Day One

Written by:Matsimitsu(Robert Beekman)MatsimitsuRobert Beekman

It hasn't been the greatest weather the past few months, and a while ago, a friend and I decided to look for a bit of warmth and fun. We eventually came to the conclusion that The United Arab Emirates had a nice mix of theme parks, weather, and water parks to keep us busy for a day or five.

Abu DhabiAE24.453835/54.3774

Abu Dhabi

Our 18:40 flight from Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi had a layover in Paris, Charles the Gaulle Airport, which is everyone's favorite (not).

Our initial flight was delayed by a good hour and a half, which cut our 2-hour layover time short by a large amount.

When we arrived in Paris, we had to run to the international terminal, passing by passport control along the way. We made it to the gate just in time.

Settling in for the six-and-a-half-hour flight, we got some beers from the on-board catering service and settled in for the night.

We arrived at seven in the morning and took a taxi to the hotel, hoping for a (very, very) early check-in, but unfortunately, there were no rooms.

We decided to drop the bags and explore the area around the hotel for a bit, looking for breakfast. We had until ten that morning to kill because that's when the theme parks would open on Yas Island, where our hotel was located.

Our venture outside the hotel was short-lived, as we were reminded we were now in a 40-degree Celsius country, not The Netherlands.

Eventually, it was just after nine in the morning, and we took the free shuttle bus to our first destination of the week, Warner Bros. World.

This theme park is completely indoors and features six themed areas, and because it was still before opening time, only access to the central "Plaza" was allowed.

Around ten, the plaza transformed into a 5-minute ode to all the Warner Bros. movies through several screens, lights, and projection mapping. Pretty cool!

After the "show," the park was open, and we went for a clockwise loop, starting at Metropolis, home of Superman.

The first attraction wasn't open yet (it would take till 3 in the afternoon for it to open), but the other attractions in this section were pretty cool. There was a tracked simulation about The Justice League, but the real surprise was the Flying Theatre about the Green Lantern.

Yes, the move was terrible, but this ride was really cool. I've done flying theatres before, in Europapark and other parks, but those usually glide smoothly across a landscape.

On this ride, they turned up the movements to eleven, and the seatbelt had to work hard to keep me in my seat.

Gotham City, the next area, had a nice Kuka-arm ride, the same ride system as Harry Potter in Universal Studios, where they taped a bench on the end of one of those Car Welding Robot arms, and they sling you around a track. On the way, you have both scenes with physical props, and you're shoved into a half-dome for a movie sequence, while the arm simulates the movements.

Their boarding sequence is completely different from Harry Potter, so we had no clue this was a kuka ride.

The Joker attraction was a walk-through carnival madhouse, you know, with the mirrors and the treadmills on the floors.

Another Joker ride was this disco-dip, which we didn’t do, because we both dont like spinny things. It looked amazing, though!

We were now halfway through the park in Cartoon Junction, where we found our first rollercoaster of the day. "Tom and Jerry: Swiss Cheese Spin" is a spinning coaster with the worst operations in human history.

It took them a good seven minutes to load a 12-person coaster train in the most illogical way ever conceived. Instead of emptying the entire train and opening the gates for a fresh load of people, they did this procedure per individual coaster car.. why!

The coaster itself was pretty fun and smooth, a good contrast against the Scooby doo tracked ride, which just took you past some static displays of Scooby doo scenes.

After a mediocre burger and fries in a traditional diner (we went for the looks of the place, not the food), we visited the last two lands.

Dynamite Gulch had the second (suspended family) coaster, which had way better operations; quick turnaround meant a short wait and a pretty cool indoor coaster!

The final section was "Bedrock," a Filnstones-themed area with a big-ass log flume that was one of the most fun rides in the park!

We then walked across the desert heat to the Yas Mall across the road (a five-minute walk which did manage to burn us slightly in just that time. A nice reminder to plaster ourselves with sunscreen from here on out).

In the mall we found a great Thai place for dinner (Pad See Ew), and headed back to the hotel for a good night sleep.



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