AttractionsThemed hotels and water experiences: Here’s what’s planned in 2020 and beyond

From dragons to deep-sea creatures, the attractions keep coming

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Singapore Oceanarium will feature exhibits of prehistoric marine life and deep-sea creatures.
Singapore Oceanarium will feature exhibits of prehistoric marine life and deep-sea creatures.

Refresh. Renew. Re-imagine. Theme parks and attractions know they can’t stand still if they wish to stay at the top of their game. Here’s what’s new and exciting across Asia and the Middle East.

Ollie the dragon to be resident at Legoland Hotel Dubai
Legoland Dubai, part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, will open a Legoland  Hotel later this year. A launch date is not yet confirmed but is predicted to be in the latter half of the year.

Legoland Hotel Dubai will be the seventh Legoland Hotel to open worldwide. The five-story hotel is designed to stir children’s imaginations from the moment they arrive at the hotel. At the front gate, Ollie the smoke-breathing LEGO model dragon will welcome guests from his tower.

Warner Bros hotel checks in at Yas Island
The world’s first Warner Bros. Hotel is 40% complete and on track to open 2021 at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

The WB Abu Dhabi will be located adjacent to the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi theme park and close to other favourites such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Links Golf Course.

Costing US$112 million, WB Abu Dhabi will offer 250 keys over eight levels with modern décor that celebrates Warner Bros.’ extensive film and television library.

“This is yet another step in our journey to position Yas Island as one of the top global destinations for entertainment, leisure and business,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the hotel’s developer, Miral.

Still in Abu Dhabi, the emirate is to grant long-standing shops, restaurants and cafes special status in recognition of their contributions.

A network of ‘places of cultural significance’ will be promoted to residents and tourists as part of the Urban Treasures campaign.

Up to 20 establishments, which must have opened before 2000, will be recognised each year by the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi.

The establishments will feature on the Visit Abu Dhabi and Visit Al Ain websites.

Ollie the smoke-breathing Dragon prepares to welcome guests to Legoland Hotel Dubai.
Ollie the smoke-breathing Dragon prepares to welcome guests to Legoland Hotel Dubai.

RWS rings the changes
After nearly a decade of welcoming visitors, two attractions at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) were permanently closed from March 2 to make way for the resort’s expansion.

The 10-storey-tall waterfront animatronics show The Crane Dance and Maritime Experiential Museum welcomed their last visitors on March 1.

The closure of the Maritime Experiential Museum will make room for an expanded S.E.A. Aquarium, which will be rebranded as the Singapore Oceanarium. It is touted to be the first of its kind in the world with a blend of specially-curated marine life and exhibits of prehistoric marine life and deep-sea creatures.

A new waterfront lifestyle complex with two hotels, dining and lifestyle experiences and a public attraction will sprout up in place of The Crane Dance.

Ocean Park set for billion-dollar upgrade
The Hong Kong government has committed to a US$1.4 billion rescue plan for the 43-year-old Ocean Park.

With some attractions to be upgraded or revised – including halting the controversial dolphin and sea lion shows – the focus will instead switch to environmental protection, marine conservation and education, as well as adventure.

Two new attractions will include Azure Bay, where ferry access will link the park to Deep Water Bay and Tai Shue Wan, and an attraction called Explorer’s Wharf.

Genting theme park predicted to open this year
Details of the opening of the Genting theme park at Genting Highlands in Malaysia remain sketchy. A spokesman for Genting said no opening date has been fixed and it was too early to release details of the park’s attractions.

However, RHB Investment Bank Bhd, said that the park is expected to open in Q3 2020. “After many delays, it looks like things are finally moving along on the right track.”

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