Yas Island Parks
After a terribly long day of travel from SFO to DXB complete with flight cancellations, flight uncancellations, long layovers and not much sleep, I made it to Dubai and into my hotel in the city near the Mall of the Emirates. This hotel was chosen since it was hypothetically next to a shuttle stop for the complimentary shuttle to Yas Island.
So I got up way too early on 1/19 morning to make it to the 9:30am shuttle to Yas Island. This shuttle boarded at the Mall of the Emirates. Well 9:30am came and went and no shuttle. Luckily thanks to Google Fi giving me free data (and cheap calling) abroad I was able to find the phone number for the Yas Island Concierge who was available to help anyone coming to Yas Island. She informed us that the shuttle only boards at a nearby hotel unlike what the website (and a different Yas Island Concierge) told me. So me and the other tourists waiting at the stop (kinda crazy how diverse it was, at the stop there was me, from the US, a couple of guys from India, a family from China, a family from Africa and a couple from Eastern Europe) trekked over to the hotel they mentioned and managed to catch the shuttle the left at 10:15.
You can see Motiongate from along the highway from Dubai to Yas Island!
Since Abu Dhabi is weird with traffic laws (cars can go 140km/h whereas buses/trucks can only travel 80 km/h) it took us a little longer than I hoped to get there but we arrived around noon. At that point I headed straight to my hotel on Yas Island to drop off my stuff and head over to the parks.
My head was about to explode from excitement at that point and Warner Bros World was first on my list since my ticket to the Yas parks needed to be activated there!
Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
So this was probably the most anticipated park on my trip since I’m a sucker for most of the IPs in the park and I got extremely hyped by the podcast with Dave Cobb talking about how he designed the park. So after taking an Uber over to the park (didn’t want to wait for the shuttle) I arrived and was immediately blown away by how gorgeous it was, even in the entrance area. Although it’s an indoor park, the sky was colored a beautiful shade of purple and the square was surrounded by neon buildings harkening back to the golden age of Hollywood.
But I wasn’t there for the entrance and I immediately headed over to Metropolis and onto Justice League: Warworld Attacks.
Justice League: Warworld Attacks
Okay hear me out here, Justice League is both the best ride I rode on my trip but also the most disappointing. And even that’s mostly a compliment. To start: this ride is one of the best dark rides ever built. Using a ride system similar to Spiderman (except for being trackless - because UAE) it features a similar mix of screens and practical effects including a couple of moments that demonstrate the power of a hybrid approach - the light pole that gets throw and ends up sparking above you. It features a strong more focused story than Spider Man, focused on one villain, Mongul, instead of a hodge-podge of them. The story does rush by a little bit with us also having to infiltrate Mongul’s ship to deactivate the power core in addition to beating him but that’s a small nit mostly caused by a villain most people aren’t familiar with. The ride does a fantastic job of creating massive sets that telegraph the scale of the adventure we’re embarking on and features very good animation.
So let’s talk about why I called this ride disappointing: because it’s sooo close to being better than Spiderman but doesn’t quite top it. The fix would be simple though: make the motion better. The ride’s weakness is definitely its more conservative motion profile. Whereas Spiderman uses the vehicles range of motion to give the impression of various sensations (being grabbed, falling etc), Justice League uses much less dynamic motions to accomplish the same things. As a microcosm, we deactivate the power core by shooting an energy pulse at it, which then sends an explosion of energy headed our way. We backpedal out of the room before we get destroyed. I’d expect some vehicle motion when we fire the weapon indicating recoil and some more motion as we frantically reverse course trying to avoid the energy burst but the car stays relatively smooth throughout. Improved motion can absolutely get this ride past Spiderman in my book. But even as it is, Justice League is a top notch ride and one that you’ll want to ride over and over!
And the queue was very cool too!
Batman: Knight Flight
So before I talk about my thoughts on the ride, let me write out the story of the ride since to the best of my knowledge no POVs exist nor have I seen anyone take the time to write down the story.
We enter through the Wayne Industries building as career fair applicants looking for a new job. We see various gadgets in glass cases and banners on the wall telling us about the career fair. After we make our way through this main switchback area, we get moved into an elevator where after the doors close, we see Batman on a video screen telling us that he’d had his eyes on us since we entered the building and that he needs our help being his eyes and ears as he investigates a helicopter crash with a peculiar looking Joker device attached to the side. We’ll be riding in the brand new Bat-drone flying alongside Batman. After we travel to the Batcave we are let out of the elevator and led to a one of a few loading pods which plays a safety video as we wait. Eventually the door opens and we walk up to a 4 person drone car featuring the same ride system as Forbidden Journey. After getting strapped in and ready, the ride op gives a thumbs up and we tilt upward at about a 30* angle and wait for behind us to be clear. (One of the cool things about this ride and Justice League is that the ride cars don’t continuously load in a line like most rides but instead they have a few load stations just off of the main ride path and the cars pull into the appropriate station to load/unload).
When the ride is ready we get pulled out of the load station and onto the main ride path. A voice in our ear tells us that we’re taking the gantry lift to be loaded into our drone. Above us we see crane pieces as well as extra bat drones. After riding the gantry lift we are loaded onto our drone which we can see powered up above us. We “fall” and “float” as the drone kicks in. We pass by a screen showing Gotham City through the Batcave opening. We then pass by the Batcomputer and see a powered up Batmobile with steam coming out of its afterburner. Batman tells us that he’s controlling our drone and that we’ll be watching out for anything unusual as he investigates the helicopter crash. We then move into the first cupped screen where we race through the streets of Gotham watching the Batmobile guide our drone on the streets below. Eventually we find what we’re looking for and swing to our first practical scene featuring the crashed helicopter. Batman is able to identify the strange device on the side as a Joker control device. We move to our next screen scene where we come face to face with the Joker and Harley Quinn in a hot air balloon. Before we can do anything about it, Harley fires one of the control missiles at us, hitting our drone and taking full control of us. Then we switch to another screen where, under the control of Joker, we power up our weapons system and destroy the Batmobile. We level back up with the Joker who tells us that we’re going to pay Poison Ivy a visit. We crash through the ceiling of a greenhouse and come face to face with Poison Ivy flanked by her plants. She tells us that her plants have been looking forward to getting some new meat. We then move to the side, tilt upwards and come face to face with animatronics of Poison Ivy’s plants. They open up and hiss at us spraying water at us in the process. After we manage to make it out of the greenhouse we immediately see Mr Freeze coming towards us, riding and ice track down from the sky. An animatronic pops up and shoots his freeze ray at us, freezing our thrusters. We spiral out of control, hitting a building and falling onto train tracks where we’re pushed out of the way by an incoming train. We fall down into a metal foundry. Unfortunately for us, we’ve fallen directly onto a conveyor belt that moves us closer and closer to a robot cutting arm (physical set) and a pot of melted metal. Joker taunts us from the railing above until at the last minute, the heat from the metal defrosts our thrusters and we fly away. We move to another room in the foundry where we see Batman and Joker fighting on a catwalk. Joker narrowly misses hitting Batman with acid spray out of his lapel and Batman turns around and tells us to get of of here. Joker happily obliges and grabs a chain that whisks him out of the room. As we move from the scene, our drone tilts upwards, showing us a silhouette of Joker swinging across the room holding the chain. We move into another room with another scene of Joker fighting Batman, except this time we can see the bombs that Joker has planted throughout the room counting closer and closer to detonation. Batman again tells us to get out of here and to save ourselves since the room is about to blow. He kicks Joker through the window and jumps just in time as the bombs are exploding with us following closely thereafter. We plummet to the ground, listening to the cackling of Joker, just behind Batman who saves Joker just before he hits the street whereas our thrusters save us as well. At street level now, we move past an animatronic of Joker wiggling to try to escape the ropes Batman has bound him in. Moving forward we move past an animatronic of Batman with his cape flapping in the wind who tells us that we did a good job. As we fly back to Wayne Industries we hear Batman telling Alfred that the drone needs a little bit more work before it’s ready to go. We finally get placed right back in the same load stations that we started in.
So the ride itself: it too is just a little off from greatness. The ride system is the same Kuka arm system as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which is regularly brought up as one of the best rides of all time, primarily because of the way the ride mixes physical sets and screens. And Knight Flight does a lot of the same things. It features several large physical sets and animatronics while also using screens to a good effect. The main difference between the two is how seamlessly the screens are integrated. In Harry Potter, you have to really be looking to spot the when your ride vehicle enters the screens and how it does it (the ride usually dynamically “drops” you into place, fast enough to where you don’t see the edges of the circular screen). The projection is also bright and clear enough to make the screen itself kind of disappear. Batman doesn’t do these things unfortunately. The screens need to be brighter and more care needs to be taken with the vehicle movement to more seamlessly drop riders into the screen sections.
I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m too critical on these couple of rides. Because I do think they’re among the best in the world. It’s just that they’re so close to beating my favorite rides featuring IPs that I love so I tend to be harsher. But they do so much right. The story for Batman is fantastic, the ride system is much less nauseating than Forbidden Journey and the props are great. This ride ended up being one of my favorite in the UAE!
Animayhem takes us into one of the most misunderstood companies that ever existed. I speak, of course, of Acme Corp. As we queue for Animayhem we walk through the Acme offices and learn why they’re so much more than a joke’s punchline. The queue is great! I almost wish that there actually was a line so that I would’ve had more time to enjoy the little details that were peppered throughout the queue.
After we reach the front of the line, we get put into trackless dark ride cars and sent out onto the course where it’s explained that we’re in charge of delivering Acme packages, needing to scan them with our scanner guns. So yep, Animayhem is the park’s shooting dark ride. And it’s one of the best ones! Instead of having hidden point values, the packages are marked with point values so you know what you’re shooting and how many points you’ll get. The story also takes us to a variety of different environments, from space to the desert, full of physical props. Actually my favorite part of the ride is that there are a bunch of physical targets that animate when they’re shoot to go along with the screen targets. The ride is also much longer than the rest of the shooters in the UAE which also makes it one of the best. This is my second favorite shooting ride of all time just behind Men In Black at Universal!
Tom and Jerry Swiss Cheese Spin
After all of this dark ride riding, it was time to get the first of two roller coaster credits at the park. And first up is Tom and Jerry’s Swiss Cheese Spin. After walking though another fantastically themed queue - in this one we enter through a house only to go inside the walls where Jerry presumably lives. This coaster is a Gerstlauer spinner and the cars are shaped as little cheese wheels. The theming in this ride is unfotunately limited to mostly cardboard cutouts and some assorted screens along the lift. But that’s not a big knock since even if the theming were more extensive I don’t think anyone would really notice it since you’re too busy flying through the course. But the ride itself is a lot of fun! I’m not a huge spinning person and this ride didn’t feature too intense spinning which is just how I like it. Fun little coaster for the park!
Scooby Doo: The Museum of Mysteries
Great trackless dark rides make use of the ride system to provide either stochastic or divergent experiences instead of just being trackless for its own sake. Well Scooby Doo is the poster child for how to do it right and there are two scenes in particular that illustrate it.
Three ride vehicles leave the station at a time and after a quick introductory room separate in a circular room and each one pull up to a different mysterious looking object. Naturally the lights turn off and these each turn out to be ghosts or monsters. Since each ride vehicle sees a different monster, your experience diverges depending on which car you board at the entrance. The second scene mimics the classic Scooby Doo gag of the gang being chased by monsters through a hallway. Characters and monsters pop in and out of doors and you never know who will be chasing who when they come out of the next door. Your caravan of cars pull into a room and all of a sudden coming right at you is a ride vehicle of Shaggy and Scooby being chased by a ghost. Your cards scatter each taking a different route through the hallway of doors while either chasing or being chased by the fourth ride vehicle. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like I was in a cartoon! I thought that this ride was so incredibly much fun and a fantastic use of the technology. This is definitely my second favorite ride at the park and one of my favorite dark rides of all times!
At this point I was starving since I hadn’t eaten since a donut in the morning. So I decided to eat in the Flintstones restaurant. The restaurant is famous for serving a massive burger about the size of a pizza but seeing as I came alone, that sounded like a recipe for throwing plenty away. So instead I decided on a burger with prime rib on it, and it was delicious! And I did really appreciate the Flintstones knock off Burger King wrappers it came with!
I will say that the food here was always delicious. Unlike in American theme parks where 99% of the time you get an entree that’s been sitting under a heat lamp, most of the food I ate at WB World was prepared to order. It always took a couple of minutes but I was more than happy to wait when it meant a fresh, hot meal.
So since I was already in the Flintstones area, this was naturally the next ride on my list. I was a little unsure about whether I would even do this considering that I didn’t want to get wet and there weren’t exactly many people that I could see getting off the ride to tell if they were wet. But I went ahead and gave it a shot anyways. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as a I was fearing! Walked off with a misting on my upper body but most importantly, my feet were completely dry. And the ride itself was definitely worth it. The ride is a classic log flume ride with tons of fun animatronics of the Flintstones characters. What was new to me was the turnaround sections. I’d never done a flume with them and going backwards on a log flume was a very strange experience. Like most other rides at the park, the ride mixed its animatronics with small screen sections and projection mapping quite well and was a fantastic ride for it. Definitely don’t miss this ride if you make your way out here!
Fast and Furryous
And now it was time to get the last credit at the park, the Intamin family suspended coaster Fast and Furryous. This ride is set in the Dynamite Gulch area of the park and weaves its way around the rockwork in the area, providing both exciting head and feet choppers for riders as well as interesting scenery for onlookers.
And the ride itself doesn’t disappoint either. Themed to Wiley Coyote’s hair brained schemes to try to capture Roadrunner, this coaster does a fantastic job mixing good theming with family friendly thrills. The ride itself actually reminded me a ton of Steel Lasso at Frontier City with a lot more theming. Both rides do a fantastic job at giving an open air feeling and provide a really smooth ride. Although it’s not the biggest ride in Yas Island, it’s one of the better ones.
So I was running out of time in the evening and I still wanted to get to Ferrari World for a couple of hours in case something happened to Formula Rossa - I got Intamin accelerator scares before my trip to Thorpe (Stealth was closed for a couple of weeks mid August) and Cedar Point (TTD was closed for a few weeks in the early fall but reopened even if it was down for weather my entire time at the park) so I was extremely gun shy about this one. But there was still a couple more rides in Metropolis that I wanted to catch before I took off. And if I’m going to walk by a few other rides that I enjoyed the first time, why wouldn’t I do them again?
Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey was a ride that I didn’t expect much of. I’d never been on one of these flying theater type rides and as such I expected more of a classic motion simulator a la Simpsons Ride where you board a vehicle in front of a screen, it shakes you a little and you’re done.
But wow, Green Lantern blew me away. Instead guests are divided up between a couple of levels where you enter a row of seats in front of what looks like a screen a long way away. When you finish boarding your row of seats actually physically moves forward into the middle of a massive domed screen which then has the film projected around you. Your cars also move around and there’s other 5D style effects. The effects were done really well with several scents and good movement to simulate what was happening on the screen. There were several really climactic scenes throughout the movie which is more than I can say for the other flying theater on Yas Island. I ended up coming back to this ride several times I enjoyed it so much!
Justice League x2
This ride was the hardest one for me to get around to riding because of the fact that it runs only about every 30 minutes. So I’d walk up to the ride, they’d tell me it doesn’t start for another 20 minutes, I’d go to another ride and then miss the next Superman show. And repeat! Eventually I caught the ride. It starts with a quick preshow explaining that we’re going to see new Daily Planet 360* drones being used to cover news. Then we get led into a large room where we stand and watch Clark Kent and Lois Lane start their news cast. Since it is a theme park ride, something goes wrong and Brainiac starts to invade the city. The walls of the room raise and we’re standing in a 360 theater watching from one of the drones as Superman fights Brainiac. Not a ton to talk about here but it was a much more interesting concept than just a plain motion simulator or movie. I should’ve gone back around to it a second time just to try to look at a different portion of the screen but I never did. Next time!
After a couple of hours making my way through WB World, I headed over to Ferrari World. Turns out that I went in the wrong direction since all of the free Yas Island shuttles go from Ferrari to WB World but luckily, even more so on Yas Island than the US, Ubers are fast and cheap. After heading in, I tried to convince myself to go elsewhere than the ride in the park with the longest line but there was no denying myself from Formula Rossa.
There are a handful of coaster related moments that really stand out to me: riding Stealth at Thorpe Park in the rain, Steel Vengeance for the first time and El Toro ERT during Riding of the Bull. My first ride on Formula Rossa definitely belongs on the list. After waiting about 30 minutes due to the one train ops (actually every single coaster on Yas Island was running one train - not that anything other than Formula Rossa needed it but still kinda interesting) I waited a little extra for the front seat since that seemed like the only way to do it. And wow. That’s the only word I have. The launch lacks the instant punch of something like TTD or Ka but where it lacks that it makes up for in length.The launch seems to last forever. After you get halfway through you think “Okay this is it” but it just keeps accelerating until your face is flapping in the wind. This is actually the first coaster I’ve ever ridden where halfway through the ride thought “I don’t think it’s a good idea to go much faster/taller/loopier than this”.
The rest of the course is fine, nothing special. It features lots of swoopy turns that carry speed even after the trims on the first hill. The airtime hills at the end of the ride give you a little bit of airtime but nothing to write home about. This coaster has earned its place on my top 10 list for sure and I think this is one of the coaster related moments I’ll never forget!
After Formula Rossa, I headed over to ride the other coasters in the park and the first one I came across was Turbo Track. So I think this takes the award for the weirdest coaster in the park. It’s a shuttle coaster that actually shoots riders into the center of the park. If you think of the park as being donut shaped, then Turbo Track shoots riders out of the air conditioned ring and out and up into the center of the park which is outside.
The ride is extremely short consisting of a launch, small airtime hill and the outside twisting spike. My first ride was in the front and I wasn’t impressed. The launch was fairly punchy but the rest of the ride was kind of flat with only a small amount of airtime on the hill and a lackluster spike. But my second time riding, I sat in the back facing last row and thought the ride was much better. This was due to the fact that looking down on the spike as you go up it was a really cool experience. So if you only get the chance to do this ride one way, do it facing backwards!
And this was the coaster I was probably second most excited for on the trip. Skyrush is always talked up as one of the best coasters in the US whereas Flying Aces is usually mentioned as Skyrush’s more refined cousin. I’ve never ridden Skyrush but if this is the tame version, then I can’t wait to ride Skyrush this year.
But first, let’s start off with the queue: wow! This is by far the best themed queue for any coaster I’ve ridden and is one of the best queues for any ride, coaster or dark ride. Themed to the WWI dogfights that provided the origin for the Ferrari logo, you start off walking through barracks only to get to a battlefield with several shot down pilots who talk to you and eventually move into military quarters where you enter the hangar and board your plane.
The queue features copious amounts of detail and even projection mapping onto the pilot mannequins. My opinion of the ride itself shifted as I went along. Since I first rode it in the evening, there was predictably no line, meaning that I walked right onto the front row. I wasn’t blown away. I thought the first drop was a lot of fun, the non-inverting loop was different than the one I’ve done before (HRRR @ USF) and the rest of the course had some good moments but wasn’t anything near as good as I’d hyped it to myself. I did think that the lift hill was extremely interesting since it’s taken fast enough to be a launch practically.
But for my next ride I moved to the back and was treated to a much more exciting ride. The pull over the hill was amazing, especially with the speed you take it going up, and there were a few moments (particularly the top of the loop and a few of the airtime hills) that had such forceful lateral pulls that I instinctively grabbed onto my restraints to avoid being pulled out of the coaster. The airtime was much better as well! After loving my second ride, I ended up riding this a few more times in the back and found myself liking it more and more every time I rode it. I cannot wait to get out to Hershey this year to ride Skyrush!
And this was the last coaster that I needed to ride here! Unfortunately only one side of the ride was open which is a shame since one of the ride’s things is that you can race the other car but that’s okay! The ride itself was strange but pretty cool!
It was a family launched coaster featuring multiple launches. I really enjoyed how long the length of the ride was. It felt like every time I thought it was over, it launched you again. But I didn’t like the fact that half of the launches seemed to hit trim brakes right away. Strange to launch and immediately brake, especially when the ride itself is far from a record breaker like Formula Rossa. Even though that’s the case, this ride is still a fantastic fit for this park since it is the only family friendly coaster in a park full of extreme rides.
Formula Rossa x5
After finishing all of the coasters, I had an hour or so before the park closed. The park was starting to clear out with walk ons for every ride and I couldn’t resist getting as many rerides as I could on my favorite coaster at the park. So my first ride was in the front and for my first marathon ride I chose the back, hoping for a little bit more forces on the course at the expense of a slightly less intense launch. Well the latter was certainly true, the wind in your face adds an incredible amount to the ride experience, but the former wasn’t true at all. I didn’t think that the ride felt any different in the front vs the back as far as forces go. So the front is certainly the way to go for Formula Rossa! The rest of my rides that night were all front row rides. And they were all amazing! That launch just doesn’t get old in the front and launching into the desert as the sun goes down will forever be one of my favorite coaster related moments.
That was the end of my night and I took the wonderful Yas Island shuttle bus back to my hotel. Also worth noting is that I ended up meeting a fellow Bay Area resident while riding Formula Rossa and we ended up sitting near each other on the shuttle back to the hotels. It really is a small world! After I got back to the hotel complex, I headed over to one of the nearby hotels where I ate some very tasty Mexican food before I went back to the hotel and passed out. Also interesting at the restaurant was that it didn’t seem particularly difficult to get alcohol. It was freely available on the menus on all of the restaurants which is surprising to me considering that I expected the UAE to be extremely conservative. Although it definitely was more than the US, it wasn’t nearly as extreme as I thought it would be. If you’re an American or western and are nervous about how different the UAE is, don’t! As long as you’re respectful you shouldn’t have any trouble here.
So the next morning I was off to the last park in the Yas Island complex: Yas Waterworld. As you can probably guess, it’s the complex’s water park although it does feature a Vekoma Splash Party suspended coaster which is why I was there. My day got started on an interesting note. I was one of the first people through the gates and I was told “and that’s the last park on your ticket”. As I walked into the park I pondered why they said this for a few minutes until I realized that my “3 day 3 park” ticket wasn’t a Universal/Disney style ticket where I can hop from park to park in 3 days but that “days” actually means “visits” and since this was the 3rd park I visited I was out of visits. I wish it would’ve been more clear on the website but it’s certainly possible that it was so obvious it didn’t need to be explained and I’m just an idiot. Yep that’s probably more likely! But no worries, I just needed to buy another couple of tickets and I was all set!
So another thing I didn’t know was that the majority of the slides at the park didn’t open until 11am, an hour after opening. But no worries! I floated around in the wave pool for a little bit (it sits at the base of a massive man made mountain which is also fantastically cool and very Dubai. Then one of the workers told me that the park’s Surf Rider was open so I went there and took my turn on it (with no line!!). I enjoyed it a lot and I thought I did extremely well considering I’ve never done one before. What’s interesting is that the park also had a barrel wave Surf Rider too (is that the technical term?) but it was closed so I didn’t get to see it in operation. At that point, Bandit Bomber was open so I went around and rode it a few times.
Bandit Bomber x4
Fun fact: after riding this coaster I’ve been on all of the Splash Party style inverted coasters (in addition to Roller Soaker and Flying Super Saturator @ Hershey Park and Carowinds respectively). And I think Bandit Bomber is my favorite of all of them (although I will admit I don’t remember the other two well, I was 8 and 10 when I rode them). It starts in a cool little fortress style station and takes riders on a fun journey through the meat of the water park. From it you get amazing views of some of the other slides. And I thought the coaster itself was a lot of fun. Nothing super intense but the two row cars were zippy and there’s something great about sitting in the front row of a suspended coaster and feeling the wind rush by you. My only complaint was that the water effects weren’t working. You’re supposed to be able to drop water bombs on people walking below you but they weren’t working when I rode it. It probably was due to the fact that it was only high 70s to low 80s the day I visited (can you imagine being that cold?) but I really wish they would’ve been working since it does add a great level of interactivity to the experience.
After riding Bandit Bomber a few times, the rest of the slides were finally open. So I went around and did the few slides that I did want to do (I’m just not that much of a water park person). I ended up doing the massive funnel slide, the mat racer and one of those slides with mini funnels halfway through the course. The one slide that I did skip because I was too nervous was the park’s Aqualoop. I know that it’s different than Action Park’s looping slide but I still have heard too many horror stories about Action Park to want to do it. So after only a couple of hours at the park I was done. Yas Waterworld was awesome but after all, there were two incredible theme parks nearby that I wanted to spend as much time at as I could before I went back home.
So I headed back to my hotel to shower and change and then it was back to Ferrari World. But first…
So Ferrari World is actually connected to the Yas Mall. Like I’ll mention again later in a future TR, the UAE has the most malls per capita I’ve ever seen. And unlike in the US where a metro area usually has one or two nice malls and then another one or two malls that are a little older and only seem to be half full, every mall I visited in the UAE was massive, clean, modern and completely full with stores. Also of note to me was the fact that they were tons of US brands. Almost felt like I was shopping back home. But I say all this to explain that getting this extra credit wasn’t terribly embarrassing as it was just a quick walk away from Ferrari World.
Funworks is a small FEC inside of the Yas Mall. It is home to one coaster: Yoloworks. When I got to the counter I tried to tell the workers that I wanted a card that just had enough money on it to ride the coaster but they either didn’t understand or believe me since they wouldn’t accept less than 50 dirham (~$12). Eventually I gave up because that amount isn’t really worth arguing about. So when I walked over with my new card, I was told that Yoloworks was temporarily closed for maintenance but it would be open again in 10 minutes. So I went to play a couple of games while I waited. Eventually my time came and I went over to get the credit and hustle over to Ferrari!
So this coaster was more interesting than the majority of FEC coasters. So instead of the usual SBF Visa or Wacky Worm, Yoloworks is actually a coaster type that only exists here and in Russia: a drifting coaster. So essentially, the course of the ride is a big oval and wheels come up and down on the straightaways to boost you through the course and as the coaster goes around the corners, the ride “drifts” along the turns. The concept was definitely interesting and you get a bunch of laps for your money but the over the shoulder restraints make this ride much worse than it really needs to be!
After my quick diversion to the Yas Mall, it was time to head back to Ferrari for half of the rest of the day! Since I still hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I stopped to get a slice or two of pizza at Mamma Rossella’s before I started my riding. I thought the pizza was pretty good but not quite as good as I was hoping from an Italian themed park. But it was more NYC style than I tend to like (I’m more of a deep dish guy myself) which is why I wasn’t the biggest fan.
After eating, it was time to start riding. And that meant not only getting rerides on the coasters but also riding the dark rides.
Unfortunately Speed of Magic, allegedly the weirdest ride in the park was closed for maintenance but I can accept that considering that nothing else was closed in any of the other parks I visited.
Ferrari: Made in Maranello
First up was Ferrari: Made in Maranello. This was the park’s instructional dark ride taking riders on a tour of the making of Ferrari cars. As such I had high hopes. It seemed like the type of ride that’s right up my alley, instructional about an interesting topic.
But just meh. It felt cheap and generally empty. Your slow moving car would slowly turn to face replica Ferraris and other show scenes. The info given wasn’t as in depth as I would’ve liked. I guess at the end of the day it felt more like a commercial playing up the luxury (cars are hand assembled by skilled craftsmen) vs informational (here’s a cool fact about the factory that you didn’t know). No worries, it ended up being better than the next ride!
Flying Over Italy
Big yikes here. So this is another flying theater type ride just like Green Lantern except instead of boarding various levels, you instead boarded your rows on the ground level and then the rows are lifted to their corresponding height. Cool ride system! But the ride itself was soooooooo boring. Instead of any sort of story it was just watching a film of flying over Italian countryside. To be fair there were some cool shots of very beautiful places but yeah, I guess I wanted a little bit of a story instead of just a movie even if the ride system was unique.
Flying Aces x3
Benno’s Great Race
And the last ride of the day for me at Ferrari was Benno’s Great Race which was Ferrari World’s shooting dark ride. And it was a very unique one. Instead of focusing on shooting targets and getting points for them, you were helping a mouse named Benno beat a bunch of cheating squirrels win a race. So you used your “wrench” (which was the gun) to accomplish various tasks along the way to help Benno (drag and drop the pieces of his car into place, cut the spider webs that are blocking the course etc) and along the way you did get points for how well you did those things. The screens were easy to see and there were plenty of interesting animatronics that made the ride stand out. So I was extremely impressed by this ride and really appreciated the unique twist that Ferrari put on the shooting dark ride!
And with that, it was time to head over to WB World!
Warner Bros World
After riding Batman I took the time to grab dinner, this time at Gotham City’s Finest which was a restaurant themed to a classic American diner.
I ate a delicious Philly Cheesesteak. What was interesting was that it was less of a classic Philly Cheesesteak and more of a barbecue sandwich but it was delicious and freshly made regardless.
So the only new ride that I rode today at WB World was Riddler’s Revolution. Now this ride might be the most widely known overseas since it has one of the best lighting packages I’ve ever seen on a ride.
So it’s a pretty standard Disk-O but it’s definitely my favorite Disk-O since for some reason it felt so much faster than a normal one. Maybe it was being indoors and foggy with flashing lights that disoriented me? But regardless this ride was a ton of fun and was great to take pictures of!
I finished the day out at WB World watching the show that plays in the main WB Plaza. It plays a couple of times a day and features a ton of the movies from WBs stable of movies. Not only do clips play on the main marquee but the entire painted sky changes colors, lighting up green when scenes from the Matrix come on or displaying the Bat Signal when Batman comes on screen. The show lasts about 15 minutes and is absolutely the most perfect way to finish your day at WB World. Don’t miss it when you come!
At that point my night was over so it was time to check back into my hotel and get ready for one more great day at the Yas Island parks!
And this was my final day at Yas Island so I made sure to live it up as much as possible! This is the only day I ended up bringing my camera so most of my time was spent shooting the parks but I still made plenty of time to ride! I was one of the first in line and rushed right over to Flying Aces where I got a couple of quick rides before the lines started to fill.
Flying Aces x2
After riding Flying Aces and getting some pictures I headed over and ate at Officer’s Foodquarters. Like my meal at the park yesterday I also had pizza but this time around it was much better!
So this was the only new experience I did at Ferrari my final day. Since the park is themed around cars and racing, it only makes sense that there is a go carts track in the middle of the park. So after paying (around $15-20 if I remember right) and getting my return time I was shown into a room and asked to watch a safety video explaining the carts. After watching it and getting our helmets fitted, we were led to our carts and let loose on the track. The track was a lot more slippery than anything I’d ever raced on before and I constantly spun out. But I showed out for my country quite well, with the fastest lap time out of my group! USA! USA!
And that was my day at Ferrari World! This park was a big surprise to me. I figured that I’d ride the coasters once and be more or less done but I thought each of the coasters were interesting enough to warrant plenty of rerides. In addition I loved walking past and seeing all of the cars. The Italy area in particular I thought was very cutely themed.
It looked like something more out of Universal or Disney than from a thrill focused park.
As soon as this park opens up Mission Ferrari and maybe one or two major other coasters I think this park will be one of the best parks for coasters in the region!
Narrowly missed this kid’s credit!
But I wanted more time in my favorite park on Yas Island: WB World!
Warner Bros World
So similarly, I spent most of the day taking pictures here instead and generally enjoying the ambiance of this fantastic park. I first headed to the ice cream restaurant located in the main plaza to have a delicious Ice Cream Dog which was a couple of scoops of ice cream in a bun.
Kinda strange I’ll admit but I thought the bun added a different flavor to the ice cream and I’m glad I tried it!
This is what lines looked like at every park all week 😍
I’d caught glimpses of the Batman show as I walked by in days past but this time I made sure to catch it in its entirety. Although it was more or less a standard theme park show as far as dialog goes (although making a sultry Harley Quinn that doesn’t run afoul of the UAE’s conservative leanings is always an interesting exercise), I thought Batman ziplining in from a building halfway across the area was such a cool touch!
The fight choreography was also fairly cool as well. So overall I’m happy with this show. I wish the park in general had a few more small scale character shows since this one was entertaining but maybe eventually they will!
After riding Green Lantern one last time I grabbed food at Hall of Doom which was themed to an old subway station taken over by villains.
The villains had their portraits and graffiti everywhere over the former station and I thought it was extremely well done! My Kung Pao chicken was also delicious which always helps.
And after watching the plaza show again, that was it for my day at WB World. Let me give my overall thoughts on the park and I’ll give my Yas thoughts in the next paragraph. This park is amazing. There are 4 or 5 dark rides that would 100% make my top 10 list and they’re all in one park that you can tell worked so hard getting little details right. Pound for pound this is definitely my favorite park in the world. I already can’t wait to make it back!
So Yas Island as a whole: wow. Ferrari World seems like it’s one or two coasters away from being in the mix for “most interesting coaster lineups in the world” and WB World is already one of my favorite theme parks of all time. Yas Waterworld is a great park as well. And this place is only going to get better when Seaworld opens in a few years. Sea World should hopefully bridge the gap between the theming of WB World and the rides of Ferrari World. Once it opens I predict that this complex will be the best theme park centric resort in the world!