By Gillian Sarah Duncan | Special to Reach by Gulf News
If you’re looking for the best theme park, there’s no need to go farther than the UAE. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has been named the Middle East’s Leading Theme Park, beating competition from across the region.
The 2017 honour is the third consecutive annual award from the World Travel Awards, having previously been named the Region’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2016 and 2015.
Jesse Vargas, General Manager, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, said this year’s award was especially valuable. “This year we have more competition than has ever existed before in our category. To have been recognised yet again, for the third year in a row as leading leisure attraction in the region is truly important, especially by World Travel Awards which is a highly esteemed world body," he says.
“But for us what is even more important than that is the people who come through the door. We are experiencing record guest satisfaction scores, record Trip Advisor scores, record net promoter scores, so all signs point to guests really genuinely enjoying their time at the park.”
The park has set a record attendance each year since it opened in 2010 and is in the midst of a major expansion. It launched its latest attraction, Turbo Track, in March of this year, that launches riders’ 64-metres up above the theme park’s iconic red roof.
Flying Aces: the world’s steepest and fastest cable lift
“The UAE and Ferrari both focus relentlessly on their futures while firmly grounded in their history and heritage. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Island represent the confluence of these two cultures,” says Vargas. As such this world-class family destination will continue to deliver the most unique, most inspired attractions on the planet”, added Vargas.
Here are seven reasons that it is the region’s best theme park:
1. A world first
The park, which was the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park when it opened in 2010, offers a historical, technical, and insider’s look behind the brand.
Bell’ Italia: A Ferrari 250 California, which tours sights in a miniature Italy
As such, its rides and attractions are designed to offer visitors the chance to experience all things Ferrari first-hand. For example, Turbo Track is designed to simulate the experience of a Ferrari test driver, reaching speeds of 102km/h, while Scuderia Challenge F1 simulator offers people the chance to test their abilities on the circuit. There is even a ride, which allows you to go on a virtual tour of a Ferrari factory to see first-hand how a Ferrari GT is made.
2. At the heart of Yas Island
The park is located on Yas Island, a leading tourism hub featuring Yas Mall, Yas Waterworld, the F1 race track, Yas Links golf course, a concert arena, hotels, and the upcoming Warner Bros Theme Park, which is scheduled to open next year.
Formula Rosso catapults riders faster than an F1 car
The island is expected to attract 30 million visitors in 2018. As part of its push to boost the number of visitors, Yas Island hopes to also attract 100,000 corporate travellers by 2022. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which runs team-building events for companies, is key to the plan.
3. A record breaker
Ferrari World holds a number of records, including the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Formula Rosso catapults riders faster than an F1 car, blasting riders 240km/h in 4.9 seconds in a roller coaster car resembling a Ferrari F1.
Flying Aces features the world’s tallest inverted loop
In addition, its Flying Aces ride features the world’s steepest and fastest cable lift, at 51 degrees and 30 km/h, as well as the world’s tallest inverted loop, which climbs to a height of 52 metres. Not only that, the park features the largest space frame structure ever built. It took 14 months to clad the 200,000-square-metre roof alone.
4. Something for everyone
Ferrari world has something for everyone from older children and adults, to attractions for younger ones, too. Rides for small children include Bell’ Italia, featuring a small-scale Ferrari 250 California, which tours sights in a miniature Italy, such as the Amalfi Coast, Colosseum and Venice.
More than half of the attractions at the park are accessible by children
There is also a 4D experience and a junior driving school, where children watch a short film and receive trained instruction about traffic rules, signs and laws of the road, before hopping into a small 430 GT Spider. In fact, more than half of the attractions at the park are accessible by children, says Vargas.
5. Keeps on getting better
The park now features 37 rides, nearly double the number of attractions it offered upon opening. It is in the middle of its third phase of expansion and is currently building two attractions, which it will launch next year.
The park now features 37 rides, with more planned
“These world-class attractions that have never been done before anywhere else in the world,” says Vargas. “One is a rollercoaster that will be unveiled shortly. It will absolutely blow people away. Then it is going to be followed up shortly after, again in 2018, by an attraction that can be enjoyed by families together. We have to wait a little bit longer to talk about that but I think starting around Eid time next year we will be able to start talking about that openly. It is going to be something that ties the entire island together in a very profound way.”
6. Celebrates seasons
Ferrari World hosts a range of events each season including Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, as well as international events like the recent Festival of Lights, Chinese New Year and the upcoming Winterfest. Winterfest begins on December 15 and runs until January 6.
Winterfest features a range of attractions, including an animatronic polar bear
It features a range of attractions, including fairy tales ice skating shows, an ice-skating rink, elf school, an animatronic polar bear, visits from Santa, an acrobatic display performed inside a large snow globe, and more. Visitors who buy a full priced ticket can keep coming back for free during the 21-day event, so the early you buy a ticket, the better value you receive.
7. Future expansion
The third phase of its expansion will not be complete until next year, but the park has already started talking about its fourth.
“Because we are Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and we are very much about innovation and introducing new things into the market, we are actually working on our fourth phase of expansion,” says Vargas. “We want to introduce attractions that everyone can do together as a family and we want for people to be able to come back again and again and have their little ones enjoy their time here.”