Does a theme park make Ferrari dreams come true? Boys around the world dream of speeding in a red Ferrari, but for many it is as childish a dream as becoming an astronaut or president. Realizing that dreams were going unfulfilled, Abu Dhabi stepped in and built the “World’s first Ferrari theme park”. As one of those boys who always wanted a Ferrari, let’s see if it leaves me satiated…
Entering Ferrari World’s massive structure. It is is best admired from afar, where you can take in the whole thing.
The first impression of the park is the magnificent, gargantuan Ferrari-red building. Given Abu Dhabi’s searing hot summers and roasting hot winter, the park needed to be built indoors. Being in the UAE though no ordinary, utilitarian, building would do, they brought in the artists and created something massively beautiful. This building would be more fitting as a colony on mars than an earthly pleasure park, but if you’re going to give Ferrari a home, it’d better be grand.
From the parking lot onwards there is no confusing what this park is all about. Ferrari’s prancing horse is emblazoned everywhere. The world’s red paint factories worked overtime to deliver enough of the Ferrari’s trademark color to enliven the boys in all of us, bringing back our childhood fantasies of a Ferrari being how we’d roll. Through and through Ferrari World succeeds in exciting people about the brand, it’s cars, and it’s racing pedigree.
The world’s only grocery getter with a V-12, the Ferrari FF proudly announces that “It’s your turn to live the race”. Ferraris from every era are on display throughout, which will entertain everyone who has been seduced by the Maranello machinery.
Considering design is Ferrari’s number one business, it’s great that the park exemplifies that, but how about the rides? Being a theme park and all, the rides are what justify the price of admission. What makes Ferrari World worthy of it’s name? The world’s fastest roller coaster. Nothing less would do. There are other rides, such as a great racing simulator, but the headline grabber is the Formula Rossa, which simulates the F1 racing experience, and is one of the best rides I’ve ever been on.
The Formula Rossa is one of the world’s longest roller coasters…a fact that the rider won’t notice due to the speed that it eats up the tracks.
Honestly the idea idea of “the world’s fastest roller coaster” didn’t excite me…until I rode it. I exited the Formula Rossa and circled right back into the line for another ride. It is awesome! The coaster begins with the traditional “standing start” of a F1 race, launching you with 1.7 G’s of acceleration. Odds are you’ve never felt something like this anywhere else, nor will you ever forget such a rush. For roller coaster aficionados like myself this is one of the world’s must-rides.
The Formula Rossa gets people in the door, but the other rides are a poor supporting cast. There are three other “adventure” rides, making it hard to justify the hefty $45 price of admission. That’s the same price as Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Cedar Point, but Ferrari World’s rides only entertain for a few hours. The remainder of Ferrari World are exhibits on Ferrari’s racing history, cars and design principles. This excites and interests a car nerd like myself, but left the wife a little bored.
Sure it was a working day, but have you ever seen an amusement park this empty?
The reality is that Ferrari World is of interest to a limited audience. While everyone connects Ferrari with excitement, it didn’t translate into the park. In it’s current state it only appeals to Ferrari fans and those seeking to ride the “worlds ____” roller coasters. For everyone else though, the steep admission price probably isn’t worth it. This is a fact not lost on would-be visitors as most don’t make the trip, creating an eery, empty feeling throughout the building. Hopefully the park’s managers realize this, lower prices and make the park a little more exciting for everyone.
WHEN YOU GO:
- Ferrari World is the center of a soon-to-be entertainment area. Hopefully this will make the area more fun for more people.
- There are often specials available, reducing the entry cost. For example, Etihad is currently offering a two-for-one ticket special to people arriving to Abu Dhabi on their airline.
- Make sure your head is comfortably on the headrest before Formula Rossa starts. LOCAVORista’s neck hurt for several days after the initial launch jerked her head back.