Plans for an 'entertainment city' that’s said to rival Disney World – yes, that Disney World – have just been unveiled, and it’s all happening in our very own neighbourhood!
Saturday night saw King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attend a launch ceremony featuring a live orchestra and fireworks, announcing Qiddiya - a 334 square kilometre site about an hour's drive from Riyadh that will feature high-end theme parks, motor sports and even a safari park for when you need a break from all that rollercoaster nausea. Go big or go home, right?
Built as a part of the Vision 2030 Reform Initiative and with the handy advice of theme-park giants Six Flags which will also have a park of its own within the complex, Qiddiya, which will be open in 2022, is planning to attract tourists and revamp the country’s image, as well as create jobs and shift the focus away from oil.
It comes hot on the heels of the opening of their first cinema – another move towards greater social liberalisation. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to make the city "a prominent cultural landmark and an important centre for meeting the future generation's recreational, cultural and social needs in the kingdom."
What better way to do that than to recreate the happiest place on earth?