Motiongate Dubai Themepark Review

Motiongate Dubai Themepark is a part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, which opened in 2016 in Dubai, thereby starting a trend of new theme parks that began springing up in the city, one after the other. Before 2016, the UAE had very few theme parks to boast about - Ferrari World, which till date remains the most iconic in my opinion, and a few waterparks such as Aquaventure and Wild Wadi Waterworld. The biggest strength (and also the biggest weakness at the same time) of Dubai Parks and Resorts is that the parks are in the open, which makes it very difficult to explore during the hot and humid summer. Several other theme parks such as Warner Bros Abu Dhabi and IMG Worlds of Adventure are indoor, fully air-conditioned areas which can be visited any time during the year but being in a closed space also limits the level of excitement and adventure to a great extent. This is why, apart from Ferrari World and it's amazing roller coasters, Motiongate Dubai is my favourite theme park in the UAE.

Motiongate Dubai

Dubai Parks and Resorts comprise of four main theme parks - Bollywood Parks, Legoland Dubai, Legoland Waterpark (both meant mostly for children in the age group 4 - 12 years) and Motiongate Themepark, which has an appeal to a larger audience - with some really good rides which adults will love as much as children!

If you're planning your visit to the UAE, do read up on What You Must Know Before Travelling to the UAE.

To make the most of your visit to Dubai Parks and Resorts, you have the option to buy a 1 day-1 park pass, 1 day-2 park pass or 2 days-all parks pass. I would not recommend that you visit more than 2 parks in a day. If you wish to spend more time in the area, you could spend a night (or 2) in Lapita Resorts, the only hotel in the vicinity of the parks. The parks are connected to the hotel and to each other (a little bit like Disneyworld in Orlando but on a much smaller scale, of course).

Within Motiongate Dubai Themepark, there are 4 main areas - Lions Gate, Columbia Pictures, Smurf's Village and DreamWorks. Almost all of DreamWorks in indoor and air-conditioned with areas that are designed beautifully to follow the theme of famous children's movies.

Highlight Rides:

Capitol Bullet Train  9/10 (Lions Gate)

Zombieland Blast Off   8/10 (Columbia Pictures)

Madagascar Mad Pursuit 8/10 (DreamWorks)

The Swinging Viking 7/10 (DreamWorks)

Green Hornet High-Speed Chase 7/10 (Columbia Pictures)

Motiongate Dubai

Lions Gate

One of the easiest to cover areas because it has hardly 2 rides, this is also where you'll my favourite ride of Motiongate Dubai Themepark - Capitol Bullet Train. If you love super fast 360-degree roller coasters, this is the ride you need to get on! The best part? Once it climbs up the 90-degree pole, it falls backwards! If you enter the park and hear screaming, you'll know this is where it's coming from. For the not-so-adventurous, the 4D aerial tour of Panem, designed about the movie The Hunger Games, is a better bet.

Motiongate Dubai
Capitol Bullet Train

The Smurfs Village

Meant more for families and younger children, Smurf's Village is a fantastic place to walk around even if you do not have any kids with you. Restaurants and shops designed like the mushroom-shaped Smurf houses bring the place to life, transporting you into the little village from the movie. The rides, however, are targetted towards children in the age group 4 - 14 years.

Motiongate Dubai
Smurf's Village

If your child loves adventurous rides, then the kiddie roller coaster Smurf's Village Express is a good one to experience. Take a break and get some ice cream from the Luncheonette before you head to Woodland Play Park where the children can enjoy some climbing and other activities for the fun and outgoing ones. The interactive theatre and character meet & greet here is something the little ones will love!

Motiongate Dubai

Columbia Pictures

This was where my second favourite ride in Motiongate Dubai Themepark is located - Zombieland Blast Off. In case you haven't figured it out already, I am a sucker for crazy and adventurous rides and drop towers are my favourite, after roller coasters. A slow climb up a 58-meter tower followed by a sudden drop (several drops one after the other) is bound to lead to an adrenaline rush and some really loud screaming!

For the lesser adventurous - Green Hornet High-Speed Chase, a slow roller coaster, contrary to its name, might be interesting though I found it extremely disappointing, with not a single moment of feeling the weightlessness in your stomach that a good ride is meant to create.

Motiongate Dubai

The River Expedition themed on the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, is yet another ride meant for children and the ones looking for simpler rides. A large tube that can accommodate up to 8 people, flows through rapids and fountain sprays that might make you a little wet. Don't worry, it's highly unlikely that you'll get splashed too much or come out drenched! For the competitive little ones, Ghostbusters is a ride where you can test your aiming and shooting skills with a light gun, and compare the scores with your fellow riders.


If it's really hot outside, you can begin your exploration of Motiongate Dubai Themepark at DreamWorks, which is fully indoors and air-conditioned. This was one of my favourite areas, not for the rides but for the interiors which are designed on four main animated movie themes - Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Madagascar and How to Train Your Dragon.

I loved the opportunity to take a picture with some of my favourite animated movie characters right at the entrance to DreamWorks. Theme parks bring out the child in me!

Motiongate Dubai
With my favourite Shrek


Madagascar Mad Pursuit was my favourite ride in DreamWorks at Motiongate Dubai Themepark because the ride had many surprises along the way! All you can see from the outside is a small part of the rollercoaster, but the ride itself is pretty amazing. The best part - all the twists and turns are in the dark, totally unexpected and the best surprises come when you cannot see where you are going! It's quite the mad pursuit, as the name suggests.

Motiongate Dubai
Madagascar at DreamWorks

How to Train your Dragon

I absolutely loved the ride The Swinging Viking, it reminded me of this popular boat-shaped swinging ride I used to enjoy as a little child in many events and fairs that we used to go to in India. A large wooden boat begins to swing from one end to the other, first really slow and then it picks up speed, reaching almost a 90-degree angle for those sitting in the corners. If you absolutely love the tingling sensation in your tummy, as I do, make sure you sit in the corner most seats!

Motiongate Dubai

The little ones can enjoy gliding over recreated movie sets and special effects on the kiddie coaster - Dragon Gliders, which will bring back memories of the cute movie as you soar over on a dragon's back and immerse into the projections, animated figures and effects transporting you into the Viking Village.

Kung Fu Panda

Unstoppable Awesomeness is a nice 4D simulator ride that takes involves you in Master Po's mission to rescue Kung Fu's legends and you follow in the footsteps of Kung Fu Panda as his confidantes and helpers. Although not one of my favourite rides, the 3D effects and the overall experience was good, especially if you love Kung Fu Panda as I do!

Motiongate Dubai
Kung Fu Panda at DreamWorks


Although not my favourite of the four areas in terms of the rides, I have special love for the characters of the movie Shrek and this made my visit to this part of the park impossible to skip! The moment you step inside the gates, you literally feel like you're in the movie and all the characters - Fiona, Donkey, Dragon and Lord Farquaad come to life! The Merry Fairy Tale Journey ride is like watching the movies all over again, with a recap of how Princess Fiona was rescued by her prince (rather an ogre) Shrek, how they fell in love, Lord Farquaad's attempt to steal his princess back, the revelation of Fiona's curse and the eventual love story that ensures between Shrek & Fiona as well as the Donkey & the Dragon.

Motiongate Dubai

The Swamp Celebration is a fun spin ride in a wooden log, rocking and rolling in the virtual grass swamp that is Shrek's world. Do not expect anything crazy from the ride, it's a fun one for the little kids though!

Click here to buy your tickets online.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I paid full price for the ticket and all the opinions expressed in the post are my own genuine views about the theme park. 

If you're visiting the UAE, read about some seriously cool places to hang out in Dubai.

80 thoughts on “Motiongate Dubai Themepark Review”

  1. Hi, i’m going to have 1 free day in Dubai on January (Saturday), already booked my self for Afternoon desert safari which we need to be ready at the hotel at 3pm. Need advise is it enough time to go to Motiongate from 11am – 2pm? I’ll be staying at Al Barsha. Thank you!

    1. Hi Dewi, I would not recommend to go to Motiongate only for 3 hours, given that you might have to spend half of that time in queues. Since it is a Saturday, it is also weekend here in Dubai and amusement parks such as Motiongate are likely to be little crowded. Standing in a queue for 20 min is not uncommon. It won’t be worth to spend the money, going so far and end up not being able to do more than 2-3 rides.

      1. Hi thanks for the advise, how about if we go on Friday 3pm from the hotel? Is it better or also not enough time?

        1. Since Motiongate shuts by 8 pm, I would still not recommend as it’ll take you about 30 min from Al Barsha to get there in the first place. However, if you’re really keen, you can go. Just do not expect to be able to cover the park at leisure or be able to try all the rides that you may want to.

  2. You got that wrong.., Smurf village is for 4 to…. Infinity age group. I would love to visit it myself. This place seems like a lot of fun. With the Columbia pictures section in particular

    1. Haha, I agree, it really IS cute. And not a lot of people visit amusement park for the crazy rides, like I do 😉

  3. I can’t keep up with all the things that have opened up in Dubai since the last time I was there! I grew up watching the Smurfs and I love that this theme park has a whole section dedicated to the Smurfs. It looks like there are quite a few rides and attractions for adults, too.

  4. I think that would be first in line to try the Capitol Bullet Train on any day, it sounds adrenaline-packed! And I would just love to take at DreamWorks – love it! 🙂

  5. Dubai is really full of surprises, beautiful malls and theme parks like that! It’s a gem city of the middle east for me! The city is just amazing. Motiongate will surely be a great place for the family when visiting Dubai!

  6. Wow – what a fun collection of things to do and see at Motiongate! I had no idea that any amusement park had yet cashed in on the popularity of the Hunger Games book/movie trilogy. I would even enjoy seeing that!

  7. Theme parks are mushrooming everywhere nowadays but then they also offer much-needed entertainment for kids and adults alike. I am not very fond of drop towers or those crazy rides. Maybe will stick with DreamWorks when I get to visit MotionGate. I am glad to know that the theme parks have a combined pass making life easier for the visitors. Cool !

  8. It is good that the parks are in the open – definitely more fun for the bigger rides – as long as you’re ok to visit in the evenings when the sun goes down and it gets a little cooler. I love Dreamworks films so that would be a good place to start, especially with the air-con!

  9. Dubai is turning out to be one of the entertainment capitals of the world and with so many theme parks there is just so much on offer. The motion gate surely looks like a new addition and one which is at par with some of the world leading parks. A great selection of rides for all ages. Shrek would be my kids favourite and for me the giant rides. Thanks for sharing a new park from Dubai.

  10. This theme park has a lot to offer. I’m personally not a huge fan of the roller coasters, but I’d love to take my nieces as they get older. The River Expedition sounds like my kind of “easy” experience though.

  11. Great writeup! I never considered Dubai as a theme park destination; I had no idea! My kids would especially love the Swinging Viking and Dragon Gliders because they are huge “How to Train Your Dragon” fans right now. That’s for putting it on the radar for me!

  12. Dubai is on my list. If you’re visiting with children Motiongate might be a good option to balance out more educational or touristy sights. It’s is so hot outside, is there a better time of year to visit an outside park? I wouldn’t mind visiting Shrek or seeing some of the Madagascar squad!

    1. The best time to go is between November – April. Although some of the park is in the open, a lot of rides and all queuing areas are indoor and air conditioned 🙂

  13. I never opted for Motiongate as I don’t go for the too much adventurous ride. But it is good to know that there is Smurf’s village which is targeted for young children. Also walking around this cute village with mushroom shaped structures must be nice and a nice photo option too. I can understand as this park is open, summers would be an advisable season to visit this place.

  14. Not really a huge fan of theme parks myself – but seems like a really nice place for kids to visit. I am pretty sure that my husband would crave for a pic with ‘Toothless’ and ‘Po’…

  15. I see that there are a lot of things to do in this theme park. I would like to visit the Smurfs Village. As a child, I liked this cartoon very much.

  16. I have never planned to go to Dubai, I think and is common thinking about it should be just a rich place, build up for rich. In the past few months, this mindset is starting to change and I am really thinking to visit it, even just for a layover to proof if this common mindset is right or not. Good to know about this theme park, maybe I will visit it in the future.

    1. It wasn’t there in 2015 🙂 Dubai Parks and Resorts opened end of 2016. Dubai hardly had any theme parks back in 2015.

  17. Thank you for such detailed review on theme park, I am nature park person however its fun to visit such parks once in a while. Your detailed post is very helpful for and I will surely visit the Smurf park if at all I visit it in Dubai.

  18. Such an awesome review. I am also a big fan of the drop coasters/rides, whatever you call them. And the Zombieland Blast Off looks right up my alley. Aside from that one and the coaster did they have any other “big” coasters?

  19. I didn’t know about this place, but would definitely visit when in Dubai. THe smurfs village is a bsolutely cute and I loved that cartoon as a kid. Being there would bring the sweet memories back.
    P.S. Love your logo 😀

  20. Dubai really leads the pack when it comes to resorts and theme parks this decade! Motiongate looks impressive, I have always enjoyed film-related theme parks. Dreamworks would be the one I’d head to first!

  21. Very cool! I don’t think this place existed when I was in Dubai years ago. Looks so fun! I especially love the Smurf’s Village since I used always watch them on TV when I was a kid. That is were I would be headed if I would visit this place!

  22. I was all ready to jump on that bullet train ride, till I realised it was a crazy fast rollercoaster! I think my liking is to stick to the Smurfs Village and that Green Hornet’s slow rollercoaster lol! I’ve sadly never been a fun of the high adrenaline rides, but it looks like Motiongate has so many other great attractions for big babies like me! I do love Shrek, so would visit that swamp!

    1. Haha, I am beginning to realise, there are more people who love slow rides and experiences than the crazy, adventurous ones. I guess these parks have been designed keeping that in mind 🙂

  23. Although it looks like a lot of fun, this would be so wasted on me: I’m not very fond of Dubai and I don’t like themeparks too much. But I’m certain I’d find something else to do there. And once I get grandkids, I have to go back to these parks, so I might as well try out this one 😉

    1. I live here and absolutely love the city 🙂 But I understand that you don’t. It does make for a good vacation, with so much to do with all age groups.

  24. I have never been there and I cannot wait to go. Your article makes a fun reading and like all your images too 🙂

  25. The Smurf village sounds amazing to me as it brings me back to great childhood memories. The entire park seems huge and very well done.

  26. There are a ton of reasons to visit Dubai and the list keeps getting longer. The number of theme parks is awesome. So many awesome themes and attractions in the park like the Hunger Games.

  27. Wow…sounds like Dubai offers a lot of theme park options. I can see why you enjoyed Lionsgate. It seems like it has so many great options based on movies I loved. And the indoor options would be great on a hot day. 🙂

  28. Ahhhh wow, this sounds amazing! I’d never heard of it before. I’m a sucker for theme parks 😉

  29. I love theme parks and roller coasters! Motiongate looks so fun, I definitely want to visit when I finally get to Dubai. Like you, my second favorite kind of ride is the one that drops you. I scream so much!! So I know I’d really enjoy the Zombieland Blast Off ride.

    1. Haha, I love scary rides, and I love screaming while on them. Maybe I even scream the loudest of all 😀

  30. The Motiongate theme park seems to be a welcome addition to the attractions of Dubai. I like the fact that there is such a wide range of activities and rides to choose from and the park also has some more sedate activities apart from the adrenaline rush ones like the 360 degree bullet train. Kids would love to get lost in the wonderland and the place makes for a perfect family outing.

  31. WOW! this was a big surprise to me. I used to go to Dubai more often, but it has been 3 years that I couldn’t go. I am impressed that since I didn’t go they built a new theme park 🙂 Which season did you go? I could guess that the mail park should be indoor as you said outside making us sick. Dubai can get so hot. Madagascar Mad Pursuit can be my favourite ride too 🙂

    1. Motiongate Dubai is partially in the open and I would suggest that October – April would be a better time to go. If you’re in Dubai during summer, the indoor air-conditioned theme parks such as Warner Bros and IMG Worlds of Adventure might be better options. I, personally, like outdoor theme parks more!

  32. The motiongate theme park sounds super fun. I am too adventurous and will love the drop off and 360 degree twist. The smurf village and clicking with your favorite characters too will be fun. I too liked your tip on not visiting more than 2 parks in a day.

    1. 2 parks in a day are really enough! One can go for the 2 days, all parks pass and stay overnight in Lapita Hotel which is on site, if they want to visit all 4 parks.

  33. I love theme parks. Even with lines, it’s fun to escape reality for a bit. I love the Smurf Village, even if it’s meant for little kids. I would also have to make a run to see Shrek, of course! I didn’t think of Dubai as a theme park destinations, but you’ve shown me that’s wrong!

    1. It’s fairly recent, the theme park trend in Dubai. It wasn’t really a theme park destination until a couple of years ago.

  34. My parents lived in the Middle East when I was a kid and there was literally NOTHING for us to do in holidays like this. What a great place to take the family for a day out. Was it expensive?

    1. Unfortunately, experiences in Dubai are expensive, in general. I paid about $85 for 1 day, 2 parks pass.

  35. Wow a theme park with Ferrari – my spouse would like that. Good information about the parks and their highlights.

  36. I wouldn’t have thought that Dubai would have theme parks like that! They all look like so much fun! I think my fave would definitely be the Smurf village 🙂

  37. I’ve never thought about theme parks in Dubai! Motiongate looks like a lot of fun but like you the Dreamworks area would be my favorite. The rides are based off of some of my favorite movies, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. The Madagascar Mad Pursuit sounds like my kind of coaster, I love coasters that take me through the dark!

  38. Whenever I enter a new theme park I always try to follow the screams. I’m glad to know what to look for already. The rides look scary but a lot of fun! I’d love to try out the Ghostbusters ride and compete with my friends. The big drop rides are my favorites! I’m glad there are places to get out of the heat! Thanks for sharing!

  39. OMG. I am in a mission to visit all theme parks! haha. This is so cool, Medha! Love how spacious the theme park is with lots of amazing things to do and see! I’m not much of a thrill-seeker but I think Madagascar Mad Pursuit and the Swinging Viking sounds exciting. I love Kung Fu Panda too so I’m sure I’ll enjoy the Unstoppable Awesomeness too.

  40. I do not usually visit theme parks but Dubai has a lot of interesting parks and I believe they put hard efforts on their architecture and making touristic places look so interesting. If I have extra days in hand I would not mind visiting this gigantic theme park.

  41. I don’t usually visit theme parks, but I like the range of options at Motiongate. It would be great to take my nieces and nephews because they love Shrek – that’s a great photo op! And the Smurf village looks like a cute stop for ice-cream 🙂

    1. Yeah I love the way they’ve built the Smurfs Village. Also, DreamWorks is pretty cool 🙂

  42. I love the fantasy worlds that theme parks can create, but I’m not a fan of roller coasters or any fast-moving high-off-the-ground rides. Would this theme park be worth my visiting? Or would you recommend one of the others?

    1. They have a pretty decent mix of fast-moving rides and simple experiences such as 4D simulation, character meet & greet, etc. You could also consider visiting Warner Bros in Abu Dhabi.

  43. Theme parks bring out your inner child. Motiongate Dubai Themepark looks like a fun place for the whole family! I love visiting theme parks, even though I’m not a fan of big roller coaster rides.

  44. I love theme parks! Like you, I’m also a big fan of the fast and extreme rides. I enjoyed reading the Hunger Games, so visiting Panem to take on the Capital Bullet Train would be on top of my list! The ZombieLand Blast off sure looks pretty intense as well. The Madagascar Mad Pursuit looks pretty unassuming from the outside, but sounds like its full of surprises once you’re on the ride. Thanks for the review of Motion Gate, I’d definitely consider visiting when in Dubai.

  45. I know Smurf’s Village is meant for children, but it looks so cute that I’m sure I would beeline straight for it. Then, I would check out DreamWorks for Shrek. What can I say, I’m a fan of animation. I’ll leave the big rides to you, though.

    1. Haha, I am a fan of animation as well. And I love theme parks, big rides and not-so-big rides. Shrek is my absolute fav too!

  46. I’m not much into theme parks myself but I’m sure my nephew would absolutely love visiting this park and experiencing all of the Shrek experiences. He’d probably make me go on every roller coaster!

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