Worlds of Discovery parks planned for The Palm Jebel Ali
Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) is to develop its first theme parks outside of the United States, bringing its full Worlds of Discovery family of parks to The Palm Jebel Ali in Dubai. This will also be the first time Busch’s four park brands – Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and the new Aquatica waterpark – appear together in one location.
An agreement was reached earlier this month (February) between BEC and Nakheel PJSC, one of the world’s largest property developers. Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding, the four parks will be built in phased construction on the second of the Nakheel’s three Palm man-made islands.
Preliminary design work and site planning is underway, with the first phase expected to open in 2012. Best of all, Worlds of Discovery will occupy a section of The Palm Jebel Ali known as “the Crown,” which will resemble a giant killer whale (as pictured).
Although a figure has not been released, Nakheel will invest the necessary capital to build and operate the parks and licence the brands from BEC, which will operate them under a management contract.
Speaking at a press conference at SeaWorld Orlando’s Shamu Stadium on February 28, The Palm Jebel Ali’s managing director Marwan Al Qamzi remarked: “We are delighted to sign this unique partnership with BEC. SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove are incredible entertainment experiences. Worlds of Discovery will become the attraction of The Palm Jebel Ali.”
SeaWorld Dubai will include many of the attractions visitors have come to enjoy in BEC’s US properties, including killer whale, dolphin and sea lion attractions and marine themed rides, although this will be the first time SeaWorld has been developed out at sea.
In addition to Busch Gardens theme park and Aquatica waterpark (the first of which opens this spring at SeaWorld Orlando), Worlds of Discovery in Dubai will also include a Discovery Cove attraction similar to that in Orlando. This premium reservation-only park, which allows a variety of “swimming with dolphins” experiences, will be perfectly suited to Dubai’s tourism offering.
Worlds of Discovery on The Palm Jebel Ali will also include a variety of other family activities resort hotels, spas, shops and restaurants. More than 300 million cubic yards of sand and 10 million tons of rock have been used in the construction of The Palm Jebel Ali and reclamation is now nearly complete. Currently the world’s largest man-made island, it will eventually support a population of more than 280,000 people.