Saudi Arabia is building the world’s first Dragon Ball Z theme park

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Visitors try out the latest version of Dragon Ball Z Kakarot at the 2019 Gamescom gaming trade fair in Cologne, Germany. 
Lukas Schulze | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Saudi Arabia is set to become home to the first-ever Dragon Ball Z theme park — a 5.3 million square foot entertainment venue announced as part of the kingdom’s huge Qiddiya project.

The latest tourist attraction announced by the kingdom will feature seven different areas recreating locations from the original Japanese anime television series, more than 30 themed rides, and a number of hotels and restaurants, according to the press release.

Five of the rides at the Dragon Ball Z theme park will be “world firsts,” according to the release, one of which will be a 230-foot-high roller coaster called Shenron, named after the series’ magical dragon.

Video games and the popular Japanese genre of anime have become targets for significant investment from the kingdom — Japan-based manga producer Toei Animation (producers of
Dragon Ball Z) and MiSK, a foundation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are also collaborating to create anime movies. Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is also the third-largest shareholder of Japanese video game giant Nintendo.

Qiddiya itself — a planned multibillion-dollar “city” in Riyadh — is a massive plot of desert about 28 miles, or a 40-minute drive, outside the capital Riyadh.

Its planners say it will be more than 360 square kilometers (or around 140 square miles) in size and will have more than 400 specific attractions including golf courses, theme parks and hotels. It’s also set to have a Six Flags and a waterpark.

A project of the Saudi’s PIF, which oversees $925 billion in assets, Qiddiya City aims to become home to 600,000 residents, as well as host millions of visitors yearly. The fund has poured billions of dollars over the last few years into sports, music events, e-gaming and cultural attractions in a bid to turn the kingdom into a tourist hub and diversify its economy away from reliance on oil.

Vision 2030, the name of this project, a brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has also set a target of 150 million tourists visiting the kingdom annually by 2030. Tourism reached a record for the country in 2023 at 106 million, according to its tourism ministry — an increase of 56% from 2019.

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