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UAE: Unlucky Among Extremes - Day 3, Part 3: Warner Bros

JoshC.

Strata Poster
I have a habit of taking ages to write my TRs, and I've no idea how long this will take me, but let's get started...although no creds / parks reports in this post.

At time of writing, I came back from the UAE yesterday. I spent 3 full days in the country, along with a day to fly out and a day to fly back. So it was a short trip, designed to minimise cost and maximise creds per day. The country has lots of FECs / mall park creds - primarily in Dubai - which I didn't bother with. I focused primarily on the big parks and creds for this trip.

Day 0
Flying Out
The whole reason this trip happened is because I found cheap flights on the off chance. I changed careers last year and became a teacher, meaning my trip planning has flipped from avoiding school holiday to only being able to do school holidays. Whilst idly searching for trips I could do over February half term, I found ~£400 return flights (including checked baggage) with Ethiad, flying out on the Sunday and back on the Thursday. Other days worked out more expensive. I booked very much on an 'act now, plan later' thought.

The flight from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi was fine, and I landed and got through security just after 1am local time. Rather than hiring a car just to drive to a hotel, I booked the Premier Inn hotel at the airport, and then chose to hire the car for Day 1. The hotel was actually a 10-15 minute drive away, but there's a free shuttle bus to and from the airport. Check in was nice and straightforward.

Driving in the UAE
Before I go into park reports and reviews, just a word on driving in the UAE. I'd heard some negative and scary things, although my mind was put at rest thanks to the UAE planning thread I set up (thanks to everyone who responded!).

Of course, I only drove in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. And I didn't actually go into central Dubai. But I found driving in the country easy and straightforward. Signage is clear. Google Maps works mostly very well. Motorways have several lanes so there's little congestion. Driving around Abu Dhabi to go to my hotel was pretty easy too. Whilst, in comparison to the UK, the driving is less defensive, just keeping an air of sensibility about oneself makes it very easy driving out there.

Hire Car
I went back to the airport to collect my hire car on Monday morning, using Europcar.

Now I'm not sure if it's because it's the UAE or because it was my first time using the company, but the check in and collection process took a lot longer than any other time I've hired a car. I wasn't in a rush, but to anyone who is planning to do something similar, maybe keep this in mind. Also, despite being advertised as a "full to full" petrol tank service, it was in fact "like for like", so I started the trip with 5/8 of a tank. Again, not a big issue, but just something which happened.

I'll also say that, whilst I haven't hired many cars, this was easily the worst hire car I've had. It was a Nissan Sunny and seemed fairly old. Don't get me wrong, it did the job and drove perfectly. Maybe my expectations were just a bit skewed because I thought 'UAE = nice cars' and I'd lucked out with other hire cars. But again, just something worth mentioning.

Day 1
During the collection of the hire car, I got an alert sent to my phone...
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This was a bit of an unexpected twist - I thought I was in for a hot desert holiday, not bringing the UK weather with me.
There had been some rain during the night, but nothing serious. It meant there were some puddles, but nothing crazy. Nothing I would have thought an alert was needed for at least. But this is the UAE; rain isn't exactly something they're used to I guess.

My plan for Day 1 was as follows: Legoland Dubai, Motiongate, Dubai Hills Mall (Storm Coaster), IMG World of Adventure and Global Village, in that order.

A lot to fit in, but since I expected things to be quiet, and the opening hours for the parks aligned nicely, I expected it to be achievable.

I'll stop things here for now, to be continued shortly. But spoiler alert: the day did not go as planned...*dun dun dunnnn*
 
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JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 1, Part 1 - Legoland Dubai

Driving to Legoland Dubai was easy enough. Whilst I did know that Lego, Motiongate and Real Madrid World were owned by the same company, I didn't actually realise until I arrived that the Dubai Parks and Resorts were all on the same complex, connected by an area called "Riverland". Was pretty cool.

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Walking up to Legoland just before 10, there were SO MANY people...7 people were waiting for the park to open. You can also see the puddles from the rain, looks pretty standard.

For what it's worth, I didn't pay for entrance to Legoland. I got a free ticket from a friend who works for Merlin. This meant I was very happy to just speed through the park and move on. After all, this didn't have anything particularly noteworthy, so it was just a simple cred run really. It also worked nicely, since Legoland opened at 10, but Motiongate didn't open until 11.

First port of call was Dragon
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I was the only guest anywhere near here, so got a solo ride.

I've done two Legolands before (Windsor and Billund), so this 'new' Dragon was actually completely new to me. The dark ride section had potential, but quite a few of the effects weren't working, which was a shame. The outdoor section is fun for what it is, definitely the best coaster section of all the Lego Dragons I've done.

I then went to the nearby Dragon's Apprentice, again getting a solo ride. At this point I still hadn't seen any guests since the entrance, and lots of staff sweeping away the puddles.

There were only a couple more attractions on park which interested me, namely their indoor shooter, Lost Kingdom Adventure, and Submarine Adventure, their SeaLife style attraction. LKA was terrible: it had those clunky Sally Corp guns and was very very short, and SA was an exact clone of Windsor's...I did hope it was a little different.

I wandered around the outside of the park for a while, just taking it in. It's a very cookie cutter, by the books Legoland park. The lack of people did mean it lacked any sort of buzz or vibe, but the park itself is fine. I did like that the park was primarily outside, but had lots of cover. Obviously much needed for the region, but differentiates it from lots of other parks nearby which are primarily indoors.
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With the whole park explored, I went back towards the entrance and to the park's Miniland area, which is sensibly indoors. The area is reasonably small, and the lack of people highlighted that there was no audio in here, which I think would have really enhanced the feel of it. However, as with any Legoland Miniland, it was pretty cool:
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The only other attraction at the park which caught my interest was the Lego Factory Tour, which was a Behind the Scenes look at how Lego is made, and ends with you getting a personalised brick. This is by the park entrance, but the staff member at the front said it was a 45min to 1hour long experience. Whilst I probably could have had the time for that, I didn't exactly want to risk it, especially when I was more interested by other offerings in Dubai, so I skipped it.

And so that brought an end to my time in Legoland Dubai, after about 45 minutes. Definitely the shortest amount of time I've spent in a new park. Possibly the shortest amount of time I've spent in a park full stop. It's hard to imagine the need for anyone ever spending a full day here given how quiet it is (the park was open 10am-7pm). But heyho, it's definitely an addition to area, and one can see where it fits into the vision for Dubai Parks and Resorts.

The final thing I have to say on LLD is how wonderful the staff were. An unsurprising common theme for the trip is how brilliant customer service is, and generally how nice people are in the country. Staff were welcoming, accommodating and chatty here, even ones who I was just walking past whilst on park.


Day 1, Part 2 - Motiongate
I took the gentle stroll across to the other side of Riverland and arrived at Motiongate.
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Just before the park opening, there were more than TWO DOZEN people here. How would I cope with such heavy crowds?

Outside of Ferrari World, Motiongate was the park I was looking forward to the most. It seemed to have a good selection and variety of creds, as well as wide variety of other attractions, plus plenty of different themes. I was particularly excited for the Lionsgate area.

Just prior to opening, however, a manager got the attention of the 30 of us there to make an announcement. He said that due to the weather the previous night, many rides would not open when the park opens, and that some rides would not open at all today.
He listed off the rides which would not open at all, which included the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs rapids, the park's drop tower and - to my surprise - the indoor Madagascar coaster. He then rattled off a long list of rides which would not open at the start of the day, which was pretty much all the outdoor rides.

Presumably the outdoor rides were closed due to the weather affecting morning safety checks, although the closed all day rides were a random selection.

We were told they would try to open up rides as quickly as possible, but no guarantees could be made. If we entered, we would have no right to a refund because of the poor ride availability, but if we chose to not enter, we could exchange our ticket for a different day.

I thought long and hard here. I didn't like the idea of waiting around, potentially for hours or completely fruitlessly, for the outdoor rides to open. I had intended to spend a few hours here, so it wasn't that big a deal, but it didn't make sense to enter the park and risk having to leave before coasters opened. Since the hotel I was staying at was in Abu Dhabi, and I'd be passing the park on my way back, I decided to not enter the park, do the other attractions closer to central Dubai, and then return later, in the hope that all the rides would be open.

This did tweak my plans a bit. Motiongate was open till 8pm, Storm Coaster till 10pm, IMG 9pm and Global Village opened from 4pm-midnight. I probably could have stayed at Motiongate and still had time to do everything, but I didn't like the idea of risking missing out. I wasn't *that* fussed by Global Village, and I hadn't bought a ticket for that, so I was happy to leave that if needs must.

So I bid a temporary ado to Motiongate, and embarked on the 30ish minute drive to the Dubai Hills Mall....

Coming soon: A Storm Coaster brings more than I bargained for.
 

Howie

Donkey in a hat
Ooh this will be interesting. I saw on Fb that you'd quietly slinked off to Dubai without telling anyone and thought to myself 'I wonder if he'll do a trip report? 🤔
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 1, Part 3 - Dubai Hills Mall
The 30 minute drive to Dubai Hills Mall was again easy, and even being closer to central Dubai didn't cause an issue. This was where I had the first issue with Google Maps, however, as the location I used from the Mall website took me to the valet parking area, as opposed to the main parking area. Not a big issue, but a reminder that Google wasn't infallible, and to keep an eye out for signs too.

Another quick thing to mention here is how parking is free at major places, like the parks and these huge malls. With most theme parks charging for parking (and some charging ridiculous amounts), this was a refreshing change of pace for my travels. Also welcome, considering the high costs of park entry.

The Storm Coaster opened in 2022 in its own 50m high dome. It was very easy to see from outside the mall, with the dome standing out from the rest of the building, and a huge sign attached to it. Dubai Hills Mall is, unsurprisingly, HUGE. However, there are plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction towards the roller coaster...
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And indeed, after a trek around the mall, I found what I was looking for...
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Storm Coaster holds the world record for the "fastest vertical launch roller coaster". Now we'll get this out the way: the 'launch' isn't anything to write home about. It's more a quick lift hill (indeed, I'd say Intamin's cable lift hills are probably quicker). But heyho, world record gotta world record I guess.

I had booked a ticket online for this. Online, you get the option for 1 ride, 2 rides or 3 rides, with the price per ride becoming cheaper the more you book. I opted for 2 rides, which worked out at about £21 (although I now see it is currently on offer: 2 rides for the price of 1). One ride is about £14. However, booking online doesn't give you the option to buy a front seat, which you can seemingly only do on the day. A singular front row ride here costs about £19 - NINETEEN GREAT BRITISH POUNDS!?

I exchanged my QR code for my ticket and off I went. I was the only rider. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this had a pre-show, which at least bumps up the value for money a bit more. The pre-show takes place in one of those fake lifts, and talks you through the story of the ride. Basically, you're part of a team who is investigating storms, and a tornado is approaching Dubai. We're right in its path, and the only thing to do is to ride it out. It was a well-themed, well done pre-show.

From there, it's onto the ride. Sure enough, the restraints for the front row were pulled down, and I had no chance of sneaking in a front row ride. Instead I opted for row 2.

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Storm Coaster is a solid ride all round. The launched vertical lift hill, as said, is nothing special, but the ride picks up a good rhythm, circling around the dome in an almost polar-coaster esque style. The first inversion is a funky outer-twist and pretty cool. The ride has some fun, but unspectacular, pops of airtime. Towards the final third of the ride, there's a second inversion, a more traditional dive loop, which again is good fun. Unfortunately there's a pretty obvious trim on the exit of this which kills the rhythm of the ride, and makes for a pretty neutered ending.

Going back into the station, staff keep up high energy, with clapping and cheering. They then suggested I go to the back for my second ride, and sit on the left side of the train rather than the right, to get as much a different experience as possible. This was my plan anyway, but it was again this high-quality UAE customer service I'd quickly come to expect, and really appreciated.

I had hoped the back would offer some stronger airtime and hangtime, but surprisingly it didn't. I don't quite know why, but Storm Coaster seems to very much be a front-of-the-train ride.

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There's not really many views you can get of the ride, so apologies for the terrible shots..

I think I may be downplaying Storm Coaster slightly, as I did really enjoy it, and it tetters on the cusp of my Top 10%. But I think that's more because it's a quirky Intamin which has been well designed, rather than people a genuinely good ride. In saying that, if this wasn't a pay per ride, I would gladly ride it again and again and again.

So I'd taken on the Storm and lived to tell the tale. I grabbed a quick bite to eat from the Mall, and made my way over to IMG Worlds of Adventure. The weather was a lovely 22 degrees Celsius, and so not only was I leaving The Storm Coaster behind, I was leaving the Dubai storms in the past too...

Next time: Things start to go wrong.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 1, Part 4 - IMG Worlds of Adventure

I pulled up to IMG, with the aforementioned 22 degree weather, and a rather empty looking car park
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I spy a Mack launch coaster

IMG worked out as the most expensive park I visited on the trip, at about £78, so there was a level of innate expectation about this park. I was actually pretty looking forward to it too.

IMG is a park which is effectively all inside, and after entering, the quality of theming and styling within the park was pretty damn good...
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They were also celebrating Chinese New Year at the entrance

My first stop was the aforementioned Blue Fire clone, Velociraptor:
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Unfortunately, it wasn't open. Not knowing if this was a small thing or a big thing, I went up to the staff member out front and asked
"Due to the current weather conditions, it's not open yet. But it will open today, just keep checking back"

...

Wait. The current weather conditions? You mean, the sunny, 22 degrees, nice and calm weather outside? Huh.

Okay, I know that that's still on the low end for the UAE. And I decided to give the benefit of the doubt since there had been bad weather earlier / last night, and that might have affected engineering checks earlier. So I decided to be undeterred and go along to another coaster...

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I like the entrance logos to the rides

IMG is the World of Clones when it comes to creds. Predator is a Eurofighter 320+, aka a Rage-at-Adventure Island clone. I've ridden that and Falcon and Duinrell, so I knew what to expect with this.

The ride itself was smooth enough for this. Annoyingly, operations for this were slow. And it was only running one car. The queue was long (a solid 30mins) as a result. The queue dragged on and on.

This was a theme for the day. I decided to get the remaining cred, the long-winded named Spider-Man Doc Ock's Revenge, a Sierra Sidewinder Mack spinner clone. I've ridden Storm Chaser, so knew what to expect. This again ended up being another long queue, about 40 minutes, with slow, one train operation.
The ride itself was fine. Aside from a small section of the ride which you can see in the main pathway, it's all pretty much in the dark. This takes away from the ride experience slightly, also leaving me feeling a bit queasy.

I went to check back on Velociraptor. Still closed. So I went back to the Marvel area, as I was aware there was some cool dark rides in the area. Hulk Epsilon Base was shut. Avengers Battle of Ultron, which I believe is a Spiderman at IOA style ride, had a long-looking queue; the staff member at the front said it was about 2 hours. TWO HOURS.

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It looked and sounded cool, despite not being a big Marvel fan, but for 2 hours? Nah.

The park didn't seem to have a lot of people, yet they seemed to struggle. Operations were painfully slow. Whether that's a standard for this park, or the weather drove people to the park, or the time of year, or what, I do not know. But it wasn't the best feeling to be in.

I had to keep an eye on the time at this point too. It was coming up to 3pm now. I wanted to experience as much as the park as possible, but I had a 30-40min drive back to Motiongate, plus doing that park, all by Motiongate's 8pm.

I disappeared away from the Marvel land and back to the Lost Valley dinosaur area. Velociraptor still closed. Instead, I went to The Forbidden Territory
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(Image stolen from here, as I didn't take that many due to rushing)

This didn't have a long queue, people-wise, but still took a while. But damn, it was worth it. The ride is a journey through a forest, to rescue a missing team member, in a trackless vehicle themed to a jeep, where you unsurprisingly encounter dinosaurs. There was a fantastic blend of real sets and screens. The trackless technology was used very well. Lots of great effects. The story got a little lost, but when it comes to it, it's just a simple "see the dinos, escape the dinos", and shouldn't need any more. I don't have a track of my top dark rides (yet), but it's definitely something that would be high up there!

This left me feeling somewhat conflicted. The quality of the theming was great here. They had a wide selection of dark rides, and based FT, I could see them being high quality. I could spend the rest of the day here, and skip Motiongate. As I hadn't used the ticket, I could go on another day, or get a refund. But I really wanted to do Motiongate, the second-most anticipated park of the trip. And going on one of the 2 other days would be unrealistic, due to being based in Abu Dhabi, and only doing Abu Dhabi parks, for the rest of the trip.

I ticked off a couple of things that had short queues. This included their scare maze, The Haunted Hotel:
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I was curious what a UAE scare maze would be like. In short, okay. Very well themed. A convoluted story which was lost straight away. Actors were lively, but there weren't too many. It was light on scares, though.

Two things stand out to me. Well, one and a half I guess. The half is there was a moment which caused our group to chuckle, but I can't remember now what it was. So it can't be that memorable. The other is that they had a classic chainsaw scare. But rather than using a prop chainsaw like most parks though, it was a plastic chainsaw with some loud vibrating thing attached; it sounded like an automatic pencil sharpener I guess? Not great.


I then went back to, yep, you guessed it, Velociraptor. Still closed. New member of staff out front. I know that these staff usually don't know / can't say much, but I thought I'd have a chat and see again. They said something slightly different, which was along the lines of 'It's not open because of the bad weather we had earlier, we're trying to get it open, but can't guarantee anything'.
That sounded less positive than earlier.

The park didn't seem to be getting any quieter. Velociraptor seemed less likely to open. I didn't feel like spending hours in queues, even if the rides were good quality, when there was another park I could get instead. So I cut my losses and run.


So, what can I say about IMG?
Due to how much I tried to pack in on this day, and unfortunate weather, I didn't have long to spend here. I had to rush through, which is probably not the best way to experience this park. Obviously the operations and long queues at the park didn't help, neither did the ride closures.

The park looks fantastic. And there does seem to be some quality attractions here too. But I didn't get the time to experience them. So yeah, this really should have been a park I dedicated a whole day to. Or at least a half / two-thirds of a day as a minimum. A shame, but planning mistakes happen.

Still fuming that they couldn't open a Mack launch coaster in 22 degree sunny weather though.


I left the park, and greeted by a more overcast, but still pleasantly warm, outside. The journey back to Motiongate was uneventful, and I arrived at about 4.15pm, giving me a solid amount of time to experience the park...hopefully.

Next time: What could go wrong when the creds come flooding in?
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 1, Part 5 - Motiongate Again

I rocked up to Motiongate at 4.15, and it was pretty quiet.
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Before entering, I was again told about the closed rides of the day: Madagascar coaster, rapids and drop tower. I asked if that was it, and they said "Yes, everything else is open at the moment", which was a promising sign.

I made a beeline for the Lionsgate area, as this was my most anticipated area...

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I spy two creds

I headed straight to Capitol Bullet Train, the Hunger Games-themed Mack swing launch coaster. I've ridden one of these Mack swing launches before (Star Trek at MPG), and it was fine, albeit largely unremarkable.

Bullet Train had a wonderfully themed queue line, with cool announcements and audio to boot. The story of the ride is you need to take a high speed train to the Capitol, which requires you to do a lot of non-standard train manoeuvres, like a couple of inversions and airtime hills. The nice theming continues to the station, but that's where it ends. It's a bit of a shame that the transfer track to the swing launch is outside and unthemed. If they put that inside, even with just some lighting and audio, it would be perfect.

The swing launch is fine, and sends you straight into a vertical loop. The ride then goes through twist, turns, airtime and another inversion, hitting the break run, where it turns out you've now arrived at the Capitol. Which is also the same station we were originally at. Huh, seems like we could have avoided a lot of faff.

Stupid comment about the story out the way, Bullet Train is better that Star Trek, but is a fairly middle of the road, bog standard coaster. Nothing wrong with it, and a good coaster in context of the region, but nothing to get excited about.

Next stop: John Wick: Open Contract
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It's one of those S&S Freespins (and as photo'd above). I've done one of these before - Joker at SFGAd - and, as someone who hates flipping and spinning, I was very unsure on it. I loved the out-of-control, insane feeling of it, but equally hated the amount of flipping. But y'know, man's gotta get his creds.

The first thing to say about Open Contract is that, once again, the theming in the queue line is fantastic. The coaster itself, meanwhile, is very much just plonked down on a piece of land. I guess that with this being one of two coasters the park bought (salvaged?) from the failed Six Flags Dubai project, they just made things work.

As for the ride itself? It was less chaotic than my experience on Joker, maybe because of different weighting. But it still had enough flips to be hateable. The lack of chaos means I'd rate it lower than Joker as a result.

Next on the list, another Lionsgate coaster...


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Now You See Me: High Roller
is a Maurer spinner, again salvaged from Six Flags Dubai. A reoccurring theme, unsurprisingly, developed here: an amazing themed queue line (with screens and effects), and a bland, unthemed ride area.

This ranks as one of my favourite Maurer spinners, only behind Winjas. It had a non-inverting loop, which I think more of these spinners should have...as an element, it lends itself nicely to inducing spinning. The rest of the layout was pretty nice, again, allowing some good spinning, with a good length too. It just ticked loads of boxes. If it had a bit of theming / atmosphere in the ride area, that, again, would really enhance the experience.

3 creds ticked off very quickly, all walk-on. Wind speed was starting to pick up now, which was a bit of a worry for me. My thought process turned to getting all the creds at this point, in particular, the outdoor ones. So I went to the other side of the park and got Smurf Village Express, a Gerstlauer family coaster, and Green Hornet: High Speed Chase, a Gerstlauer Bobsled in quick succession. No photos here, as I rushed a little bit here. Smurf coaster is a +1. Green Hornet was good fun; I have a bit of a soft spot for Gerst Bobsleds, and whilst this one maybe doesn't hit the heights of the Cobra-at-Paultons model, it's still good fun. It also featured a little bit of theming around the ride!

With that, there was now only one (open) cred left to get: Dragon Gliders. Located indoors, inside the huge Dreamworks building on park, I went in there. The Dreamworks area features a few different sub-areas within (How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar). Entering the building there's a division which clearly leads into 3 different lands, but there's no sign of how to get to How to Train Your Dragon. I was a bit confused, but then I realised you could get there by going through Shrek land.

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The area, and indeed the Dreamworks building entirely, was fantastically well themed.

Now, onto Dragon Gliders. This is one of those Mack Inverted Powered coasters, where the cars are capable of spinning. I'd heard a lot of very good things about this ride type, so was very excited.
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So, the ride. Bloody phenomenal. This is a story driven experience with lots of animatronics, detailed real sets, screens and projections, all seamlessly blended together to create a fantastic ride. I was genuinely blown away by the level of detail and the sheer quality this ride offered with its theming. Towards the end of the ride, you go around the top of the HtTYD area, which is a great visual both on and off ride. It's awesome.

The one thing I will say, however, is that it's hard to call this a coaster. This is basically a dark ride. I don't know what the other two of these rides are like, but it's hard to say whether it doesn't feel like a coaster because the park chose to not create a coaster, or whether it's a limitation of the ride type. But yeah, aside from the gliding over the area, this ride went at a dark ride pace, and rode like a dark ride. Even then, the gliding over the area wasn't exactly quickly.

I mean, I'll count this as a cred, I guess? But this really has blurred the lines for me between coaster and dark ride. I don't see how I can rank it as a coaster either. Also, if this is a cred, then Droomvlucht at Efteling is definitely a cred, just saying.


With creds acquired, it was time to move onto the park's copious dark rides. I decided to go to the nearby Shrek boat ride.

As I was approaching, I heard a siren/alarm. "Hmm, that's a cool effect," I thought to myself, "Wonder what ride that's for?"

I then realised that everyone was heading in the same direction. And that staff were rushing around a little bit. How foolish and naïve I'd been! That siren wasn't a piece of theming, it was an evacuation alarm!

And I quickly realised why there was an evacuation alarm going off...
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The building was letting in a tonne of water. Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to get a photo of water flooding into a building whilst being evacuated, but hopefully you can see this.

Everyone was being gathered to the front of the building, but not be guided outside, thanks to the monsoon-style rain which was happening there. Presumably due to the large leaks throughout the building, staff needed to gather everyone in one place.

I've also put up some (again, low quality) videos onto Twitter, to demonstrate what the situation looked like a bit...


It was a surreal situation. I imagine that buildings in the UAE aren't built with rain in mind quite as much as other countries, which would go a way to explaining why some buildings may leak. But I'd never seen anything on this scale before in person, and it's one of those things you see on the news as a really bad situation I guess.

The heavy rain continued, and it quickly became apparent that the entrance to the Dreamworks building was not the most suitable place to house the couple of hundred people who were there. Water was flooding in through the shops (which are either side of the main walkway when you enter the building)...
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The whole area turned into a paddling pool at best, and some parts of this area (the shops in particular) had quickly become ankle-deep in water.

Staff then guided us to the Shrek area, having to go along some pathways which were 1-2 inches deep in water. This area seemed a bit drier, and had some higher-level pathways up some inclined pathways.

I checked the weather report (maybe this is something I should have done more attentively earlier?), and it suggested that this would be a short shower, but there would be more, prolonged, heavy rain later.

I'd been in the park for barely an hour. I'd managed to get the creds, but nothing else. Although, honestly, at this point, getting more rides didn't feel like a priority at this point. There were thoughts of how long this storm would actually last in mind. How difficult it might be to drive to Abu Dhabi. Whether this storm would affect the rest of my trip. No one seemed particularly panicked, but there was definitely an air of uncertainty about.

Fortunately, the storm had eased away, and then staff guided us out of the building, handing out free ponchos for everyone along the way.

From here, it was an interesting situation. Some staff were already out and about and trying to sweep the water away. Major pathways were completely flooded, some to what seemed to be shin-level. At this point, I noticed that there were some staff guiding people in set directions, stopping people going down certain pathways. I had a sneaking suspicion that this meant the park was closing.

I checked in with a staff member and they confirmed this suspicion. They said that because of the flooding, and likelihood of more storms, they've had to make the decision to close. Fair enough and understandable, given how things looked. Staff seemed, understandably, stressed, but also were doing well and keeping everything under control.

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The main street was particularly bad; seemed to be shin-deep at its worst. Looking back, I don't think these photos do justice the depths of the flooding.


Exiting Motiongate was just the first hurdle though. The Riverland area was also pretty damn flooded. In fact, it was worse than inside Motiongate. Lots of areas which were very deeply flooded. Staff were about and telling people to wait as there would be forms of transport to take people to the car park. Some people didn't wait and waded through the shin-deep water. I was not that brave and hung about.

The transport to take us to the car parks was in the form of open-sided buses. I imagine they have them for some sort of tour attraction? Staff were squeezing as many people as they could onto these. I heard one member of staff say, verbatim "Everybody squeeze up, we're in a state of emergency and need to get everyone out as quickly as possible". The phrase "state of emergency" threw me a bit...this sounded a bit more serious. Whether this was just a way to get people to squeeze up, a phrasing from higher up, or just a staff member panicking a bit and wanting to get home quicker, I'll never know, but yeah.

Anyways, a couple of buses later, I was on. Here's how the entrance to Riverland looked...
1708807128979.png

The only way for the buses to travel to drop us off at the car park was through a staff area, which was even more flooded. The depths of the water were so deep that at points water was flowing into the open-sided bus. I got a very quick video, but was also slightly terrified of dropping my phone into the water and losing it forever (I'm clumsy okay):

And so I left Motiongate just after 6pm.

My hotel, which would serve as the base for my trip, was the Premier Inn in Abu Dhabi (not the airport one), and was just over an hour away. The drive was...eventful. Many roads were flooded, particularly around motorway entrances / exits. The UAE's huge motorways, at points 8 lanes wide, were moving into 1-2 lanes at times. And then the rain came again. Heavy storms, hugely affecting visibility. And night-time quickly set in, adding further trepidation. Fortunately, with these conditions being unusual and extreme, everyone was driving with extra caution. The journey ended up taking me about 1hr 45min, but I ended up in one piece.

It seemed like the weather in Abu Dhabi hadn't been as extreme as around Dubai. And, even better, the weather was meant to be significantly better (28 degrees and absolutely zero rain). At the hotel, I relaxed ad unwound. I saw on news websites that, in Dubai, the threat of the storm meant that the government had advised that all but essential government workers work from home, and they encouraged schools to operate remotely in the area. As the day had gone on, and especially in the evening, they were advising against travelling unless it was essential. So I wonder how bad central Dubai was.

But yeah, this was an experience and a story and a half.

Motiongate Round Up
It's hard to really give a round up or proper review of a park you didn't do much of due to being evacuated thanks to a huge storm and flooding. But what I can say is that Motiongate looks very good, and they clearly have a great selection of rides and experiences. Staff are great. It's a park which, unsurprisingly, I want to return to, so I can experience it properly. Whether I'll end up with the chance to do so is unclear right now, but yeah, I certainly wouldn't say no (as long as the weather is good!!)


And that ends Day 1.

Coming soon...Spite, Spies and Sun at Ferrari World
 

gavin

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Did you get a refund?

Sorry, I mean "glad you got away safely" etc.

I think I'm one of of few people who prefered Star Trek to Hunger Games.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
No refund.

Admittedly I didn't ask, but where they said at the start of the day that anyone who entered wouldn't have the right to compensation if they chose to enter, I just naturally thought that there'd be no chance of getting anything back.

I guess I could still send an email and ask mind..


Interesting as well that it seems like Hunger Games is more widely preferred than Star Trek. I'd've thought it be a bit more an even split.
 

gavin

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
No refund.

Admittedly I didn't ask, but where they said at the start of the day that anyone who entered wouldn't have the right to compensation if they chose to enter, I just naturally thought that there'd be no chance of getting anything back.

I guess I could still send an email and ask mind..


Interesting as well that it seems like Hunger Games is more widely preferred than Star Trek. I'd've thought it be a bit more an even split.
Yeah, there's very little between the two really.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 2, Ferrari World Part 1 - The Big Stuff

Bright blue skies greeted me when I woke up. A much better start, and the weather was set to still be hot and sunny all day.

Day 2 was to be solely dedicated to Ferrari World. Easily the one I was anticipating the most, and seemed to warrant spending a whole day too. The park was open 10-8 too, which meant that even if it was busy, there was plenty of time to get everything done.

It was about a half hour drive to Ferrari World from the hotel, so I set off with plenty of time to get there for opening. Unfortunately, there was a closed road which Google Maps didn't pick up on (police were on the scene, so I'm assuming it might have been a recent thing). This led me on a diversion which added a further 20 minutes to the journey.

One thing which I didn't realise about Ferrari World is how the entrance to the park is actually in Yas Mall, which is attached to the park. Given how huge Yas Mall is, there's a ton of parking areas for it. Even though I set Google for Ferrari World car parking, and eventually followed signs for it, it seemed to take me ages once I arrived at the complex to find somewhere to park. Even when I did park up, it felt very unclear how to get into the mall and the park. In the end, I wandered through a random restaurant and quickly found the park, arriving at half 10...

1709401003604.png

Approaching the turnstiles, a member of staff greeted me with the amazing UAE-customer service I'd become accustomed to. They explained to me that there were two rides which wouldn't be open, one of which was Formula Rossa. He very much emphasised how Formula Rossa was closed, pointing to the huge picture of it by the entrance, and saying "the fastest roller coaster".

This was, of course, gutting, but not unsurprising. It had been closed for the previous 3 weeks or so, and had been listed on the website as "unavailable until further notice". So I had little hope that it would, and my expectations were already set for that. Still, it was absolutely gutting knowing I wouldn't get it, given it was naturally one of the biggest draws for this trip. Just another bit of unlucky-ness amongst the extremes I guess.

At time of writing, it is still closed. As I understand it, there was an unexpected with the ride, and they're now combining repairing it with annual maintenance. So it hurts a little less knowing I didn't miss it by a few days.

With entering gone through, I decided to make my first stop Mission Ferrari, knowing it was a temperamental beast.
1709401452125.png
Of course, it's such a temperamental beast that it wasn't open yet.

Undeterred, I moved onto the duelling Maurer coasters, Fiorano GT Challenge...
1709401571331.png
...which was also closed.

Intamin won't fail me (twice), though, right? So I made my way to Flying Aces...
1709401663912.png
Closed.

Well, at least I didn't get here for opening I guess.

At this point, I'd made my way around half the park and successfully managed nothing. Fortunately it's not too big, it wasn't too busy and I had plenty of time. One ride which I could definitely tell was operating was Turbo Track:
1709402041031.png

Whilst it's obviously a very basic ride, I was actually looking forward to this. Launch with airtime hill. Fun-looking spiral. Backwards and forwards travel, along with backwards and forwards cars. Should be quite quirky.

Didn't have a long queue and only one station was running. I was quickly on, and got the back row, so no awkward facing of people.

And the ride was...underwhelming. The launch(es?) were weak. The airtime didn't really exist. The spiral was alright but nothing memorable. And, most importantly, there's just nothing to it.
In a world where we've got things like Toutatis, and even smaller swing launch rides like the Mack triple launches, and even stuff like Pulsar, this doesn't have anything going for it. There's just nothing that of note to it. Sure, it adds to the Ferrari World line up, and people who haven't ridden those ride will get a kick out of it. But it just doesn't hit the spot for me sadly.

Since I was going round the park, I figured I'd have a look at the Formula Rossa area.
1709404144743.png
The rope of closure was accompanied by two members of staff who must have drawn the short straw in the staff briefing this morning

I wandered around the park, and one thing which surprised me was that the park actually had some really nice theming. The facades of some of the buildings looked fantastic. The Italian area in particular looked lush, and this is where my next ride was:
1709404331338.png

Made in Maranello is a very basic, tracked dark ride which is a big advertisement for how Ferrari cars are manufactured (I mean, tbf the whole park is one big Ferrari advert, but this is the biggest advert within the advert). The ride itself was fine. Largely screen based. It had effects sprinkled throughout, some working, some not. As someone who has a very limited interest in Ferrari and F1 in general, it's not a me thing, but I can appreciate it for what it is I s'pose.

There was a group of people outside Flying Aces at this point, and it sounded like it was about to open. And indeed, after a couple of minutes of waiting, the doors were pulled open. I stored my stuff in one of the free-to-use lockers outside the queue entrance, as per the park rules, and went through.

The first thing that I noted was how amazing the queue was themed. The ride is themed in the WWI-era, and it really feels like you've been transported to that sort of era. The feel and tone of it is spot on, and there was some themed audio throughout too.

I was set for the second train, and was on row 5, outside seat. Flying Aces was running one train, and the operations were pretty slow. It was a bit painful waiting for one train cycle. There was a very weird quirk to loading as well: you are batched into rows and stand behind doors, meaning you can't see the station. When the doors open, you go through but are then stopped by the ride's airgates, meaning the row of 4 can't all get through the door. Moreover, the airgates don't open for another 15-20 seconds. All unnecessary faff.

Anyways, onto the ride. Restraints are comfy. The lift hill is hilariously quick. First drop is glorious, as is the non-inverted loop. The first half of the ride features some nice intense moments, high speed turns and a couple of fab spots of airtime. After that though, the ride feels like it doesn't know what it wants to do. Does it want to continue with the intensity and high thrill it started out with at first? Or does it want to be a more graceful flight, perhaps mimicking that of the the flying ace the ride is themed off? Is it a recovery period? Who knows.

What I do know, is that following the first half, the second half feels a bit flat. It either should have gone for full out intensity, or the ride should have been designed so this grace and elegance was how the first half was designed. Nonetheless, it is still a fantastic experience, and one which I couldn't wait to re-ride.

1709405389831.png
There's a viewing platform by the exit. I checked it out post-ride
1709405421248.png
1709405440809.png
Check out the glorious blue sky


As I exited Flying Aces, I heard a remarkable rumbling noise. A certain coaster was testing, with two staff sat on it.
I made my way back over to Mission Ferrari. There was a few more people loitering around, and a staff member stood by the ride's lockers too. It wasn't open yet, but it certainly seemed like it was due to open soon.
1709406600219.png

Sure enough, after a few more test runs, it opened. It hadn't truly sunken in that I was about to ride this, a ride which spent like...9 years under construction? I was on the second car to go, so fortunately not long to wait.

I'll post a spoiler review, since I think it's best to know as little as possible about this before riding, and I realise not many on here have ridden it.

Before going any further, let's start by saying about what I did know about the ride. I knew it was an SFX coaster, with multiple launches, two inversions and some forms of trick track, likely including a sideways drop.

The queue was well-themed, leading to a huge cattle pen area which again was nicely themed, with a video playing telling the backstory a bit. I later realised this was a very short video and is a bit of a missed opportunity.

The ride starts with an on-ride pre-show. On a screen, you're shown by a research scientist some cool features of a new Ferrari car. My first ride showed it was resistant to ice; it could get frozen over and still drive. This seems to alternate between different scenes; on a future ride, it showed it being fire resistant.

Anyways, we're told to take the amazing Ferrari car to Maranello, but to be aware, because there's an evil group - Viper - wanting to steal it. We turn a corner, and immediately come into contact with this rival group. They're easily identifiable; they glow in a florescent green. Maybe not the best colour for a secret evil organisation. There's a few special effects, lights, gun shots, animatronics. All very cool. The theming here was also pretty damn good too.

You're then launched, going out of the show building, to the airtime hill and corkscrew that we've seen oh so much of. The launch was fun, but the airtime hill and corkscrew were a bit clunky, and not the smoothest. The weird car shape created some interesting forces too.

Another show scene occurs, this time purely on a screen, where a Viper helicopter has tracked us down and is attacking us. Fortunately we survive, after having to do a slight reverse to avoid being destroyed, before going down a very steep drop (which took me by surprise), and a small coaster section, before going to another show scene.

This show scene takes place in a domed screen area. The Viper organisation has once again tracked us down and attacking from all angles. The car has moved onto trick track, which is a see-saw. At this point, the ride becomes a full on dark ride within a coaster; the track tilts back and forth matching the movements on screen. It's a bit of a visual overload too. This simulator experience is better than some simulator dark rides I've experienced full stop. At some points, it even felt like the track and car were being rotated, but it was just clever movements and screen display.

As the show scene is completed, you're released backwards for the next coaster section. This includes a vertical loop. Now, I don't know what it is about backwards vertical loops, but I bloody LOVE them. This was fantastic, and again, the unusual cars seemed to add to the experience here. This part of the ride was surprisingly smooth too, given what the airtime hill / corkscrew was like. We do some more twists and turns, go backwards pass a Viper helicopter (a real piece of theming), before landing on a set of breaks and going into the next show scene.

We've stopped at the end of a street, which blends together real theming and a screen. The Viper helicopter has tracked us down again. We're really not good at getting away, and these seem like some sensible and smart-enough villains. And sure enough, the head of Viper screams at us that it's time to die, but we manage to attack the chopper and a large explosion follows. The real theming of the street includes some cars, which 'fly up', albeit not very convincingly. This then leads the car to go down the sideways drop, which is rather clunky and uncomfortable unfortunately, but at the same time, rather exhilarating.

Unfortunately, if you're sat on the left-side of the car, you can see the drop plain and clearly; it is not hidden at all. As I say, I pretty much knew this was coming at some point, but given how unpredictable the ride had been to this point, I genuinely wouldn't have guessed prior to seeing it that it was happening then. It's a shame that it couldn't be concealed in some way, either by a door which opens on cue, or with a wall attached to the sideways drop mechanism. It would just add that bit extra to the experience.

And this, somewhat unexpectedly, brings an end to the ride. After a short while to process what has happened (and for the track to align I assume), we slowly make our way forward, and it turns out we've completed our mission, we're congratulated by spies and Ferrari staff for a successful mission. In-story, it very much feels like we lucked out; the Viper organisation seemed to be much better prepared, much more powerful and reasonably smart and resilient. I hope they manage to regroup and take over the world with the special Ferrari car or whatever, they seem like they've got their act together tbh.

All in, despite being rough around the edges, I really enjoyed Mission Ferrari. It blends a coaster and dark ride really well together. It's long enough and has enough stuff to it that it doesn't feel like it compromises on either of those, nor does it suffer an identity crisis. It clearly knows what it wants to be. There's good theming and special effects throughout. I also really like the audio/music used.

For a ride which was so expensive, and took so long to make, it perhaps shouldn't be so rough around the edges. And certain things are done for the sake of it (the sideways drop being the key example). But it's still actually very impressive.

For a non-spoiler review:
Mission Ferrari is a real blend of a coaster and dark ride. It knows what it wants to be and does it well. There's some cool theming and special effects throughout, and a story is present (albeit, not the best). It shows what the SFX coaster can do (although, of course, with Dynamic Attractions dying out, we won't see how they could have developed it). Then again, Intamin have kind of become a spiritual successor to the SFX coaster model with their multi-dimensional coasters I guess.

Mission Ferrari is rough around the edges, but still really enjoyable. The coaster elements are a mixed bad, some are a bit uncomfortable, some are wonderful. But it's a real full-on experience that I rate highly.

1709409019155.png

I'll leave the report here for now. It's long enough and I can't write any more for now. The rest will be about the smaller stuff at the park I guess, and also a climb on the roof...
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Day 2, Ferrari World Part 1 - The Big Stuff

Bright blue skies greeted me when I woke up. A much better start, and the weather was set to still be hot and sunny all day.

Day 2 was to be solely dedicated to Ferrari World. Easily the one I was anticipating the most, and seemed to warrant spending a whole day too. The park was open 10-8 too, which meant that even if it was busy, there was plenty of time to get everything done.

It was about a half hour drive to Ferrari World from the hotel, so I set off with plenty of time to get there for opening. Unfortunately, there was a closed road which Google Maps didn't pick up on (police were on the scene, so I'm assuming it might have been a recent thing). This led me on a diversion which added a further 20 minutes to the journey.

One thing which I didn't realise about Ferrari World is how the entrance to the park is actually in Yas Mall, which is attached to the park. Given how huge Yas Mall is, there's a ton of parking areas for it. Even though I set Google for Ferrari World car parking, and eventually followed signs for it, it seemed to take me ages once I arrived at the complex to find somewhere to park. Even when I did park up, it felt very unclear how to get into the mall and the park. In the end, I wandered through a random restaurant and quickly found the park, arriving at half 10...

View attachment 30104

Approaching the turnstiles, a member of staff greeted me with the amazing UAE-customer service I'd become accustomed to. They explained to me that there were two rides which wouldn't be open, one of which was Formula Rossa. He very much emphasised how Formula Rossa was closed, pointing to the huge picture of it by the entrance, and saying "the fastest roller coaster".

This was, of course, gutting, but not unsurprising. It had been closed for the previous 3 weeks or so, and had been listed on the website as "unavailable until further notice". So I had little hope that it would, and my expectations were already set for that. Still, it was absolutely gutting knowing I wouldn't get it, given it was naturally one of the biggest draws for this trip. Just another bit of unlucky-ness amongst the extremes I guess.

At time of writing, it is still closed. As I understand it, there was an unexpected with the ride, and they're now combining repairing it with annual maintenance. So it hurts a little less knowing I didn't miss it by a few days.

With entering gone through, I decided to make my first stop Mission Ferrari, knowing it was a temperamental beast.
View attachment 30105
Of course, it's such a temperamental beast that it wasn't open yet.

Undeterred, I moved onto the duelling Maurer coasters, Fiorano GT Challenge...
View attachment 30106
...which was also closed.

Intamin won't fail me (twice), though, right? So I made my way to Flying Aces...
View attachment 30107
Closed.

Well, at least I didn't get here for opening I guess.

At this point, I'd made my way around half the park and successfully managed nothing. Fortunately it's not too big, it wasn't too busy and I had plenty of time. One ride which I could definitely tell was operating was Turbo Track:
View attachment 30112

Whilst it's obviously a very basic ride, I was actually looking forward to this. Launch with airtime hill. Fun-looking spiral. Backwards and forwards travel, along with backwards and forwards cars. Should be quite quirky.

Didn't have a long queue and only one station was running. I was quickly on, and got the back row, so no awkward facing of people.

And the ride was...underwhelming. The launch(es?) were weak. The airtime didn't really exist. The spiral was alright but nothing memorable. And, most importantly, there's just nothing to it.
In a world where we've got things like Toutatis, and even smaller swing launch rides like the Mack triple launches, and even stuff like Pulsar, this doesn't have anything going for it. There's just nothing that of note to it. Sure, it adds to the Ferrari World line up, and people who haven't ridden those ride will get a kick out of it. But it just doesn't hit the spot for me sadly.

Since I was going round the park, I figured I'd have a look at the Formula Rossa area.
View attachment 30113
The rope of closure was accompanied by two members of staff who must have drawn the short straw in the staff briefing this morning

I wandered around the park, and one thing which surprised me was that the park actually had some really nice theming. The facades of some of the buildings looked fantastic. The Italian area in particular looked lush, and this is where my next ride was:
View attachment 30114

Made in Maranello is a very basic, tracked dark ride which is a big advertisement for how Ferrari cars are manufactured (I mean, tbf the whole park is one big Ferrari advert, but this is the biggest advert within the advert). The ride itself was fine. Largely screen based. It had effects sprinkled throughout, some working, some not. As someone who has a very limited interest in Ferrari and F1 in general, it's not a me thing, but I can appreciate it for what it is I s'pose.

There was a group of people outside Flying Aces at this point, and it sounded like it was about to open. And indeed, after a couple of minutes of waiting, the doors were pulled open. I stored my stuff in one of the free-to-use lockers outside the queue entrance, as per the park rules, and went through.

The first thing that I noted was how amazing the queue was themed. The ride is themed in the WWI-era, and it really feels like you've been transported to that sort of era. The feel and tone of it is spot on, and there was some themed audio throughout too.

I was set for the second train, and was on row 5, outside seat. Flying Aces was running one train, and the operations were pretty slow. It was a bit painful waiting for one train cycle. There was a very weird quirk to loading as well: you are batched into rows and stand behind doors, meaning you can't see the station. When the doors open, you go through but are then stopped by the ride's airgates, meaning the row of 4 can't all get through the door. Moreover, the airgates don't open for another 15-20 seconds. All unnecessary faff.

Anyways, onto the ride. Restraints are comfy. The lift hill is hilariously quick. First drop is glorious, as is the non-inverted loop. The first half of the ride features some nice intense moments, high speed turns and a couple of fab spots of airtime. After that though, the ride feels like it doesn't know what it wants to do. Does it want to continue with the intensity and high thrill it started out with at first? Or does it want to be a more graceful flight, perhaps mimicking that of the the flying ace the ride is themed off? Is it a recovery period? Who knows.

What I do know, is that following the first half, the second half feels a bit flat. It either should have gone for full out intensity, or the ride should have been designed so this grace and elegance was how the first half was designed. Nonetheless, it is still a fantastic experience, and one which I couldn't wait to re-ride.

View attachment 30115
There's a viewing platform by the exit. I checked it out post-ride
View attachment 30116
View attachment 30117
Check out the glorious blue sky


As I exited Flying Aces, I heard a remarkable rumbling noise. A certain coaster was testing, with two staff sat on it.
I made my way back over to Mission Ferrari. There was a few more people loitering around, and a staff member stood by the ride's lockers too. It wasn't open yet, but it certainly seemed like it was due to open soon.
View attachment 30118

Sure enough, after a few more test runs, it opened. It hadn't truly sunken in that I was about to ride this, a ride which spent like...9 years under construction? I was on the second car to go, so fortunately not long to wait.

I'll post a spoiler review, since I think it's best to know as little as possible about this before riding, and I realise not many on here have ridden it.

Before going any further, let's start by saying about what I did know about the ride. I knew it was an SFX coaster, with multiple launches, two inversions and some forms of trick track, likely including a sideways drop.

The queue was well-themed, leading to a huge cattle pen area which again was nicely themed, with a video playing telling the backstory a bit. I later realised this was a very short video and is a bit of a missed opportunity.

The ride starts with an on-ride pre-show. On a screen, you're shown by a research scientist some cool features of a new Ferrari car. My first ride showed it was resistant to ice; it could get frozen over and still drive. This seems to alternate between different scenes; on a future ride, it showed it being fire resistant.

Anyways, we're told to take the amazing Ferrari car to Maranello, but to be aware, because there's an evil group - Viper - wanting to steal it. We turn a corner, and immediately come into contact with this rival group. They're easily identifiable; they glow in a florescent green. Maybe not the best colour for a secret evil organisation. There's a few special effects, lights, gun shots, animatronics. All very cool. The theming here was also pretty damn good too.

You're then launched, going out of the show building, to the airtime hill and corkscrew that we've seen oh so much of. The launch was fun, but the airtime hill and corkscrew were a bit clunky, and not the smoothest. The weird car shape created some interesting forces too.

Another show scene occurs, this time purely on a screen, where a Viper helicopter has tracked us down and is attacking us. Fortunately we survive, after having to do a slight reverse to avoid being destroyed, before going down a very steep drop (which took me by surprise), and a small coaster section, before going to another show scene.

This show scene takes place in a domed screen area. The Viper organisation has once again tracked us down and attacking from all angles. The car has moved onto trick track, which is a see-saw. At this point, the ride becomes a full on dark ride within a coaster; the track tilts back and forth matching the movements on screen. It's a bit of a visual overload too. This simulator experience is better than some simulator dark rides I've experienced full stop. At some points, it even felt like the track and car were being rotated, but it was just clever movements and screen display.

As the show scene is completed, you're released backwards for the next coaster section. This includes a vertical loop. Now, I don't know what it is about backwards vertical loops, but I bloody LOVE them. This was fantastic, and again, the unusual cars seemed to add to the experience here. This part of the ride was surprisingly smooth too, given what the airtime hill / corkscrew was like. We do some more twists and turns, go backwards pass a Viper helicopter (a real piece of theming), before landing on a set of breaks and going into the next show scene.

We've stopped at the end of a street, which blends together real theming and a screen. The Viper helicopter has tracked us down again. We're really not good at getting away, and these seem like some sensible and smart-enough villains. And sure enough, the head of Viper screams at us that it's time to die, but we manage to attack the chopper and a large explosion follows. The real theming of the street includes some cars, which 'fly up', albeit not very convincingly. This then leads the car to go down the sideways drop, which is rather clunky and uncomfortable unfortunately, but at the same time, rather exhilarating.

Unfortunately, if you're sat on the left-side of the car, you can see the drop plain and clearly; it is not hidden at all. As I say, I pretty much knew this was coming at some point, but given how unpredictable the ride had been to this point, I genuinely wouldn't have guessed prior to seeing it that it was happening then. It's a shame that it couldn't be concealed in some way, either by a door which opens on cue, or with a wall attached to the sideways drop mechanism. It would just add that bit extra to the experience.

And this, somewhat unexpectedly, brings an end to the ride. After a short while to process what has happened (and for the track to align I assume), we slowly make our way forward, and it turns out we've completed our mission, we're congratulated by spies and Ferrari staff for a successful mission. In-story, it very much feels like we lucked out; the Viper organisation seemed to be much better prepared, much more powerful and reasonably smart and resilient. I hope they manage to regroup and take over the world with the special Ferrari car or whatever, they seem like they've got their act together tbh.

All in, despite being rough around the edges, I really enjoyed Mission Ferrari. It blends a coaster and dark ride really well together. It's long enough and has enough stuff to it that it doesn't feel like it compromises on either of those, nor does it suffer an identity crisis. It clearly knows what it wants to be. There's good theming and special effects throughout. I also really like the audio/music used.

For a ride which was so expensive, and took so long to make, it perhaps shouldn't be so rough around the edges. And certain things are done for the sake of it (the sideways drop being the key example). But it's still actually very impressive.

For a non-spoiler review:
Mission Ferrari is a real blend of a coaster and dark ride. It knows what it wants to be and does it well. There's some cool theming and special effects throughout, and a story is present (albeit, not the best). It shows what the SFX coaster can do (although, of course, with Dynamic Attractions dying out, we won't see how they could have developed it). Then again, Intamin have kind of become a spiritual successor to the SFX coaster model with their multi-dimensional coasters I guess.

Mission Ferrari is rough around the edges, but still really enjoyable. The coaster elements are a mixed bad, some are a bit uncomfortable, some are wonderful. But it's a real full-on experience that I rate highly.

View attachment 30119

I'll leave the report here for now. It's long enough and I can't write any more for now. The rest will be about the smaller stuff at the park I guess, and also a climb on the roof...
Bummer for not getting Formula Rossa, but glad Mission Ferrari was open!
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Catching up with this report, bit behind -
My hotel, which would serve as the base for my trip, was the Premier Inn in Abu Dhabi (not the airport one), and was just over an hour away. The drive was...eventful. Many roads were flooded, particularly around motorway entrances / exits. The UAE's huge motorways, at points 8 lanes wide, were moving into 1-2 lanes at times. And then the rain came again. Heavy storms, hugely affecting visibility. And night-time quickly set in, adding further trepidation. Fortunately, with these conditions being unusual and extreme, everyone was driving with extra caution. The journey ended up taking me about 1hr 45min, but I ended up in one piece.
This is why they texted you. ;) In broad-brush terms, their infrastructure is not great in heavy rain. When they have got the building quality and storm drainage up to spec, if it's not been maintained it ends up full of sand, which quickly turns to a cement-like substance once the water comes flooding in. Causes chaos every year. :D

I'll echo's @Hyde's comment above - gutting to hear about Formula Rossa, but good work on Mission Ferrari (including the detailed review).
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Almost a month since I last updated this. Whoops.

This is why they texted you. ;) In broad-brush terms, their infrastructure is not great in heavy rain. When they have got the building quality and storm drainage up to spec, if it's not been maintained it ends up full of sand, which quickly turns to a cement-like substance once the water comes flooding in. Causes chaos every year. :D
You think? ;)
But yeah, I totally understand that they don't have the infrastructure to deal with heavy rain. I've likened it to how the UK isn't equipped for heavy snow. But yeah, even with the text, I guess I wasn't fully prepared for how bad it would be!

Day 2, Ferrari World Part 2 - The Other Stuff
I'm going to keep this brief, because I want to start getting to the final day too.

I haven't yet talked about Fiorano GT Challenge - the duelling Maurer coasters. I remember when these opened I was really intrigued by these. Unfortunately, they're pretty rubbish. Apparently banking didn't exist when they were designed. And having 4 launches is kinda pointless when you have 4 brakes too. But hey, I lucked out and got the +2.

There's a few more dark rides at the park too. Benno's Great Race is a cool interactive dark ride (if you read my reports, you know I'm a sucker for a shooter). And yeah, this was fun, with some nice bits of theming and a variety of 'game' styles throughout the ride - something different to your standard shooter. Driving with the Champion was a nice simulator experience, but could have be executed a bit better - the way the story flowed (of literally driving with a champion driver) felt a bit...clunky? The park's flying theatre (at least, I think that's what it was) was also closed, sadly.

Another thing I did, though, was the roof walk. You can book this for about £25, and it gives you the chance to join a small group and climb on the roof of Ferrari World. You're harnessed up and follow a set path around the giant Ferrari logo; you can see it on Google Maps:
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It's an hour long experience, and you get amazing views of Yas Island. The guide for the group gives loads of facts about Ferrari, Ferrari World and Yas Island; it does again feel like a big advert for the area, for those who are already there. Unfortunately you're not allowed any loose items (ie phones/cameras), so can't take photos, but you do have some taken for you.

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Between the climbing up stairs 50m high and walking around on a roof in near 30 degrees Celsius temperatures, I was a bit red in the face too...

But yeah, I would really recommend the roof walk experience. Something fun and different, and reasonably priced considering what you get I'd say. Doesn't run during the height of summer (unsurprisingly!), but still cool.

The rest of my time at Ferrari World was spent enjoying the food (which was good and well-priced!) and getting in some re-rides. Flying Aces in the dark is glorious. I cannot stress how much I adored it. Here's some evening/dusky pictures:
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Final Ferrari World Thoughts
It was unsurprisingly a big gut-punch that Formula Rossa wasn't going to be open for my visit. At least I was prepared for that. It softens the blow slightly to know that it is still closed a month and a half after the trip (about 2 months in total), with no end to that closure in immediate sight. However, to get Mission Ferrari was a big bonus.

The park itself looks really well-presented, with some lovely theming. There's some really cool rides here, and Flying Aces is fantastic, albeit not as fantastic as its older brother Skyrush. The park does lack a water ride (something which is a common theme across UAE parks I'd say), but it is largely well-rounded. Expensive park, but worth it.


Day 2, Part 2 - FunWorks
In the other side of Yas Mall, there's a small FEC featuring a cred. The cringely-named Yolo Works is little more than a +1, but a +1 all the same.


Coming (hopefully very) soon - Day 3 of 3, starting off with SeaWorld!
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Two months since the trip, and a couple of weeks since the last entry. I'm also in another trip report deficit. Whoops. Anyways, let's get to it!

Day 3 was the final day of the trip, and I'd be ticking off the 3 final parks of the Miral Experience Group: SeaWorld, WaterWorld and Warner Bros. I got a combo ticket for those and Ferrari World which saved a decent amount of money. SeaWorld and WaterWorld were open 10-6, and Warner Bros 11-8, which worked out nicely.

Day 3, Part 1 - SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
Following the issues get to Ferrari World the day prior, I opted to leave nice and early to get to SeaWorld. SeaWorld is located very close to Ferrari World / Warner Bros / WaterWorld, but is the one which is located most 'out of the way' (as in, the entrance is a few minutes drive away from the others). Fortunately, the journey was smooth, and I got there about 30 minutes early.

I'd never been to a SeaWorld before, so didn't know what to expect from the park. This one is very much more an aquarium with some rides attached, as opposed to a theme park with an aquarium attached. Unsurprisingly, it's all inside (with the except of a coaster). The park is split into eight different realms, each of which has its own theme / location. The entrance, the Abu Dhabi Ocean, sets the tone for the park: beautifully themed.

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The park has a central realm, One Ocean, which serves as a hub for the park, and leads to all the others:
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One thing which stood out to me as I was waiting for the park to open was that there were a lot of school trips. Guess it makes sense, with it being one of the few 'edu-tainment' places in the region.

In any case, my plan was unchanged: head straight to main event of the park for me: Manta, a triple launch Intamin coaster. I hadn't followed this too much during construction, so didn't quite know what to expect.

You get a nice view of the ride outside the park.

Located in the Tropical Ocean area of the park, the entrance is the opposite end of the park, but a fairly straight walk.
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I walked straight through the queue and onto the front row, bagging myself a solo ride.
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The station is nicely lit

The ride starts with strolling by the mantas. The door then opens and off you go onto the first launch, which is punchy but not overly powerful. The ride goes through the motions in this first section, with some nice pops of airtimes and laterals, as well as going through some rockwork. You then hit the second launch, and that's when Manta takes it up a gear. The launch has some nice power to it, and you then get powerful airtime, whippy inversions and an all round great experience.

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A third launch gives a similar punchy feeling to the second launch and carries on with more of the same punchy airtime. There's also a really funky inversion, which I see rcdb lists as a corkscrew. It's more of a drawn-out corkscrew, verging on some form of stall, so I'm nicknaming it a stall-screw. It was great fun. And the finale just goes through little whips of airtime, which feels like a staple in modern Intamins these days.

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The one thing which really took me by surprise was the length of Manta. It has a lot going for it, but it doesn't squeeze too much in, nor does it become boring. It is really well designed and flows so well. The ride area is a bit barren; there's some rockwork and theming, but it feels like there could - and should - be a lot more. With a bit more, it could feel like a more Taron-esque experience.

Manta shows you don't need to have huge speed to be great. I really enjoyed it, and it ended up being my favourite UAE coaster, which speaks buckets about it.

There's another cred at the park, but that was located on the other side. With Manta having no queue, I took the opportunity for a few more rides, including a back row ride. I preferred front row, but it was very close. Annoyingly, despite not being able to fill up a train, I did have to walk round the queue each time.

I took the time to look round some of the animal exhibits.
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Tropical Ocean featured birds and dolphins

I then decided to cool off in the Artic Realm:
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It featured snow foxes. They were very cute

There was also a ride here: Hypersphere 360. An Intamin Dome Ride Theatre, this is one of those classic dark ride / zoo stories where you join a robot who shows you about animal conservation, etc. And it was bloody brilliant. The Intamin Dome Ride Theatre sees up to 80 people sit in an in-ward facing circle, surrounded by a 360 screen. The circular configuration of the seats also tilts and spins, and there are extra 4D effects too, giving you a really awesome experience. Hope to see more of these pop up around the world.
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With that out of the way, I made a beeline for the other cred on park, Eel Racer, a Zamperla Junior Coaster. Nothing more than a +1.
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The coaster is located in the Microocean realm, which is basically the mini theme park area of the park, with a few other small kids rides. A lot of the school trips were here. It was not enjoyable.

With the creds out of the way, with just over an hour on park, I knew I could take some time to enjoy the aquarium on offer. I didn't quite appreciate before visiting how big the park is. I wanted to experience it all, but didn't want to spend too long here given I had two other parks to do.

The Endless Ocean realm really lived up to its name...it felt endless. There were a ton of routes and alleys to explore, with lots of exhibits. The scale of some of these was awe-inspiring too.
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Some of the windows and viewing areas were just...huge.

The Polar Ocean is the location of two realms...the Artic and Antarctic.
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This otter said hi to me. They were cute.

There is also a walrus exhibit, but that was closed off.

After some wandering around, I checked back on Manta. It had an approx. 45min queue, so I went and said hi to the birds instead:
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They didn't want to say hi to me

The central One Ocean realm is a fantastic hub.
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There is a 'show' of sorts in this area, with lighting, music and the ceiling showing loads of cool images. There were even drones flying around the area which were made to look like animals, which was an incredible effect.
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The turtle and dolphin in the terrible image here are drones!

After a couple of hours of going round the aquarium, realising that the school trips were taking over and a brief spot of lunch, I decided to call it a day there. But not before I said hi to one final friendly creature:
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Final SeaWorld Thoughts
In hindsight, I wished I'd given myself a bit more time at SeaWorld. Whilst I got everything I wanted to do done, and sped through the whole aquarium, it would have been nice to have a bit more time to take it all in. Also, it would have been nice to see how Manta rides after its warmed up. At the same time, I'm not a big zoo/aquarium guy, so I don't have any real regrets.

With SeaWorld being less than a year old, I was also surprised at how polished and complete it felt. Another more thrilling ride wouldn't go amiss, but this isn't really a place which focuses on rides I guess.
 

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JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 3, Part 2 - Yas WaterWorld
I'll stick this in now, because it will be brief.

I hadn't been to any sort of waterpark for almost 20 years. I just don't like being 'in' water. Plus, I'm rather self-conscious of my body and hate wearing swimwear as a result. But hey, WaterWorld had a cred, so let's get to it.

The cred in question is Bandit Bomber, a Vekoma splash party. An inverted coaster which was meant to have water effects that riders control, I think, but had none. The ride is more like a monorail. All round rubbish, but a +1 is a +1. It also seemed to have a lot of downtime (I had to wait about 10-15 minutes for it to open, and it closed shortly after).

Not wanting to make it a total one-stop shop, I decided to try a couple of water slides to see if waterparks are more my thing these days. In short, no, they are not. The slides were fun, but the water aspect? Nah. Also, the water is heated and the waterpark is outside and it was like 28C. It was just hot and bleurgh and not comfortable. I gave it a go, but nope, not for me.

Coming soon (I promise!): the final part...Warner Bros Abu Dhabi!
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Day 3, Part 3 - Warner Bros Abu Dhabi
And so the final park of the trip. The car park for WaterWorld and Warner Bros is the same, so once I left WaterWorld, it was a very brief stroll to the park's entrance. I must have gotten in just before 2pm, giving me 6 hours on park. The car park was pretty quiet, so I held out hope that the park would be pretty quiet.

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Before getting into the review, something to add. Prior to the trip, Warner Bros was one of the parks I was least interested by. Excluding WaterWorld, for obvious reasons, Legoland was very much bottom of the barrel, and then Warner Bros came second-to-last. Part of that was because they don't have an exciting coaster line up (two family coasters). Part of it was I didn't know what to expect from the park: the ride listing on their site is vague, barely shows any pictures of the ride, etc. So I went in very much blind.

The entire park is indoors, and one of my key takeaways when entering the park is how amazing the ceiling was. Seriously, I was awe-struck by it, and it's something I have mentioned to everyone I have spoken to about this park. The ceiling is incredible.
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Look at that sky! It's incredible.

Genuinely, it was so easy to forget you were inside.

Fortunately, the park wasn't busy, with most rides only have a 5-10 minute wait. As such, I kind of just wandered around and went to rides in no particular order or pattern. I wandered through the Metropolis area, which again had an incredible fake sky:
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This led me to Gotham City, and my first ride of the park...Batman: Knight Flight. The queue for this was well-themed, and in general pretty cool. There's also a nice pre-show spiel from an animated Batman. We then venture into the bat cave and board our ride vehicle. I had no clue what the ride was, so when we were seated in rows of 4, with OTSR, I expected some sort of drop tower like experience frankly.

So my face must have been a picture to behold when the set of four seats flipped backwards and I realised we were actually on a tracked robo arm dark ride. What follows is a roughly 4 minute experience where you accompany Batman, fighting off villains and saving the day. A variety of screens, real sets and special effects are blended reasonably smoothly together along with the movements of the robo arm. I have to say, towards the end I was feeling a little queasy, partially down to the length of the ride, partially down to me being unprepared for the experience. But all in, this was an absolutely gobsmacking experience. There were a couple of patches of the ride which were a bit unthemed, and the return to the station could be a bit better, but aside from that, a genuinely brilliant ride.
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I then ventured back into Metropolis for a go on Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey. Again, no clue what this was, but in turned out to be a flying theatre with 3D glasses. I'm not a fan of flying theatres - they make me feel a bit motion sick - and the 3D certainly didn't help that. But as flying theatres go, this was alright.

Sticking with feeling like a super hero, I joined the Justice League for Justice League: Warworld Attacks. Another 3D dark ride, but this was a trackless ride system where you accompany a group of superheroes as they fight off bad guys. Jeez, what is it about theme parks that villains hate so much? Well, in this case, it was some weird squid-like aliens I think. I don't know my superhero-lore very well. Anyways, this was another cool dark, which flowed nicely, with 3D which didn't make me feel sick, and cool effects all round. It's hard for me to really give any more than that; when a dark works, it works!
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The facades for the ride entrances were all very grand too.
Did I also mention the ceiling? IT'S AWESOME.
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See look, weird alien things.

Having saved Metropolis with alongside the Justice League, I thought it would be good to join a superhero again and save the world again by riding Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis. Sadly this ride (which I later read is apparently similar to Spiderman at IOA?) was closed all day. Is this a good thing for Metropolis, in that it doesn't need saving because all the other rides are doing a good enough job? Or bad, because it's beyond saving? Who knows.

What I did know is I was a bit superhero-d out. So the fate of whatever else was in Gotham City would have to wait. Instead, I went into Cartoon Junction, which was all IPs related to Cartoon Network...
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Even here, I couldn't escape the superheroes.

I gravitated towards Ani-Mayhem, a trackless, 3D interactive dark ride. Loosely speaking, you take the role of a delivery person, who has to go through different different Looney Tunes scenes to deliver parcels to characters, by way of shooting at targets. This combined real sets and screens really well. By combining different Looney Tunes scenes and characters into one ride, it created a really fun, enjoyable story too. The shooting / gun aspect worked really well, and I liked how hitting some targets triggered certain props to move.

If you read my reviews regularly, you know that I love shooting dark rides. And I think this ranks up there as one of my absolute favourites...probably in the Top 3? Needless to say, I did this multiple times throughout my visit!

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I appreciated the number/word play at the station.

Carrying on my journey through Cartoon Junction, and slowly re-living my childhood in the process, I stumbled across a spooky house. Zoinks, it could only be Scooby Doo: The Museum of Mysteries
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A trackless dark ride, this was a basic premise of joining Scooby and the gang in solving a mystery, where certain famous spooky monsters related to the gang were coming to life in this museum. Despite a great exterior and cool queue line, the theming within the ride was quite basic. It was mostly static 3D figures, with a couple of simple animatronics. It wasn't bad, but giving what I'd seen elsewhere, and even the exterior and queue line, it didn't quite live up to the standard set elsewhere.

On the other hand, the special effects and lighting for the ride were good. There was a nice corny jumpscare moment where you're told to look closely in a mirror, before the ride's camera flashes and a monster appears. There's also a corridor with multiple doors, which mimics the Scooby Doo bit of continuously running through the same doors in a corridor (a little like this). With 3 cars dispatched at the same time, plus a 4th car featuring Shaggy and Scooby in this scene, it creates a really fun bit which pulls from the cheesy chaos of the show perfectly, uses the trackless technology fantastically, and creates a memorable scene, which I think is my favourite in any trackless dark ride!

So yeah, cheap-ish theming aside, another fab dark ride.
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Outside the ride, there was a lil' meet and greet with Mystery Inc. Looks like they were on the look out for a Daphne replacement...
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Jeepers, this was an awkward interaction, especially since I didn't get the part!

Enough dark rides now, it's time for some creds. I made my way to Dynamite Gulch for the comically named Fast and Furry-ous, an Intamin Suspended Family Coaster. It was...okay. Fun little family coaster, but nothing more. It does go round some nice theming, which is a bonus. I think, in fitting with the theme, this would have benefited from a faster lift hill - would have just added to it nicely.
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Next up was Tom and Jerry Swiss Cheese Spin, a Zamperla Twister coaster (ie a spinning coaster with trains of 4 spinning cars). This was the longest queue on park, shockingly, at about 40 minutes. Operations were painfully slow. The ride itself was...meh. The coaster is hidden away, largely taking place in the dark, with some static theming features lit up. Probably does the job for families, but yeah, I didn't enjoy it really. Long queue definitely didn't help.

Wanting to continue the cartoon theme, I planned to check out the Flinstones-themed log flume, but it was closed for annual maintenance. Instead, it was time to become a superhero (again) and step foot into Gotham City again. This time, it was to play in the Joker's funhouse...
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This was just a walkthrough funhouse attraction, but obviously with the Joker theme, it had some legs to it. There was good theming throughout. There was a mirror maze section with some screens of the Joker telling you to go in the wrong direction, which was a neat touch. Sadly, the second, upper, half of the walkthrough was closed off, which was a bit of a shame.

The area also has Riddler's Revenge, a Disk'o coaster with an insane lighting package, of which my photos do not do it justice...
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Annnnd that's pretty much it. There's some smaller, kids rides, across the park. So the rest of my time was spent soaking up the atmosphere, a couple of shows (there was a Chinese New Year one) and plenty of re-rides. I was a little disappointed to not get on the log flume and the Superman ride, but these things can't be helped.

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I also spent a lot of time looking at the fake sky. I mean, LOOK AT IT.

Final Warner Bros Abu Dhabi Thoughts
Warner Bros really took me by surprise. As I say, I came in not knowing what to expect, and with little excitement. In the end, it was my second-favourite park in the UAE, just behind Ferrari World. And to be honest, I think with a more thrilling coaster, it would be my favourite.

Interestingly, the park's website is advertising a Harry Potter coming in the future. I'd be really interested to see what that entails, and when it does turn up.

In short, Warner Bros is a somewhat understated park which really does tick pretty much all the boxes!


And I'll do one final post very soon, chatting about the travel home and a geeky round up!
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
And as promised, the finale.

I had a mid-morning flight on the Thursday, so no time to do anything that day. I know there's another small mall cred in Abu Dhabi which I possibly could have gotten on Wednesday evening, but it was an hour round trip away and I just didn't think it was worth it.

Car hire return was smooth and easy. Abu Dhabi airport is a lovely airport to fly from. And the journey home was pleasant, with the added perk of being randomly allocated a window seat with extra legroom. Bliss!

Geeky Stats
New parks: 7 + 2 mall creds, sooo...9
New creds: 23
Cred count before: 331
Cred count after: 354
Best new cred: Manta
Best park: Ferrari World...just
Worst park: IMG Worlds Of Adventure
Most surprising cred: Dragon Gliders
Most disappointing cred: Fiorano GT Challenge
Highlight: Actually riding Mission Ferrari
Lowlight: The flood I guess. And not getting Formula Rossa.
 
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