Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi is a new theme that just opened in January. It is the biggest water park in the Middle East. I have eagerly been waiting for the opening since I first heard about it last October. So when Cobone (similar to Groupon) had a deal on a hotel stay and park tickets, I didn’t even hesitate.
I booked our package for Thursday, March 21 thinking that we would go over to Abu Dhabi after school, have a relaxing evening, and then head to the park for a Friday of excitement. Then on Tuesday, I saw an announcement on the waterpark’s facebook page that they would be closed all day Friday for a royal family birthday party. Guess it was lucky that I have”liked” their facebook page, otherwise I wouldn’t have been aware of anything. My only option, which Kassandra I am sure was heart broken about, was to let her skip school, so we could go to the park on Thursday instead. This worked out well. We left our house early Thursday morning, and surprisingly when we got to the hotel at 1o to pick up our park tickets, they also had our room ready for us. We changed into our swimsuits and headed right over to the park.
This youtube video does a good job of explaining the theme of the park and showcasing some of the rides.
Our favorite two rides were the ones that a large group of people can ride at the same time. They take you through giant funnels, and it was an absolute blast. The scariest ride was probably the one where you have to stand upright in a chamber. Then you hear a countdown and the floor drops out from under you. The ride itself wasn’t that scary, but that countdown waiting for the fall is adrenaline inducing. I also think that was the ride that managed to rip the skin off my back. It didn’t hurt (at the time).
I also managed to hit my head getting out of the suspended air roller coaster as I was turning around to look at Kassandra. This didn’t make my head hurt as much as it made something in my neck pop that proceeded to hurt for two weeks. Besides getting injured, oh and the fact that it rained. – I always seem to bring the rain when I go to Abu Dhabi – it was a really fun day. I wouldn’t mind going again now that it has warmed up.
There were several things that I was impressed with/ surprised about at the park (in addition to the slides). I was happy to see a lot of employees. There were lifeguards everywhere! They were also very strict about enforcing the rules. It was a fairly slow day (being that it was a Thursday and it was cold), but even though lines were short, it didn’t stop a couple of boys from queue jumping (look at me going all British on you). The employees didn’t let them. I know this sounds obvious, but around here it isn’t. Some nationals (not all!) see lines as something for expats to follow but not necessarily a requirement for them. Some rules seemed a little arbitrary. For example, on the drop-the-floor-out-from-under-you ride, girls wearing shorts were not allowed to ride. I had to take my swim shorts off that I was wearing over my suit before I could ride. I was allowed to do this in the privacy of the capsule. However, men were just instructed to tighten their swim trucks (because, really, what other choice is there?). I didn’t fully understand why this rule is in place, but at least they were constant about applying the arbitrary rule.
I was a bit surprised that you actually had to carry the tubes up the stairs to go on the rides. Yes, I know that is how it works at every other water park I have been to, it is just that, here, people are a little… umm.. what is the word…. lazy?.. Unaccustomed to doing things for themselves. I half expected escalators or even a worker carrying the tubes up for people. I also didn’t know what to expect in terms of swimsuit attire. In a country where even at the mall, you are prohibited from wearing tank tops or shorts, it was hard for me to imagine that people would be walking around half naked in swimsuits. And yet, people were walking around in swimsuits. And just like in every other place I have been to, there were people wearing swimsuits that should be banned on principle (ok so maybe it is just my own personal ideology, but Speedos are not sexy and bikinis shouldn’t be worn by a woman who has enough jiggle to put Santa to shame). Of course the Muslim women were wearing their burkinis, but otherwise everyone was wearing the same things that you would see at your typical water park.
Overall a good experience, and I am looking forward to going again when it isn’t too cold. However, I may pass on the drop your shorts ride.