Visiting this popular winter destination once is never enough – here’s why long-time residents and first-time visitors alike “would never miss it for the world.”

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Published: Thursday, October 19, 2023 1:22 PM

Last update: Thursday, October 19, 2023, 3:07 p.m.

For Dalia M., Global Village is much more than just a place to visit. Is a feeling. Dalia was one of the first people through the doors when the entertainment destination opened its 28th season Wednesday night.

He waited in line for more than an hour to visit what he described as his “happy place.” Dalia, a resident of the United Arab Emirates since childhood, said she has visited all the Global Villages since its creation 28 years ago.

“This is a place where I have very good memories. I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said, holding up the rose she received from Dubai Police officers, who were on the ground to welcome visitors. “It’s like a thrill to be here and enjoy all the lights, sounds and sights.”

Dalia, who came with a group of friends, said she tries to visit the destination as often as possible.

“My friends and I love shopping and eating here,” she said. “We usually arrive early and stay until closing time. There are so many things you can eat and buy just in Global Village. It’s our favorite meeting place. And we spent the summer waiting for it to open.”

‘At least twice a week’

Dalia’s sentiment was shared by Emirati friends Mohammed and Badr, who toured the site a little later on Wednesday night, drinking some qahwa. “We love walking here,” Mohammed said. “Once Global Village opens, we come here at least twice a week. We love this place.”

Badr said that sometimes they came alone and other times with their wives. “My friends and I like to walk while our wives want to go shopping,” he said. “So, we usually split up when we get here. We walked, prayed, and then had dinner on one of the grass areas. Then we walked a little more.”

When asked what he likes most about Global Village, Mohammed said it’s the opportunity to experience so many cultures in one place. “There are so many cultures and such a variety of food,” he said. “It’s like being able to travel the world without getting on a plane.”

Making a pit stop

For British tourists Farhan Lohar and Shama, Wednesday night’s opening was perfect. “We leave on Friday,” Reza said. “So when we found out they were opening on Wednesday, it was perfect for us. “We had no other plans for the evening and really wanted to take our daughters to experience Global Village.”

The couple who frequently visited Dubai brought their 5 and 6-year-old daughters, Zeeana and Eiliyah, for the first time. “It’s a little hot, but I loved going to the attractions,” Zeeana said. When she was asked if she liked London or Dubai more, she confessed that she loved Dubai a little more.

Pakistani expats Tayyab and Dr. Amna were in Global Village pushing two strollers: one was a stroller with their 1- and 3-year-old children, while the other was Dr. Amna’s mother’s wheelchair.

“My mother enjoys Global Village the most,” she said. “She loves the variety of food, clothes and almost everything here. “It’s such a healthy experience.”

Tayyab loves how Global Village serves everyone. “No matter how old you are, there is something for you at Global Village,” he said. “It is a perfect place to spend a day with the family.”

Large crowds

Hundreds of people made a beeline for the festival park when it opened Wednesday night. The staff counted down to 6:00 pm when they were welcomed with chains of confetti, music and special dance performances.

Murad, who runs a Turkish kebab shop in the destination, said business had been good in the early hours. “This is the sixth year we’ve put a booth back here,” he said. “But I didn’t expect so many people to come on the first day. Alhamdulillah, sales have been good and I hope they continue like this throughout the season.”

This year, the entertainment center began its activities a week earlier than usual and will run until April 28, 2024.