Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi:
reinventing the movie park for the 21st Century
How do you top the world's largest indoor theme park? By building an even bigger one, of course. That's what destination developer Miral has done in Abu Dhabi. Blooloop profiles Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the latest showstopper at Yas Island.
The UAE's (United Arab Emirates) newest theme park opened to the public on July 25, following an inauguration two days earlier. The 1.65 million square feet (1.53 sq km) facility represents an investment equivalent to US$1 billion.
They don't do things by halves at Yas Island. Located on the northeast side of Abu Dhabi's mainland, 10 minutes from its international airport, the leisure and entertainment hub first rose to prominence in 2009 with the opening of the Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The spirit of Formula 1 was celebrated again a year later with the launch of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. At the time it was billed as the world's biggest indoor theme park. At 240km/h, its signature Formula Rossa ride remains the planet's fastest roller coaster.
YasWaterworld, which opened in 2013, has been named as one of the best waterparks in the world. It's certainly one of the most ambitious and expensive. Then there's Yas Mall, which sits between Ferrari World and Warner Bros. World. It's the largest mall in Abu Dhabi, and by definition very large indeed.
All three theme parks are operated by Farah Experiences. As a movie park, Yas Island's third theme park clearly adds something fresh to the mix. Yet the local press has suggested that this particular kind of park wouldn't have arrived in the Emirate were it not for a passion of the Miral chairman. You see, Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, who also chairs the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, is super into super heroes.
Miral chairman and comic book fan Mohammed Al Mubarak is flanked by Bugs Bunny and Batman in this specially commissioned cartoon
"He's a visionary leader," says Peter van Roden, senior vice-president of global themed entertainment for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "He is also this huge comic book and IP fan; the perfect partner."
When guests make their way through the park's iconic Warner Bros. shield, they will be able to explore six themed zones. All in air-conditioned comfort. Warner Bros. Plaza is there to welcome them. There's also Gotham City, Metropolis (pictured below), Cartoon Junction, Bedrock and Dynamite Gulch.
Spread across these immersive lands are 29 state-of-the-art rides and attractions, featuring characters from DC Comics, Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera. A particular favourite of Al Mubarak is Superman.
Thinkwell, the LA-based global design and production agency, acted as creative lead from start to finish, bringing in several subcontractors as required. Among these was Wyatt Design, which served as key design consultant on several areas. LifeFormations created over 100 animatronic figures used in six attractions. Others included Animax Designs, Inc., Blur, Ears Up Sound Design, Electrosonic, GDE, Louis Berger, Smart Monkeys, Pixomondo, Pure Imagination and Ted King Entertainment.
Everything, including the park's two roller coasters and flume ride, is indoors. Unlike at Ferrari World, where four coasters escape outside. The vast building in which they are housed shimmers in a gold finish. In the UAE, you wouldn't expect anything less.
It's 16 years since Warner Bros. last lent its name to a new theme park. Namely Parque Warner in Madrid. Whilst Warner Bros. Movie World (founded 1991) still operates on Australia's Gold Coast, the German outlet of the same name was rebranded simply as Movie Park when it changed ownership in 2005. So why did the Hollywood studio decide now was the right time to return to the themed entertainment business? And why Abu Dhabi?
"The process started 10 or 12 years ago," says van Roden. "Specifically, under our chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, there has been a real focus on building franchises around our DC, animation, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings IP [intellectual property]. Kevin has brought us into this new world and allowed us to think big. That lead to discussions with Miral, which had this vision not only for Yas Island but also for Abu Dhabi in general. We were looking, and they were ready. It's lead to a really great partnership."
Source - https://blooloop.com/features/warner-bros-world-abu-dhabi/
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