Dragon Ball Theme Park will be built in a different part of the world from where the global anime/manga hit was born.

It’s been an emotional month for Dragon Ball fans, what with the recent news that series creator Akira Toriyama has passed away. Many members of the global anime/manga community still haven’t fully dried their tears, but now comes a sign of how Toriyama’s work lives on and will continue to excite and inspire, with the announcement of a Dragon Ball theme park.

When your very concept is a succinctly-phrased dream for millions of people all over the world, there’s no need to be coy in picking a name, and so the developers are calling it just that: Dragon Ball Theme Park.

Now, when an anime or video game-related theme park project gets announced, it raises the question “How big is it going to be?” Ghibli Park, despite being spread out in patches over a wide area of a preexisting park in Aichi Prefecture, can be covered in a couple of hours, as can Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo, and Super Nintendo World is actually a subsection of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Dragon Ball Theme Park, though, is being planned as a massive, full-scale park, with an area of over 500,00 square meters. That converts to 123 acres, which would make Dragon Ball Theme Park even bigger than Tokyo Disneyland (115 acres).

▼ Dragon Ball Theme Park preview video

If you’re thinking finding that much buildable land in Japan, and near a city that’ll provide the travel infrastructure for what’s intended to be an international tourism draw, is going to be difficult, that’s not an issue the park will have to deal with. That’s because Dragon Ball Theme Park isn’t being built in Japan. It’s being built in Saudi Arabia.

Specifically, it’s being built in Qiddiya, a tourism resort district in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. And no, this is not to be confused with the Six Flags Qiddiya amusement park that’s also in development. Dragon Ball Theme Park is a separate project.

The announcement posted to the Japanese-language official Dragon Ball website promises “over 30 attractions, including five groundbreaking rides.” The wording is slightly different on the English official Qiddiya site, which says “Dragon Ball theme park will have more than 30 themed rides, including 5 groundbreaking attractions.” One thing they agree on, though, is that there’s going to be a roller coaster that goes through the gigantic 70-meter (229.7-foot) tall statue of wish-granting dragon Shenron that stands in the middle of the park.

The goal for the park is to “give you the feeling of being a character inside the anime’s world as you enjoy adventures together with Goku and the rest of the series’ cast.” No attractions aside from the Shenron coaster have been discussed, but many people in the preview video seem to be wearing AR goggles/headsets, and it looks like there’s some sort of kamehameha training session that will take place at Master Roshi’s Kame House and what looks like maybe a motion theater inside the Capsule Corp headquarters.

While it’s the Dragon Ball Z that’s had the biggest pop cultural impact, the park’s planners say that all parts of the franchise, from the original unaccoutered Dragon Ball all the way up to the currently serialized Dragon Ball Super, will be represented.

▼ Some of the concept artwork also shows what appears to be the Martial Arts Temple where the World Martial Arts Tournament is held

In another slight discrepancy between the Japanese and English announcements, the Dragon Ball official site says the park will “Provide an environment in which you can immerse yourself in the world of Dragon Ball all day long,” while Qiddiya’s English site says “Build and share long-lasting memories with your family and friends where one day is not enough!” They both essentially agree that you’ll need somewhere to sleep, though, and so the developers say there will be multiple themed hotels on-site.

There’s no mention of any sort of projected timetable as to when Dragon Ball Theme Park will open. Between its scale and the amount of custom cosmetic theming for its rides, buildings, and staff costumes, most likely it’s going to be a wait of at least a couple years, but with Dragon Ball having stayed consistently popular for four decades, odds are whenever the park is ready to start welcoming guests, they’ll be lined up at the gates.

Source: Dragon Ball official website via Jin, Qiddiya official website
Images: Qiddiya official website
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