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Saudi Arabia

From Oil Rig to Theme Park: Saudi Arabia’s Bizarre New Venture

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Oct. 20 2021, Updated 1:50 p.m. ET

Will your next vacation be at Disney World or on an oil platform? It’s not a question most people would expect to find themselves torn between, but it may be a reality soon. Saudi Arabia has big plans for some old oil platforms, and they’re – well, amusing. CELEB takes a look at this strange new proposal and what it might be like to frolic among the waves – on an oil platform. 

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Happiest Rig on Earth

Saudi Arabia

Only Saudi Arabia would think to harness the region’s love for oil and turn it into a theme park. Created with the intent to rival attractions offered by nearby Dubai, the new “extreme park” will be built across several oil platforms. Forbes reports, “Leave it to a Middle Eastern developer to convert an oil rig into a massive 1.6 million-square-foot resort that will be located in the Arabian Gulf. All part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 strategy to launch as a major tourism destination.

With funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, The Rig will be offering up three hotels with 800 rooms, including one ultra-luxury option and 11 restaurants, all connected by platform bridges. There will be roller coaster rides, waterslides, submarine adventures and more sports like diving and bungee jumping. And for luxury travelers, arrival by helicopter and a superyacht marina with 50 berths.”

The park will be a multi-faceted experience, with water-focused activities as well as oil drilling activities; get hands-on and learn how hardworking oil rig workers bring us our black gold. This new park, dubbed, “The Rig,” is slated to open in 2025. It’s a bizarre pro-oil propaganda move, but it might work because – let’s be honest – as weird as it is, it’s intriguing. 

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Qiddiya 

Saudi Arabia

The company behind The Rig, Qiddiya Investment Company, is busy elsewhere in the area as well. They’re creating a city called Qiddiya, designed to rival Disney World. Just like Disney expands beyond the borders of its multiple theme parks into places like Downtown Disney and Celebration, Qiddiya will be a full city offering everything its residents and guests will need to live.

And the city, called Qiddiya, will boast the world’s fastest roller coaster at Six Flags Qiddiya, which will open its doors in 2023. Saudi Arabia has been trying to find ways to compete with the UAE and Dubai, and they’ve focused on the potential of youth. In the Middle East, the globalization of younger generations poses somewhat of a challenge to more traditional elders. They want to harness the enthusiasm and entrepreneurship of upcoming adults, but they don’t want to stray too far from the core values of their country and religion. So what do they do? They offer a place for young people to explore and have fun – within acceptable and safe boundaries.

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The website for Qiddiya explains the mission: “Qiddiya will be a disruptive destination recognized on the world stage as the home of the most innovative and immersive experiences. Our wide range of offerings will be based on five cornerstones: Sports & Wellness; Nature & Environment; Parks & Attractions; Motion & Mobility; and Arts & Culture, making Qiddiya the capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts, not just in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but of the world.

Family-friendly theme parks, sports arenas suitable for international competitions, academies for sports and the arts, concert and entertainment venues, racetracks for motorsport enthusiasts as well as outdoor and adventure activities alongside nature and environment experiences are just some of the fun attractions being developed. Qiddiya will also include a variety of real estate options and community services.

In short, Qiddiya will be a place that enables the youth of Saudi Arabia to fulfill their ambitions. It will be a place where they enjoy, appreciate, aspire, advance and nurture their potential; a place that unlocks opportunities and new professional pathways to help build a more prosperous and progressive society.”

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Like Dubai, Qiddiya will be fully-integrated, technologically advanced, and hope to become a center of culture, arts, and the future of tech. Aside from Six Flags and other tempting destinations, Qiddiya will include an FIA Grade 1 track, with the hope of hosting Formula One Grand Prix races.  Spread out across a plateau and the surrounding area, Qiddiya will be breathtakingly beautiful, with form and function blending and a focus on sustainability. 

The World’s Most Bizarre Theme Parks

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While The Rig may be a strange concept, it’s far from the weirdest theme park in the world. Here are some of the world’s most bizarre – and frankly, doubly intriguing – theme parks around the world:

  • Jeju Loveland: If you’ve ever heard of it before, you know why this is number one. It’s a raunchy romp through the world of sexuality and includes a plethora of naked statues in various states of both undress and in the act of intercourse. Larger-than-life genitals will greet you and guests can take a ride on phallus-shaped attractions. Educational sex films play throughout the park which was designed to guide newlyweds, and guests can learn from an interactive masturbation-cycle display. Good news though parents, as minors are obviously not allowed in the park, it may be the perfect excuse for a grown-ups-only day out if you find yourself on Jeju Island in South Korea.  
  • Bon Bon Land: This Denmark park is disgusting. No, really disgusting. With puke-flavored jelly beans, novelty dog poop, and rides called “Dog Fart” and “Beaver Rafting,” it’s the dream destination of a 12 year old boy. Or adults with a love for the finer things in life like toilet humor. It sounds like a fun day – but maybe not if you gag easily. 
  • Diggerland: Located in the US and UK, this theme park embodies the dreams of everyone who ever wanted to drive their own backhoe or other large construction vehicle. You can even participate in Dump truck races. This isn’t so much bizarre as it is unique – and pretty fun sounding.
  • Harmonyland: Located in Japan, this Sanrio-themed park is too cute for words. Hello Kitty welcomes guests and other Sanrio characters are interspersed throughout the park for a saccharin-sweet kawaii day of fun. 

Whether you’re up for a day of giant naked statues, digging at a construction site, or snuggling with Hello Kitty – there’s a theme park for you. And now, you can fulfill all your oil platform dreams soon too. 

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