Awesome is finally here!
The UAE’s first theme park designed exclusively for the junior audience opened its doors to the general public in late 2016. Toddler J and I attended the opening last October and were left feeling a little underwhelmed – so we headed back (on a very wet March day!) with all three Globetrotters to see what had changed and whether it should be added to your “must-do” list for kids in the UAE.
In this post we will cover
- What to expect at Legoland Dubai
- Our family experience
- The best age (and height) to visit
- Need to know facts before visiting Legoland Dubai (including opening times and costs)
- Legoland Dubai Day Trip Tips
- Globetrotters Recommend
- Further reading for UAE theme parks & kids activities
What to expect at Legoland Dubai
As a little bit of background for those who are unfamiliar, Legoland Dubai was the first instalment to open of the much-awaited Dubai Parks & Resorts, a mega-sized theme park zone, in the Dubai Emirate, UAE. Sitting about halfway between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and only minutes away from Al Maktoum Airport (DWC), it is set to become a holiday destination in itself.
As well as Legoland Dubai, a Merlin Entertainment park modelled on similar parks worldwide, there’s also the adjacent Legoland Water Park, motiongate Dubai and Bollywood theme parks. All have only been open less than 6 months at the time of writing (some parts still in progress) and are a very new concept for the UAE.
As part of the complex, you will also find Lapita Resort & Spa (a Polynesian Themed Resort run by Marriott Hotels – and the only onsite hotel) and Dubai Outlet Center. All are interconnected by “Riverland”, an extensive and beautifully designed entertainment zone.
An on-site tram service runs between the vast car park and all the theme parks. Taxi and bus options are also available back to the major cities. The Dubai Metro does not run this far out of town.
Our family experience at Legoland Dubai
Our theme park testers for this review as at March 2017 are Miss Z – aged 7 (116cm), Master L – aged 4 (110cm), and toddler Master J (92cm).
To set the scene – after arriving in Legoland you walk through a small shopping strip and can visit the Factory before entering the Miniland air conditioned dome in the centre of the park. From here you can split off into 4 themed lands – Imagination, Adventure, Kingdoms and Lego City.
Pick up your park map at the entry and look for advertised show times for the Lego Studios 4D shows (featuring The Lego Movie and Nexos Knights), as well as the Ninjago puppet show at City Stage, you will probably want to time your day around these.
A great starting spot for getting the kids hands-on. Here you will find amongst other featured the Driving School (suits 5 to 12-year-old), Junior Driving School (suit 3 to 5-year-old), Boat School (all ages), Rescue Academy (adult required), City Airport (juniors ride) and Sea Port – a climbing and free play area.
Master J was only able to do one ride in this area (Boat School) which was a frustrating start to the day for him. And on this ride we could only take one child at a time (despite the fact two kids under 5 could easily fit with a grown up). The older two did enjoy being able to get hands on here, steering their own cars and boats and helping dad (aka dad did all the work!) at the Rescue Academy. A great concept area for the 3+ crowd.
Designed with the slightly older kids in mind, most of the more ‘thrilling’ rides are in this part of the park. There is Merlin’s Flying Machine (parental pedalling effort required!) Merlin’s Challenge (a very basic introduction to roller coasters for say 4 to 6-year-olds), Dragon’s Apprentice (mini roller coaster – expect a few thrills) and the Dragon – a full-sized roller coaster! Big kids only on this one 120cm+.
My older two children definitely loved this introduction to theme park rides and after a few nerves definitely got the hang of it and were asking for more. Again, though we were stuck with Master J on the sidelines unable to join in and by this stage, he was getting cross and hungry! Another activity in here aimed at toddlers may have helped.
More geared towards building, creativity and the younger crowd, there are a handful of rides still for older ones in this section including Lego Technic Twister (think spinning tea cups) and Kid Power Towers (our lot too short to try, but looked great fun for your tweens).
For the youngsters though, plenty of building opportunities. Here you will find Master Builders Academy (older kids can join in workshops at pre-set times), Friends and Duplo Valley; lots of outdoor climbing games, giant building blocks and much to Master J’s delight, finally the Duplo Express train he could ride!
We had previously seen The Lego Movie 4D show in Imagination at a pre-opening event but this is definitely one the boys enjoyed (spoiler alert – bubbles come from the roof at the end). If you think your kid will be the tiniest bit sensitive about this you’ve been warned (my Miss 7 freaked!). Tame by 4D movie standards but the very young kids will still get a thrill.
A real mix of activities here that most of us could finally join in together!
Submarine Adventure takes you under water with Lego and real sea life on an underwater mission; Lost Kingdom Adventure is a shooting game (all 5 of us able to sit together, though only 4 with guns), and if you were willing to get a little wet, Wave Racers – surprisingly one of the biggest hits with our Master 4! This area will be the best in the hot weather with indoor and water activity options, and is adjacent to the water park entrance.
There is another outdoor play area here Pharaohs Revenge as well as arcade-style games (at additional cost). Other rides in this area were out of service from the stormy weather.
Without a doubt for our Master J though, Miniland was what he had come for! The first of its type in the world to be fully air conditioned, it’s hard not to be impressed by what’s on offer in this indoor Middle East focused cityscape.
The number of man hours and bricks used to complete these structures is utterly insurmountable. The attention to detail, pretty spot on. All the younger kids we saw just like Master J were in awe at anything that moved on the models – lots of busy trucks at the airport, boats on the water and of course some Dubai Metro trains!
Some of the models like the Pyramids and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque you can even crawl inside (well, grown ups need to, one advantage for Master J being short I guess).
Note a limited number of attractions were closed during our review visit due to unseasonal bad weather. We understand all rides are fully commissioned now, but always visit the Legoland Dubai Website before a visit to check whether there are any closures if you think this will impact on your visit.
Due to the bad weather we were also unable to complete our review of the adjoining water park (note separate entrance fees apply) – stay tuned for this further review!
Legoland Dubai height restrictions
The all-important question that can make or break your day trip experience!! Here it is your ride-by-ride guide what to expect (and yes, it is strictly enforced)
Other number matters to consider
Ok, we know height limits are in place for safety (and those that spend ages delaying the rides trying to argue the point, seriously?!! Accept it or get off – well done to the poor staff who had to stand their ground on this matter several times during our visit).
No, my concern is more on what the family with multiple children is supposed to do. Many rides where it looked safe for a smaller child to be on board, or for a grown up to at least have two small children with them were off limits to us – not all families have two children over 1.05cm with two accompanying adults!
So with the above in mind, what exists for families to help in the experience?
There is a wonderful baby care facility in Imagination. With a little kitchenette as well as toddlers play area, this helped us pass a little time while the older kids took rides with dad. You can also nurse babies in here and generally get your littlest ones out of the heat. And in a superb extra touch, all the washroom facilities include a family toilet – for women AND men. You don’t realise the importance of these little things until you have multiple little kids to care for in public!
There are plenty of indoor Lego building areas dotted around with Duplo blocks and smaller building blocks. Even some of the eateries had little building areas too.
Undoubtedly being a bigger family with small kids is a challenge wherever we go. We just hoped in a place billed as suitable from 2 years old there would be a few more options. It took a slight gloss off what was undoubtedly a magical day for the kids seeing their favourite childhood toys come to life. If you come in prepared for this and set expectations, you hopefully won’t be disappointed.
Legoland Dubai need to know facts
- Open daily from 10am to 6pm (7pm weekends)
- Face value day ticket prices are 250 AED adults and 215 AED child 3 to 12 years old. Under 3 are free. You can buy combined tickets with the other theme parks, and since opening, we have seen several resident specials and discounted ticket offers (Currently tickets are 210AED and include parking). They are NOT in the Entertainer for 2017 – but maybe in future?
- Visiting the whole park will take the best part of a day. If this is your first trip, attempting to fit in both the Legoland Dubai theme park and Lego Water Park in one day will be very ambitious if you don’t arrive at opening. We found it took 6 hours to thoroughly cover just the one park – longer had we tried to squeeze in all the shows.
- VIP options also exist for day tickets. At this stage, I am not sure there would be any advantage to this ticketing options, or a Q Fast ticket upgrade. On peak holidays though these may be worthwhile upgrades to avoid queues.
- If you think you’ll visit more than twice in a year, the annual pass looks a pretty good value for money proposition. Currently, you can buy annual passes to Legoland Dubai for 765 AED that include the water park (normally 995 AED), and you can take up to 4 friends at 50% off (offer valid until 30 April 2017)
- We are enquiring and will update here when we know what will happen to the park over summer. A lot of the rides, although covered are still outside and would need some adaption to be suitable for use in hot weather – mostly as queuing will be hot – let alone touching the equipment. There are plenty of places to escape indoors but come summer, they wouldn’t be enough on their own to keep your crew entirely happy.
Legoland Dubai day trip tips
- Although nowhere near on the size and scale of a Disney park, there’s still a lot of ground to cover and little legs won’t go far in the heat. Definitely, take a stroller or there is a hiring option there for a fee. (We were pleased to note on our return trip that there were more designated stroller parking areas, though it’s still not always clear)
- The car park is some distance from the park entrance, accessible only by small transit tram – our stroller was permitted unfolded though this may not be allowed on a busy day. The tram still drops you off a fair distance from the park entry but it’s a pleasant walk through Riverland.
- Dubai Parks & Resorts have come to their sense and dropped the 50 AED daily parking charge – it’s now only 20 AED. VIP and Valet parking options are available from 100/150 AED. The other option is to park in the Dubai Outlet Mall behind the parks and take the longer walk, for free….
- Signage to leave Dubai Parks & Resorts still needs improvement. Many times now we have been following the signs home to Abu Dhabi direction then they suddenly disappear and you find yourself driving back towards Dubai! (Tip: from the public car park the Abu Dhabi exit is almost as you get to the car park entrance, so you basically need to loop back on yourself and almost re-enter again – you’ll see a little slip lane on the right! It’s like the concept people might be coming from Abu Dhabi was an afterthought?)
- Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat & glasses for everyone! Whilst there are several large indoor spaces and most of the rides we could see were fairly well covered, there’s a lot of walking in between attractions.
- Meals were not cheap – nearly $10USD for just a sandwich!! You cannot bring in outside food, only baby food.
- In fact, just pack lots of money. Between food, arcade style games and of course the shops – lots and lots of opportunities to buy Lego (at full-price of course) you won’t be leaving with much change. We thought the drivers licenses from the driving school at 100 AED were a complete rip off (set expectations before this one!!)
So is it worth the visit Legoland Dubai with your 2 to12-year-olds?
We are pleased to report that exceptional progress has been made since our first visit to bring Legoland Dubai, it is up there in world-class theme park standards. The older two who were tall enough to participate in most activities did thoroughly enjoy their time – despite younger brothers moaning.
The unfortunate thing with theme parks, and this isn’t an exclusive Legoland problem, is there will always be someone who misses out when it comes to rides and heights. It may be worth waiting until your kids reach certain milestones to make sure the minimum number of your party will be disappointed!
We think the magic number at Legoland Dubai to make it best value for money is 105cm. Our 7-year-old was the perfect size and age. Those over 120cm may be old enough to thoroughly enjoy most rides independently, but as they grow I am sure they will find most rides a little too easy going – except maybe the Dragon!
It has some great potential though to become a family favourite and over the cooler winter months. Definitely, a great place to let the kids’ imagination run wild and let them participate in some fun, independent activities. We do give it the Globetrotters tick of approval!
We give it the Globetrotters tick of approval!
Comparison of UAE theme parks – an article we wrote for British Mums Dubai looking at Legoland, Motiongate, IMG Worlds of Adventure & Ferrari World
Legoland Waterpark – A review of the adjacent themed water park by the Globetrotters
All 3 Dubai Parks & Resorts in 1 Day – Blog & Vlog review by Mummy on My Mind
Lapita Resort Daycation – Brunch review with the Globetrotters
Have you been to Legoland Dubai yet? What were your kids’ favourite parts?
Disclosures: There are affiliate links in this article for third party services. We are not agents of, nor sponsored by Legoland Dubai or Dubai Parks & Resorts to write this review. We have attended various Legoland Dubai events as media representatives and all opinions remain our own.
© Our Globetrotters