All about my experience at Ferrari World at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
There goes a rule, if you are in Abu Dhabi or at Yas Island, you do not miss the Ferrari World experience. But even if you are in Dubai, you just cannot let the idea of visiting the Ferrari World go. The most powerful brand in the world celebrates its timeless spirit by making us do it the Ferrari way. It an absolutely exclusive way to get thrilled and loved back by the brand we all love. And amidst all the run and rides, it also tells you what makes Ferrari the most iconic brand name in the automotive industry.
We were also putting up in Dubai and thus we had to plan our day well in advance to make the most of it at the world’s exclusive Ferrari branded theme park. On the 19th of Feb, hubby and I spent more than 7 hours in this one-of-its kinds amusement park located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. From its gorgeous red roof architecture to its fastest roller coasters and simulators to its collection of signature classic and contemporary Ferrari cars, this theme park took charge of our senses in the same way as Ferrari car enthralls its drivers.
We started from Dubai at 10 in the morning, reached Abu Dhabi at 12 (bus Emirates Express) and at Yas Island (Bus Number-190) by 1 p.m. Without wasting a minute, we made our way to the Ferrari World. It was a busy day at the ticket counter but we had our tickets intact. To know how, you got to go back here- Weekend Special: Dubai to Abu Dhabi to Yas Island.
Honestly, I am not the one who is crazy around fancy cars, its my husband. But when it comes to Ferrari car, we make two different types of aficionados. Its speed, exhilaration and adrenaline rush for him but for me its the prancing horse logo. At the theme park, while he was excited about the world’s fastest roller coaster ride- Formula Rossa, I wanted to know what goes into the making of Ferrari, straight from the homeland of Maranello. While hubby talked about the simulators, I was more keen to trace the inspiring history of Ferrari’s momentous development from 1947 to the present.
The rides at Ferrari World begin to close by 7:45 p.m. and everything wraps up by 8 p.m except the store outside. We had exactly 7 hours to ourselves and we thought it was enough to make the most of it, only to realize that fun never ends here and you cannot have it all in one day. At the entrance, I thought they would give us a band but no its just the ticket that will get you in and through the rides too. Now, I must also tell you what one of the in-house crew members told us right at the outset. He said there are two rides that you must be pre-booked, so before you start making to the queues of other rides, book them first. We thanked him and quickly made our way to the Karting Academy. All sessions here run on a timed ticket system and are available on first-come-first-serve basis. When we booked at 1:20, we were allotted a ride for 6:40. p.m. Next, we walked to a higher floor and looked for the simulators. This is called the Scuderia Challenge which comprises of normal simulators and advanced simulators. There is an additional charge for the advanced ones but for the normal, you just have to pre-book. They gave us a reservation for 7:15 p.m. So I am sure you get the cue too that one must come to Ferrari World as early as possible. It opens at 11 a.m. everyday.
Now, that we had pre-booked two interesting attractions here, we heaved a sign of relief. But you really don’t have time to relax when there is so much excitement all around. Keep your eyes and ears open because there are show timings which you must catch right when it begins. Thankfully, we were standing next to this amazing performance which is called ‘RED: A theatrical spectacular of speed and passion’. It is an artistry of live theater performance that brings out the passion and love which Enzo Ferrari had for speed and style. This show is a must- do. For me, it really set the mood for the day and gave me an adrenaline rush. The acrobatic performances were nothing less than world-class.
Once we were done with this, we ticked it off on the map. In the Ferrari world, its very helpful to move around with a map which you can pick from the boxes kept at different places. The map consists of the complete plan and also helps to plan the next rides. We wanted to kick-start with the one with too many records to its name and traced our way to Formula Rossa. I will be very honest. Roller coasters are not my cup of tea and I felt a strange mix of nervousness and fear while standing in the queue. Hubby could think of nothing except excitement. We had to wait for thirty minutes before we got our turn. Just before they were about to launch us on this turbo charged ride, I said my prayers. For once, I wanted to skip forward the next few minutes to say that I’ve done it without doing it. Through that 240 km/hr acceleration, my heart was pounding at a higher speed. I remember seeing Yas Island from the heights but other than that, it was hard to concentrate anywhere. Hubby was thrilled and I could see that child-like happy gleam in his eyes. This ride makes you go bonkers. I would say it was scary and I was happy at having done it once. After having done all the rides, I could easily say if you miss out this one, you will miss out a big chunk of the fun.
After Rossa, my head kept spinning for sometime and I took a snack break. There are small kiosks in and around the rides. And if you need to grab a bite, there is a lovely dining area. We found it a little later when we went searching for the other rides. After gulping down some cola, I was all pepped for Driving with the Champion. The waiting time was only twenty minutes and here we lived our dream of sitting with a racing champion in the motion-based simulator. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The twists, turns, jerks, ups and downs were fun. There is nothing to fear. You are strapped safely to a chair and the champion drives the Ferrari on the screen in front of you. With the champion, you drive too.
We wanted to do Tyre Twist but it was closed that day. Next we walked to the other side of this amusement park where the virtual ride to the Ferrari factory can be done and the most latest ride- the Flying Aces has been set up. Since ‘Flying Aces’ was still not open for the public (now its open), hubby was disappointed. To cheer him up, I suggested lets go for the other roller coaster. This one is called Fiorano GT Challenge. I thought it would be nerve-wrecking like Rossa but don’t worry this one is entertaining as two competing GT coasters race to the finish line. I enjoyed it.
Next to it, we went for ‘Speed of Magic’. Well, I thought this was for the kids though I must confess I had fun. It was a 4-D fantasy world where no Ferrari has gone before, in pursuit of ‘Nello’. They tell you a story right before you start and then you know what fun it is to chase Nello. For all this while I was also curious to do the slow and refreshing Bell’Italia. I wanted to explore the miniature Italy on a cute little Ferrari. Since the waiting time for this one was thirty minutes, we went ahead with the tour of the factory first. For those who think that factory can be boring, I warn you don’t miss this because you will get to know how these beautiful and powerful cars are born. I will share some of the learning in a separate post. After doing this we went for the mini Italy fun. It is the slowest and the most relaxing one among all the rides.
By this time it was already 6 p.m. and we had a couple of things left to do. This was very exciting because at one of point of time, we really didn’t want to stop but complete all. Running from one end to another was adding to the kick and fun. I wanted to do Cinema Maranello while hubby wanted to go for Viaggio in Italio but since the show was meant to start at 6:15 (and it played at an interval of an hour), we did the cinema first. It was an experience of the 1920’s and the old Italian road race ‘Coppa Di Sicilia, a film exclusively produced to be played here. By the time we marked it done, it was the time to go for the previous reservations. Hubby rushed towards the Karting Academy and I decided to grab a bite. He did four laps in the next thirty minutes and I strolled around to click pictures, drink and eat. Food is a little expensive in here as expected and we had read that you are not allowed to carry in anything to eat but they allowed us to bring in chips but no liquids.
At the Karting Academy, you test your racing skills and more than that you manage your car and your pace in comparison to others. It was fun to watch people bang-in into each other’s car. I think now it was the turn of the simulator. We reached there right in time. It was like playing a live video game where the three minute ride is to be skillfully maneuvered by the player. Yes, you walk to your own cabin, a lady helps you with the strap and then the ride begins. The breaks and accelerations are translated into jerks and jumps. And not to forget there was a score board too. I came last and hubby was first. This proves our love for speed.
Aaah, so at 7:30 p.m. we really couldn’t make many choices. There were a few interesting things still pending but we wanted to do Viaggio in Italio. Soaring over the beautiful Italian landscape was a lovely experience. I came out of the ride and walked in again at the last minute. I had loved it and this was the only ride that we could afford to repeat in the last minutes. Hubby wanted to do Rossa but by the time he reached there, they had called it a day. We missed out on the Mission Ferrri Show, La Piazzo Show,Motor Midway games and had very little time for Galleria Ferrari. At the galleria, one can see the ultimate display of Ferrari cars.
Finally, when the clock struck eight, we knew it was time to walk out. The crowd had begun to decrease after 7 p.m. After the rides, we were headed to the Ferrari store. Every ticket assures you free merchandise of some value. You can always add some more amount and buy something for yourself. We bought some cool fridge magnets for us. I wanted the Ferrari bag but yeah, I could see hubby telling me, ‘Maybe next time my dear wifey!’
Well, all in all it was a well spent day. Trust me, once you are inside, you don’t remember anything in the race against time to finish all the rides and second you don’t want to remember anything because the thrill and excitement makes you a child for the day. This place caters to the need of all ages. There were special rides and activities for kids and they were having super fun. But those who have a problem with back or neck may avoid it because then you may not be able to enjoy in here. At 9 p.m. we boarded the bus to Abu Dhabi. For husband, Rossa marked the adventure of the day (and he is still sulking for missing the Flying Aces) and for me all the rides around Italy were fun. If I had to pick, I would say Driving with the Champion and Viaggio in Italio. Rossa was spine-chilling for me. The reviews are telling that Flying Aces is equally kick-ass. Apart from these, all other rides are fun and entertaining.
I would like to thank Ferrari World sales team for sponsoring my tickets but apart from that everything about my experience is just the way it happened.