‘Dragon Ball’ theme park set to open in Saudi Arabia

A 'Dragon Ball Z' booth during New York Comic Con
The government-backed real estate developer Qiddiya Investment Co. announced plans for a “Dragon Ball” theme park in Saudi Arabia as part of the country’s push into video games and entertainment.
(Charles Sykes / Invision / Associated Press)

In the fictional world of “Dragon Ball,” the popular Japanese manga and animation franchise, the lead character embarks on a journey to collect seven magical balls to summon a wish-granting dragon.

That wish appears to have manifested as a theme park outside Riyadh for Qiddiya Investment Co., a real estate developer backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The legendary manga artist died on March 1 after suffering an acute subdural hematoma, his studio announced Thursday.

March 7, 2024

The Persian Gulf country’s latest attempt to boost tourism will have 30 rides featuring Goku, Freeza and other characters, according to the firm’s website. The park will encompass more than 5.3-million square feet within Qiddiya City, a plot of desert around 40 minutes from the capital that has been marked for development as an entertainment district, with plans for a stadium, hotels, a water park, a Six Flags park and golf courses.


Saudi Arabia has been pouring billions of dollars into development projects that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sees as key to help the country lower its reliance on oil. The country has a target of 150 million tourists a year by 2030, and the crown prince has positioned video games and entertainment as a pillar of the country’s future growth.

Legendary manga artist Akira Toriyama died Friday. Among his work was the ‘Dragon Ball’ series, which has found mass success with Latino and Latin American audiences.

Aug. 10, 2023

Japan-based Toei Animation Co. and a unit of MBS’ MiSK Foundation have teamed up on producing anime movies. The country’s sovereign wealth fund is now Nintendo Co.’s largest outside shareholder.

One of the park’s signature rides will be a 230-foot-high roller coaster named after Shenron, the manga’s magical dragon.

The specter of Saudi Arabia’s growing influence on pro golf — and sports in general in 2023 — served as a moral conundrum and, for some, an existential threat.

Dec. 23, 2023

The theme park announcement comes just days after the death of Akira Toriyama, the creator behind “Dragon Ball.” The franchise has sold more than 260 million copies worldwide and inspired several anime series, video games and Hollywood-produced films.

Although the Saudi desert seems like an unlikely location for a Dragon Ball theme park, it’s guaranteed to be hot: Daytime temperatures in Riyadh’s summer can easily skyrocket to more than 122 degrees Fahrenheit.