Saudi King, Crown Prince Attend Groundbreaking Ceremony for Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia’s Answer to Disneyworld

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the opening ceremony this week of the Kingdom’s massive forthcoming entertainment city, Qiddiya, on the outskirts of Riyadh this weekend.

Qiddiya represents another major investment in expanding social outlets for Saudis backed by Saudi Arabia’s PIF. The entertainment city sits 40km from downtown Riyadh and will feature a total area of 334 square km (8,400-acres), about two and a half times the size of Disneyland.

Qiddiya's entrance.

Qiddiya’s entrance.

Visitors will have access to ground breaking recreational and educational facilities across six clusters: Theme Parks; Wheels and Wings; Scenic and Animal Encounters; Water and Snow; Sports; Events, Culture and Education. Qiddiya will include a Six Flags theme park and also have sports training, arts and cultural events, and even vacation homes.

The entertainment city brings the total to three mega-projects being spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the well-funded PIF. Also in the works is NEOM, the new city being planned in Saudi Arabia’s north, and a project to develop Red Sea tourism and industry.

Qiddiya’s CEO is Michael Reininger, a former Disney and AECOM executive with experience in Florida mega-projects. In an interview with Saudi Gazette, Reininger said the park will look to stay innovative.

“We’re not just going to go around the world, find things and copy them. We’re going to innovate and we’re going to stay ahead of the curve,” Reininger said.