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Scaled-down Marvel Adventure theme park to open next year in Dubai

Chimera Design's original concept art for the Marvel theme park

Marvel Adventure, the twice-delayed superhero theme park, now appears on track to open late next year in the United Arab Emirates — if in a less ambitious form.

Announced in 2007, the project had been sidelined by a downturn in the global economy. At the time, the $1 billion theme park was supposed to cover eight acres, divided into four “lands” — Oasis of Magic, Marvel’s Mythic Mountain, City of Super-Heroes and Nick Neighborhood — with Crater Lake at its center. The original plan called for roller coasts and such thriller rides as Flying With Spidey, Fantasticar and X-Men: Danger Room.

But the Los Angeles Times reports that the indoor park that debuts next year as part of the $5 billion City of Arabia entertainment, retail and residential development will be significantly scaled down. In fact, the IMG Group, which is licensing the Marvel name and characters, doesn’t refer to the project as a theme park but rather an “indoor family entertainment centre.” Marvel is careful to make the same distinction

The plans now call for retail outlets, restaurants, an “interactive entertainment experience based on Marvel characters,” and “acres of common ares and facilities.” No specific rides were announced. The newspaper notes that Marvel’s parent company Disney has gone to great lengths to make clear that the Dubai project is strictly a licensing agreement not involving Disney theme parks or Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative arm of the company.”

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