For a small city, Abu Dhabi sure knows how to pack a thrill. With world-class theme parks, the city has all the components for the perfect family holiday. So where to start? We give the lowdown on all the practical information you need to plan your trip.
What? Adrenaline junkies need look no further than this super-high-octane, motor-mania world of lapping, record-breaking and heart-racing rides.
The thrills Play at being a Formula 1 driver with a lap around the track or with a go in an F1 simulator. If that’s not a big enough thrill, there’s a massive 52m-high rollercoaster, the Formula Rossa, that goes from 0 to 240km in under five seconds, making it the world’s fastest. Then there’s Flying Aces, which has the world’s highest loop, reaching 63m at a 51-degree incline. The fainter of heart can nerd out on the history of the Italian carmaker, or take a trip over its homeland in a multi-sensory simulator. There’s also loads of kid-friendly attractions, such as cruising in a scaled-down 1958 Ferrari 250 California, navigating remote-control boats around canals, and trying your luck in a 1950s-style fairground game arcade.
Eat here Refuelling options range from Mamma Rosella’s trattoria to Italian café Espresso Rosso. There’s a free shuttle from Saadiyat Island.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island; +971 600 511115
What? On the same action-packed turf as Ferrari World, but slightly less high-intensity, is aquatic wonderland Yas Waterworld. Think rides to rival Florida’s waterparks, but with high temperatures guaranteed all year round.
The thrills Leave your bags in a wristband-activated locker then get snapped on one of the 40 multicoloured slides – including Dawwama, the wild tornado water coaster, or the six-seater water rapids Falcons Felaj. Engage in team water-cannon wars or dive for oyster pearls alongside the experts, before floating gently down the lazy river on inflatable donut rings.
Eat here When you’re ready to chill, head to one of the VIP, waiter-tended waterside cabanas to order from the exclusive menu. Alternatively, the diner serves burgers and refreshing syrupy shaved ice. The park is open from 10am till 8pm every day of the year with a free shuttle from Saadiyat.
Yas Waterworld, Yas Island; +971 600 511115
What? Another day, another immersive park in the Yas playground. Except at Warner Bros World, you’ll in fact find five: The Flintstones’ Stone-Age town of Bedrock; Road Runner and Wile E Coyote’s calamitous desert land Dynamite Gulch; Bugs and Scooby-Doo’s mysterious Cartoon Junction; Batman and co’s ominous Gotham City, and the urban utopian dystopia that is Metropolis.
The thrills Among river-rapid adventures and spinning space-age rides and rollercoasters lie pretty carousels, carnival fun and live-action characters as well as mind-blowing mazes and climbing apparatus.
Eat here A wealth of Hollywood-esque eating spots are dotted around, including vibrant and showy Art Deco-theatre-style restaurant The Starlight. Shuttles go from Saadiyat Island and the park is open all year round. A Flash Pass gets you lightning-quick entrance to all rides and attractions but may gain you some cross looks.
Warner Bros World, Yas Island; +971 600 511115