This last weekend Andy and I went on a camping trip with some of my cousins. It was a huge success; in addition to roasting marshmallows, swimming in pristine swimming holes and getting chomped on by carnivorous mosquitoes, our dog Chaos got to play with a new friend named Lucy. When I asked how Lucy got her name, my cousin’s husband responded that the whole litter of puppies had been named after Beatles songs. Cute, right? So is she.
Anyway, in a roundabout way, Lucy the border terrier got me thinking about the Dubai Fountain.
When I was planning out things to see in Dubai, the Dubai Fountain popped up a lot and a popular comparison is the Dubai Fountain vs. the Bellagio Fountain. I will now proceed to be one of those people who makes that same comparison.
Here are the official stats of how the two fountains add up:
|Dubai Fountain||Bellagio Fountain|
|30-acre man-made lake||8-acre man-made lake|
|6,600 lights||4,500 lights|
|Shoots water 500 ft. in the air||Shoots water 460 ft. in the air|
|Built for about USD $218 million||Built for about USD $40 million|
Obviously, on numbers alone, the Dubai Fountain wins. Also, most people who make the comparison come to the same conclusion. However, when I stood next to Andy in Dubai last May and felt the mist of the water shooting high into the air, I actually came to the opposite conclusion. I liked the one in Vegas better.
The last time I saw the Bellagio Fountain was on our Texas to Oregon road trip when we stopped off for a few nights in Vegas. We saw the fountain at night and the water danced, cascaded and flew through the warm desert air to The Beatles hit, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. (Lucy… get it? Like the dog.) I didn’t bother to take a video, but here’s one by someone else.
Videos don’t really do it justice. It’s really spectacular in person.
You could argue that I liked the Bellagio Fountain best because I was with great friends, in the middle of a great trip and it was just a great night. But that holds true for Dubai as well – I was with my great husband in the middle of a great trip on a great night. Which leads me to the conclusion that my opinion must boil down to music choice – which given the fact that both fountains play a wide variety, seems unfair. Still, I suppose life isn’t fair and first impressions are hard to shake.
I may have been born a full two decades after the Beatlemania phase but when that song hit the chorus I got the warm fuzzies and was instantly taken back to late nights in high school sitting on my friend’s bedroom floor surrounded by too much junk food and teen magazines that my mom would have deemed “too mature” – and of course listening to Sgt. Pepper (on tape mind you – we weren’t cool enough to have the CD and we certainly weren’t cool enough to have it on vinyl). Anyway, we felt cool because we were into vintage stuff like The Beatles and we wore sweaters from the Salvation Army.
On the other hand, in Dubai, I didn’t know the song that played. It was cool and exotic, just like Dubai itself, but it did zero tugging at any nostalgia heartstrings. Here’s the video.
We watched the fountain show from one of the nearby restaurants. The good thing about doing it this way is that you can enjoy the show, go back to your table and have some dinner and drinks and then enjoy it again a bit later. (Shows take place at 1 PM, 1:30 PM and every 30 min. from 6 PM until 11 PM.) However, there are several other vantage points that would also be cool.
Watching it from up top seems like it would be pretty amazing and if you can get past the cheesy music, here’s a clip that proves just that.
Ultimately, I guess my advice is that you probably shouldn’t pick between a trip to Las Vegas or Dubai based on their fountains. However, that being said, if you happen to be lucky enough to go to either of these places any time soon, both fountains are worth checking out – just be sure to keep your own personal music bias in check or you might wind up craving pixie stix and old, pilling sweaters.
I’ll leave you with some fun tidbits about both fountains:
- Surprisingly, the name of the fountain in Dubai is the result of a naming contest. It hardly seems like you would have needed a contest to come up with the accurate but somewhat on-the-nose and ho-hum name The Dubai Fountain.
- The Bellagio Fountain and the surrounding man-made lake, gets its water from a freshwater well. The well was drilled years ago to irrigate a golf course that used to be there and the fountain actually uses much less water than the golf course.
- Both fountains were designed by the same company, WET.