The capital's newest visitor attraction opened its doors to the public at midday after three years of construction and preparation work Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Thousands of people descended on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island Thursday for the soft opening of the world’s largest indoor theme park Ferrari World.

The capital’s newest visitor attraction opened its doors to the public at midday after three years of construction and preparation work. Among the park’s range of attractions is the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster and Speed of Magic, the region’s first four-dimensional fantasy ride.

Claus Frimand, General Manager of Ferrari World, said: “It is the world’s largest indoor theme park, the first theme park in the Middle East and of course the first Ferrari world anywhere in the world; it has been a fantastic journey. If you look at the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan this is the first development that is really catering to the tourism industry. You have a lot of things to see in Abu Dhabi but this is the first time where you have a real attraction purposely built to give people a good day out.

“We have a mixture of thrill rides, children’s rides and family rides. If you’re very knowledgeable about Ferrari you can still learn something more than what you knew before. We have the fastest roller coaster [in the world] where you do 0 to 100 in 2.9 seconds and 0 to 240 in 4.9 seconds, which is very fast. You can be completely new to Formula One cars and still have a good time. We have also got a lot of restaurants where you can come in for the dining experience. We have four chefs with Michelin experience and everything from high end Italian food to international cuisine; there’s something that caters for everyone.”

Thursday’s soft opening of Ferrari World marks the start of an inaugural period that will continue throughout the Etihad Airways Formula One Grand Prix next weekend and culminate with a grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, November 30.

Lawrence Franklin, Strategy and Policy Division Director at Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, said: “It’s a very significant milestone. Basically, Ferrari world Abu Dhabi is another important step in our emergence as a tourist destination and a particularly important step as a leisure tourist destination.

“We believe Ferrari World will attract a wide range of visitors and the local markets will be very important. Visitors from Abu Dhabi and Dubai will comprise a large amount of the visitation but we believe [the attraction] will also have an appeal to the European and Australian markets. I’m particularly impressed by the architecture on the roof and the size [of the park] is just amazing.”