Where are they now? Universal Studios Dubailand


As part of our ongoing summer series, we will be looking back at some of the most colourful and extraordinary proposals pitched in the UAE and the wider Gulf and investigating what happened to them.
In the last few weeks, we have looked at plans for an underwater tennis stadium pitched by a Polish architect, Hollywood actor Brad Pitt’s ideas for a series of environmentally-friendly projects, a Swedish firm’s designs for a moving statue, a Chinese team’s ambitions for a technologically advanced neighbourhood in the shape of a globe, a Hong Kong designer’s idea for a heart-shaped water park containing the world’s highest water slide and a former president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia’s dream of a city with towers shaped like a chessboard.
We also looked at plans for an underwater TV studio and a crystal ball-shaped football museum in time for the 2022 World Cup, a tower in Abu Dhabi with a futuristic exterior that changes with the surrounding environment, a theme park dedicated to the classic Herbie movie franchise, a replica of the village in The Smurfs Belgian cartoon series, a tower named after Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and an environmentally-friendly hotel to be designed by Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson.
Today, we are looking at Universal Studios Dubailand.
The theme park was launched to great fanfare at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai in May 2007 (image below). “[Dubailand will] contribute to Dubai’s vision to attract 15 million tourists by 2010. Of that, Universal Studios is expected to attract about 3.3 million visitors in its first year, eventually rising to five million a year,” Khalid Al Malik, CEO of developer Tatweer, told Arabian Business at the time.
The designs for the park included many of the same rides and shows from other Universal Studios parks in Los…

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