The world’s fastest roller coaster? Check. The world’s highest roller coaster loop? Check. Go karting on a professional track? Check. Taking a dip on the childhood train by meeting my favourite cartoon characters? Check. A 5D virtual adventure that has the entire cinema flooded with water up to your knees? Check. The checklist when you visit Yas Islands in Abu Dhabi is long. And no, you will not complain about the length of this list!
Sprawling over an area of 25 square kilometres, this man made island is surrounded by crystal clear waters and offers visitors experiences and adventures of a lifetime! I had gone with an apprehension of sitting on all the rides, since I was not sure how dizzy I would get, but well, when you are there, you just have to take the plunge, literally!
First on the list was Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, and some of the rides here are not for the weak hearted. Or so, I thought. I was wrong, since, after all, I did do them! Zooming down the Formula Rossa at the speed of 240 kmph is an experience that I intend to turn into a bravery story.
It is, however, the Flying Aces that makes you understand the decibel levels your voice can take, when you zip down the drop of 63m at a 51-degree incline. Think you have room for more? Then the rush of a zero-gravity fall on a bouncy chair attached to a 13.5-metre high tower awaits you at the Turbo Tower. For those who are more about instant social media gratification, the theme park is dotted with models of car for us to pose and post.
Children-friendly rides (Junior Grand Prix, Nello’s Adventureland Speed of Magic, Bell’ Italia) have them hungry for more, even if your time at the park is up.
Children and grownups alike are in for the treat of a lifetime at Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi, the world’s biggest indoor theme park, with a chance to meet 35 DC superheroes and cartoon characters! The rides might seem easier, but they are equally thrilling, spread across five zones – Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction, Gotham City and Metropolis. Since the Dark Knight has my heart, I wasted no time in entering Gotham city and getting on the Batmobile at Batman: Knight Flight for a high-speed, high-octane adventure. This simulated combination ride had me be Batman’s helper rolling through skies to beat the enemy. It was only befitting that I went to pay tribute to The Joker thereafter, The Joker Funhouse, a walkthrough experience of illusions.
Superman’s Metropolis was not too far away, and I was soon in 3D mode at the Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis in a battle against villains to save Metropolis. Off to the Justice League Gallery to pay homage to Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash and Cyborg! DC fans might just call it a temple, before moving to a 4D flying theatre experience with the team of interstellar peacekeepers. And by then I had not seen the half of it!
The much-awaited second part happened after the interval, a time well-spent at the Warner Bros. Plaza, A Hollywood-styled arena with a beautiful evening sky, neon lights that beckon one to get into a movie hall, posters to pose with and eateries serving world cuisine.
Bedrock was a complete walk down memory lane of consuming hours and hours of The Flintstones. To see the characters and their adventures come alive while I moved in a car built to feel like a boat, was more than any fan could ever ask for! The surprise came in the final splash of the river on us as the ride ended!
The Jetsons Cosmic Orbiter had huge fans in children but had no option but to fit in adults as well.
I had saved the best for last. Cartoon World to visit my favourites, Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry and Tweety. It was this place that I did not want to get out of, and the Carousel is the prettiest I have ever seen! Unwillingly, we had to call it a day.
On a new, bright day, we made our way to Yas Waterworld, with the intention of getting on the Bandit Bomber first. After all, who does not want to tour lost caves and dodge water cannons on a 550-metre-long suspended roller coaster?
Upon entering the park, however, I made Bandit Bomber Wait, because Hamlool’s Humps just lured me in with its speed. I just lay back, crossed my legs and let gravity do its job as I plummeted on a slide from the highest point of the park.
A leisurely ride down Al Raha River, was the perfect antidote, with waterfalls, rain showers and lost caves. The day ended at the Amwaj wave pool, four unique wave patterns on rotation.
Not one to miss out on a chance for Go Carting, I headed straight for the Yas Kartzone for its sizeable track. I had to, it was the closest I would ever feel to my Formula 1 hero, the evergreen Michael Shumacher.
Incidentally, The W Yas Island where I stayed, has the Yas Marina Circuit (the venue for the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix) passing through it. The balcony was the perfect spot to enjoy the sound of the whirring wheels of the practising cars, and to soak in the view of the marina with its parked yachts.
The shoppers in your group need not worry, the Yas Mall has everything to offer, housing over 400 international brands and lots of eateries, coffee shops and dessert parlours dotting the space. Travellers feel secure in this post-COVID world, as at every point, checks for valid negative RTCPR tests and vaccination certificates are in place. With such a wide range of experiences to go through, in both indoor and outdoor spaces, it is tough to pick and choose what you want to do here. You just want to do it all.
It is like the island’s brand ambassador, Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh, says, “I never want to leave Yas Island!”