Heading in to Yas Waterworld expectations were high. Just what can an investment of Dhs900 million buy?
With a number of world-class water parks already in the UAE, do we really need another one? How will this one on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island stand out? At the entrance you are greeted by Sultan and Co, the cast of fun-loving characters who star in the Emirati story that frames the park. However, while all that is a nice backdrop, the most important thing has to be the rides.
As one of the first in the UAE to sample them, I can say that Yas Waterworld lives up to expectations and, in some cases, surpasses them. With 43 rides and experiences, it was hard to get round them all, so I decided to jump in the deep end and go for the most extreme - the Liwa Loop.
This vertical drop ride adds an extra level of terror for the thrillseeker as you step into a launch pod. After a nerve-racking countdown, the floor literally disappears beneath your feet - the suspense is almost as terrifying as the high-speed ride itself, which even includes a loop the loop! Not for the faint hearted.
Next up was Dawwama - the six-person inflatable ride that culminates in a whirl around a giant bowl. It’s officially described as the world’s biggest and fastest tornado ride but I would say it is probably the closest you will come to knowing how your laundry feels on a spin wash. After I regained my balance I headed over to Yas Waterworld’s static waves. That’s right, in typical UAE fashion they have outdone others by building not one, but two, static waves. While the wipeout that inevitably comes at the end of your go can leave you gasping for air and searching for the horizon, the friendly instruction from the surf-dude staff help you get the hang of hanging ten pretty quickly. Four wipeouts in and a little bit of flashy kneeling and I was ready to try the serpent rides.
The Slither slides are each designed to look like hissing snakes of different colours and sizes, complete with a couple that bulge in the centre as if they are digesting a tasty snack. They are traditional rubber ring rides with some extra sensory surprises thrown in. Without wanting to spoil too much, expect light shows, dark holes, drops, music and a fair amount of screaming.
The pearl of the park, (I’m not talking about the giant one on top of the mountain) has to be the rollercoaster. I must admit to being a little sceptical about getting straight out of the pool and onto a rollercoaster. Surely I would slip out?
As it turns out, you are near cocooned in your bucket seat, locked in tight. The coaster twists and turns through what seems like almost all of the park’s 15-hectares, including ample kiddie splash zones. It certainly couldn’t be labelled as a mini-rollercoaster and if you like to get your pulse racing you will go back again and again as you also get the chance to dump water on friends as you fly by or shoot targets with your seat-mounted cannon to set off jet streams.
Like much of the rest of the park, it takes some of the classic elements of thrill rides and adds another imaginative twist to complete a memorable day out.
Tickets cost Dhs225, Dhs185 for children under 1.1m tall. Kids under the age of three go free. For more information, visit www.yaswaterworld.com.
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