Dubai welcomed 2018, the 'Year of Zayed', with a Guinness World Record title as hundreds of thousands of spectators were left spellbound by "Light Up 2018', a laser light show at Burj Khalifa.
At the stroke of midnight, the world's tallest tower danced in ethereal web of lights after paying tribute to the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Then the entire Downtown Dubai was turned into an art canvas as searchlights beamed artworks across buildings and skyscrapers while upbeat and traditional music, composed by more than 80 musicians from the UAE, went in sync with the laser light spectacle.
A burst of colours engulfed Downtown Dubai and the rich Emirati tradition was very much evident throughout the show as a falcon came soaring down from the top of Burj Khalifa. GCC flags also were flashed across the tower.
The mesmerising laser, light and musical fountain show not only had a spellbinding effect on spectators, but Emaar's 'Light Up 2018' also clinched the Guinness World Records title for the 'largest light and sound show on a single building,' staged on Burj Khalifa, the global icon. The record beats that set in Hong Kong in 2013 on the ICC Building which was over an area of 46,641.52 sq metres. 'Light Up 2018' on Burj Khalifa, by contrast, spanned an impressive surface area of 109,252 sq metres (about 27 acres, the size of about 20 football fields) - more than double that of the earlier record set.
'Light Up 2018', which lasted for five minutes, integrated music, visuals and acrobatic performance in a brilliantly choreographed show at the The Dubai Fountain, which kept the viewers a lot of options to record with their smartphones the momentous event.
Dubai's Burj Khalifa did not just beam the highest searchlight but set a new Guinness World record of the largest laser light show on a single building.
This was the first time Burj Khalifa did not welcome the New Year with fireworks but spectators were all the more enamored with the laser light show.
Dubai resident of seven years, Jehan Keila Yrreverre, said the laser show was "a lot better and more enthralling than the previous fireworks displays."
"It (Light Up 2018) lasted longer; the show was fascinating and it was really environment friendly as there was no harmful smoke left after show," Yrreverre told Khaleej Times.
"The LED lights very impressive, crispier and clearer and the music really got me in the mood to welcome 2018 on a high note," he added.
Greek expat Andrii Koleshmyk agreed and said he was "really impressed that Dubai is always keen on innovating."
Spectators came early on Sunday. Five hours before the clock struck 12 midnight, thousands of people had already secured the most coveted places to get a vantage view to ring in the New Year at Burj Khalifa.
Visitors from The Netherlands, the Bouwhuis family, were one of those who were 'comfortably seated' at one of the restaurants at the fountain area to witness the tallest building turn into a "dancing tower with a brilliantly choreographed laser light show."
"This is our first time here in Dubai and it's a dream come true for our kids to welcome the New Year at the foot of the world's tallest tower," mum and dad, Beata and Mark, told Khaleej Times.
"We came at around 2:00pm and we first went to The Top to have a magnificent view of Dubai and by 6:00pm we took our reserved seats at the restaurant," Beata said.
Her 10-year-old son was fascinated with Dubai's skyline and after seeing "Light Up 2018" spectacle, Laurens said he wants to become an architect when he grows up. His eight-year-old brother was also impressed with "the colourful laser light show."
Ghanaian businessman Katu Eli and his family have also arrived to take their reserved table at 6:00pm. Although they have been in Dubai several times, Katu and his wife, Roberta, said this year's celebration has been extra special as they were joined by their four-month-old baby girl Skylar.
Celebrations at Downtown Dubai officially kicked off at 5pm, starting with The Dubai Fountain shows and live deejays providing entertainment to the huge crowd.
Areas restricted for families have been set up while bachelors also have dedicated areas to watch the show from giant screens spread across Downtown Dubai. People around the world can also watch the spectacle via live television broadcast real-time Twitter feeds.