Yas Island is an ambitiously developed island, home to the Yas Marina Circuit which hosts the Formula 1 Ferrari races.
By Tania Banerjee
Bugs Bunny welcomes me with open arms as Scooby-Doo smiles from a distance. Daffy Duck seems entertained. The outlines of the cartoons painted on the brown walls of Warner Brothers Abu Dhabi teleport me back to my childhood. Located in Yas Island, 35 kilometres from the main island of Abu Dhabi, it is the first theme-park by Warner Bros World. Yas Island is an ambitiously developed island, home to the Yas Marina Circuit which hosts the Formula 1 Ferrari races. The Ferrari theme park, Warner Brothers Theme Park, Yas Mall and Yas Waterworld make Yas Island an ultimate entertainment destination for the young-at-hearts. With an array of impressive international cuisines available throughout the island, even the gastronomic travellers will have plenty of options to fulfil their appetite.
Fun at Warner Brothers
As I enter the building, I find myself under a blue sky textured by a handful of fluffy white clouds randomly floating by. An entire city distinctly similar to what I had seen in Warner Brother movies, TV shows and cartoons spring up under the sky. I walk around the sprawling buildings, shops, nicely lit market squares and evenly distributed benches. I am in the Warner Bros. Plaza. Opened in July 2018, owned and managed by Miral Asset Management, the theme park has over 20 rides and 6 different sections: Warner Bros. Plaza, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City. The few minutes of my life I spend on the ride named ‘Riddler’ in DC’s Gotham City is in equal parts exciting and scary. In the dark corner of Gotham City, as I swing up and down on the ride, the devious laugh of The Joker in the background is fear-instilling.
Characters saunter around in costumes, decked up as Batman and Catwoman. When I meet Superman, I know that I have entered Metropolis and left Gotham City. In the Bedrock area I meet with The Flintstones, the “modern Stone Age family” and grab lunch at Bronto Burgers and Ribs, a restaurant themed on Flintstones which serves a huge ‘Dinosaur Burger’(serves 6 people) as their signature dish. In the Cartoon Junction, Shaggy and Scooby wait for curious visitors in front of their van—The Mystery Machine. In a different end, Tom and Jerry cheer up people with their antics. Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey is a 4D simulation experience where Hal Jordan takes me on an interstellar galactic adventure. After reliving my childhood and picking up superhero souvenirs from the umpteen shops in the park, I unwillingly step out of the WB for a different kind of experience.
The Fast Life at Ferrari World
The leisure hotspot of Yas Island is home of Formula One’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In November 2010, the Italian supercar opened Ferrari World, an indoor amusement park spread over an area of approximately one million square feet to cater to the needs of speed addicted automotive lovers. The main ride experience here is Formula Rossa, a stomach-churning roller coaster, the fastest in the world, which attains a speed of 240 km/hour. If your pockets run deep then you can even drive a Ferrari yourself in the presence of a trained instructor. Sunlight is streaming in from the glass-covered skylight supported by a cobweb of aluminium beams. We are greeted by the display of the 1962 Ferrari GTO which is the most expensive Ferrari car sold in an auction.
Various other models of Ferraris dotting the walkway vie for my attention. I am not ready for the Formula Rossa so I go for the motion-based simulation ride, Driving With the Champion, followed by a multi-sensory simulation-based ride, Viaggio in Italia, a ride which gives me an experience of driving through the scenic Italian cities, villages and vineyards. Turbo Track is a spine-chilling ride with a zero-gravity fall. There are a total of 23 rides in the park. I stroll through the faux cobbled-stoned roads with outdoor eateries decorated by drooping flower pots mimicking those in Italy before signing off for the day.
(The author is a well-known travel writer. Views expressed are personal.)