Thanks to the bombardment of the coupon sites, it was decided upon that the14-15th June would be spent in the capital Abu Dhabi, well Yas Island really, as a belated birthday celebration for one of our parties elder Statesman.
As with most hotels check in time is 2pm so rocking up to the Radisson Blu Yas Island earlier was not really an option. Some toyed with the idea of Ferrari world but first port of call was actually on Manarat Al Sadiat and was the ‘Birth of a Museum‘ exhibition which highlights the upcoming build of the Louvre amongst other awesome looking buildings on Sadiyat island. The performing arts centre and the Guggenheim will definitely be on the list of places to visit once they are built. The exhibits and the story of what is planned for the area was a great insight into what Abu Dhabi is doing and also the far more planned, organic growth it’s taking. If you are heading to Abu Dhabi anytime soon and have time, I highly recommend you pop in.
After the cultural afternoon we were able to check into the Radisson Blu and hit the pool. It’s not the biggest pool area in the world but even with the majority of beds taken, we ( a group of 9 people managed to find a space to call home for a couple hours) A couple of our party decided that a trip to Ferrari world was happening, in spite of the time. They left us about 4pm, safe in the knowledge that there were only really two rides of worth to go on. We saw them again at about 8.45 pm when they finally joined us for dinner in the restaurant!! By all accounts though, the fastest roller coaster in the world is worth a 2 hour wait?!! I’ll have to reserve judgement on that for when I finally get on it.
Our dinner party swelled to about 15 people and the Asymmetric restaurant catered to our needs exceptionally well, albeit after a slightly wobbly start where they couldn’t tell us what the price was for the buffet ands whether of not we were actually allowed liquid refreshment. Once this was clarified though, all in the positive, dinner was a great success. The largest glasses of red grape juice accompanied the meal and it was great to catch up with people not seen often, as they insist on living in Abu Dhabi. By midnight though the restaurant lights were on and it was time to get some sleep. A early breakfast was planned for 8.30, so that we could be at the main attraction for the weekend by 10 when it opened. The largest water park in the world awaited – bring on YAS Waterpark!
Breakfasted and checked out by about 9.45am and on the doorstep of the park as it opened at 10am. The park is open from 10am-8pm daily and there are some special deals for Ladies only – Wednesdays between 5pm-10pm But just check out their site for more information – YAS Waterworld. Our party was a mixture of babies,young, young at heart, young couples, young parents and Matt Wilson and the park catered to us all. We found a spot to set up camp for the day between the two major attractions for the babies and toddlers and then it was off to find adventure. By getting there early enough, you are able to get on the major rides pretty quickly and without too much queueing. I would estimate that you have from 10am till 11.30am to run round and get at least one go on all the rides you want and from there on in, you may have a couple of queues, but you won’t mind as much as you’ll have had a taste of all of them already. We adopted this approach and managed to get on the major ones without too much hassle. Our only major wait was for the Dawwam ride. That wait was about 35 minutes, but that did also include a ride malfunction, so all in all not too bad. If you don’t want to rush, and have the cash you can just pay for a priority pass and you get to go in the VIP queue and get ahead. To be honest, if you get there early enough, this is an unnecessary expense. The ‘guest relations officers’ at all the rides are pretty good at managing the queues so those that have paid get the preferred treatment but us plebs aren’t kept waiting an absolute age!
A normal adult (anyone over 1.1m tall) ticket will set you back 225 AED ($61USD)
A normal child ticket (anyone under 1.1m tall) will set you back 185 AED ($50USD)
The Priority tickets are 385AED and 315AED OR $105 USD and $85 USD adult and child
So it’s quite a price hike for the privilege and one that I think isn’t really that necessary.
As you would also imagine with a captive audience and a bag search policy at the entrance, you can’t bring your own food or drink in and have to buy from within the park. The menu is never going to win awards for nutrition and value, but it’s a fun day out, so forget about the diet for a day and don’t worry that it’s twice the price of the equivalent from a fast food joint. Get your burger and chips and bucket of soft drink and enjoy it in the relative shade of the various food outlets. AND if it happens to be anyone’s birthday, let the park know and you never know. The Dolphin might make an appearance for you too. Matt loved it.
There’s also a little bit of weirdness with a couple of the rides queuing system, mainly Falcons Falaj and Dawwan. As mentioned you can be a pleb or you can go VVVIP. At the bottom of the ride it clearly marks which queue is for which ticket holder, in fact there is two separate lanes to go up. What they don’t tell you is that within each of your lanes, is another 2 queues, one for each ride. Now the lane is just about wide enough for this, but there are no markings or anything and as you’d imagine, when you are in a group of people you are all stood around talking to each other. Be aware that when some kids come up behind you and ask to get past because they are going on the other ride, they aren’t being conniving little gits, trying to jump the queue, they are being genuinely polite in trying to get past and onto their ride of choice. It should just be a little clearer that this is the setup. And finally, be careful when you are walking around the park. You’ll see lots of signs saying that transevaporation keeps the park cool. Basically they have those little hoses firing water across the ground to keep it from turning it into a burning slab of concrete, unfortunately, what they have managed to do instead is turn it into the equivalent of an ice rink in terms of grip. I’m not sure who signed off on the material for the majority of the walk ways, but I can only guess they have never been to a water park before. Just be careful whether in flip flops or barefoot. Even just our group had a couple of near misses with people slipping on the wet surface. Young kids running will almost certainly crack a head or bust a nose quite easily when they slip and fall. Health warning over.
It was a fantastic day, and I think the last of us left about 4.30-5pm, some a little more exhausted than others. It was a really great day out and fantastic to have everyone there. The park does cater to everyone, babies, toddlers, teenagers, adults, pregnant, hungover, hyper, chilled were all accounted for during the day and all had a brilliant time. The deal with the Radisson Blu was a really good one too, especially for us Dubai residents. It made a real weekend break out of the whole thing and also made it a lot easier to get to the park for opening time 🙂 Keep an eye out on the deal sites for the hotel and ticket deals, and also dont’ forget that the entertainer has some vouchers for 2for1 entry, which is always helpful.
If you’ve been would love to hear your thoughts on it, and if you haven’t. GO!