With all the big stuff successfully ticked off, there was time for a brief stint of mopping up creds. Sat navs here are pretty terrible as nowhere has a uniquely identifiable address and it has to rely on names only. It didn’t know any of the smaller parks existed, so to find some WiFi and work out another plan of attack, let’s go to somewhere it has heard of:
Day 4 – Burj Khalifa
Didn’t know how or where to fit this in amongst all the rest of it, so just winged it and turned up first thing hoping to book a time slot as you usually have to with these big tourist buildings. Luckily it was quiet enough to go straight in however.
So up we go.
Decided to just do the cheaper deck as again, got to save something for next time haven’t I. Wasn’t particularly blown away by the height of the tallest building in the world here, maybe it isn’t helped by the surroundings and a lack of a sense of scale.
The nearby area was significantly more sparse than I had imagined. Have some views.
All in all, just your standard observation deck stuff. Next.
Got lost in the mall on the way back to the car and with a stroke of good fortune walked straight past something that stirred a reaction in my head.
VR Park Dubai
Fairly sure I saw that name the previous night when scrolling through Coaster Count. Sure enough, they’ve got a bonus cred.
I had done all my planning for the trip through coast2coaster and for some reason it wasn’t on there, so would have quite easily missed it all together. But here we are. A slightly more significant ride than your average bonus +1 as well, being a Gerstlauer spinner. Shame it has compulsory Virtual Reality headsets, though the name of the place would imply that that’s kind of the point. The ride itself was alright, I think. VR wasn’t good, emulating being flown around the city in a drone, with poor graphics and a very poor matchup between the camera rotation and the on-ride spinning. Didn’t try anything else in the park, needed to get back on track and, you know, VR.
Armed with some names of landmarks near to the parks I wanted (mostly supermarkets and hotels), tried the sat nav again. It knows a small shop on the other side of the road to this massive mall (which it doesn’t know) that houses the park (which it doesn’t know) and there was some dust by a bridge nearby on which people seemed to be parking. That’ll do then.
This place looked the most intriguing (and significant) of the lesser parks around the area. Stopped off for some food in the mall first and sat watching the powered coasters buzzing around the entrance facade which faces into the food court area. I like that.
Went to the ticket window to purchase a prepaid card, asking for just the 3 coasters. The response was: “I don’t know how much things cost, you’ll have to go and look first.” Sounds fun.
Had a wander, did a quick bit of maths and went back. Was able to provided a very precise number, but it all got complicated with bonus deals and stuff. Never mind that, just want the creds.
I knew the place had the 2 powered coasters, but had no idea they were stacked on top of each other so creatively. This crazy station building houses both, the red one being up top and the yellow one below. They share the same entrance and are labelled the ‘slow train’ and ‘fast train.’ Chose to start with the slow, though the staff guy kept insisting the fast would suit better. Don’t worry, there’s time for both.
Forest Train is indeed slow for the most part, mincing around some inside theming and across the lower half of the outside of the park, but it picks up some good speed on the way back into the station and takes the final corners fast enough to cause damage (and uncontrollably continue for a second lap).
Kukulcan is a bit faster, higher up and more intense for a ride of its nature and has many amusing low clearance moments.
The Zamperla motocoaster was last. Usually expect to hate these things, but it wasn’t too bad at all. The lift hill is another entertaining example of their use of space in here, with the rarely seen 90 degree corner halfway up it, like an RCT throwback.
That was fun. Time for any more? It was a hotel address that got me to the general vicinity of the next place, but car parking wasn’t quite so obvious. Eventually stumbled on a patch of tarmac with a hut in the corner that cost a couple of quid for an hour. That’ll do. On walking to the mall (which it doesn’t know), there’s a massive car park (which it doesn’t know) right outside. Ugh. At least it was the same price.
There’s another cred across the road from this mall, but the place was fenced off and deserted. Spite.
Sparky’s Al Ghurair
Rocked up to this place with very little time left in the day. Straight to the desk. “How much for the cred?” Some complicated explanation about prepaid cards again. “Sounds good, just take the cash.” In the midst of this, a very friendly local woman decided to give her ride card away to save me some deposit money. I didn’t have the exact change and the ticket woman didn’t have the correct change to compensate. I said don’t worry about it, keep the extra, but she was either very insistent on being helpful or didn’t want to get in trouble with the accountant. She began calling over multiple members of staff as well as other guests to root through all their wallets and pockets for some extra change. This was getting out of control. “Seriously, don’t worry about it.” Ran off to the Rol(l)er Coaster.
This spinner was fun. More weirdly shaped lifts to fit it into the building and some inconsistent spinning action along the way. Made for an interesting and relatively unique experience.
As I went to leave past the ticket desk, she had the correct change lined up for me on the counter. How lovely.
Didn’t quite know how this day was going to pan out, but I had the combo ticket for the water park and they opened an hour earlier. I picked up a work colleague who had flown in the night before and wanted to take the opportunity to see first hand what my hobby was all about. Cred time.
Day 3 – Yas Waterworld
Caved and went for a locker on arrival, mainly to protect the precious paper park ticket.
Once again I was overly early and we spent a good 15 minutes milling around at the door. Everyone else’s excitement was building. I wasn’t so sure. Got no pictures of the park unfortunately. Not the type of person to feel the need to wear a phone in a plastic wallet around my neck like a few others I noticed here. (If you look closely, you can spot the coaster track in one of the pictures later. There’s a little game for you).
Walked straight to the cred as fast as my inappropriate footwear would allow and navigated the stairs with some difficulty.
Kinda liked #1 Bandit Bomber, if just for the relative uniqueness of it. Even just having bare feet made it a new experience for me. It’s got the comfy Vekoma SFC trains, 2 lifts and a bit of fun through the layout. Also like the barrels on the front of the train that get automatically refilled with water each time it sits in the station.
Nearly left at this point, but figured there was still time for trying something else. Ah, might as well. I know I don’t trust myself to be flailing solo in a tube, so I’d rather do something where you get to sit in a dinghy. Selected the big 6-seater one (Falcon’s Falaj?) and struggled up even more stairs to the top. Sat down, glasses and footwear in hand, thinking I can’t really hold on to anything now… well, this will be an experience.
Christ it was intense. I might be converting to this stuff at some point. It took less than 3 seconds of the boat tipping backwards off the ramp before I was completely soaked, couldn’t see and was in hysterics, from there it was just a brutal alternating succession of crazy air time that shouldn’t happen and vicious walls of water to the face. It all ended in a blur and you have to jump out into a waist deep pool to escape the insanity. Almost as wet as Valhalla that.
Hmmm. I need to leave now and the shorts I’m wearing all day are somewhat… soaked. Stood around in the sun for a while, carefully toeing the line between drying off quickly and getting sunburnt. Then proceeded to the exit.
Got the car rather wet and drove round to the mall car park, parking next to what I thought was a Ferrari (appropriately). Apparently it was a Corvette. They’re not going to let me in now.
You know what time it is. Super cred mode. Straight to Rossa, no time to think.
There was a little time to think actually, they were operating it super slow and apparently it was just teetering on the edge of being too windy to run it at all. Never mind that, let’s get it over with.
No one was being brave enough for the front, so we slithered up to the opportunity. They supply you with goggles which were already biting into my face, staring down the launch track. Meh.
It is fast, I’ll give it that. So much face wobble by the end of the straight that I’m rather thankful for the trims to be honest, it felt like I was about to lose a cheek.
Speed isn’t everything though and I wasn’t particularly blown away by the rest of the layout. It impressed me, it’s fast and ridiculous, but sadly it doesn’t offer much else. I admire the limits being pushed and the highlight was probably seeing the water sprays on the wheels during the brake run.
On closer inspection, the layout is bigger Rita…
Took another go in the back later on and that basically just ruined it for us. A staff woman did say “no one ever asks for the back” and now we know why. Rode really awful in all the corners. Really, brain shakingly awful. No thanks.
On to better things?
Flying Aces was probably my most anticipated ride of the trip.
Didn’t really get the fuss about these Intamin wing coasters on the first lap, it felt like a lot of pointless meandering and not much going on. Gave it a couple more goes during the day. Yeah, not bad. It’s a grower. I’ll come back to it later.
This custom Maurer ride looks like a harmless bit of fun. It’s pretty decent, again if only for being somewhat unique. The lack of banking in the corners give it a bit of extra kick as well as a more genuine feel for what it’s trying to achieve as a car race, which I appreciate.
Never quite seemed to be racing though, it always ended the same way. Wonder if the launches are overly intelligent to make that happen. Also the restraint unnecessarily having the same hoopy handle as Maurer’s spinners in a really awkward, out of reach place amused me.
Turbo Track to round off the creds. Everything was walk on at this time, so that’s yet another set finished in 45 minutes.
An Intamin launched shuttle ride that was a bit something and nothing really. A very faffy loading procedure for a coaster that’s over in 30 seconds. Chose the seats facing backwards to start off with, but going in blind didn’t even help to give it any noticeable forces.
Felt like it barely made it up the spike as well. Certainly didn’t see much up there. Think someone else already said this, but it’s a good use of space and that’s about it.
Ok, I’m not feeling this park as much. As with the Spanish place, it’s all a bit Ferrari up its own arse, which isn’t the best vibe. I wonder if the dark rides will fix that.
If you start with Speed of Magic. Noooooooooo. The preshow starts off with a kid on a bed playing a game with this cartoon guy called Nello and he’s a rather unpleasant character – encouraging kids to act like they’re the best at everything and everyone else sucks. Cool. The boy gets pissed off with the game (rightly so), then Dad walks in. “I’VE JUST BOUGHT A FERRARI MATE.” Best Dad ever (right?). “Here’s the keys.” Nello steals the keys. Gotta play the game to get ’em back boy. Sigh. Once you’re on the simulator it ain’t that great either. Don’t really remember much beyond obnoxious shouting from Nello as he drags you around on strings through the jungle, ice, lava, desert? Then FUTURISTIC FORMULA 1 and you beat him in 5 seconds. You got lucky punk.
In total contrast to this, Benno’s Great Race is really good. An inventive twist on a shooting dark ride where a rabbit is racing the feds (beavers?) through Italy, the ‘gun’ is a spanner and you have to help him along the way by breaking boxes, cutting spiders webs and putting bees in jars. Great stuff.
Think it was pizza time after that. When in Rome. Again, quality food, reasonably priced. UAE you’re killing it.
Oh here’s that other dark ride of the factory tour, Made in Maranello. Didn’t rate it, wasn’t particularly interesting and a bit more ‘look how great we are.’
Did the cultural maze full of quotes from Zayed himself, this being the year of Zayed. That was more interesting.
This dumb thing still isn’t ready.
They had lots of ‘decades of music’ mini events going on around the park with local DJs which was quite amusing. An 80’s one with Rubiks cubes, graffiti and 2 blokes having a dance off. 70’s one with disco people trying to grind against you while you walk past. 60’s one with hula hoops. Then the 90’s one – it had this beatboxing guy who was very good at his job. He announced the entrance of a skateboarder, a BMX guy and someone on rollerskates. World Champions in their field he says. They messed up so many times that it got rather embarrassing and we left (not sure why we were watching in the first place).
Well if that’s the tone being set, I’m gonna find out if they do handstamps so we can leave. They do.
Went out into the mall to find the bonus cred in FunWorks. On the way there was this exhibition about the new Warner Bros. park I missed by a month. They were getting people to pre-book for cheap, so I had a little nose around and got given a WB passport souvenir in which you’re supposed to fill in your details. Good for the collection I guess. FunWorks
#7 Yolo Works then. Bad staff, bad guests, awful ride. A stain on this country. Didn’t take a picture in my disgust. The ride suffers from the same problem as halfpipes in that you don’t want to be facing 90 degrees to a snappy launch mechanism with a shoulder restraint in your face. My colleague didn’t know what to think after sitting this one out and watching the ordeal I went through only for me to then tell him how terrible it was. Why do you ride it if it hurts? Don’t question it.
Had some more food in a food court style area and a bit of a sit down. What time does the park shut? I ask myself. I’ve got 11pm in my head. Looked it up. 8. What’s the time? 7:15. Ah…
Forcing down the rest of a sandwich and half a litre of sprite while powering back through the mall, hope I’m not gonna regret that.
Flying Aces at night. Oh man this thing came to life. Rides ‘warming up’ is apparently still a thing even when it’s 40°C outside to start with. It did things to me. Things that I’ve not felt before on a coaster. Dangerous things. I grew to love it, character and all. The queue is amazing, but if anything it’s jarringly loud. I wouldn’t want to be stuck queueing in that rocky section with the planes going over. Thankfully they let me run through the fastrack entrance every time, once I got into marathon mode.
The lift hill is just ridiculous. Love those minimalist supports. It has such a great sense of purpose as it pulls you up to the top whether you like it or not. I was just laughing with glee at it and after a few laps it turned into one of those magical moments. Insane first drop and the non-inverting loop is fun, but this is all stuff I’ve seen before. It’s the little things that set it apart. The speed hill chucked in out of nowhere which is killer, then this upward banked corner into an air time hill which throws you dangerously sideways instead of upwards for no good reason. It wasn’t doing that earlier and I’ve never felt a ride do that before, especially with so little holding you in. The stuff dreams are made of.
The snappy twists in the second half, if you’re in the front or back wing seats, are just brutal in the best way and it only got better and better the more I rode it. Fantastic ride.
Fortunately no early start was required for today, so I managed to sleep for 1000 hours as well as find time to slither to a supermarket for supplies.
On the way I encountered this.
I had thought about making time for going in, but parks and sleep were the priorities for now, so settled for a few snaps from the outside. I’ll save it for a non-solo trip.
Time to hit up Dubai Parks & Resorts. They’ve got some odd car parking here, the signs keep conflicting and switching between VIP parking only and ALL parking. It wasn’t just me who was getting confused by this, as by the time i reached the ticket barriers, some people were causing a scene and trying to reverse out of there rather than pay the displayed prices on the booths. I carried on anyway and asked them about ‘normal parking’. It’s still in the same area and costs £4 rather than £20 and just isn’t advertised anywhere for whatever reason.
You don’t get to park in the shade again (sorry car), but you do get to wait in a tent for a little train to take you to the parks. While waiting they give out free water to adults and ice pops to children, then the train proceeds to bypass the VIP section while they stand staring in shock. Great stuff.
The only park open this early is:
Day 2 – Legoland Dubai
Having done what I consider to be too many iterations, I try not to actively seek out these parks any more, but as it was open for 3 hours outside of Motiongate and part of a cheaper deal, it would be rude not to get the creds wouldn’t it.
Actually quite liked the place, mainly because it was completely dead and there’s far worse places to kill a couple of hours.
The central hub of the park is the indoor Miniland, but while everyone got caught up in that, I powered straight outside to the Kingdom area. How predictable.
Oh look, one of those Dragon rides again.
Staff were super friendly and excited to see the first customer of the day, rather than hating their life like in most Legolands. Something I noticed both here and in other parks in the country is that the staff are really good with children, which I can’t say I’ve ever particularly noticed in any other place.
Same old dark ride section of the ride, just a little newer looking. Same old ride outside, closer to Malaysia than Germany in smoothness thankfully. Job done.
The other cred had fired up by now, so got that knocked off as well. Again, very friendly for some strange bloke riding a kids coaster at Legoland on his own. No judgment here.
This was my first experience with entire outdoor park sections in this part of the world and I found myself darting between shade spots as quickly as possible. Quite fun really. Might as well tick off the dark rides.
Oh, Lost Kingdom Adventure again. The really, really short one that’s just a circle layout. Played a game of how many different effects can I spot and set off, good little sit down.
Always cautious of these now, after powering into Billund’s expecting it to be a ride and finding out that it was just an aquarium. Submarine Adventure here is a ride, and I think I liked it more than Windsor, mainly due to having a sub to myself. Still feel like it needs a little more spectacle though. When the dramatic music hits and it says “welcome to the city of Atlantis”, there’s just a small lone pyramid with some lego knobs on top. I want some huge epic set to look at. But it’s Legoland.
Well that’s the park done in 40 minutes. Time to chill in Miniland.
Yay Lego pics. These are probably the best parts of all the parks, because they have all their unique builds relevant to the location. I wish the same level of creativity went into the ride lineups.
This was an Eid exhibit where you can build your own lantern for the display.
Stuff vs Burj
Lotte wins of course <3
Burj vs Burj
Got lost in this area for about half an hour. Still not enough time killed. There was a sandwich board up advertising the 4D showtimes. Fine…
Ended up with the obnoxious Nexo Knights film again. Marginally better than having to suffer through the one based on the Lego Movie, but ugh. Best part was the audiences over the top reactions to all the 4D bits. I remember being wowed like that the first time in Disney, age 12. What happened?
Another sandwich board made it clear that I also had time to try the Ninjago puppet stage show.
Ok, I’m intrigued.
This was actually pretty good. It ain’t no Lion King, but it was rather clever and refreshing to me at least.
So there we go, a reasonably happy experience at a Legoland property. Off to the next park.
Maybe next time.
The Riverwalk area between the parks here is really nice, aside from the lack of shade. Kept up the vampire routine and powered swiftly to the park entrance, still a little too early.
There was a small group outside also waiting, and they began doing bag checks early so that we could move forward to the turnstyles. After a short while they stopped this and just let the crowd build up outside, confused, resulting in a rather awkward 15 minutes of either staring down the staff at the turnstyles, or at the guests behind who felt like they were missing out (hopefully the VIPs again).
The call comes in. And we’re off. All that time I’d been having a bit of a tactical think, so super cred mode again, I knew where I was headed.
Straight into the massive Dreamworks building.
Via Toothless of course.
Now is not the time to appreciate this magnificence.
They do have locker rules in this park, but they’re free (for an hour at a time) and automated with minimum hassle. So that’s a win. There’s a great queueline for this ride (theme of the day), circus style, that passes through a little runaway cart with lots of imaginative posters on the walls.
Can’t help but think of Kärnan when I see these Gerstlauer Infinity trains now, which makes me fearful in a good way. Something tells me this won’t quite be the same experience.
Pretty much the same turn into a dark ride section and hold before the launch as Velociraptor the previous day. I don’t know my Madagascar, but something is said about the animals and the bad guy and it being time to escape the circus. The train launches through a psychedelic tunnel and into the main darkened ride area. It’s good fun, but you can feel like it’s holding back a little, being aimed at such a family market with the IP. There are hills in the layout that could kill at higher speed, but the ride just doesn’t quite want to that to you.
It also features a few effects that light up as you pass by/through and a brief section into the area outside the ride entrance for guests to get a little off-ride glimpse, in the same vein as Spiderman the previous day. The experience ends on the brake run with an angry bear in the cart, those penguins and a statement along the lines of ‘people in love are never happy’, which made me laugh every time.
Time to make the most of that free locker. In my narrow minded view of getting the creds done, I’m powering off to Dragon Gliders next and BOOM.
I’m taken aback. That’s a bloody spectacular area I’ve just walked into. I wasn’t prepared for this. Found myself just meandering around in amazement for a while, rather than going into the ride. I already love this IP, love the films, and they’ve done it so much justice. The staff guy at the entrance is wearing a themed costume and completely out of character for myself I have to tell him how amazing that is. Ahhhhhh!
The queue is really detailed and atmospheric, with a bit of Gobber action on audio, some posters and drawings teaching you about dragons as well as a selection of animatronics, screens and other effects.
On to the hardware then. I didn’t quite ‘get’ Arthur. It was all a bit something and nothing, like a cool concept but poorly executed, though maybe that’s just IP bias.
I get this, it’s just done right. 90% dark ride and 10% coaster. There’s a fantastic mix beyond physical sets and screens, including some clever projections and story-telling shadows. It has a fresh story, going on a bit of an adventure with Hiccup and Astrid. You stumble upon a mean icy dragon and have a bit of a fight with it, survive, and then return to Berk for a bit of a celebration which is when the ride just opens above the main off-ride entrance plaza again.
This part works so well. There’s so many little easter eggs around inculding the catapult sheep everywhere (21 sheep salute). And then the ending hits, where they’ve captured the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless perfectly in a single animatronic and sound clip. And then Gobber’s voice speaks to you through on-board audio: “Not at all what I expected, look at you… still alive.” Again, made me laugh every time. Perfection.
No time to let that sink in, back out into the sun. There’s more Mack goodness afoot.
I was a little confused as to how this was a concept. I don’t like the Hunger Games, so much as respect it. Seen the films once and sort of enjoyed them, but can’t really stand to see them again. So how is a Mack launch coaster going to be a high speed train into the city? A train which in the film they amusingly claim does 200Mph like that’s some mind blowing futuristic achievement. For a train. Have they not been to China?
It doesn’t make sense, but they’ve made a reasonable attempt. The queue is full of boarding procedures and announcements, lots of posh luggage around and a glimpse into one of the trains with posh food inside. By the end of the ride (the brake run) they’ve made it feel more like the city, with a subtle change in architecture and some billboards up.
So what’s in between all that? Got in the back of the train first, with personal recommendation from the staff bloke who said “it’s the best seat: good in the spike.” It is good in the spike. The first warm up launch is rather amusingly slow, as the loop is so close to the launch track and it only goes a quarter of the way through it, but as with the others of this type it’s the backwards one that catches you by surprise. The loop itself is lovely and floaty, there’s a few twists and turns and one really sharp multi-directional airtime hill which is probably the highlight of the ride. I’ve said before that Mack always nail their inversions and the other one in the layout is really good, but then it’s all over a bit quick. Solid fun, but nothing spectacular.
Smurf Village Express came next. I had it in my head that it was a Vekoma Junior (a likely assumption) but definitely thought to myself while riding ‘this seems better somehow.’ Oh yeah, it’s a Gerstlauer. They always nail their family rides.
One more Gerstlauer then and it’s a slightly custom Bobsled thankfully. No more than a one and done though. Not sure what the theme was inside, then it’s just concrete outside.
Sat behind a couple of Indian blokes who after making such a huge fuss about getting on it, rode it with the most amusingly unphased stances. Clearly just a +1 for them as well.
Well that’s all the creds knocked out in 45 minutes again, better go check on my locker.
Went to Kung Fu Panda land from there. Another really, really nice area in the Dreamworks bit. Sadly the ride here was down all day, but could have been worse.
Shrek’s Merry Fairy Tale Journey it is then. Less than 0 expectations for this, cos ugh, Shrek. Absolutely loved it.
It’s just a retelling of the first film, but with the premise of Shrek and Fiona putting on a puppet show to retell the first film to their kids. This is styled really cleverly in a wonderful dark ride that’s packed full of great detail. It has some fancy ‘trackless’ moments with the vehicles splitting off from your neighbouring cars into a 2 lane path. In one of these in particular near the end, I’m not sure if it was just the sudden difference in scale of one of the sets, but the 2 cars end up side by side going into a big church scene that was a real ‘wow’ moment. Then the dragon eats the short bloke (in a hilariously low budget puppet show manner) and the wedding happens, the cars turn round on the spot, and the cardboard cut out guests in the pews change. Great stuff.
Panem Aerial Tour was a bit of a mixed bag. I thought it would be a flying theatre ride for whatever reason. Then once inside it made me start to think it was an immersive tunnel. In the end it was just a simulator in a curved screen. Similar with the story. Thought it was going to be as described in the preshow, just a nice sightseeing flight over the capital and some of the districts. Then there’s a signal breaking through and rebels talking, oh maybe they’re gonna interweave that plot a bit. Then the ride is mostly 90% just that plot, a bit of a high speed flying chase through the city in a sub par simulator and nothing like it promised. Was better in my head I think. Soarin’ over some fictional lands. Would have done the job better.
Positives though – another nicely themed queue with information about all the different districts, and then an actor as one of the nasty security blokes (peacekeepers?) sneaking up on people after the preshow and scaring them silly. Also the sign outside said 30 minutes, I asked if that was because it runs time slots, or from an actual queue. The response was “mmmmmm a bit of both.” It was actually a walk on.
Ghostbusters: Battle for New York was again, rather good. Slightly too high a ratio of screens for the shooting sections, but very nicely themed. Ended a bit abruptly. Didn’t take a picture.
The list just keeps going. Hotel Transylvania. No idea what this was. Absolutely loved it.
Another pseudo-trackless dark ride, the highlight of which is a huge open hallway with tons of crossed pathways and cars everywhere going in all directions between scenes. On the first go I was all alone for this moment and it just filled me with childlike excitement and glee.
Second go was ruined by having a couple of British tourists behind me constantly moaning about how bad it all was. Really?? You don’t know what good is. Can’t take them anywhere…
I normally skip drop towers unless I think they’re of particular interest, but it was so quiet everywhere I thought I might as well have a go on this one. 60 minute queue – 10 times the national average. Nope.
Hung around outside Underworld 4D, wondering whether it was actually open. The show time board was outside, but awkwardly blocking the door, and the exit shop was all boarded up with a sign saying closed. It was open. Yet again, a very nicely themed queueline. Preshow was a bit awkward, standing around watching a screen of clips from the movies(?) and some story about a vampire. The actual experience was rather bizarre. Obviously it’s more dark and graphic than your average 4D show. I liked the beginning with someone getting shot through the head synced with a water effect to the audiences faces, but it never got better than that. The rest is done from a POV perspective of the vampire bloke getting into fights, though the seat movements fell way short of what was going on. Need the Ben10 hardware.
The Smurfs Studios Tour had too many good rides come before it. It was alright. Did the job.
Think that was everything covered bar the rapids, which I had planned to vampire later. With a couple of hours to go until sundown, decided to go chill in the Dreamworks area again.
Had a very nice tofu & noodles dish from the Kung Fu Panda area (my kinda scene). Still a strong showing from the park food around here.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was alright. Couldn’t work out who made it. It had some interesting pacing, moments where it would almost come to a standstill before rushing off again. Not sure if they were planned or not. I got mildly wet, but it wasn’t brutal enough for my taste in water rides. Had possibly the weakest queue of the park too, comprising of just cattlepens and a couple of TV screens.
Dragon Gliders broke down for a bit unfortunately, but then it got dark and I had some night rides on Capitol Bullet Train instead. The former also fixed itself before the end of the day so I managed to finish on that high.
All in all, another great day. Properly impressed with the quality of attractions and overall appearance of this park and the bar has been set even higher now. Watch out IMG.
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.