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Photo TR: Quick getaway to Dubai!


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Hello everyone,

 

A co-worker of mine asked if I wanted to go to Dubai for labor day weekend, and being the crazy guy I am, I said "why not?" I have somehow adopted the ability to sleep anywhere and not on a normal schedule. We would have 2 full days in the area and while the goal was to see the "big" stuff in Dubai one day and Abu Dhabi the other, I of course tried to squeeze in as much Theme Parks visits as possible. I was able to stop at Sega Republic in the Dubai Mall, and we planned on Ferrari World as she was at least interested in the world's fastest coaster.

 

Little did I know until 2 days before we left and after we planned our trip that IMG Worlds of Adventure had just opened. With everything currently in the park being open and positive reviews from opening, I knew I had to visit. So while I skipped on the rest of my group visiting the Palm/Burj Al Arab area, I got to visit this brand new park and I am very happy I got to check out the well done theming, coasters, and dark rides.

 

Dubai/Abu Dhabi and everywhere we visited was wonderful. I really suggest everyone to visit here, especially with the great deals Emirates does from the USA. You can get as low as like $650 round trip.

 

Part 1 below will cover our day in Dubai, and sometime soon I will post Part 2 covering Abu Dhabi! Read along the captions to see how our experience went

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Dubai is freaking far. We at least tried to make the flight better by hoping over to SFO and catching the Emirates A380 non stop to DXB!

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And here is my view for the next 15 hours! At least these screens are big for economy...

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I'm used to flying long distances, but this middle seat for 15 hours was the most brutal I have done so far. But yay for mood lighting and trying to sleep :)

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Finally we have touched down in Dubai. Left SFO at 5pm Friday and it is now 7pm on Saturday.

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After clearing immigration (breeze) and picking up a pocket wifi device (breeze) we took the metro into Dubai. The Metro is extremely clean and frequent. I think it's the same exact deal from Hong Kong.

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After getting some much needed sleep, we got back on the metro from our hotel and headed to the Burj Khalifa to go up the world's tallest building.

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The funny thing is, from the metro to the mall (you enter the Burj Khalifa from the Dubai Mall) you are in a covered walkway so you never really see the building. It was quite amazing to look up in the roof of the lobby and see this sight! Holy crap that is tall.

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The observation deck is one level indoors and one level outdoors, allowing you to peek over the edge at Dubai! Here are the fountains from above.

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And there is the Dubai Mall! Not sure if it holds any records anymore, but it's freaking huge. And incredible. You could spend days in there.

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This is the view looking North. This area is considered "Downtown Dubai". To the north of the taller buildings is "old" Dubai and the airport.

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Garbles "At the Top"

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Looking West towards the water, and some of the man made islands that have not been finished.

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And to the South are some more buildings, and way out there you may be able to make out the Palm and Burj al Arab

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On ground level, the area around Burj Khalifa is pretty impressive. Love the man made water areas here.

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And yeah, this building is incredible. But it's like 111 degrees outside so lets go back inside ;)

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Inside the famous Dubai Mall! Or at least this waterfall is famous? Popular photo spot :)

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In order to find Sega Republic, look for the giant indoor ice skating rink first, then head upstairs! This place is like 5 levels :O

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Passed by Kidzania...an extremely cool kids experience. Robb and Elissa posted an amazing PRT from one of these locations (Tokyo?) where KidTums had a blast.

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And here we are at Sega Republic. Unlike Tokyo, this location doesn't require you to pay an entry fee. You can just buy an unlimited pass or pay per ride.

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Heading upstairs to the coaster, and passing the crazy slide. Next time ;)

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And at the top of the escalator you get this view of Spin Gear!

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I think it was like 8 bucks to ride once, not terrible. It's actually a really fun spinner! Standard first half, then crazy custom fast (albeit short) inside section!

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Of course, at 10am on a Sunday I was the only one riding. The staff was very nice and we had a quick chat (they could probably tell I was a ride nerd here just for this)

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Walking around the mall some, we saw some of the other crazy attractions like the ginormous Dubai Aquarium. Will definitely go inside next time.

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My co-worker had some friends from college hanging out at the Mall of the Emirates, so we took the Metro down a few stops to meet them and take a peak at Ski Dubai!

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The giant indoor ski slope also has a cool "park" with lots of smaller attractions for kids like slides, tubing, and zorbs. It seemed like you could pay for just the park, just the ski slope, or both. You could even ride the ski lift. We didn't set aside time to do it, and I don't know to ski, but the prices are very reasonable!

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Had to get a selfie in front of the indoor ski slope! Another maybe item for next time :)

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Duplicate photo of the one coaster that is outside the building!

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The front entrance. Get me inside! It's so hot. Luckily a short walk from the drop-off area

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First impressions are WOW! The building is huge, with a great unique atmosphere and nice theming. You go left for Cartoon Network, right for Marvel, and down the center for Lost Valley.

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Lost Valley has 2 of the park's 3 roller coasters, so naturally I headed in that direction first.

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The park is dark, which I like, and the rides look awesome. Plus they have a good selection, like this dino carousel for the family.

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What we really don't have in America...giant playgrounds and slide complexes! Great for kids (and I think this one was kids only).

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The first stop for me was in the very back of the park, and was the already spotted "outdoor" coaster, the Mack Blue Fire clone!

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OMG, I could never imagine standing in this giant queue (and believe me, it keeps going, and going, and going)

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Finally in the station for a 2 train wait and got a front row ride. This was my first time being blasted into the desert heat and it was quite a weird experience. The ride ran fast, but did have a slight rattle. And of course the paint is already faded lol

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The next coaster is Predator, a Gerstlauer Eurofighter.

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The crew does a nice job moving the cars quickly, as this was the most popular coaster in the park. It has a good location and is the one coaster you can actually see in the park. And good news, the OTSRs are fat friendly :)

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Here is most of the layout for the Predator. I noticed this was MUCH smoother than previous attempts at this coaster, so good job Gerstlauer and IMG!

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Over into the Marvel area, the coaster does grab your attention first.

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Spiderman was another clone, this time of Sierra Sidewinder at Knott's. But with 95% of it indoors, it felt faster and crazier to me! Plus solo rides are kinda freaky ;) loved the station and queue of this ride though, great city theming.

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Next up is one of the parks premier dark rides, Avengers!

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This is the part of the day where I broke off from the group. They went to sight see in the Dubai Marina/Palm/Burj Al Arab area and I decided to take a taxi to IMG Words of Adventure! The park is a little bit out of the city but taxis are so cheap. Make sure you set up one to get back thought because not a lot of driver's came out here at night.

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Thank goodness for another empty queue (they have huge, detailed queues here!)

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This is the ride system for Avengers. It's like the Spiderman/Transformers ride, but the vehicle is oriented sideways. This had good motion and videos, but the sets between screens were a bit lack luster. Still a solid ride especially outside Disney/Universal. Definitely better than SF

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Thor also has his own ride - another top spin inside a box! This was taken from a viewing area in the midway, really cool vibe here.

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Next up is the surprise hit, Hulk!

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Sorry for the crappy photo, but you walk in and sit in a circle and think "oh no, it's just another Turtle Trek or Poseidon 360 movie". But wow, the motion base or whatever for Hulk is fantastic and so are the visuals, making for a completely new unique ride and it was long! I loved it and did it twice as we did have one malfunction the first time ;)

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Passed by the Haunted Hotel, but it wasn't show time right now (more on that later).

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I also checked on Forbidden Territory, a large dark ride in Lost Valley that was down earlier, and it was still broken :(

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Over on the other side, I checked out the Cartoon Network area even if it wasn't for me.

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Ben 10 was one of the more popular attractions - maybe because it's more of a show than a ride? There were mostly families at the park.

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I absolutely love the theming of the air race and these rides!!! Good fun. Can you guess which Power Puff Girl I chose?

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I was getting pretty hungry, and since some guy named Jake made burritos, it seemed like the perfect spot.

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This place was awesome, it was like a Moe's or Chipotle where you pick all your ingredients and they make your food down the line. Yum!

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After a refill, I did check out the park's shooting dark ride, themed to Gumball! I remember watching this with KT once. Waffle!?!

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Sorry for the dark photo, but tried to get one of the ride vehicle. The ride was a fun mix of physical and digital targets as inanimate objects come to life thanks to Gumball!

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The park's other giant kids' playground type attraction was over in this area, and themed to Lazy Town. It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake!

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Yet another ride (seriously impressive line up for a grand opening indoor park) was a nice leisurely sky ride around the Cartoon Network area.

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Back over in Lost Valley, Forbidden Territory opened up. Welcome to a poor man's Dinosaur straight from Animal Kingdom! I enjoyed looking at all the physical sets, just wish the vehicle moved more and didn't feel the few video screen sections. But the scale of this attraction was definitely impressive.

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And back at the front of the park, I decided to wait for the next "showtime" of the Haunted Hotel.

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The way it works is the haunted walk-thru opens for various time blocks throughout the day. However, since it is low capacity, the line closes really fast. At the start of each time block, the queue would fill up to like an hour right away and they would close the line. So I suggest you get there 15 minutes before the show time you want to do and be first in line outside the queue :)

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As it was now dark outside, before leaving I decided to go for one more ride on Velociraptor!

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Love the lights on the train. Had a great back row ride - seemed more intense than Blue Fire despite the rattle.

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Big thumb of approval for IMG! Can't wait to see what they add here in the future.

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The building certainly looks cool at night. So unique out here in the middle of nowhere! But as I said, arrange a taxi back to Dubai if you don't have your own car. The taxi line was big and there was only like 2 taxis there. Luckily I met two ex-pats in line for the Haunted Hotel that had a private car and were going back to the Dubai Mall so they let me join them.

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As we sped off into the desert Velociraptor was giving a few more rides before closing time. Love those lights!

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I arranged with my friends to meet back at the Dubai Mall. They were running a little late, and I happened to stumble upon a Shake Shack so why not? The peanut butter shake hit the spot :)

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Here is a look at a shopping area of the mall, with many levels to explore.

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At night, the big attraction is the fountain shows! They go off every 15 minutes, and each time was a littler different with displays and music.

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I also grew tall enough to reach the top of the tallest building in the world ;)

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The fountains though - a must see. Great movement together across the lake, plus big explosions and cool music. Great vibe around the lake and all the people. And each show is like 4 minutes so you can get back in the air conditioning quickly ;)

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Thew view of Burj Khalifa at night was just awe inspiring. Beautiful structure...amazing "glittering" lights at night. Just left me speechless for a while. Definitely a great ending to the day. Thank you for reading and tomorrow we are off to Abu Dhabi!!!

Edited by Jakizle
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Great Photos Jake!

 

Heading to Dubai in March for my 40th and can't wait to visit! Although I love coasters, I'm definitely doing more site seeing then riding coaster.

 

I'm picking Ferrari world as my park to visit with Motiongate being a maybe. I'll also get to the Dubai Mall and check out Spin Gear.

 

Can't wait to see more of your pictures!

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Woah, I don't think I had ever seen construction for that park. Great find and coverage of a new park! They did a great job with providing quality rides and themeing. I hope this place draws in the crowds and is able to grow.

 

The Cartoon Network area looks amazing. Can't wait to share this report with my CN team!

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Awesome report! I saw some of your pics on facebook along the way, but cool to see them in "trip report style". Loved the pictures from IMG Worlds of Adventure, it's always fun to see pictures from parks I know very little about. Looking forward to the next part.

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Great TR, thanks for showing off more of IMG. The park looks a lot better than I had expected!

 

Thanks! I agree. I spent more time there than I thought I would. Barely made it back for the last fountain shows around 11! Hopefully you can check it out on your next Dubai layover

 

waffle waffle

 

And yes, we love Dubai and can't wait to go back again. So many fun things to do both park and non-park wise!

 

I agree! It's like a play ground for adults with every kind of attraction possible.

 

Great Photos Jake!

 

Heading to Dubai in March for my 40th and can't wait to visit! Although I love coasters, I'm definitely doing more site seeing then riding coaster.

 

I'm picking Ferrari world as my park to visit with Motiongate being a maybe. I'll also get to the Dubai Mall and check out Spin Gear.

 

Can't wait to see more of your pictures!

 

 

I guess if you have to do one, Ferrari World is still the best decision for the two Intamin's. But IMG was great and Motiongate looks awesome also! Although I'm not sure how I feel about outdoor sections of a dry park

 

Maybe you can sneak in IMG one night in Dubai, it's open late!

 

Woah, I don't think I had ever seen construction for that park. Great find and coverage of a new park! They did a great job with providing quality rides and themeing. I hope this place draws in the crowds and is able to grow.

 

The Cartoon Network area looks amazing. Can't wait to share this report with my CN team!

 

I didn't follow anything either, so it was quite a shock when I found out it was open 2 days before I left. Definitely had to check it out with 3 substantial coasters and many dark rides!

 

Awesome report! I saw some of your pics on facebook along the way, but cool to see them in "trip report style". Loved the pictures from IMG Worlds of Adventure, it's always fun to see pictures from parks I know very little about. Looking forward to the next part.

 

It's definitely more enjoyable to read it trip report style then just look at an album. Now you actually see how the day went

 

I love your speedy and spur of the moment world travels! What was the inside of IMG like? Did they play music, was it really loud with all the attractions, or not so much with it being a light crowd day?

 

They are fun but absolutely exhausting! Hopefully I can stay longer as I earn more vacation time. I don't remember much music throughout the park, but it wasn't loud. Actually quite nice with some sounds of rides/people around but nothing loud at all.

 

Really interested to see how you liked Flying Aces. Is it better than Skyrush or I305?

 

I prefer both Skyrush and I-305 still, but it's a fantastic ride. I'll talk about it in the 2nd update, which I will post Monday after work!

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Time for part 2! The day I was most excited for...Abu Dhabi! We had a great itinerary for today. Follow along below

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The day starts off at our hotel at the Bur Juman metro station and mall. The Dubai metro is impressive and cheap.

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And here at Al Ghubaiba you get a little more Middle East feel. Surprisingly a dead morning at 7am. From this station we caught a non-stop bus to Dubai. It was like $7 and was air conditioned, had wifi, and was in a comfortable 2-1 configuration even with old seats. It was like a American Airlines 777-200 ancient business class seat!

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From the window of the bus Burj Khalifa just looks fake!

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Fast forward 2 hours, and we arrived at the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi! It is halfway between Abu Dhabi city (bus stop) and Ferrari World.

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This place was just absolutely beautiful.

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Hey look, I am here! Pants are a must for men, with normal tops being fine. Girls have to completely cover up and wear a provided abaya

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I just had a real sense of peacefulness walking around the outside area of the mosque.

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I felt like I was in a floating palace in the sky!

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Heading inside, and the beautiful details continue.

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How is that for a chandelier? And I'm not going to lie, I was excited for the air conditioning =)

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You must remove your shoes when you walk inside the mosque.

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The centerpiece inside the mosque! Wow.

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I can't believe this is a 100% unedited photo! All you have to do is just look up.

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The inside is quite large. As a guest you can walk through half of the main room and must stay in the roped off areas. No tour required.

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After a very nice visit, it was time to head back out and catch a cab to Ferrari World!

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My adrenaline was starting to build as I ran inside like a little school girl! So ready for the world's fastest coaster.

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The main entrance from the mall.

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I got worried with the ticket line! Buy your tickets ahead of time ;)

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At first I laughed that they give you a 10 AED voucher. But funny enough, it became useful. FORESHADOWING

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We timed it up to arrive right before Formula Rossa opens at 12 noon

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Our plan worked brilliantly...we got first train of the day, front row!!!

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Formula Rossa was quite the rush. Incredible launch and first hill. Yes, the rest isn't as crazy, but it's still really fun and was more floaty than I thought it would be.

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The funniest part however? The ride ripped my shirt!!! The seat belt/restraint is pretty tight for bigger guys, so something must have pinched and ripped as I got airtime!

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So the ride made me buy a t-shirt! Good thing I saved 10 AED on this $50 t-shirt lol

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And this was the damage. While not huge, I didn't want to be that guy wearing this around all day.

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Walking around the park, I was surprised how beautiful some of the areas are. This is heading towards Flying Aces!

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Time to ride Intamin's newest crazy creation! For Flyign Aces you have to dump all of your belongings before the queue, which could make it a long wait.

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Oh yeah, next to Flying Aces they are supposedly building this crazy effect coaster. It may or may not open before Mean Streak 2.0

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But Flying Aces was awesome! It was too hot to wait for a train, but here are some photos. The lift is quick (appreciated in the sun) and the drop is very intense in the back. Just a tad less intense than SkyRush but very similar drops.

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The non-inverting loop was GREAT! With the wing seats, you get a ton of rotation and weird feelings compared to Rip Ride Rockit.

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The rest of the ride was a perfect mix of small, large airtime hills and lots of twists, both of the turning and airtime variety. Every hill had you out of your seat, without being OMFG intense. It was almost "just right" kind of like a steel version of Balder.

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The crazy s-hill at the end was one of the highlights for me. Big rotation in the wing seats and airtime! Intamin hit a home run with this design. Perfect all around ride without trying to kill you.

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I see you over there, Yas Waterworld! Next time, for sure.

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As I alluded to, the painful thing about Flying Aces were the loading procedures. They waited until a full train of riders showed up on the other side of the gates. Which means we stood in a room for 20 minutes. Just waiting for people to show up. I will say, at least the queue was incredible. Seriously incredible to walk through. Just was a bummer waiting 20 minutes at the end and this made re-rides super painful.

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With the two major rides enjoyed, it was time to hit some of the others.

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The racing coaster was super weird! It is never banked, launches like 8 times for no reason, but actually kinda quick. I strangely...liked it.

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Only one side was running, which was fine with me. And yes, that dude in the black is puking on the stairs!

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I've heard the dark rides are laughably bad. Time to find out about a few!

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Yup, that was bad. What a total fail use of this ride system.

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This "Minions" type attraction was even more of a fail. Skip for more rides on Intamins!

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The kids attractions looked really impressive. And hello Weird Intamin shuttle coaster in the background. Really hoping it has some trick we don't know about or else it just goes up a spike.

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Kids learning how to drive like locals...what you can't see in this photo is 100 mph turns and burnouts.

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How about another ride on Formula Rossa? This time we went for back row.

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And this time it didn't rip my shirt! Glad we caught another ride, as it definitely felt warmed up. My co-worker really liked this ride and was glad we got to experience the world's fastest coaster.

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Can't forget the new shooting dark ride next door to Formula Rossa.

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While more kid themed, this is easily the best dark ride in the park.

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This report would not be completed without a Ferrari.

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After checking out the park for a few hours, a local tour company picked us up at the park for an evening safari! We drove right through the Yas Circuit leaving the park.

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This can't end up good...where are they taking us???

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Once we got out into the desert, the scenery was just unreal! This looks like a fake desert CD cover (hello Sick Puppies).

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Shameless selfie out in the middle of the desert.

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Driving all over the sand dunes was crazy! Especially over the tops and sideways around the curves. These drivers are crazy and laugh at everyone screaming. Great fun!

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Another stop for awesome photo ops. However I did not feel up for filling my shoes with buckets of sand to go out there!

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Of course there are camels. And sunsets.

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After photo stops, sand bashing (4x4 driving), and camels, we stopped at a camp for a nice evening.

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I rode a camel.

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Sunsets are awesome. Especially because the sun goes down and so do the temps. While waiting for dinner, you could enjoy sand surfing down the dunes, four wheeler rides for an extra fee, henna tattoos, and try on local dress.

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Here I am, king of the desert.

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While enjoying some awesome BBQ (grilled chicken kicked ass) we got to watch an impressive belly dancer. After a great 4 -5 hours and FANTASTIC value it was time to head back to Abu Dhabi.

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Our tour guide took us to a hotel to grab a taxi, so we could quickly get back to Dubai. A taxi from Yas Island, to our hotel in Dubai (to get bags), and then to the DXB airport was $65. Incredible. And this is where I dropped off my pocket wifi, which worked really well. 1GB a day.

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Our flight home was a 3am departure to Orlando!!! Sadly no A380 this time, but a cramped B77W.

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However, we struck it rich! This was an extremely empty flight, which meant 4 seats to myself! I slept like a freaking baby.

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Free wifi worked well on this leg. So did the nose camera so I could watch our landing at MCO!

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And just like that, we were back in the states to catch a Southwest flight to Dallas. Thanks for following along on my 2 day Dubai Adventure!!!

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Cool report, thanks for sharing. Dubai looks awesome and Ahubi Dhabi looks like fun too. I knew about most of the attractions they have (IMG Worlds of Adventure fell through the radar though) but never thought to do a desert safari, which looks like a lot of fun. I curious to know how much temperatures drop once the sun goes down.

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