Busch plans four parks in Dubai
Orlando Anheuser Busch Cos. signed a deal to put about $5-billion worth of theme parks in Dubai.
Busch Entertainment Corp., the brewing giant’s theme park unit, unveiled the deal with a unit of Dubai World, Nakheel, an arm of the Dubai government. Nakheel will finance the parks, paying Busch license and management fees.
The location is a five-mile-wide series of islands called Jebel-Ali that are being pumped up from the bottom of the Arabian Sea. When completely developed, Dubai World envisions a city of 280,000 with 15,000 hotel rooms and what's being called Busch's Worlds of Discovery -- SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove.
The Busch parks will be on a 330-acre island shaped like Shamu the killer whale. The first phase, which would open in 2012, will have Sea World and Aquatica, a water park. Several years later a Busch Gardens park, which includes zoo animals and theme park rides, will open along with Discovery Cove, a boutique park that offers personal interaction with dolphins and other sea creatures.
Universal Studios recently signed a licensing deal for a park about five miles away on the Dubai mainland.
Dubai is the second-largest of the United Arab Emirates.
-- Mark Albright, Times staff writer