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UAE September 2018

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by peep, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. peep

    peep Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Patrick and I have been aiming to head out to the UAE to grab the creds for the last year or so and we finally decided to go for it. Catching the end of their Summer we knew the weather would be gross (in terms of heat) but I don't think anything could have prepared us for what we experience (it should be noted that I would have reacted the same way with their average winter temps).

    Our journey began on Sat 8th September when we flew overnight from London to Dubai with Virgin Atlantic. The flight was fine apart from the entertainment system dying. Bless the lady in charge trying to get it to work, she must have spent a good hour or two trying to get it to work. It's fine, an overnight flight I think everyone planned to sleep anyway. I didn't get much sleep because it rarely happens for me on flights.

    Sunday 9th was a tough travel day after not much sleep. Neither of us drive so we planned to do everything on our trip via public transport. For some reason info is a bit sketchy in regards to this but we eventually opted to get the Metro out to Ibn Battuta (where the line currently ends due to it still being constructed beyond that - yet no signs allude to this which is weird). From there we got the big bus to Abu Dhabi. The site we used for our info hinted at a stop along the route which would be a good place to get off and get a taxi to our end destination but that was not a thing.

    Once in Abu Dhabi we got the 180 bus (after much faffing trying to get a Abu Dhabi travel card thing (like the Oyster)) which took us straight to our hotel in Yas Island - the Centro. The journey was long and exhausting, especially with the heat outside but it made getting up to our massive comfy hotel room even more worth it. We relaxed for a bit and freshened up before getting on the free Yas shuttle bus over to the mall. Over the next few days we spent a lot of time in this labyrinth so we got to know it well but for such a big place it was weird that maps were not a thing. After walking around we decided to start the holiday diet off well with a visit to the Cheesecake factory. I'll never get over the size of their cakes, so ridiculous.

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    Exhausted we went back to the hotel for a great night of sleep before our first park day.


    Monday 10th

    We headed straight over to the newest theme park in the UAE - Warner Bros. World. I was way too excited about this park and looking back on the planning we really should have led up to this place rather than starting here. So first interesting thing to note is that the shuttle bus and taxi rank for this park is shared with Yas Waterworld which is literally next door. It's a little insane that the entire exterior of this park is wrapped in images of the characters that lie within, it's quite a striking building when travelling around the area.

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    I'll apologise in advance of all photos after this point - my camera did not like the lighting and it's hard to tell until on a computer so most look out of focus.

    The ticket hall is fairly basic and bright and doesn't give a lot of indication of what to expect. The first "room" of the park is the Warner Bros. Plaza which is entered via two corridors. This massive room represents a more generic Hollywood vibe we're used to with Studio parks and it looks great. A really neat feature is that the ceiling is projected onto so the whole room can change between daytime/nighttime constantly throughout the day. The night setting feels really atmospheric and cool. The only thing to be found in the plaza are shops and restaurants and plenty of character meet and greets throughout the day. At certain times during the day the "cinema spectacular" is shown but more on that later.

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    We hadn't had breakfast yet so we popped into the little cafe which had an amazing selection of pastries etc on offer. The quality of the food was amazing and staff were very welcoming.

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    After our snacks we bumped into Scooby Doo!

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    We decided to spend the whole day at this park - so lots of time - so decided to walk around the park before checking out the attractions. We went clock-wise so started with Metropolis which is where you'll find all the Justice League stuff - the area is always at dusk. We bumped into Superman.

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    We passed under a train bridge which led us into Gotham City where we found Harley Quinn who got us to boo Batman. Gotham City is always set at night.

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    It was then into Cartoon Junction (always day time) where a bunch of childhood favourites appear - I wonder how many of the characters featured are even known by kids these days. I don't too much as I was LOVING all the references and style of it all.

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    We then pass into Dynamite Gulch which is the main home of Wile E. Coyote but also some other familiar but stranger choices...

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    The final area of the park is Bedrock - Home of the Flinstones.

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    Our quick lap of the park over it was time to check out the rides. We were going to start with the Flinstones log flume but it was experiencing a technical problem. No rush so we pop back to Dynamite Gulch where we do the Jetsons cosmic orbiter. This is a FAB family spinner where you sit in little space saucers and you can control them to go up and down and also 360 degrees. It is awesome. The location is odd and because it's located so closely to two rides of totally different themes the soundtrack gets lost a bit. Still, we had an awesome time on this ride.

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    We then bumped into Marvin the martian outside his ride - Yay! His ride is just a little dodgems-esque ride for the very little ones but it's cool that he got something (also his merch was AMAZING.

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    It was then time for the first rollercoaster of the trip - Fast and Furry-ous. The theming on this coaster is perfect. The ride however rides like most other Vekoma SFC which is to say it is rough. I don't know how these things ride so poorly (dodge wheel assembly?). Aside from that it's a fun family attraction with some fun on-board audio.

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    Back in Cartoon Junction where we were going to ride the Scooby Doo dark ride but once we stopped being fascinated by the highly detailed queueline we were informed the ride was experiencing technical problems. Seriously though the queueline is amazing with an insane amount of details relating to the story that occurs on the ride.

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    Upset we couldn't ride quite yet we headed to the next ride along, the parks second and last rollercoaster, Tom and Jerry Swiss Cheese Spin. Yet again the queueline theming is highly detailed and amazing. You start off going round the house which has clearly seen Tom chase Jerry and then you shrink down to the size of a mouse and find Jerry's bedroom before finding the cheese.

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    I was expecting a spinning coaster, what I wasn't expecting was a four-car train on a spinning coaster from Zamperla. The ride experience was pretty good but is mainly just a coaster with the odd lit up cut out prop and ends with a big 3D one but as it's a spinning coaster it is easy to miss the majority of what is in there. They might have been better off with a Gerst bob or something. So it's fun and pretty good for families but also feels like a missed opportunity.

    I think we were going to check out the other dark ride in this area - Ani-Mayhem - but that too was experiencing down time. Hmm, not having much luck with these dark rides so far. We pop into have a look at the ACME factory which houses a fast food place, shop, 3 small kids rides and a climbing play area thing for kids. It's extremely well themed with lots of cool props etc. Frustratingly a lot of cool things were hard to see from the ground.

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    Out of the other side of the factory we head into Gotham City from a different angle where we bump into Catwoman. Meow.

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    Both being fans of the films and Gotham TV show (we're aware it's terrible) it was great seeing so many references to all the characters everywhere. The whole place felt really cool. I should probably point out at this point that the "highlight" - Batman: Knight Flight - a dark ride using the same system as Potter was still not open by the time of our visit. Sounds like it still might be some time before they get it open as they are having some major issues with it. We were pretty sad about this as we were excited to see how they use the ride system but that was the risk of travelling here so shortly after it opened.

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    We decided to check out the Riddler disko-coaster. Merlin, pay attention, this is how you use a derelict warehouse as theming. The whole set up is fab, as the ride is going the lighting and music create an incredible atmosphere while the Riddler throws random riddles at riders. The ride cycle is also really long and with the whole way it's set up it feels fast and exhilarating. Who knew that'd be raving about a bloomin' disko-coaster? Seriously this was so much fun.

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    We were going to do the funhouse but it was closed for a cleanup so we opted to give Scarecrow: Scare raid a go. Being a spinny ride that can flip it's not our usual type of ride but we felt like we should. Riders can control the flip on the seats using a joystick. I should note that I'm a fan of Gerst skyflys. This ride however flips you at such a slow speed that it just caused insane amounts of headrush which was unpleasant. I was amused that I could see Batman standing on the roof as the ride was preparing to lower. He waved to anyone that spotted him.

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    There was noise happening in the center of Gotham... ooo a show! (Spoilers ahead) There was a rapper that was hyping up the Gotham villains. Then Harley Quinn appeared and talked to the audience to prepare us for a party. I entered panic mode as I noted her bag of things and that audience participation was about to occur - there weren't many victims for her to choose. Each group watching had at least one person she chose to pick on, I got told to smile and I got a hat! Ok this is fine and amusing. Carry on. Riddler joins Harley where they discuss their gift for the Joker. Joker then appears who is pretty awesome. Scrap that - all three were amazing. They then needed a victim. I panic again but some other poor dude is chosen and it takes a good minute or two to drag him up. Urgh. He's trapped and then inevitably saved by Batman who enters via a zipline.

    TANGENT TIME - Disneyland Paris decided to host a Marvel season this year with the lamest super hero shows you could ever imagine. They NEED whoever made this show. Tangent over.

    Villains scarper and the show ends and honestly aside from audience participation panic it was amazing, exactly how a super hero show should be done.

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    After the show all 4 characters can be found for photo ops. I HAD to get a photo with the Joker seeing as I had my little party hat.

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    Seeing as we were there and it had re-opened we then checked out Joker's funhouse. Very intrigued to see a themed funhouse. The queueline was cool and showed off the villains we might encounter inside. There was a preshow which was random and felt like something wasn't working. First thing was a mirror maze which was closed off by staff - think I know where the cleaning operation was. The concept of this whole funhouse is great, traditional funhouse segments you'd expect to see but themed to different Batman villains. However the reality of it is disappointing. So much space everywhere, just massive wasted space. Funhouses are best when there's just a constant barrage of THINGS, shouldn't be any time to have a chat between elements. Urgh, I just don't understand how they got this so wrong when the theme was so right.

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    Hitting a major sour note we moved on to Metropolis where we encountered a VERY enthusiastic staff member at the entrance of Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey. She tried so hard to convince us to go in with zero chance for us to be like "we were going in anyway". I think she was very bored. The queueline was well themed to a really ornate observatory. The ride is a flying theatre type thing and interestingly set up like a knock off I did in China (Joyland) and not any of the main style of seating.

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    Our experience didn't start off so great with this as once we were all good to go and the ride started up and then.... audio and no picture. Whoops, so they stopped and reset. For some reason the staff decided to then let a batch of people that managed to materialise in that short amount of time and it led to much faff. Burdenous. However we started up again and the ride went off without a hitch. This was actually a good use of the ride system and amusingly very similar to the previous knock off I mentioned in Joyland. A brief introduction to the different Corps and what they mean because no one knows anything about Green Lantern before going into a bad vs good battle which has some very good 3D moments. Some movements did feel repetitive but overall it was enjoyable.

    Outside we found the Flash looking lonely.

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    He was outside the Justice League ride which had a fab hall. Hang on... is that... people? Other people found the park!

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    The Justice League dark ride was interesting. It felt like a hybrid of Spiderman and Transformers but there was something missing. This feeling probably wasn't helped by all the backstory being set up in the queue which was just walked straight past but this wasn't helped with no random soundbite etc really explaining anything at the start (Transformers sort of has this issue). A weird thing was how huge but cramped the vehicles felt. The front panel also goes so high that if sat in the front row you sort of have to look up the whole time. I think if I didn't have the experience of similar attractions this would blow my mind as it is good, really good. I think the issue I had was they had psychical sets and while they looked good they felt...dead? For example a small smoke machine after something happening would have made a world of difference. I would like to applaud the use of a villain I've never heard of, I find Super hero rides tend to go for the more obvious/marketable ones.

    Next up was Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis. No idea what to expect with this and OMG another villain I've never heard of - well done creative peeps in charge. I think I'll put the experience in a spoiler tag in case peeps don't want to know...

    You start off by entering the Daily Planet's news studio where on monitors you watch Clark Kent and Louis Lane introduce us to the brand new drone cameras they're launching all over the city to record all news as it's happening live. These cameras are also 360 degrees. But there's a problem and oh no the roof is collapsing on the news anchors. Lights go out and then suddenly the studio building is gone and the massive 3D 360 degree screen is revealed and we're seeing the drone footage of the city being attacked by things. The show is long and the story is a bit weird (probably why I've never heard of this villain) but the scope of it is pretty good and I absolutely love that room disappearing effect.

    Overall it's impressive and it is great to see the 360 degree screen make a return to theme parks.

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    Back through the main plaza which is looking much brighter than earlier...

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    It was back to Bedrock for Flinstones which was now open. I love the theming on this attraction but I did grow up watching a lot of Hanna-Barbera and WB cartoons. The boats are weird in that they're made for two to sit in each row but only 1.5 adults could sit in the same row (maybe 2 very skinny adults). The ride feels like going through an episode which is kinda amazing, there's a very clear story throughout. It is a bit short and weirdly scenes have a mix of 3D models and 2D cutouts, there's also an unusual decision to have a turntable at the top of the lift hill (although it has a neat projection that syncs with it). There was a satisfying spray of water on the drop.

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    As we re-entered the Gulch area we spotted Wile E. Coyote! He walks around in an amusing way which made me happy.

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    We had another go on Fast and Furry-ous and the Jetsons orbiter. Both are great. We then got on the Scooby ride and it was fab! Like the Flinstones ride it feels like an episode of the show with a very clear storyline (even more if you pay attention to the queue). They have all the iconic moments you could ask for and with 3 trackless ride vehicles going around together there are unique moments for each vehicle and also (minor spoiler) a famous corridor chase sequence. I don't think I could ask for more from a Scooby ride as they absolutely nailed the feel of the show.

    Outside Ani-Mayhem we found Taz!

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    So, Ani-Mayhem. I had been looking forward to this as they'd been quite a lot of excitement on my Twitter regarding it. It's an interactive dark ride that goes through lots of different Warner Bros. cartoons. It felt like there was a lot going on and I'm sure there were plenty of easter eggs from the cartoons that I totally missed. It's really fun though and it has a small mix of physical and screen based targets.

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    Now having ticked all the rides off we decided to grab some food. We had lunch at one of the restaurants in the Plaza. The quality of the food was good. I did have a Tiramisu which was slightly disappointing but thats due to me being fussy. Food now consumed we went back to ride our favourites. We started with the Flinstones...

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    Fast and Furry-ous again before Scooby and Ani-Mayhem.

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    Did I say how much I love this part of the park?

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    We then bumped into some more heroes on the way to Gotham...

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    SPITEFUL THING

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    We rode Riddlers Revlotuion again because it's just very fun. Before our go a lady getting off the ride acted so weird that us and the ride ops had to keep looking at each other to be like "is she for real?". I think she was just acting up to show who she was with how much it took out of her but it was just bizarre. She fake collapsed after getting off the seat and then once on her feet stood by the ride op box being... hysterical? Can't say I've seen anyone act so unusual when exiting a ride.

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    We then had another go on Justice League: Warworld attacks. I took some time to appreciate the 2.5D effect they did with some of the backgrounds in Metropolis. Really helped give some depth to the backdrops.

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    That woman was being a faff, got too impatient to wait for her to get out the way

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    We then chilled out in the plaza area waiting for the Cinema Spectacular to start. This is such a neat concept but the edit of the whole thing was just... frustrating? It does show how many major movies and IPs Warner have put out over the years though and it must be kicking them that they let Universal have Potter in the parks. It was cool how they had projections all over the place, really used the whole room.

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    And that was the end of our time at Warner Bros. World. Some things I didn't mention were the shops and tat. The shops had incredible theming and the range of merchandise on offer was great (some things were slightly pricey). One thing that we found annoying because it was so quiet was the size of the queuelines. They have clearly built this place to handle big American park crowds but they didn't build shortcuts into the queuelines for when it was quiet which made re-rides a less desirable thing. However, as I'll probably moan as I go on, this was a common problem during the whole trip.

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    Either way this is a pretty amazing park. It feels like it is lacking a really big re-ridable attraction that draws in the crowds. I can't even pin what that could be, maybe a Big Thunder Mountain-esque coaster? I know they didn't want to be a coaster park as they wanted to be a complementary offer to Ferrari and not rival but maybe not having one big coaster harms it? I don't know where they've put it but apparently there are loads of expansion pads so if they do expand I'll be excited to see what they do. Will it ever pull in the crowds it needs to keep open? I hope so, along with one other park out there it feels worthy of attention.

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    We managed to miss the last shuttle bus to the hotel from Warner as it was before the park closed? So we walked to the mall to get it from there. That walk in the evening humidity was something. We were certainly glad to get back to the hotel after that.


    That's it for part one. Thank you for reading and I'll hopefully get part 2 (more Yas Island goodness) online soonish.
     
  2. Hixee

    Hixee Flojector Staff Member Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    Wow, that park actually looks great! It was so tantalising watching it's progress over a few months, but it just seeming to take so long! :p
     
  3. Dubaidave

    Dubaidave Well-Known Member

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    I’m pleased you enjoyed the park. I personally love it but it’s easy to think I’m biased.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. Benenen

    Benenen Well-Known Member

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    Excellent read, it's great to finally see a report from this park. Looking forward to reading about the rest of the trip :)

    When I was planning my trip for November I completely forgot about this park and only allocated a one day trip to Abu Dhabi. Would you say it's possible to do both Warner Bros and Ferrari World in the nine hours they're open or would I be better off picking one and doing a full day?
     
  5. peep

    peep Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Thanks! Hmm, I think it would be fine but you'd probably be slightly tight on time depending on how much of the parks you wanted to do. I think I'd visit Warner first, which with just the two coasters and main dark rides would probably take half your day (we went at a very slow pace and faffed with characters) and then head over to Ferrari so if there's time left you can get some re-rides in on the coasters. @Dubaidave - what do you think?


    Tuesday 11th September

    This day was a bit crazy, felt like we crammed loads into it. We started with a quick breakfast at the mall before heading to Yas Waterworld. I'm not a massive fan of waterparks but they have a cred so it had to be done.

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    We headed straight to the cred which was dry, made it feel a tad pointless. It was so quiet that the staff sent us round twice. We then had a wander and did some of the slides. I did my first waterbowl type slide and I admit I loved it, it may have slightly converted me on waterparks. After the very slow lazy river we even went back for more of those crazy slides at the back.

    We then checked out their new 5D cinema. Oh this was special and I'm very glad I made sure we did it. The film was made for the park and is all about the magic pearl disappearing and the girl goes on an adventure to find the magic pearl thing. She is helped by random animals and is followed by some creeps. The animation is ok, sort of straight-to-DVD quality. The thing that makes this a special attraction is the water features inside the theatre. Near the start there's random multi-coloured fountains dotted around the room (one was inbetween me and some lady) and then for the finale the room FLOODS. Like, not a little bit of water, but it floods to slightly above seat level. No idea what was happening in the film at this point because we were all distracted by the sheer volume of water coming in from everywhere. It was quite amazing.

    We then popped back to the hotel to change and that before heading back to the mall. We grabbed some lunch and then I grabbed the cred at Fun Works which is inside the mall by the food court. I had no idea what to expect as I never saw it in action. I was not prepared for a random spinny launch thing. My brain had no idea what was happening as it launched me into the corner and my shoulder made horrible contact with the horrible restraint. The whole experience was random and it went on for way too long.

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    It was then back to the other side of the mall for Ferrari World. Not really car fans, especially of Ferrari, we went in with very low expectations. It was sad to see Mission Ferrari still not being a thing. It was just sitting there in the way taunting us.

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    We decided to just do things as we came across them so first up was Speed of Magic. This thing had such awful throughput that Dave's warning it would be busy actually made me concerned we wouldn't get everything done. However lots of things amused me about this attraction. The pre-show was soooo American and like early-00s cheese, very random. The pre-load instruction video had an annoying character who proceeded to be at other rides in the park, this drove Patrick slightly crazy. The ride itself was a trackless dark ride of randomness which kept switching different themed zones. I was mostly struck by the random home-made feel of the physical sets between the screens. Like the park feels really expensive and then this theming inbetween scenes just looked cheap.

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    Next up was the duelling coasters from Maurer (hang on, really?), Fiorano GT Challenge. The lack of any queue for this made me realise that awful queue for Speed of Magic was just due to it being useless. This thing is super fun and exactly what a duelling coaster should be. My only complaint is a lack of any theming. This with a built-up mini city around it would just be epic. *stares at Universal and Fast and Furious*

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    The back and side of the Mission Ferrari building actually has a well themed Italian street. It almost feels out of place because so much of the rest of the park is bare metal structures. It is also home to another dark ride. We dubbed this one "Living with the cars" because the way it was all presented reminded us of EPCOTs "Living with the Land". It was essentially another trackless dark ride (although this time it felt more like they got a deal on the ride tech) that goes through the stages of how a Ferrari is made. It was honestly quite dull and full of moments where nothing happens.

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    We then placed our bags in a free locker for Flying Aces. I was so excited for this as Skyrush is amazing. The queueline is ridiculous! Why is it so immaculately themed with full on effects? Everyone else was running through and we were like admiring the projection on the face of the dude stuck in a tree. The place was so quiet we managed to get the back row. Patrick got given a nifty plastic thing to cover his glasses which was apparently worked wonders. This clearly needs to be a thing rolled out to everywhere.

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    The ride itself was brilliant, it was fast and smooth. That non-inverting loop was amazing, you fly through it so quickly. The corkscrew towards the end is another great moment. We instantly went round for a second go.

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    We then took it a bit slow with the vintage cars, I'll admit these looked classy. You pass various famous Italian locations along the ride which really clashes with the rest of the space.

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    Trying to have a sneaky look inside Mission Ferrari

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    After a quick refreshment break we headed onto Turbo Track which also required the use of their free lockers. I should point out that at both locker stations they had a staff member essentially helping everyone with it, made things quite efficient. The ride itself is actually a lot of fun. The queueline looks like it has a fun set up for it ever sees a busy day too. I also approve of the LED screens alongside the track so when the car goes it reacts to its movement. Adds a neat element to the whole space.

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    We actually enjoyed it so much we decided to do it twice. We passed by a driving simulator area, some of the rigs were pretty cool.

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    Next we stumbled across a flying theatre attraction, Viaggo in Italia. It was ok, it was a flying theatre with random Ferrari cars dotted about. Like an immersive car advert. Then it was Interactive spanners, otherwise known as Bennos great race. I actually like the theme and story for this interactive dark ride, it's actually original. The bit where you help build the car was a bit of a mess and we had no idea what was happening but aside from that it was really long with lots of things happening.

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    Then it was finally time for the fastest launch coaster in the World, Formula Rossa. The place was dead aside from us and some VERY loud Germans who were singing much to everyone's amusement. Not sure how long they were there for before we arrived but judging by the ride staff it had been a little while. Our first ride was right at the back. Wow this thing is GREAT. The launch is obscene, just keeps getting faster. I love that it actually has more of a layout after the launch too, just constant forces the whole time. Just like the Germans we ran around the stupid layout. We were just racing each other at this point... so many stairs... WHY? We just missed out on a front row so went towards the front. Still amazing.

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    This time we legged it and just about managed a front row. I don't think anything can quite prepare you for the sheer amount of force felt in the front row. The skin on my face and neck just constantly flapping the entire time, it was hilarious. The goggles hurt a bit by the time we got back to the station and it was so worth it.

    With limited time till the park closed we decided to grab a few more rides on Flying Aces and the duelling coasters. This time we managed a front row on Flying Aces and it was amazing. I wish the amount of time it took to get back round for another go wasn't so tedious, otherwise we would have ridden this so much more. Instead we probably got one of the last rides of the day on the duelling coasters. They'd taken off the other train by this point, going round the track with just us and no duelling action was a bit sad. However at night all the random flashing lights still makes it fairly exciting and it is just a solid fun coaster.

    That was our time in Ferrari World over. It far exceeded our expectations but more because it has such a brilliant selection of rollercoasters. Without them they have a mix of dark rides with varied quality.

    It was only 8pm so we went for a meal in the mall and then found the Hagen Daz cafe where we had ridiculous ice cream. It was a great day and I think we were both sad we were gonna have to leave the Yas Island bubble as it had been great.


    Thanks again for reading, will try and get the next bit online tomorrow night.
     
  6. Dubaidave

    Dubaidave Well-Known Member

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    I think you should be able to do warner Bros and ferrari world in one day. As long as it’s not a holiday or the weekend should be fine.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. peep

    peep Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Wednesday 12th

    Not a lot happened on this day. We started with brunch at the mall, checked out of our hotel and headed into Abu Dhabi via the bus. Much faff occurred when we tried to get a valid ticket for the bus to Dubai (very slow moving queue in the bleakest bus station ever). Several hours later and a change onto the metro once in Dubai we finally made it to our second hotel, Hyatt Place Al Rigga. It was a short walk from the metro station but with suitcases in tow it was still a lot of effort in the formidable heat. The hotel was quite fancy compared to what we're used to, the room was huge.

    Later in the evening we headed to a nearby mall which we decided to walk to - silly idea. It had a fab little area with little food and drink stalls and a big screen set up for films and other entertainment for the kids. A bubble tea stall was serving their drinks in lightbulbs with little lights in which I thought was neat. This wasn't mine but someone has left it behind...

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    That was kinda it for that day, so much travelling and very little else.


    Thursday 13th

    Time for another theme park then. We just missed the daily shuttle bus our hotel had so we went outside and got the next available taxi out to IMG Worlds of Adventure. The road layout from the motorway was ridiculous, felt like it kept going round in circles while the roads were surrounded with temp-looking metal fences covered in faded posters for the theme park. Not the best first impression. The park building is pretty impressive though. Turns out my camera had similar issues to Gavin with all the signs inside.

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    The entrance area is a bit open and sparse with the entrance logo being surrounded by the random IP selection (such a weird selection of things). The way the building is designed the interior feels more like a normal park that was trapped by a large dome rather than Warner Bros. which felt more like a building built for what was inside. I think this is what led to this park feeling really dark despite the mass of lights everywhere. I think the massive void of nothing above the buildings just killed the lighting but also the mood, it felt - empty?

    Anyway we headed into the Marvel area where we were met with a closed Hulk 3D which was down all day for reasons.

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    We didn't do the Thor top spin as we weren't really in the mood for that type of ride. I appreciate the theming though.

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    So our first ride of the day ended up being the Spiderman spinning coaster from Mack. We actually had to queue for a while for this as this park wasn't empty! On top of other guests existing it turned out the staff on this ride were the worst I think I've witnessed. Once it was finally time for us to board we were loaded and one of the ride team decided it was a good time to disappear for who knows what reason. I think she must have gone for a good 5 minutes while we just sat in the station like a bunch of lemons. When she came back she was trying to green light us out of the station before even checking her side of the train (not sure why her colleagues didn't do this while they waited). There was just a general lack of care amongst the staff but luckily this wasn't much of a problem elsewhere in the park so maybe we got unlucky with the only team in the park that desperately need to be trained.

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    The ride was fun from what I remember with a little more effort in some of the buildings inside than I was expecting. I did want another ride on it later on in the day because the queue and station loading tainted our experience somewhat but the queue just kept getting longer throughout the day so didn't bother.

    Oh well, next up was Avengers: Battle of Ultron. Wasn't really sure what sort of quality to expect from this and it was somewhere between Merlin and Uni/Disney level. Like the effort was great but in so many places it felt cheap like despite having a pre-show room before load you still wait in the loading area while the previous group are being seated. The actual ride was pretty good though and it was weird seeing one of these big multi-media trackless dark rides with a different vehicle and seating arrangement.

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    I should note that we waited less than 5 minutes for this, despite the park being fairly busy Spiderman was only one of 3 rides with a queue.

    Next up we entered Lost Valley - the Jurassic Park knock-off. First in this area was the standard Eurofighter, Predator. The theming in this area was actually pretty decent. The ride was standard with a rather nasty knock about half-way round.

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    This climbing area for kids was pretty neat but it also completely hides the entrance to Velociraptor which we managed to walk straight past.

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    We then joined the 10 minute queue for The Forbidden Territory - a jeep ride. I had zero expectations for this and was pleasantly surprised. It was quite long with lots of animatronic dinos but the ride/story ends pretty abruptly.

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    We then headed into the Cartoon Network area which was full of kids IPs we knew nothing about (apart from Powerpuff girls which only has a simple flat ride). We walked up the many stairs to the Adventure Time: The ride of ooo. One word can very easily sum up this ride - weird. I sort of appreciate the use of space by sort of being a suspended monorail above the area but having small scenes as you pass through the buildings. Unfortunately as peeps unfamiliar of the show everything happening was a little bit lost on us. I also wasn't a fan of the audio levels being wrong everywhere (vehicle would be loud and then so quiet in show scenes and show scene audio speakers being so loud that it was distorted).

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    Time for another IP based ride we were unfamiliar with... The amazing world of gumball. This was very popular and I could see why, this was an interactive ride that was actually super fun.

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    We then waited in the area for the next showing of the Ben 10 5D show by sitting in the Cartoon Network cinema. This was just screening random episodes of their shows and it just happened to be showing some Ben 10 while we waited. Good bit of research to know what we were getting in for. The 5D cinema was absolutely massive, definitely one of the bigger park theatres I've been in. All the seats were motion based too so it was quite an impressive set up with a suitably huge screen. The film was actually quite fun and was much longer than I was expecting. Towards the end the motion got a bit ridiculous but overall this was one of the best 5D shows I've seen.

    We then stopped for a spot of food in the area - a fairly tasty burrito. We then headed to Velociraptor but caught up in a weird show thing going on in Lost Valley. There were like tribe peeps doing some dancing (to late 90s techno) and then a raptor came to join them and then it sort of turned into a meet and greet.

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    Anyway, Velociraptor. A Blue Fire clone stuck in the desert with an insanely huge cattle pen that was empty. I also still don't get why they hid this down the back of the area with no signage. If we didn't know it existed we could have easily not known of it being there. The desert hasn't been good to the track with it being fairly rough. It's still a fun layout but I'd rather just pop to Europa.

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    Essentially done we decided to give the Avengers ride another go. I preferred it much more second time around.

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    We did IMG in 4 hours and we faffed with food and the show. I think you can probably tell but I wasn't a fan of this park. In my defence I had been spoiled by Yas Island.

    We then got a taxi to Festival City which was another large mall with good reviews on trip advisor. It was ok, fairly standard. Very busy though due to the IKEA being a thing. The small kids land train decided that playing the baby shark song was a good idea though, had that in my head for hours afterwards. Once it got dark we headed outside as there was a fountain show. Not just any fountain show (well this is Dubai) but a fountain show with the largest projections onto water (oooooo). There were two different shows that alternated throughout the evening. It was actually pretty impressive with the projections on the hotel/flats next to it being pretty fab. The show also had short bursts of fire and that is always a plus. Standing at the front also got us the occasional light spray of water which was lovely in that evening heat.

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    We then had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. I am so glad we went here - everything about it was amazing. The staff were just incredible, the space was huge with a stage for live music (which we also got!) and the food was mental. Note for those who like a tipple - they have one of those rare liquor licences so have some alcohol on offer (which is pretty expensive). I honestly think it ties for best Hard Rock Cafe (with the one in Orlando).

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    After food we popped back outside to catch the other fountain show which was great. It was then a bus and metro back to the hotel which wasn't a bad journey (apart from trying to find the right bus stop!).



    Thanks again for reading, next bit up in a mo.
     
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  8. peep

    peep Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Friday 14th

    This was our day dedicated to grabbing mall creds. We actually narrowed it down a bit due to the faff of public transport. I'd like to recommend the Wojhati app which is Dubai's official app for public transport. It was pretty useful with very specific directions etc. However sometimes we'd need to cross the road to catch a bus and that wasn't always 100% clear and the physical bus stops weren't exactly too helpful. Still we started our day by heading to City Centre Mirdif which has a Magic Planet. Once there we got distracted by the Costa and it's ridiculous frapp which was just artificial colouring and I wouldn't recommend.

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    The cred wasn't exactly special...

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    We then made our way to Etihad mall, it should have been a simple journey but we messed up the bus connections and ended up having to get a taxi as I was literally melting in the sun. This mall was a bit rubbish, not helped by the fact most of it was closed (weekend hours? - the supermarket was rammed). Kiddieville was random and it was slightly awkward as it was just us and the staff. The staff kinda ignored us for a while and then what seemed like a supervisor came over and then let us get the cred for free. Yay!

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    We then caught a bus or two over to the Sahara Centre which is where Adventureland lives. This place was a lot more awesome with a whole world of kids rides crammed into a decent space. It had a bunch of theming and three creds so I was happy. First was the green motorbike cred which was unusual (more for the location) but was fun.

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    The other two creds were both powered coasters with one for kids and one a bit more thrilling. They were ok for what they were.

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    We then headed to a non-cred mall due to it appearing on the trip advisor list. It had Egyptian theming so I was intrigued by it. The Wafi mall was so very clearly built in the 90s, felt like we entered a time warp to a British shopping centre from the 90s. The stained-glass bits were cool but it all felt a bit depressing? It did have quite a big and nice looking Souk themed area hidden in the basement. Overall I wouldn't recommend it though, so many better places to go.

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    We then headed back towards the hotel by visiting Al Ghurair Centre which houses a Sparkys entertainment centre. I think due to how busy it was the only option to get on the cred was to buy a card with way too many credit on so we bailed as it was way too much for one cred. Grabbed a meal somewhere and grabbed an early night ready for another busy day.


    Thanks for reading, will hopefully post the next part on Thursday.
     
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  9. peep

    peep Moderator Staff Member Moderator Social Media Team

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    Saturday 15th

    I was pretty excited for this day as we were meeting up with the amazing Dubai Dave. He kindly gave us a lift to Dubai Parks and Resorts from the end of the metro line. This is yet another bunch of parks in the middle of nowhere. Dave was giving us some interesting back story as to why they chose their current location etc (close to proposed metro line extension and World Expo) but the metro line will no longer be going out to the parks as they changed the route. Whoops. There is a bus service to the resort which for some reason the staff at the resort don't know much about but that app I mentioned in the previous post has the whole schedule in it. We mis-judged the arrival time by quite a bit so we had like 45 minutes before the parks opened up so Dave gave us a tour of Riverland, the resorts version of a Downtown Disney/Citywalk.

    The area is actually really well themed and looks great but so many of the restaurants are now sitting empty or look closed due to the UV protection on the glass. We also took a sneaky little look at the Six Flags park. There was some work going on but no idea what, it's still very much a bunch of sand with the odd pile of construction bits.

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    We were walking around like a bunch of British idiots but there is a free golf buggy service but their route is... odd. Our first park of the day was obviously Motiongate. The entrance is pretty cool. This is where I'll mention that I am a sucker for movie-themed parks.

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    I like this photo as it shows a family using a map

    We got to the entrance a bit early so waited around with the 20 or so other people that had arrived. No need to run to the biggest attraction which was kinda... nice. Still, we obviously headed to the Hunger Games Mack in the Lionsgate area.

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    I do sort of like how the park is divided into the different studios they managed to get licences from. However this area only contains Hunger Games, maybe one day it'll expand with their other IPs (the map does suggest the big theatre is part of the area but it totally isn't). We had to throw our stuff into a free locker before making our way through the long but very empty queueline. There was a decent amount of theming thrown in there with lots of hints to the films. Dave was amused to point out a random Kuka arm that is just plonked by the side for "theming" and that there are others in the park just sitting idle in random queues.

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    Like the other Mack shuttle launch I've ridden, Star Trek at Movie Park Germany, it was a fun ride. Once on the ride though there is a massive lack of theming, would have been cool to have at least has a structure to pass through at some point. Due to the lack of a queue we went around for another go.

    Next up was Panem Aerial Tour, an immersive tunnel ride with a big budget. There was a weird moment in the queueline where we clearly had to wait for a pre-show but there was a lack of staff around so as more peeps turned up we just sort of forced our way into the pre-show. The pre show has the fab Elizabeth Banks which I think shows they wanted this to really feel part of the IP. The visuals were pretty amazing but immersion was broken when some idiot got their phone out and an employee got on the tannoy to give them a monotone telling off. Overall it was decent, as good as these things can be.

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    A kuka arm just chilling in the corner

    It was then over to Columbia Pictures for a whole bunch of random Sony-owned IPs. First was the Green Hornet cred. I still find it weird this film now has a coaster, it didn't exactly set the box office on fire and I don't think people really remember it being a thing. A shame the budget clearly couldn't stretch to complete the theming so the coaster was enclosed. Still, a Gerst bob is always a fun time. Oh I also think it's interesting that the stuff on the queueline TVs essentially fills people in on the whole concept of the film for those unaware.

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    Theming doesn't do very well in the desert

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    Next up was the Ghostbusters interactive dark ride. I was looking forward to this but maybe I should have lowered my expectations a fair bit beforehand.

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    Yet again the queueline TVs fill the park peeps in on the whole concept of the film, who the characters are etc. The ride itself has the right concept but is thrown into a very small space and is quite bright throughout. The ride essentially only goes around a big room with the "trackless" vehicles sitting in front of one screen or set before turning around and moving a bit to the next one. (I now realise it is hard to describe without it sounding like every interactive dark ride). I mean, I suppose it is fun but it is a lot more basic than I was expecting. The bit you'd also think would make for a good finale is also like half-way?

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    Next on the Sony tour was the Hotel Transylvania dark ride. The queueline had some impressive theming and the exterior was also pretty fab. I loved the concept of this ride but it moves so slowly that I was bored about a third of the way through. The set up is great, you take a tour of the hotel and all the different rooms you tour are just sitting off from one big corridor (similar to my favourite bit in the Warner Bros. Scooby ride). However due to how slow it is and how open everything is you pretty much see everything within a minute of being in that room.

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    Then it was time for the shot/drop tower themed to Zombieland (so random). I think the concept of the waiting area would be amazing if it was like... busy. The ride was good though, some decent air time was had.

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    zombie hand trying to grab a sweet

    We then had some lovely time in the air con for Underworld 4D. I appreciate the use of a big adult IP and I actually appreciated the in depth pre-show with the backstory of the franchise (not a set of films I've got round to watching). A lot of the vfx was a tad dodge but overall I liked it, was refreshing to have something different.

    It was then time for the rapids themed to Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. It was a fairly decent rapids with a bizarre section in the middle where it lost momentum and went very slowly.

    Leaving the Columbia Pictures area and into the Smurfs village now we took a ride on the Smurfs studio tour "trackless" dark ride. It was ok for what it was.

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    Then we took a ride on the Smurf Village express (Gerst family coaster) which was very fun.

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    Having been outside in the heat for a long time we were already exhausted but it was finally time to enter the huge blue Dreamworks building. We were aware ahead of time thanks to Dave but the How to train your dragon area was closed due to reasons. Very spiteful as I've been so eager to see what other people do with the amazing Mack suspended power coaster tech. Still the entry statue makes quite the impression once you enter the building.

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    We headed into the Shrek area first. It was impressively themed, sort of felt like a slightly higher budgeted Plopsa indoor. The big restaurant in this area looked fab but was shut - a lot of food establishments in the park were shut on our visit but every shop and game stall were open. Anyway we headed into the dark ride based on Shrek. This. This was great. I'm not a fan of the franchise (it got played to death around the time of the second film) but this was impressive and totally the sort of thing that Universal should have. It had some really cool quirky moments and I loved that two vehicles went around together and they switch around etc in the bigger rooms.

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    Dave unfortunately had to say goodbye at this point but it was fab getting to spend most of the day with him and getting the low-down on everything in the resort. Patrick and I continued onwards to the Madagascar area (another franchise I didn't get on well with). This is themed more to the third film so its all circus themed which gives the area quite a good energy with lots of dynamic lighting. I was excited for this coaster because Gersts are great but there was a fundamental thing about this coaster that I had forgotten about. It's a Eurofighter but only with a launch, no lift hill. It is amazing, the launch is perfect and the odd bit of theming worked perfectly with the theme. Just an overall fun coaster.

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    Oh and it was my 900th cred!!!

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    We had so much fun we went round for seconds. This time there was a large woman who didn't seem to be a fan of the idea of going on a ride, let alone a coaster. She looked like she was going to get off and then just stayed. Like me she was not anticipating a launch. Welp. I've never heard someone scream and visibly hate every second of a ride like that. By the time we hit the brakes she was balling her eyes out and was not a happy bunny. Whoops, her partner was never gonna hear the end of that.

    Sooo.. Kung fu Panda is also a thing in this building. Only a flat ride and something mysterious in this area so we decided to take a "quick" break and grab a bite to eat now we'd seen somewhere open. Mr Pings noodle shop has INCREDIBLE food, like, soooo much amazing food. However that place is run so poorly, a severe lack of communication and general slowness. After some initial confusion you have to just take up a table and hope that someone notices you and gives you a menu before you die. Once they finally remembered we existed it then took a good 30-40 minutes before we got food. We had to force a bill out of them too. It's frustrating because the food was amazing but the service wants me to deter people away.

    Whatever, there was one more ride to check out... Unstoppable Awesomeness. No idea what this was and we joined a random cluster of fellow clueless peeps. The queueline theming was amazing. Still no idea what we were heading into though.

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    So there are two pre-shows for this. A tad excessive but it sets up a fun little story. The ride itself is a motion simulator that acts as a raft boat. Prepare for a decent amount of water effects. The film was actually pretty good and luckily not in 3D (I think that would have caused motion sickness as it's a similar set up to Back to the Future/Minions at Universal).

    We didn't feel like re-riding anything again so perused the main gift shops before moving on to the next park... Bollywood Parks.

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    So this felt odd, the massive theatre at the back of the park was being used in the evening for a Bollywood film awards so down the middle of the park was a massive red carpet with the marketing boards etc.

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    We decided to go to the left side of the park first. This meant we stumbled right into an empty queue for Don: The chase. The setup for this immersive tunnel ride was pretty simple, some dude called the Don is being chased down by you (coppers) through Dubai because reasons. The queueline had some decent theming but we were stood around for what felt like ages, occasionally a quick glimpse of a staff member would happen and they'd be like "soon. soon". The ride experience itself felt a lot cheaper than the Hunger Games one, the visuals were awful. There were some very bold cuts in the edit which in a motion simulator is a brave choice - it just causes confusion and disorientation to those paying attention, not fun. The whole thing was just random and was quite hard to follow.

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    We then continued round the park which I have to say had some wonderful theming (which I didn't take photos of?). We got caught up by some little Bollywood dance number thing that was happening outside the stunt show theatre. Good to see some live entertainment, does bring a park to life even if there is a lack of crowds. Unfortunately we missed the stunt show, had a feeling that would have been fab too.

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    We did however pop into Sholay: The hunt for Gabbar Singh. An interactive dark ride. I really liked this, the animated characters were amusing and there was an insane amount of targets (although this caused it to lag a fair bit at times).

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    Then it was time for the most uniquely themed simulator I think I'll ever experience. Kudos to the design team, this was quite something. They turned the story of a cricket match into like a giant animatronic figure pinball coaster thing. The rest of the peeps riding this had clearly never ridden anything like it before with a bunch shouting "again!" like bloomin' Teletubbies.

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    I'd also like to point out my favourite themed ferris wheel...

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    We then made our way to the other side of the park, admiring the huge theatre along the way.

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    This side of the park housed two superhero themed rides in the suitably titled "Hall of heroes". This is where we found a massive tour group from India who were very annoying, zero understanding of personal space and how to queue. We started with Ra.One Unleashed which looks like it's based off a pretty big film. The theatre was massive and was just a 4D film. There was a very cool pre-show which I probably enjoyed more than the main show but overall it was pretty decent.

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    Opposite was Krish: Hero's flight which was a flying theatre. One of the previously mentioned tour guide peeps nearly bloused with this but was pressured by his mates to ride, he seemed to love it though unlike the Madagascar cred lady. It was an ok attraction that is basically a Soarin around India that then gets a bit more exciting with a superhero finale. The vfx for the finale were pretty decent.

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    We then left in the hope we could still do Legoland before it closed.

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    Unfortunately we got to lego 10 minutes before they closed, not really enough to run in and grab the cred and appreciate the miniland. Sort of burdenous but it gave us something to do the next day.

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    So some thoughts about Motiongate and Bollywood Parks. I enjoyed both more than I was expecting to. Motiongate doesn't really work being mainly outside and you really feel the budget cuts in some places. Still a bit gutted about Ghostbusters being short and Dragons spiting. Still it has some great rides with the Dreamworks area being a big stand out. Bollywood had some amazing theming but it feels like there's not a lot to do? I'm sure they'd be more we'd enjoy if we were more familiar with the IPs too.

    We then got the bus to the end of the metro line where the Ibn Battuta mall is. We decided to have a mosey around this impressive looking mall and grab a small bite to eat. So what we didn't know beforehand is that Ibn Battuta is a man, "a Berber Muslim Moroccan scholar and explorer who widely travelled the medieval world." This mall is themed to him and his travels and it's FAB. We kicked off with the Egyptian area.

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    Each section had a display of some sort, whether it be a small animatronic or small collection of artefacts and info boards about the places he visited. Next was Persia, then India and finally China. Turns out we missed two bits on the other side.

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    Casual ship was my fav. Just a ridiculous amount of theming for a shopping mall and I loved it. We then headed back to the hotel for some rest after a very hot and tiring day.


    Thanks again for reading, next part will probably be online Sunday or Monday.
     
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  10. Hixee

    Hixee Flojector Staff Member Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    Good to hear you'd had a good day. Those long days in the sun are pretty hard work out there!

    At some point I'm hoping work send me back out there, to give me an excuse to visit all this new stuff that opened a few months after I left! :p
     
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  11. HeartlineCoaster

    HeartlineCoaster Well-Known Member

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    Interesting read so far.
    Shame you had some odd staff issues, one of the things that really sold me on the place was how exceptional all the staff were, absolutely everywhere.

    Just to weigh in on @Benenen's question - if you've made allowance for the absolute maximum operating hours, I'd probably hit Ferrari at opening, just to do everything once while it's empty, then head over to have your fill of Warner. Should hopefully end up back at Ferrari again for the evening, Flying Aces at night is not to be missed.
     
    Hixee likes this.

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