The Formula Rossa ride

From the very day Ferrari World opened its doors to the public in November 2010, this newly-reformed Formula 1 buff (that would be me) couldn’t wait for the chance to experience for herself the hype surrounding this much-anticipated theme park.

So 3 months down the line, myself and a couple of friends found ourselves planning a little road-trip to Abu Dhabi solely for the purpose of paying a visit to Ferrari World.

Strategically located on the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi (right next to the Formula 1 Yas circuit), this Ferrari themed (as the name suggests) amusement park is bragged to be the only one of its kind in the world. And if those laurels aren’t enough, in true UAE superlative fashion, Ferrari World is also said to be the world’s largest indoor theme park with its signature coaster officially the fastest roller coaster on the planet.

Dhs.225 will cover you for a full day regular pass, allowing you unlimited access to all of its 20+ attractions. Though if you’re willing to part with an additional Dhs.150 you’re entitled to a VIP pass, which allows the bearer a reprieve from queuing with the rest of the ‘common folk’ as well as access to a VIP lounge.

As soon as you walk through those gates and under the archway of the Scuderia logo, you are immediately seemingly transported into a whole other dimension. Roars of Formula 1 race car engines serve as ‘background music’ while you take in the predominantly red interiors. Different models of Ferrari automobiles have been strategically planted across the park, and as we walked though one sector after another we could almost sniff the smell of skidding rubber tyres.

Among the list of attractions to check off on the thrill-seeker’s list is the G-Force. A row of seats positioned inside a stunningly designed vertical crystal tunnel, this breath-stopper has you launched (without warning mind you) 60 meters into the sky, allowing for just a moment to catch your breath and take in an aerial view of the entire theme park before being plummeted back towards ground level again.

Next on the agenda would be The Scuderia Challenge; a collection of state-of-the-art racing simulators giving one a similar experience as that of a professional Formula 1 driver. A large viewing screen near-engulfs an honest-to-goodness Ferrari sports car set on a complicated looking system of hydraulics, and once that virtual starting flag is waved you won’t be able to tell the difference. The best bit is you have the option of either racing alone, or against your buds to test who out of the lot has what it takes to make it through the finish line fastest.

There’s plenty to keep the young ‘uns (and not so wild grown-ups) entertained as well. From the quintessential Carousel with a Ferrari twist, to the Bell’Italia which has its guests seated in miniature cars moving about a set track at a predefined leisurely pace. Not terribly exciting, but cute.

Education also plays a minor role in this clearly well thought out set-up with Made In Maranello; a cleverly designed simulator which takes it’s riders through the entire assembly line involved in the production of a Ferrari vehicle, from the early design process to the final test drive.

For fans of the 3D cinema, there’s plenty to go about in the form of theatre experiences, particularly the Speed Of Magic. Having us all ooh’ing and aah’ing at the near authenticity of either being smacked on the head with a falling boulder or falling to our deaths into a pool of molten lava, this little adventure had both the kids and adults entertained.

Naturally, we left the best for last. Partly because we were terrified, but also because we wanted to end our visit with a bang.
The Formula Rossa, officially the fastest roller coaster in the world, is said to be able to reach a speed of 240km/hr from a state of 0 motion in just 4 seconds! And because of the high intensity of the wind at the speed at which we were about to travel, all riders sitting up front were required out of protocol to don eye goggles.

Intimidating as it was watching set after set of enthusiastic riders scream for their lives, the experience was well worth the wait and hype. Hurling at a speed seemingly supersonic produced an adrenaline rush so generous that we were screeching well after our turn was up.

The verdict?
You don’t have to be a Ferrari fan to make a trip to Ferrari World, and though some may find a shortage in the more adventurous rides, we felt the balance between mild and wild was just right.

So for those of you planning a trip to Ferrari World in the near future, you might want to consider the following:

  • Try to plan your trip for a weekday. Not the best option for the work/school/university going lot, but it’s your safest bet to escape ticket and ride queues.
  • As with most theme parks, it’s always best to go with a crowd. A team of two just doesn’t cut it.
  • Start mild, and then work your way to the more adventurous rides. Especially if you arrive hungry.
  • The Ferrari World staff is great, but they’re even better at psyching out visitors that show even the slightest hint of fear. So pay no heed to teasing jibes of ‘Whoops, your seatbelt is broken!’ and pre-coaster cries of ‘Prepare to die!’

For more info on Ferrari World, you can always pop a visit to their official website, or give them a call on +971 (0)2 496 8001

– Shaahima Fahim

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