The first coaster trip of the year was with 100 other members of the European Coaster Club who had put together a 5-day tour of Dubai, including a number of brand new parks that had opened only a few months ago.
Our first, which we were arriving at having just landed after an overnight flight, was the Middle East's contribution to the Legoland family. This is one of three parks that make up the new Dubai Parks and Resorts complex.
There's a shaded Main Street type area full of shops should you wish to buy overpriced bricks, but do that on the way out!
In the centre of the park is the Mini Village which was my favourite part of the park.
It includes a centrepiece of some of the most famous landmarks in Dubai, mostly skyscrapers. Perhaps not a surprise, and like it's counterpart, the Burj Khalifa is impressive and way larger than anything else around. It's also difficult to fit into it all into a photograph without being far from it. Good practice for photographing the real thing later on in the trip.
As with the other parks there are lots of things going on in the models.
As well as Dubai landmarks there are also a number of Middle Eastern, Asian and North African landmarks.
There are also a small number of interactive parts in the models where you can press a button to move traffic and people, such as this example where they dance.
The Petra in Jordan was one of my favourites. This part of the park is unique to Dubai and so became my favourite bit. The rest is cookie-cut. They also did the right thing in having this as the hub of the park with the themed areas being the spokes.
We began our coaster riding with an Exclusive Ride Session on Dragon, the larger of the two rollercoasters in the park. With over 100 people the ERS didn't feel like one as there was no opportunity to remain on the train for the next go.
The coaster was OK, and much like the others in the chain with a dark ride section leading outdoors to a small number of drops and turns.
The second coaster is called Dragon's Apprentice and is a little oval coaster that we couldn't fill due to its size. It wouldn't have made it up the hill with a full train.
The park is split into a small number of zones with a castle, town, adventure and water areas. The transition between zones uses the mixing of soundtracks to help the effect. As with most Lego parks there are a number of small scenic pieces made of the bricks to distract and keep us amused like the trumpet playing birds and snoring guards.
Some shots around the Lego City, mostly the kids playground.
The park has one of those fire fighting games. Having been exhausted by the one in Windsor I declined an opportunity to have a go on this one. They're hard work!
The adventure section includes a Tomb Raider style shooting dark ride which is a lot of fun.
The submarine adventure is pretty cool too. This is a ride that goes around a fish tank containing fish (durr!) and lego models of ancient temples and the like. The exit line takes you through a small aquarium of exhibits too.
If you want to cool off there are these aqua scooters that'll get you wet. Well, they would if the water cannons worked; they seemed to be down today.
Some of the larger Lego models found around the park.
Having grabbed the rides we wanted a quick lunch we departed the park for another in the complex.
and that was Legoland Dubai. It's a little disappointing and as generic as the red bricks doesn't really offer anything outstanding to draw tourists to the park. People in the UK would get the same experience at their park in Windsor for example. The centrepiece isn't a strong enough attraction on its own. The park was pretty quiet today despite it being a Saturday. There were visitors, but not many.