Universal once left an abandoned park entrance arch in the desert


Universal is a global leader in theme park entertainment. They’ve expanded to four theme parks around the world, with the exciting new addition of Universal Studios Beijing coming later this year. However, there is a theme park, Universal Studios Dubailand, which was under construction, but Universal abandoned the project before it was completed.

Credit: arabianbusiness.com

When Epic Universe was hit by a delay due to COVID-19, many wondered if that meant it would suffer a similar fate to Dubailand, a universal theme park that was announced, planned, lightly built, then abandoned. .

Universal Studios Dubailand

Universal opened Universal Studios Dubailand in 2008. According to a report by Arabianbusiness.com:

The theme park was launched to much fanfare at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai in May 2007 (image below). “[Dubailand will] contribute to Dubai’s vision of attracting 15 million tourists by 2010. Of this number, Universal Studios is expected to attract approximately 3.3 million visitors in its first year, eventually growing to five million per year,” said Khalid Al Malik, CEO of developer Tatweer, told Arabian Enterprise at the time.

The park designs included many of the same rides and shows from other Universal Studios parks in Los Angeles, Florida and Japan, such as Jurassic Park River Rapids, but Universal Parks & Resorts CEO Tom Williams said that there would also be attractions that would appeal to would be ‘suitable for people from that region’.

universal dubailand
Credit: Universal

“In particular, we have Sinbad’s Eighth Journey, as well as Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, so together with other forms of street entertainment and live entertainment, they will complement and enhance the overall offering of ‘Universal Studios Dubailand,’ he said.

The theme park was expected to cover over two million square meters and was expected to cost around $2 billion to build… when the famous Universal Studios gate was installed at the entrance to the park site and the project was due to open in December 2010 .

Unfortunately, the global economy collapsed in 2008, ultimately leaving this project stalled until canceled. Universal noted that they were still open to opportunities in the area, however, the project would be dropped. But, for years after the project was abandoned, the iconic Universal Arch remained untouched in the middle of the desert!

universal dubailand
Credit: @LCASTUDIOS_USJ via Twitter

Unbuilt: An Unrealized Theme Park Podcast (@UnbuiltPod) recently posted a fantastic photo of the ark on Twitter. We can see that a road has been formed, however, other than the arch, there are only miles of desert around the incomplete structure.

Years later, the structure would be removed, but now after sitting derelict for some time. Universal Studios Dubailand was part of a larger master plan announced in 2003, which was to include nearly 20 separate theme park attractions on a desert site almost twice the size of the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando.

epic universe

Fortunately, Epic Universe will not suffer the same fate as Dubailand.

Universal Orlando includes Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk and Volcano Bay. With multiple theme park resorts on property, it’s easy to spend a week’s vacation at Universal. That being said, with Disney World serving as the competition and only minutes away, the theme park is constantly finding new ways to compete.

epic universe
Credit: Bioreconstruct

A massive announcement made in 2019 would change the competition forever, as Universal announced Epic Universe. This brand new theme park would serve as the third theme park at Universal Orlando Resort. Epic Universe has been going through tough times due to the pandemic. At one point, Universal’s timeline of when the Epic Universe would be completed seemed to be up in the air, as Universal could only note that it would be built “at some point.”

Recently, we heard that construction would resume with a summer 2025 opening for the park, which was great news for all Universal fans. At first, construction seemed to have stalled, but now we’re starting to see noticeable progress. Although Epic Universe is not built on the same property as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, the location near ICON Park can still be seen from the rooftop terrace of Aventura, one of Universal’s Resorts. .

At the moment, plans for the Epic Universe are calm. We know that Super Nintendo World, which is also being built at Universal Studios Hollywood and opened at Universal Japan, is also confirmed, Universal has announced that more DreamWorks will be involved in their theme parks. Other than that, however, nothing is confirmed by Universal.

Epic Universe Map
Credit: OrlandoParkStop.com

That being said, there is currently strong speculation that a Classic Universal Monsters land, a How to Train Your Dragon land, and another Wizarding World of Harry Potter land will also join the park. Given the massive success of Halloween Horror Nights, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a land dedicated to Universal Monsters, and with How to Train Your Dragon lending itself to a great IP for a new coaster, that land would also make sense.

Epic Universe Rumor Map
Credit: Alicia Stella (@AliciaStella) Orlando Park Stop

We’ve seen the Wizarding World of Harry Potter spread like wildfire at Universal when it comes to Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, attracting every guest every day. With the incredible demand that continues to swirl around the JK Rowling-created franchise, it’s no surprise to think that the Epic Universe could be home to the next earth. It looks like the Ministry of Magic may be the theme of this wizarding world, with a fantastic beasts also added.

Have you ever heard of Universal Dubailand and its abandoned history?

If you want to visit Universal Orlando Resort, you can today! Click here to start your vacation! You can go to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, then have dinner and drinks at CityWalk. Want to dive? Volcano Bay is ready for you. With so many fun events like Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, and more, Universal will give you an action-packed adventure like you’re in the movies!

At Universal Studios Hollywood, guests can enjoy WaterWorld, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Silly Swirly Fun Ride, Kung Fu Panda Adventure, Universal’s Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, The Simpsons Ride, Studio Tour, Jurassic World – The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D, and more!


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