Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi opens to the public today. The new theme park has sold 15,000 tickets ahead of opening and is expected to draw visitors both from the UAE and abroad as UAE tourism shows continued growth.
The new $1 billion theme park on Yas Island is a collaboration between Warner Bros. and local UAE holding company, Miral Asset Management.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is now the largest indoor theme park in the world.
The indoor amusement park, which has been in development for seven years, spreads over more than 1.65 million square feet. It features six themed lands based on DC superheroes and other characters from Warner Bros films and cartoons. Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros Plaza will, between them, offer a total of 29 rides, shows and attractions.
15,000 advance tickets sold
Mark Gsellman, general manager of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, said he is confident the “immersive and unique nature in the park” will attract visitors over a long stretch of time, both from the home market and overseas.
Interest in the new park has been intense with 15,000 tickets sold ahead of its opening today, and the park is confident that the deluge of visitors will persist, at least over the coming month.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and chairman of Miral Asset Management, said the park would benefit from the increase in tourism in the region. “Last year we grew more than 10 per cent in terms of numbers. China, India and Russia have been our biggest markets and there is strong growth by all these countries,” he said. “We expect stronger growth to come from U.K., Germany and Saudi Arabia. Additions like the Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi will just compound that growth.”
Some critics had felt that Western fictional characters might not go down well with a Middle East audience. In an interview with CNBC, Kevin Tsujihara, chairman of Warner Bros. Entertainment, was swift to refute the claim. “The messages of hope and goodness, and the villainy, aren’t specific to any country whatsoever and being part of this region just feels like a natural extension for these characters,” he said.
He said he felt confident that the new park would easily cope with competition from other theme parks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “You feel the characters come up to you,” he said. “You can feel and touch them in a way that you can’t replicate with screens. You are going to put that cell phone down when you go on these rides.”
— Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi (@wbworldad) July 24, 2018
New attractions key to continued growth
Other theme parks in the region have suffered large losses in the past year. Dubai Parks and Resorts posted losses of more than Dh1 billion. It has recently restructured its debt and is reducing visitor number targets.
However Mubarak is confident that Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi will continue to high visitor numbers high by adding new attractions. It’s a strategy that has worked well at Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld. “I think we have done a phenomenal job in the last couple of years by bringing something fresh and new to every theme park.” He points out that, since opening Ferrari World, new attractions Flying Aces, Turbo Challenge and Go Carting have been introduced. Earlier this year the park was named Best Theme Park by MENALAC for its continual innovation.