Conveniently I was required to be in Abu Dhabi for 3 days for work, so I jumped at the opportunity to have a bit of fun beforehand. This wasn’t somewhere particularly on the cards for me in the near future, but I’m very glad to have been now. The whole place far exceeded my expectations in pretty much every aspect and I’d happily go back for more.
The first day was a bit of a marathon. I had an overnight flight with 0 sleep, being surrounded by the Chinese who kept their lights on the whole time and were having their usual loud conversations. There’s no escaping them.
Landed first thing in the morning and sorted out the hire car. Through more luck than judgment, I had timed things just right and this was the first day of celebrating the end of Ramadan, so didn’t have to worry about not being able to eat. It also seemed to have a positive impact on the parks, everywhere was super quiet.
This was first made eerily obvious as I hit the dusty trail and perhaps saw about 10 cars total on the first hour of the journey. Bombing down a 4 lane motorway in the desert with absolutely nothing in sight. I like this already.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Pulled up outside the park nice and early, believe I was the 3rd or 4th car on site. There’s some sweet Mack coaster goodness to admire on the way in.
Free parking, but unfortunately none of it is covered here, so the car and anything in it is gonna get an absolute roasting.
Eh, can’t be that bad.
Largest indoor theme park. That’s convenient.
Hung around the entrance area for a while until they let us through to the turnstyles.
From there, they did an opening ceremony to a crowd of about 50, which involved some mediocre dancing to the tune of Let Me Entertain You. Everyone rushed forward to meet the bloke from Adventure Time, while I headed off to the rides.
Ooo it’s a nice looking place. There’s definitely some magical vibe going on with the indoor-ness, which these pictures won’t do justice at all. Everyone’s really friendly and it all just looks great, particularly the jungle/dinosaur area being in half dark all the time. I was concerned about bad locker rules being an inconvenience to me, but the staff girl told me “nah, no need to bother with that nonsense.”
Got the Gerstlauer Eurofighter out of the way first. Ugh, Rage clone.
It was actually better than I remember it. I only recall liking the way it hangs in the loop, but the rest of the layout is rather forceful and fun for what it is. It’s mirrored too, I’m sure that’s what makes the difference.
Ended up losing my way in the jungle area looking for the next cred and found myself in Avengers land instead. Spiderman then.
The queueline here is particularly impressive, going through some dingy alleys and themed rooms, before passing under a darkened tease of a section of the track.
I didn’t expect much from this ride either as, you know, clones, but I really enjoyed it. The lift hill starts in a flashy strobey underground tunnel that’s pumping tons of mist into your face before dropping you into the quick off-ride viewing section.
There’s a transition from there where it lets you know that it’s a ride not to be messed with as it plunges down back into the depths of the inner themed area which is full of skyscrapers. Depending on your direction of travel and current intensity of spinning, this can be a real surprise and some of the following turns end up crazy forceful. It all ends a little too soon for my liking, but really good fun.
Still in cred mode, powered back over to the Mack Blue Fire clone (thats 3/3), which was hiding at the back.
Some of this queue looked rather good as well, though it just turned into plain walls shortly after here. I like the trains with their yellow and red dinosaur skin look, disappointed I didn’t manage to get a picture. Got straight on the ride and made myself at home in the sexy bucket seats again. Being spoiled with them this year.
The pre-launch section is rather cool, passing through some jungle and more mist being pumped out at you. There’s a big screen on the right, on which some dinosaurs start making a scene, prompting you to leave quickly. The door to the outside opens a little early in all this and sunlight pours in to ruin the effect of the screen before you’re off.
Ahhhh! 40°C! The cooking effect from the sun isn’t noticeable while you’re moving fast, but as soon as you hit the brake run you can feel the burn and being a vampire I’m thinking ‘gotta get back inside, gotta get back inside.’ The ride is great fun of course, being a Mack launch coaster.
Not sure what they were going for with the outdoor area. There’s a random greenhouse chucked in amongst some palm trees and some dust. Better than nothing I guess.
Each of these parks on this trip I was in super cred mode to begin with and it was never fully justified. This was all knocked out in about 45 minutes, so it was time to relax.
Did Forbidden Territory the dinosaur dark ride next. It was quite good, the queue has some story building if you get to spend any time in it and there’s some impressive physical theming inside but it got a bit screen heavy towards the end and the vehicle movement was a little awkward rather than thrilling.
Avengers: Battle of Ultron followed. I was rather excited for this simulator, being a fan of the cinematic universe, but maybe that hurt it for me, as it’s not directly from that particular media source. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the ride sequence, all felt a bit been there, done that with lots of recycled tricks in almost the same environment as its competitors (Spiderman/Transformers) unlike, say, Fantawild ones.
The Ride of Ooo was the busiest attraction all day. Queued a whole 10 minutes or thereabouts. Half dark ride, half suspended monorail over the park, it wasn’t without its charm. Don’t particularly know the brand though.
I liked The Amazing Ride of Gumball. Had a little preshow to set the scene and tell me what it even was, cos never heard of it. It’s a fun shooting ride, the type that seem to be becoming my favourites with the mixture of physical targets, screen based blastings and crazy unpredictable scores.
Hulk 3D Epsilon Base was up and running next. Another preshow to set the scene, before strapping in to the huge circle of seats. I was expecting it to be a rather relaxed affair, having only sat in a dome theatre ride like this before for a slow Chinese fairytale, but this one really gets up a good forceful spin, there’s a lot going on and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I believe that just leaves Ben 10 5D. More preshows, which the locals had now run out of patience for and were all intently staring at the door to the theatre rather than watching any more.
Vicious attraction! The moving cinema style seats on this give you a right good kicking, which I wasn’t expecting at all. It brought back memories of the John Cleese ride with its intense car crash moments.
Rounded the day off with a few re-rides, but got rather exhausted towards the end of the 36 hour day. Nearly died a few times on the drive back to the hotel, quite literally being half asleep. All for a good cause.
Great park then, liked it a ton more than I expected. Very relaxed atmosphere and good selection of rides, while not suffering too badly from being an RCDB clone fest. I remarked while I was there that I thought this would be the ‘bad’ park of the trip. The bar has been set high.