Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World turns a glitzier shade of red
It has been just more than two years since the grand opening of the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park. Since then, the host of attractions under its capacious red roof - most notably the jowel-ripplingly quick Formula Rossa roller coaster - have drawn a steady stream of thrill-seekers to Yas Island.
But now, mainly in an attempt to lure local residents back for return visits, the theme park is about to unveil some brand new rides and attractions.
The first of these is Red, a 25-minute acrobatic spectacular, which replaces the previous live stage show La Gara.
What is it?
Set in 1950s Italy, the show follows the rivalry between two young men vying to woo a beautiful woman.
The big-budget extravaganza has been produced by Thinkwell, a California-based theme park design company. Previously, this firm worked on launch party for the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Resort in Florida and as a consultant for the London 2012 Olympics. Closer to home, it also created the Snow Play Zone at the Ski Dubai indoor ski slope.
Thinkwell's creative director Paul Haught explains how Red was conceived: "We were kind of inspired by the style and look of [Federico] Fellini films.
"Then we thought about what is the core essence of Ferrari. From this we developed a storyline about boy meets girl and how various guys are competing for her hand. But basically we wanted to develop something that has not been seen in the region. It's different from a roller coaster and different from a dark ride."
Indeed it is, with acrobats somersaulting around the stage, gymnasts spinning in giant wheels and dangling from silk ropes, BMX bikers leaping around, as well as the slapstick antics of a comedy clown.
Ferrari fanatics longing to see some high-powered machines will not feel dissatisfied, as it features an appearance by an F1 racing car and the legendary 250 California.
The stars of the show
The show stars 15 different performers from seven different nations. These include the Polish acrobats Angelina Kogot and Luisasz Misztela, who are both champions in Acro Sports, a discipline that combines gymnastics and dance.
The duo, who perform the adagio routine in the middle of the show, were both recruited from the Cirque Éloize circus troupe in Quebec, Canada.
While the lifts and body balances appear physically tough, they insist it's routine for them. "What we do is not that demanding - we do a lot tougher stuff in Acro Sports," says Kogot. "The challenge is having to do it three or four times a day and not get injured."
Why change the attractions?
The park manager Andy Keeling insists that the park is fulfilling expectations in terms of visitor numbers. So, he claims, introducing Red is part of a larger scheme to keep the experience fresh and surprising for both local and overseas guests.
"La Gara was successful, but it was done on a much smaller budget. But we found that our guests really enjoyed live shows, so we decided to go bigger and better," he says.
"We've brought in elements of something that you might see in a Broadway or West End show. I'd say it has much more of a showbiz quality than before."
Coming next at Ferrari World
Keeling says that while Ferrari World has established itself on the tourist maps of the UAE, the team is now pushing to make sure the residents of Abu Dhabi keep coming back again and again.
"We have worked hard to show our guests that we are keeping Ferrari World alive. We've got a lot of surprises up our sleeves, including a new family ride opening very soon. Just watch this space," he says.
Red will be showing twice a day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3pm and 7pm, and three times a day from Thursdays to Saturdays at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. The park is open from 11am to 8pm every day but is closed on Monday. Entry to Red is included in the price of entry to the park. General admission costs Dh225 for guests over 1.5 metres in height, and Dh165 for guests under 1.5 metres . Premium admission costs Dh325 for guests over 1.5 metres, and Dh265 for guests under 1.5 metres. Call 02 496 8001 or visit www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com for more information
Published: November 14, 2012 04:00 AM