Take 3 boys + 1 Marvel theme park + a 5 day holiday = an awesome fun day at IMG worlds of fun.
My boys couldn’t wait to get here. Everyday on our way to and from school they’d see signs of their opening everywhere and everyday they’d tell me
“Mom, I want to go there! I want to go there!” x10 times EVERYDAY!!!!
So you could imagine my relief when finally the day has come where we can actually take them here.
Our day of reckoning was last Wednesday which was also Arnie’s last day of Eid holiday. We thought we were being smart by going on a weekday and since majority would still be on holiday, some have actually started working. I thought it was a good day because although I didn’t expect the park to be empty at least we still had some personal space to ourselves and in places like these, that’s all I could really ask for.
Prior to going, we did a little cyber stalking on what people who have been there actually said about the place. Not that it would change our minds on going but if you are like us and want to know some first time observations here are some of mine.
- The height of your child is crucial. Most of the rides require a 1.05m minimum height (and they are actually very strict about it). So if you have an over 3-year-old child but less than 1.05m in height you’d still have to pay for him at full child’s price but he won’t be allowed to go on most of the rides. We’ve actually seen some families react with anger and some in tears because of this and for everyone’s sake and for your wallets too check your child’s height.
- If parking is a big deal, don’t worry as per norm in Dubai there is a valet service. They will charge you 50 aed but if you are not ready to walk from Mars (which is where we parked our car) then 50 aed isn’t so bad.
- No food and drinks allowed. They actually check at the door and they confiscate them. There are a variety of food inside to cater to any budget so that shouldn’t be an issue.
- The AC could get cold for some so if you can, carry a light pullover. I’m actually ok with this because imagine the alternative, with people being so close together, I’d rather nobody sweat 😜. But it could get cold…you’ve been warned.
- Get ready to fall in line. Most of our day was spent falling in line and I actually expected that. What I didn’t expect were little kids trying to cut the line because they think they can get away with it. On one ride I actually saw a mother coax her kid on to move ahead of the line. I mean what are we trying to teach our children people?
*One thing about the lines though was that after we’ve gone on the ride, the nastiness, the waiting in line and all the other stuff just fade away. Which makes me think of the saying that goes “anything worth having/experiencing is worth waiting for” #insightsonline
11 hours passed and my boys would’ve gone for 11 more. They had so much fun that in our heads paying an arm and a limb for a year pass wouldn’t be so bad (if only they’d offer any).
The best part for me was the ride home. The boys gave us a play by-play on what we did and to hear their version of the day with such high spirits was absolutely priceless.
For anyone interested IMG does have an annual pass…
The Dome Box is a dome theatre with a state-of-the-art 360-degree screen that offers a unique audio-visual experience.¹ In lay man terms it’s like going in a planetarium but like 1,000 gazzilion times better!!! Totally blew my inner geek nerd mind away…
We got the tickets by winning it from Dubai 92, 5 months ago. I’ve had it for the longest time but never really got to doing it because to be really honest, I had second thoughts of bringing my 3 year old. His attention span is so fickle that I’m always so scared that he’s going to blow a fuse any moment. (FYI, it is getting better at least i’d like to think so…)
But then, their nursery class got to go on a class trip and he absolutely loved it!!! He has been talking about it non stop that it raised our curiosity and we finally decided to go last weekend before the 6 months validity of the ticket expires.
When we arrived there had just been a birthday party at the site and my curious side asked the staff if it was possible for me to see the set up and take pics while they were cleaning up. It really looks like a cool place to hold a party especially for those around 7 and up ages. Upon inquiry the birthday party starts at about 125 aed per head with a minimum of 10 kids. Of course ++ if you want them to have popcorn during the movie or for their adult companions to have a small snack, anything is possible, if you have deep pockets (as it goes in Dubai😉).
The movies are 30 minute shorts that are educational and at the same time entertaining. I learned so much on “The life of trees” that I didn’t know about. Our second one was about astronauts which takes you to the everyday life of an astronaut living at the space station. I’m not sure how often they change the movies but I’m hoping they change again before our other tickets expire.
Check out their website for more info but personally I found it more interesting once I walked in on their space. Plus the staff was extremely friendly so inquiring alone was a pleasant experience in itself.
Madonna, Rihanna, Justin, and Beyonce…I don’t even give them the time of day! But when Mickey Mouse and Friends announce that they are coming over to Abu Dhabi for a concert, you just know we had to watch! The husband did not even think twice on buying the tickets. We knew how much our boys loved Mickey and passing up this concert was going to be a BIG mistake. So with the credit card ready, I booked our tickets online the minute they started selling. I was so scared that the tickets would sell fast, just like when Madonna was in town, but it turns out I was over reacting (as usual). The 4 day Mickey concert with 2-3 shows in a day were more than enough to accommodate all the parents going crazy for tickets (present company included).
With our tickets booked a month in advance, I kept it a secret to surprise the boys! I was happy with my seating choice. I got the first row of the cheapest section seats (Bronze) which gave us extra leg space and no one was blocking our view. I pity the people who bought the last row of the mid price section (Silver) because their seats were crammed and only about two feet closer to the stage than our seats which to my opinion was better than theirs and definitely much cheaper too. It was my first time at the Du Forum and I was surprised to find out that it’s not a big space so I assumed it was easy to see the stage from where anybody was sitting.
Below two years old was still free and thankfully so because half way before the intermission my little one preferred to walk outside than watch the princesses sing and dance. He was fidgeting and unsettled because he kept insisting to sit on the chair beside me (which I didn’t pay for) but after a while he settled for the step in front of us which demarcated the “Silver” seating section (can I hear a sulit! yup yup!). We thrifty mommies have to take advantage of the FOC (free of charge), before he becomes FP (full price).
After the intermission (and paying too much for some chips and popcorn) that’s when Woody and Buzz came out and livened up the crowd. Not that the princesses were boring but my boys well, they are boys what more can I say? After a few dancing and a lively audience participation they ended the concert with a high note.
Aaaaaaaand just like that our weekend was over and we drove back to Dubai with two very tired but happy boys at the back seat.
Now if that doesn’t sound like a good weekend I don’t know what is…
Our party last saturday was at Funky Monkey’s in Mazaya center along Sheik Zayed Road. The mall’s interior and exterior is a bit dated. But I didn’t mind this because it meant that fewer people visit this place which means more parking for us! Plus there wasn’t even a crowd at the supermarket so I had it all to myself to explore.
I was expecting the normal play area type party with party host, face painting, games, food etc but Funky Monkey’s surprised me. They have themed party rooms that can cater to most of your child’s whims. I inquired at their front desk and I’m very much interested in the Funky Chef’s package unfortunately my children are still too young to appreciate this. Because our celebrants were girls, of course they wanted the princess theme party. It was nice because although they ordered the princess theme they didn’t forget about the boys which had face painting, laser tag and computer games available at their disposal while the girls were having their princess make over and spa party.
We had the place to ourselves which was good because it helped me relax a bit knowing that I can easily see my kids while I enjoy some adult conversation. Upon arrival, we were brought to the dining area for adults to have some coffee, sandwiches and pizza. This area was adjacent to the soft play area so after depositing the kids we were free to have coffee and started mingling with the other parents. Once everybody was present they started the program with boys and girls in separate rooms for their respective activities and was just called to come together for the cake cutting and some dancing. Then the food was served in another room where the kids enjoyed pizza, fries, chicken nuggets, juice, and cake. This concluded the party, it sounds quick but we were there for almost 4 hours which for a glorified nanny like myself seems like an eternity. On the up side all this time waiting enabled me to take photos and conceptualizing my post which is something I enjoy doing. For the souvenirs they took photos of our children and placed them in magnets, it was a nice gesture and I appreciated this very much.
I did ask my kabayan who worked there about more food options because as we Filipinos love to eat, having a party with coffee and cucumber sandwiches for the adults will simply not suffice. She did say that Filipino food can be ordered and served to the adults at the adult dining area while the kids enjoy their activities in the rooms.
If you are interested in having your child’s party here I ‘ve added the website to Funky Monkey’s below also I would suggest you visit their place so you can appreciate it – the place does look a bit dated (you’ve been warned)
Because summer in the MidEast means it’s too HOT to play outside (may not even be safe in some cases) we’ve kept ourselves busy by visiting different play areas around our area. And because if I wrote about every place we went to, my blog would look like a catalogue on play areas about Dubai. So I’ve decided to put all our visits into one post.
Keeping my growing hyperactive boys entertained is a big task. Adrian jumps on the bed and stands on tables and the little one is more than happy to follow suit. When it gets too much to handle, I just simply pack up the boys and take them somewhere they can expire their fully energized bodies.
These are some of the places that helped me survive the summer:
1. Fun Corner @ Spinneys CentreUmm Suqeim / Al Wasl Road
This is Adrian’s favorite of them all because of the BIG slide. Whenever I’d tell him that we were gonna go to a play area he’d always ask if there was a BIG SLIDE (referring to this place). This is a nice place for a party, the equipment does look a bit old but I imagine to a child it doesn’t matter. Best part about this place for me is the Starbucks just beside the play area where I can get a cup of coffee while watching the kids play!
2. Småland @Ikea Festival City:
This is free to any shoppers of IKEA but during the weekend there can be a line so make sure you be there early. There is not much to see or do in this area, my son was so bored he asked them to call me to pick him up after 15 mins! But I think he was just used to other play areas where he has a lot of things to do, here because it’s just a small area there are limited things he can do. #spoiledmuch
3. Peek a Boo @Mall of The Emirates2nd Floor Magic Planet Tel/Fax: 04 3470622 Open 10am-9pm 7 days a week
I used to bring Adrian here all the time when he was younger. Mainly because they have a different activities for the child every 30 mins, they have nursery rhymes (which was my favorite), cooking, baking, arts and crafts and so on. This time around with Aden I felt like the quality has somewhat reduced a little. The singing of the nursery rhymes felt like it was rushed and the staff was not as in to it as they were 2-3 years ago. Which was a shame because the main reason I kept bringing Adrian to their place was because the staff seemed to enjoy their jobs and it reflected to their singing. Now not so much, I wonder what happened?
4. FUN CITY @ Ibn BattutaTunisia Court, Jebel Ali Village
Tel: +971 4 3669819
During the start of the Holy month of Ramdan, I wasn’t sure if play areas were open so to be sure I brought the boys to Ibn Battuta, which was a mall very near our place if it was close it would be easy to go home. I’ve been here on a weekend and I must say it was nice and relaxing being here on a weekday, I wasn’t nervous watching both boys play because there were only a handful of kids in the play area. And because there weren’t that many kids they each had a place of their own without them fighting over one spot.
*on Mondays rides are only 1DHS
5. Fun SquareTimes Square Center Sheikh Zayed Road, At 3/4th Interchange Tel: +971 4 341 8020 Fax: +971 4 341 8086
I like this place a lot, it’s big , spacious and has lots of light. I would imagine it would look nice for a party. They did say you can hire the entire place if you wanted to have a party exclusively for your guests (Mental note for next birthday planning venues). Plus Times Square Center is not a very busy mall so it’s easy to go with the kids. Plus, plus there’s always parking available.
Summer here in Dubai is also known to us residents as Dubai Summer Sale but along with that, a familiar character also shows up on posters and billboards all around the city and his name is MODESH.
To keep the kids happy (not just the adults with all the shopping) they made Modesh World. From the website Modesh World is:
The largest indoor edutainment venue in the region, Modhesh World’s Summer Camp features a host of themed games, fun activities and allows supervised access to the wonderful world of Modhesh.
On this particular weekend we visited Modesh World after Iftar (Iftar (Arabic: إفطار ifṭār “breakfast”), refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. – from wikipedia). Momma’s gotta eat her carnival treats you know!
Visiting the place on a Friday during Ramadan after Iftar I was expecting the place packed with families but the place was surprisingly empty and I loved it!!! Ok, the sponsors may frown upon this but as a mom of two boys with one running all over the place, a big open area is not a bad thing. The place was cool because of the strong AC (and that’s the way I like it). There were no lines to anything and we weren’t bumping in to people because the place was so big. Need I say more? I loved it because it was not crowded (period).
My observation was if we remove Modesh from the picture, the place looked like a big arcade! Husband even compared it to Fiesta Carnival (it’s an indoor theme park back home that was the place of our youth – feeling old!) Everything had a fee but how can you say no when the kids are looking up to you with those big puppy eyes! I was glad when Adrian saw this sandbox with a playground set in it. I bet he would have loved to spend all his time in there if we let him. Btw, this was free.
Adrian as usual was in 7th heaven. With him expressing himself clearly now it’s such a treat to hear him call out “Look mommy!” or say “That was so much FUN!” I swear I think I only take him to places like these just so I can hear him scream with excitement (That’s what parenting is all about right? haha). Since the place was not full, I let Aden out of his stroller and walk around. He is still in the process of learning how to walk and so he is very slow that’s why I refrain from doing this when we are in a crowded area because I don’t want him to get trampled on but because we had the place all to ourselves he was walking all over the place.
Food wise it was ok, It had the usual carnival fare popcorn, snow cones, corn in a cup, chips in a stick, crepes and more. There was something new that caught my eye “Chocolate Shawarma” but when I was going to try it the attendant was on a break and no one was relieving his place so I just hoped on to the next store to get my gelato from Napoli Ice Cream instead which made Aden very happy.
The place had a petting zoo (with a fee – of course) and rides, arcade games, and carnival games but most of all Adrian loved the big slide, he’s actually in to it a lot lately so we spent a good hour just waiting for him finish his appetite for the thing and even after an hour he was not ready to go.
We thought that after all this FUN, the boys would be tired but when we got home they were back to their hyper selves. Boy oh boy! These kids have a lot of energy! (feeling old – AGAIN!) But despite of living in the Middle East, during Ramadan, in the middle of summer we have a place that’s kid friendly and cool to visit and enables you to have some FUN with the family.
Last Friday we attended a “End of the Year” party at Cheeky Monkeys Playland , hosted by one of Adrian’s classmate, Zaidaan. Yes, you heard me right, it wasn’t his birthday but he wanted a party so his parents gave him one. NO judgement here, Hey! If I was rich too and only had one son, I’d give him a party every DAY!! If that’s what he wants.
Parties here are so different from what we are used to in the Philippines, in the Philippines, a party always has to be a fiesta where everyone from your child to your child’s grandparents are invited and welcome to come. Here in Dubai its quite different, when the children have a party, The children are the only ones expected to come especially if it is in one of those play areas. The parents just drop off the kids and pick them up after the party. The adults are welcome to stay but are not included in the head count. Since this was our first time I was watching all the other moms and taking a cue from them on what I was supposed to do. There is this one mom (who I think is really cool, she goes kite surfing before school pick up! How cool is that?) who I consider my mommy peg in school, and I was observing her at the party she dropped off her child at the party area, then had a quick chat with the other guests, went out to buy her own coffee and sat down to wait for her child finish the party. So cool and effortless like she’s been to these things a thousand times. Unlike me who looked like a fish out of water, smiling from ear to ear like a crazy person talking to anyone who was willing to ask me “Are you staying in for the summer?“. In fairness to our host, there were finger sandwiches for us adults that were served but because the dining area was full of other adults waiting for their own little ones to finish their play (I think there were 3 parties happening at the same time). It was hard to rally everyone up to eat but then again the adults were not expecting anything from the host so they just went to the café themselves and bought their water or coffee whatever they preferred.
This type of party was so foreign to me that I actually thought, it’s so practical and so easy to host a party like this. My brain was slowly moving on to planning a possible similar party for Adrian but I’m not so sure how it’s gonna go down to my Filipino guests. And if my personal accountant would approve the funds for this mythical party.
Cheeky Monkeys Playland is at the ground floor of Al Barsha Mall, Union CO-OP. I have to confess, I didn’t know that there was a mall here, I know there was a Union CO-OP in that area but I thought it was just the supermarket and nothing more. (I even said this thought out loud to another guest and felt rather stupid about it after seeing her reaction). I like how they set up the party where the kids can enter and start playing at the jungle gym and maybe after 45 mins(?), a party host would call ALL the guests for a certain party and they would follow her to a party room and they would dance and play games and eat there too! The cake was served to both the kids and adults but I was so amazed at how normal it seemed, I told you this type of behavior is unheard of in my culture. I can already imagine my family complaining, just imagine on one of our celebrations I heard some family members complain about the food, imagine if they only got cake!!! THE HORROR!!!
Cheeky Monkeys Playland
Al Barsha Mall, Union CO-OP, Ground Floor
Fax: 04-385 0840