After five years we have finally made a return trip to the UAE! We 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!
This 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?
I sat down in my seat and Moana greeted me. I knew we were off to a good start!
I love it when planes have an board cameras so you can get a POV of your take-off and landing!
Let me just say that this was a VERY LOOOONG flight!
This 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.
The first thing you notice when you land in Dubai is "WOW! This place looks *JUST LIKE* LAX!!!"
Ok, ok. Joking aside as I realize some of you may have never been to the shithole that is LAX...
This looks NOTHING like it! lol
The next thing you notice when you go outside is... "There are LOTS of buildings here. Many of them are very tall."
We 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!
Ahh, 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!
If 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.
This results into some of the most amazing things you'll put in your mouth!
This 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!
This is what Kristen's personal heaven looks like. (If we believed in such a place.)
What 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!)
Another look at lots of really tall buildings. There will be lots of them on this trip!
You 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?!?!?
Just your average ordinary kind of Rolls Royce dealership. You know. Like the ones you see on almost every street corner in Ohio...
This 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.
It sort of has a "Freemont Street" kind of vibe except with a lot more Ferrari's and a lot less Coors Light.
Here is the entrance to Hub Zero. I know this because there is a sign with these words on it.
The entire indoor park was a giant "virtual reality" playground. Very much like what DisneyQuest would look like if it was built today.
The theming was great and there were a lot of "big name" video game franchises that you would recognize.
We 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.
But we loved walking around and checking it out!
Lots of "simulator" type rides. I feel like almost every simulator you'd see on the IAAPA show floor was here!
We did check out the Resident Evil shooting dark ride!
Fun shooting dark ride ride! This is an AlterFace creation using a trackless ETF dark ride vehicle. The ride itself was small but really fun!
Here'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!
First of all you get to shoot zombies, so what could be better?
There are also physical targets along the course.
And also physical sets and props! Seriously for a smaller attraction, we really enjoyed this!
The 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.
Kristen spent some time in the Plants Versus Zombies area!
This whole play area was very well themed!
And there was a ton of stuff in here for kids to do!
lol! Loved all the Plants Versus Zombies stuff all over the place!
Seriously, this entire park was very well done and the theming was great!
So 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
The absolute LAST thing I expected to find was a giant retro video games arcade in Dubai!
They had TONS of machines here!
Now 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.
Someone has gone through the trouble of painstakingly re-created all the original side art, control panel overlays, and marquees used.
I 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!
All of this side art and control panel looks almost identical to the real arcade machine!
And while the original controls were not always 100%, they did the best they could.
Seriously there were a LOT of games here and some that I wouldn't have expected.
Space Invaders makes sense as this was a very popular game.
But a dedicated "Lady Bug" machine is not something I would have expected to see here!
I think in total there were about 50 different machines!
Oh, and a handful of pinball in case anyone is interested!
But the collection of video game cabinets was impressive.
Most of the retro "barcades" I've seen in Orlando and New York don't have anywhere near this many machines!
Ok this is the last arcade machine photo, so you can stop here! lol
I feel this picture right here represents a true bonding between the United States and Canada!
Getting back to the hotel I just have to stop and pay my respects to these dudes. Thank you for making this all possible!
And 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!)