably be okay with a faster speed, better restraints, and improved track quality. As it is, this writer feels that the ride constitutes a waste of good steel.

 

Space City

10th October 2010

I've often wondered about the possibilities of enclosing an entire amusement park with a roller coaster that covers its boundaries. Satellite Coaster (#1565) gives a small hint of what such a ride might look like, albeit on a smaller scale. It is located next door to a food court, presumably in an attempt to lure unsuspecting parents into spending a little extra money to amuse their children (and possibly themselves). Though a family ride this coaster is surprisingly thrilling, and well worth the effort.

 

Antic's Land

10th October 2010

Antic's Land has a large sign at its entrance indicating Families Only, and though our group of six was officially glared at the staff were still quite willing to sell us tickets to ride Thunder Mountain (#1566). This ride proved to be the smallest coaster of the day so far, with a single descending helix, but it was taken at a sufficient speed that the lateral forces were much more intense than expected. We also tried The Dungeon, a haunted walkthrough attraction that is an absolute must, though a certain amount of physical flexibility is required to get through. I'll say no more here, but if you're visiting the park don't miss it!

 

Adventureland Sharjah

10th October 2010

Adventureland Sharjah was originally scheduled as the last park for today, but our driver recommended a change of order to account due to the local rush hour. It is home to a pair of powered coasters, the slow and tedious Adventure Train and the large and exciting Quantum Leap. The latter takes up the ceiling area of almost all of the park, and certainly looks the part.

 

Wonderland

10th October 2010

Wonderland was the first large scale amusement park in Dubai, and with the collapse of the world economy it is likely to remain the only park in the emirate for the foreseeable future. For our visit the staff outnumbered the guests by at least two to one, which doesn't exactly bode well for the future of the place; those wishing to visit might want to do so sooner rather than later.

Wonderland

The main attraction is the Spinning Coaster (#1567), a Chinese copy of the ubiquitous design from Reverchon. As copies go this wasn't actually that bad, especially compared with those from other Chinese manufacturers, other than one minor thing; the cars actually do not spin. Perhaps the ride might have been named differently were it not for the fact that the park also has Coaster (#1568), a standard model roller skater, and the only such design in the entire United Arab Emirates.

 

Al Nasr Leisureland

10th October 2010

Al Nasr Leisureland is a large sports center, featuring a number of less common facilities including a full size skating rink, a mosque, and a collection of amusement rides. The operator on Blizzard (#1569) admitted that his coaster was approaching the end of its life, and this proved right on the money. Though much of the ride was reasonably bearable, the sharp right turn immediately after the main drop came very close to causing us serious injury. Let the reader be warned!

 

Dubai Festival City

10th October 2010

We were just about to head for our hotel when we happened across a travelling fair operated by Freij Entertainment at the back of Dubai Festival City. Though all of us were tired, we were still pleased to pick up an unexpected bonus credit on Brucomela (Freij) (#1570).

 

2010


Sega Republic

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Stargate

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Space City

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Antic's Land

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Adventureland Sharjah

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Wonderland

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Al Nasr Leisureland

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UAE Fairs

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