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Qiddiya to host Dragon Ball theme park

A 10-metre sculpture of Shenron at an exhibition. In Qiddia, the Dragon Ball character will form a 70 m high roller coaster Oriental Image via Reuters Connect
A 10metre sculpture of Shenron at an exhibition. In Qiddiya, the Dragon Ball character will form a 70metre high roller coaster
  • 500,000 sq m site
  • More than 30 attractions
  • Qiddya valued at nearly $10bn

Qiddiya, the Saudi Arabian entertainment city, plans to build a theme park based on the blockbuster Dragon Ball anime series. 

The Japanese franchise owner said on March 22 that the 500,000 square metre site would recreate locations from the original print and television cartoon series such as Kame House, Capsule Corporation and Beerus’s Planet, and characters such as Goku. 

It will host more than 30 attractions and include a 70metre version of the eternal wish-granting dragon Shenron with a roller coaster inside it. 

In the series, the character Goku and friends look for shiny orbs known as dragon balls to summon Shenron and defeat malevolent deities on Earth. In Dragon Ball Super, Earth is one planet in a multiverse of 12 universes in which various good and bad beings vie for power. 

A teaser released on the Dragon Ball website promised an “unprecedented entertainment destination”. 

Since it first appeared in the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine in 1984 Dragon Ball has morphed into a film, TV and video game behemoth. Its creator Akira Toriyama died this month at the age of 68. 

Qiddiya is one of the Public Investment Fund-owned giga-projects at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s plans to transform its economy by a target date of 2030

Officials have described Qiddiya, south-west of Riyadh, as a Walt Disney-type resort that would develop into a new town or suburb of the capital, similar to what happened to Orlando in Florida. 

It has already announced plans to include a gaming and esports district, the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Stadium and a racetrack designed by Austrian former Formula One driver Alex Wurz and German circuit designer Hermann Tilke. 

A waterpark and the Six Flags amusement park, including the world’s longest, fastest and tallest roller coaster called Falcon’s Flight, are due to open next year.

The government, now facing three years of budget deficits, said in December some of the giga-projects could be delayed beyond 2030, raising speculation about which projects stay on the drawing board. 

Real estate consultancy Knight Frank valued Qiddiya at almost $10 billion in its 2023 annual report, with most of its projects already commissioned.

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