Visitors voice disappointment at Dubai attraction

A giant water slide attraction disappointed adventure seekers on day two of its Dubai debut with people forced to walk and run because the incline was not steep enough.

A little boy slides down the water slide at Dubai Autodrome. Reem Mohammed / The National
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DUBAI // A giant water slide attraction disappointed adventure seekers on day two of its Dubai debut with people forced to walk and run because the incline was not steep enough.

Organisers had cancelled Friday’s City Slide event, a 500-metre inflatable thrill ride set up at the Dubai Autodrome, citing insufficient water pressure.

However, on Saturday, hundreds more ticket-holders asked for refunds complaining of inadequate water flow, poor organisation, overheated water and an unsatisfactory slide experience.

“This is not really a slide because you are standing and trying to walk,” said Gijs Van Brussel, manager with a health care firm, accompanied by relatives visiting from Europe.

Luz Barrcos said her friends and family felt let down since they had planned a day out for the Eid break.

“We were really so happy about coming here and everyone, even the six kids, tried to slide but there is not enough water, it moves to the side,” said Barrcos pointing to her grazed leg.

“You should slide on a slide no? Here you have to stand up, run and walk.”

A two-hour ride slot cost Dh170 and Dh50 for entry tickets.

Staff asked refund seekers to apply online with order or ticket numbers in a process that would take a few days.

“We thought it would be a family day out with activities for the kids, but we’re leaving and asking for a refund,” said Karla Muchmore, an operations manager.

“We were appalled to find out that to use another slide we would have to pay additional money.”

Promotions had advertised water pistols, water balloons along with the main thrill ride with participants whizzing down two water chutes on rubber rings propelled by jets of soapy water.

Many ticket holders turned back after watching people unable to slide the entire length, although several teenagers and children tried a couple of rides.

“Most of the time we had to get up and walk and the water was too hot,” was the verdict of Elly Molyneux, 13.

She was out with her friend Thea Elder who described the ride as “slow, steeper would have been better.”

Iris Ortner too grazed her knee while attempting the ride with her four children aged 12 to 6 years.

“It’s not worth the price, the water is hot and moves to one side, plus they had promised water gun fights,” she said.

Her son Phillip Ortner, 8, was among the few with positive feedback.

“I liked it, I could slide,” he said.

Organisers aim to return next year with the assurance of plugging trouble areas.

“The main drawback was the incline and because of tar roads the water was hot causing problems,” said Uttam Kumar, managing director of Tamquest Entertainment.

“But the response has been good and everyone loves the concept. Next time we will have this closer to winter, build or search for a specific incline and a natural water source instead of tankers.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae