Mission Ferrari review: Abu Dhabi's new roller coaster with world's first sideways drop

Riders become 'secret agents' on the immersive, multisensory ride at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

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Most adrenaline-seekers are familiar with Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s high-octane, record-breaking rides and roller coasters.

From Flying Aces, which scales 63 metres at a 51-degree incline and has the world’s highest loop, to the Fiorano GT Challenge, which pits race cars against each other on twisting parallel tracks at a speed of up to 95kph, there are plenty of ways to get your heart racing.

The park's latest attraction, Mission Ferrari, is billed as an “immersive mega coaster” and is the world’s first to feature a sideways drop.

“We have more than 40 rides and attractions, which is great. But this particular ride, being the first 5D mega coaster, adds a whole new dynamic to the park,” says Ferrari World Abu Dhabi general manager Deana Taylor.

Mission Ferrari opens to the public on Thursday, and The National's Evelyn Lau went along to find out what visitors can expect and how it compares to the park's popular Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster.

Mission accepted

As I queue up for Mission Ferrari, it’s clear the ride is different than the others. It feels immersive from the get-go, as riders step into a dimly-lit building with screens and sounds playing against concrete-looking walls meant to resemble the inside of a Ferrari factory. There are even “secret agents” who wait outside (and will be there for the first month of the roller coaster’s launch) and play into the ride's spy narrative.

Each car can hold 10 people with two rows of five seats. As I am safely buckled in with a seat belt and an overhead harness, I am told to hold onto the handle in front of me at all times, while also being reminded to lean my head back against the seat. As the ride begins, I learn that the “mission” is to safely deliver a top-secret Ferrari spy car to the carmaker's factory in Maranello, Italy.

Without giving away too many surprises, the four-minute ride is filled with so many turns, twists and drops I really can't tell what was coming next. There are multiple screens and impressive theatrics inside the ride.

It feels very much like a fun guessing game about where the car will go next. I also find the Mission Ferrari roller coaster more gentle compared to Formula Rossa.

Surviving Formula Rossa

The world’s fastest roller coaster goes from 0 to 240kph in under five seconds. Riders are given a pair of plastic goggles to protect their eyes. As I get closer to boarding, I feel myself getting nervous.

The Formula Rossa is the world's fastest roller coaster. Reuters

Right from the start, it’s clear Formula Rossa is going to be intense. I am in one of the last two seats of the eight-row roller coaster, and feel the 1.7g-force immediately. I try my best to force my head to lean back against the chair, but have some difficulty doing so owing to the high speed we are moving at.

There are loops that make my stomach drop, and I'm glad for the outdoor portion of the ride as the cool evening air makes me feel better.

Although the ride is only one-and-a-half minutes long, I feel a little dizzy and wobbly after getting off when we finally arrive back at the platform.

Final thoughts

The two rides attest to Taylor's claim that Ferrari World has something for everyone. Formula Rossa is great for those who want to get their blood pumping and don’t mind doing so in just under 90 seconds. It’s ideal for the ultimate thrill-seeker.

Mission Ferrari, however, is more intriguing with its sudden shifts and movements, as well as its immersive screens that tell a story. Don’t be fooled, however, this is still one for adrenaline-seekers. It goes on for a little more than four minutes, which may not be enjoyable for some. This also means the queueing up time is likely to be longer.

Although most of Mission Ferrari takes place inside the building, there is a twisting loop that extends outside of the park, enabling bystanders to watch and wave as the roller coaster goes screaming by.

“This ride is one of the most immersive attractions we have in the park. It is full of surprises, and you never know which way it's going to turn or twist next,” says Taylor. “It keeps you on the edge of your beautiful Ferrari seats throughout.”

I couldn't agree more.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 11:06 AM
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