Worlds Of Discovery Planned For Nakheel’s The Palm Jebel Ali In Dubai
Busch Entertainment Corporation and Nakheel sign Memorandum of Understanding to develop four theme parks in the United Arab Emirates
Orlando, Fla. | Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch Cos., today announced an agreement with Nakheel PJSC, one of the world’s largest property developers, to create the Worlds of Discovery – SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove – on The Palm Jebel Ali in Dubai.
Nakheel will invest the necessary capital to build and operate the parks. BEC will license its brands to Nakheel and operate the parks under a management contract.
Worlds of Discovery will occupy a section of The Palm Jebel Ali known as “the Crown,” which will resemble a giant killer whale when reclamation work is complete. Nakheel’s plans for The Palm Jebel Ali, currently the world’s largest man-made island, also call for the development of commercial, residential and shopping districts, as well as resort hotels and restaurants.
BEC President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Atchison announced the deal today with Nakheel’s Chief Executive Chris O’Donnell in a ceremony at SeaWorld Orlando’s Shamu Stadium. Also present were BEC Chief Marketing Officer Joe Couceiro and Marwan Al Qamzi, Managing Director of The Palm Jebel Ali.
“Dubai has become one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, and a key part of the strategy has been attracting world-class entertainment brands to the emirate. We have already concluded partnerships with major brands such as Trump, Cirque du Soleil, and Atlantis, and the partnership with BEC is a further example of Dubai’s growth as a city of global prominence,” O’Donnell said. “We are extremely honored that The Palm Jebel Ali will become home to the first Worlds of Discovery theme parks outside of the U.S., which is not only a major coup for Nakheel, but for the whole of Dubai.”
“We are delighted to sign this unique partnership with BEC. SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove are incredible entertainment experiences that have thrilled millions of families since opening,” Al Qamzi said. “Worlds of Discovery will become the attraction of The Palm Jebel Ali and I am already excited about the prospect of opening the doors to our very first visitors.”
The Worlds of Discovery project will be phased and includes SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove and, the company’s newest theme park brand, Aquatica. Worlds of Discovery on The Palm Jebel Ali will also include a variety of other family activities, including resort hotels, spas, shops and restaurants.
In addition to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, plans call for the construction of a Discovery Cove similar to the park adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando in Central Florida. Discovery Cove in Orlando is an all-inclusive, reservations‑only park that features a variety of animal interactions and resort experiences, most notably swimming with bottlenose dolphins, rays and exotic fish. The first Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark, opened this week in Orlando.
Preliminary design work and site planning is underway, with the first phase expected to open in 2012.
More than 300 million cubic yards of sand and 10 million tons of rock have been used in the construction of The Palm Jebel Ali, with the island adding more than 52 miles of coastline to Dubai. Reclamation of the island is nearly complete and Nakheel has already begun putting an infrastructure in place that will eventually support a population of more than 280,000 people.
BEC President, Jim Atchison, said the partnership provides tremendous growth opportunity for both companies: “Dubai has emerged as one of the world’s great travel destinations. Thanks to the vision of companies like Nakheel, the future for this city and this region is bright. We’re thrilled to be joining the tourism community in the emirate and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Nakheel.”
The Worlds of Discovery in Dubai will be designed and managed by BEC. The parks will be staffed by a combination of BEC expatriates and executives trained in BEC parks in the United States and workers recruited regionally.
SeaWorld Dubai will include many of the attractions visitors have come to enjoy in BEC’s U.S. operations, including killer whale, dolphin and sea lion attractions and marine themed rides. BEC will provide all animals for the parks developed in Dubai.
Nakheel is one of the world’s largest privately held real estate developers, and a key player in realizing the vision of Dubai for the 21st century: creating a world-class destination for living, business and tourism.
Nakheel is developing an iconic portfolio of innovative landmark projects in Dubai across a range of sectors – residential, commercial, retail and leisure.
Nakheel’s developments spread across more than 2 billion square feet of land, and its projects are projected to be worth $60 billion. Upon completion, Nakheel’s waterfront projects will have added more than 600 miles of shoreline to Dubai’s coastline.
Nakheel’s portfolio currently includes The Palm Jumeirah, The Palm Jebel Ali, The Palm Deira, The World, The Universe, Waterfront, Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Heights, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Al Furjan, International City, Dragon Mart Complex, Dubai Promenade, Port Rashid and Dubai Design Centre.
Nakheel is a key entity within Dubai World. Dubai World is one of the world’s largest holding companies and supervises a portfolio of businesses and projects for the Dubai government across five continents and more than 100 countries.
Further information can be found at and
Orlando-based Busch Entertainment Corporation is the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. BEC operates 10 Worlds of Discovery parks across the U.S.: SeaWorld Florida in Orlando, SeaWorld California in San Diego, SeaWorld Texas in San Antonio; Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Fla., Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove in Orlando; Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa. near Philadelphia; Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark in Orlando; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg.
Worlds of Discovery parks employ more than 21,000 people nationwide. Further information can be found at
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