The United Arab Emirates are becoming more and more interesting as a theme park destination. I wouldn’t call it the new Orlando yet, but lots of parks are being constructed at this time. That’s why 2015 isn’t exactly the best time to plan a visit to this country: lots of parks are being built, but very few are already operating. However, a stopover holiday in Dubai is quickly made when travelling with the nation’s biggest airline Emirates. So after spending a week in Hong Kong, we conclude our holiday with three days in the UAE. On our second day, we travel from Dubai to nearby Abu Dhabi, home of Ferrari World and Formula Rossa.
Unless you’ve lived on Mars for the last decade, you probably know that Formula Rossa is the fastest coaster on the planet nowadays. This Intamin ride reaches speeds of up to 240 kilometres and the track length is more than 2.000 metres. Impressive numbers, but I have to admit that the ride doesn’t live up to the hype. Sure, the launch is awesome and I experience a grey-out during my first ride, but the lay-out just isn’t that special. Formula Rossa actually feels like a stretched out copy of Rita at Alton Towers. Of course, the speed is insane and I’m amazed by the ride’s smoothness. But why are there brakes on the first hill? Why is the record breaking speed only maintained for, like, one second? That really doesn’t feel right.
Lots of theme parks are being erected in the United Arab Emirates and Ferrari World will be expanding over the next few years as well. A total of 3 rollercoasters are under construction at this time: a shuttle coaster, a unique SFX coaster and Intamin’s highly anticipated Flying Aces hypercoaster. We get a glimpse of the ride and it looks absolutely incredible, so I’ll definitely visit again when Flying Aces is open. Today, we need to satisfy our coaster appetite with Formula Rossa and Fiorano GT Challenge, which is a duelling rollercoaster. The ride’s most striking feature are the beautiful vehicles, but the actual ride is everything but thrilling. Since it’s been built outside of Ferrari World’s main building, passengers experience (extreme) desert heat during their ride. Believe me: that’s a very strange feeling.
Ferrari World isn’t only about rollercoasters; there are also a few dark rides. One of them is Made in Maranello and it shows the production process of a Ferrari in a very fun way. Another big dark ride is called Speed of Magic, which is a cheap version of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure. It’s not that special, but it’s a nice way to cool down if you’ve just made 20 rides on Formula Rossa. Interested in Italian landscape and architecture? Then also visit Viaggio in Italia, some kind of Soarin’ clone. Don’t expect any world-class soundtrack (you’ll have to travel to Disney for that) and the special effects aren’t perfectly synchronized, but it’s a fine ride.
Ferrari World may not be the largest theme park on the planet, but Formula Rossa makes it a must do destination for every coaster fan. If you’ve got the choice, however, I’d recommend visiting after those 3 new rollercoasters have opened. The UAE are getting ready for their future als a coaster destination, so it will only get more interesting during the following years…