Originally planned to open in 2015, MAPS – the acronym for Movie Animation Park Studios- will finally open its doors to the public in June this year, confirming Malaysia positioning as a theme parks and family leisure destination in Southeast Asia. MAPS is located in Ipoh, Malaysia third largest city in the country. Located in the State of Perak, Ipoh is relatively central in Peninsular Malaysia, half-way between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. It is just two-hour away by high speed train from Kuala Lumpur and two hours away from Penang. It is easily accessible by road as the park is located along Malaysia North-South Highway, 10 km northwest of Ipoh city centre. Only air connectivity remains limited as Ipoh airport has currently only direct air services to Johor Bahru and Singapore.
Dubbed as the ‘First Animation Theme Park in Asia’, MAPS spans over 22 hectares of land, representing a total investment of US$105 million (RM450 million). MAPS will feature over 40 attractions including rides and shows within six themed zones.
“We are proud to showcase international animation characters from DreamWorks and The Smurfs alongside local favourite animation character BoBoiBoy and Stunt Legends, billed as South-East Asia’s First Car & Bike ‘Live’ Stunt Show in MAPS to captivate families and guests of all ages to make their visit to Malaysia truly memorable. Thanks to the concerted efforts of Tourism Malaysia and key players in the industry, we hope to position MAPS as a ‘tourist magnet’ in driving more visitors to Malaysia while working towards strengthening Malaysia’s appeal as a ‘must visit’ destination in the world,” said Ramelle Ramli, Chairman of RSG Group which stands behind MAPS creation.
“With the opening of MAPS, we hope to complement the diversity of tourism offerings and play an active role in boosting Malaysia’s tourism industry to meet Ministry’s target of 30.5 million tourists in year 2016, which will contribute 103 billion Malaysia Ringgit to the economy”, he explained recently.
Among the key attractions in MAPS are Stunt Legends, the first South-East Asia’s car & bike ‘live’ stunt show in a 2,000-seat custom-built arena; DreamWorks Adventure Zone featuring Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Megamind, The Croods and Casper The Friendly Ghost; South-East Asia’s first The Smurfs ‘live’ animation attractions; The Home of BoBoiBoy, a Malaysian favourite cartoon; Malaysia’s tallest drop tower ‘Megamind Megadrop’; including a variety of themed performances, food and beverage and retail outlets including “Starship Restaurant”,which will offer themed dining experiences in an environment evocating the science fiction atmosphere of the sixties.
The Park is also likely to relaunch tourism in Ipoh. The city with its 650,000 inhabitants is only known from tourists mostly interested into heritage and gastronomy but has so far lacked international fame. MAPS is part of the new Bandar Mery Raya City development in Ipoh by Perak Corporation Berhad (PCB), the State fast emerging township dubbed as the “New Heartbeat of Ipoh”. The new urban centre is due to be the centre of many administration offices from the State, to host Malaysia National archives but also offer a convention centre, hotels and a shopping mall.