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Atlantis Waterpark & Dolphin Bay

For our first time in Dubai we opted to stay at the Madinat (Al Qasr) which gets you over 40 restaurants and a huge resort of options to see and use, from pools to beaches and free unlimited entry during your stay to Wild Wadi Water park.

However, we of course had to visit the famous Atlantis Water Park!

Amber has been waiting until she was 12 to swim with dolphins since she was about 4!

Today we did that, and she was over the moon as was my 6yr old having done the shallow water experience with us all too, beforehand.

However, be warned.

I did manage to get some money off using a current promotion code and exploit a glitch in the website that ended up costing me £630 instead of £722. (Originally hoping it was £522)

It’s a hell of a lot of money!

Whilst the experience was great, be warned the costs don’t end there.

This really frustrated me today and nearly ended up ruining our entire day as a family as we got ushered into the boutique at the end to view our photography pics from the event. There was about 160 images, of which 40 odd we’d use, or given the choice would have bought 10-20 of them but with these things I always prefer to just buy the lot in a USB stick and worry about what ones we like to print later. After all, a print these days cost around 33p max.

How much do you think a USB stick of all photos was?

  • £50

  • £100

  • £200

  • £300

  • £400

  • £450

You guessed it. £450!!!

I was infuriated at the rip off of it! We sat there wanting some sort of physical memory at least, and had to chose one pic for each of my girls and one family one. That was £75 for 3 pics but what choice did I have as a wife and 2 daughters are looking at you semi disappointed that they’ve struggled to let one or two pics go from the list which were, I admit lovely pics.

I said to my eldest "you can buy an extra one yourself if you like". I was then immediately corrected that now it’s not fair as my 6 yr old Libby doesn’t understand that, and feels unequal.


At this point I’ve gone into John Cleese mode saying “right!!! Ok that’s it, choose what you like, have it all, have what you like! There’s my card just buy it all!” (Picture me ripping off the nearest tree branch and giving the computer a damn good thrashing!)

We’ve nearly had a full on family fall out as I’m feeling I’ve just spent £620 for the day and it’s all gone to pot if I don’t get shafted for another high fee of photo charges.

The man pointed out that I’ve now gone up to £120 worth of photos and he could do me a deal of £175 for all photos on an email - 800mb per pic download card, not full hi-res but good enough to print 12x8 at least.

I agreed as I wanted it over with.

I ended up apologising to my family for being angry as it wasn’t their fault.

Please be prepared. Either run away from the boutique and don’t look at the photos if you don’t want to buy any or go prepared to haggle and still get your pants pulled down for the best part of another £200 for all of the photos, or, make a plan to send your kids swiftly out the way of the photo booths to look around the shop whilst you choose just one picture to print each (£25 a pop) so they don't see the others.

It was so disappointing for it to end like that as the experience was great and the faces on my kids was otherwise priceless, almost.

I really wish these sorts of places had a better business sense and lowered the price to get more sales and profit instead of shafting a few for high profit. They'd make so much more, and have far less grumpy customers.

The waterpark itself was actually very similar to Wild Wadi and we were hard pushed to pick a winner. Atlantis probably wins due to being spread out larger, having 2-3 extra slides and the famous shark tunnel slides to say you’ve done them! The Lazy river is better and longer too as it has built in rapids with conveyor belt lifts to take you up before you rapid down again. If we didn’t go next time and only stayed in Jumeriah/Wild Wadi hotels I’d be fine as the overall benefits seem more at the Madinat, but Atlantis was slightly the better park, and the hotel did seem great too. (Although I've since heard the restaurant selections are only 5-6 on half board whereas Madinat is almost 40)

Our kids would probably choose Atlantis to stay at next time, if pushed, but we’d overrule them and try another on the Madinat or JBH when the work is complete purely for the overall experience and benefits/value for money. You're certainly less restricted at the Madinat.


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