Abu Dhabi / Development / International

Ferrari Land in the Sand

For theme-park lovers, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park and the largest indoor theme park is the place to go. The park was completed in October of 2010, and contains several attraction to bring even more tourism to the rapidly developing, Abu Dhabi.

A sketch of Ferrari World

The park is located on Yas Island, just east of Saadiyat island (future site of Guggenheim and New York University campus). Yas Island is dedicated to the entertainment and leisure of tourists and is licensed out from Ferrari, who have no influence over its inner-operatons. It’s pure licensing profit for Maranello (the city of the Ferrari factory). It was designated as “World’s Leading Tourism Development Project” back in 2009 and has shown to be just that.

It was built at an extravagant cost, on an extraordinary scale and is as much an architectural marvel with great feats of structural engineering as it is an interior designer’s dream. The starfish shell skin is held up with huge curving trusses forming huge funnels made of 2-inch thick exposed steel rebar that raise the roof from one hundred to two hundred feet above the floor where racing cars follow tracks into a tunnel ride through a pool; a Grand Prix circuit for kids and a circuit for a rolling helicopter ride for younger kids. Up one level, a racing car simulator puts a rider through the high pitched twists of a fast Grand Prix race at breakneck speed.

The attractions include:

Formula Rossa – The world’s fastest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 150mph. Due to the high air speeds and the subsequent risk of an impact with airborne particulates or insects, all riders are required to wear protective glasses similar to those used during sky diving.

Speed of Magic – A fantasy 4-D journey following the adventures of a young boy as he travels through a kaleidoscopic dreamscape of natural and phenomenal environments, where no Ferrari has gone before.

Formula Rossa

Made in Maranello – A virtual trip behind the walls of the famous Ferrari factory in Maranello, taking guests through the intricate process of making the world’s most sought after car.

V12 – An exciting flume ride to the heart of a 12 cylinders engine.

G-Force – A thrilling tower ride that will shoot thrill-seekers through the red roof and 62 meters in the air before plummeting back to Earth, experiencing the actual G-force of a Ferrari, in a seat directly inspired by the Ferrari Enzo.

Scuderia Challenge – Cutting edge racing simulators similar to those used by the drivers of the Scuderia Ferrari in training.

Viaggio in Italia – A virtual aerial voyage over Italy’s cities and their main monuments, mountains and coasts pursuing a Ferrari.

Fiorano GT Challenge – A unique dueling rollercoaster with Ferrari F430 Spiders twisting and turning through tight corners on a sprint to the finish line.

Bell’Italia – A miniature recreation of Italy’s most famous locations, from the picturesque Portofino and the Amalfi Coast to Monza racetrack, the Colosseum in Roma, Venezia and Maranello, the heartland and home of Ferrari.

Paddock – A re-creation of the Ferrari motor home including garages, transporters & hospitality suites with interactive shows offering fans a taste of the true action behind the scenes on a Grand Prix race day.

The Pit Wall – An interactive theatre that allows guests to test their judgment in realistic racing scenarios.


Galleria Ferrari – The world’s largest Ferrari gallery outside Maranello, showcasing the most exclusive range of classic and contemporary Ferrari’s from all over the world.

Junior GT – A driving school for children with expert instruction where they will drive reduced scale F430 GT Spiders on an equipped driving course.

Junior Grand Prix – After the Junior GT driving experience, budding F1™ drivers can enjoy the race track in scaled down Ferrari F1™ racers.

The Racing Legends – A ride through Ferrari’s greatest racing moments starting from the first races all the way to today’s F1 victories.

Driving with Champions – An interactive 3-D show which follows the adventures of a young engineer who is taken on the ride of a lifetime with a racing champion on his first day working at the Ferrari factory.

Bell’Italia Ride

Cinema Maranello Ferrari – World’s own theatre showing ‘Coppa di Sicilia’, a short film that tells one of the many inspiring stories from the life of the legendary Enzo Ferrari.

Junior Training Camp – An interactive play area for children where they can engage with a waterless car wash, become custom ‘constructors’, climb up the grandstand, pilot remote cars, paddle their own miniature Ferrari and play with an F1™ car made of soft, guest-friendly foam.

Carousel – Featuring never-before-seen Ferrari prototypes based on winning designs from a Ferrari competition.

(list from CAR Magazine)

I find this to be a very interesting investment on both parties, Abu Dhabi and Ferrari. Such a celebration over an exotic Italian-based car company leads one to wonder what the angle is. Could Abu Dhabi be celebrating the success of other great countries in hopes that they will soon rise to their desired international status? Of course the allure of the Ferrari is grand, but I wonder as to why specifically Abu Dhabi selected this particular car brand to add to it’s already immense achievement list. Ferrari land is now the largest indoor theme park in the world with the fastest roller coaster in the world. Seems like a lot of hoopla to place more “-est”s on the Abu Dhabi resume.

On the part of Ferrari – with all the controversial human rights issues associated as of recently within Abu Dhabi, I would presume the immense theme park was thrown together within months by the assist of a forced worker’s hand. Although no official report had been made of this, I doubt Ferrari would want any bad image.

Beyond these issues, I would like to see Ferrari World for myself. They put a lot of effort into celebrating Italian culture along with the obvious theme of the Ferrari brand – this of course includes of the monumental Italian architecture and urban design. It would be interesting to give the park a glance through an architectural historian mind-set.


One thought on “Ferrari Land in the Sand

  1. Do you know who Ferrari was designed by? In former days as a Landscape Architect in Toronto, Canada, I spent several years working for ‘Forrec’, an internationally renowned theme park designer who consulted and oversaw detailed design and construction of many theme parks, some in the middle east. I’m curious…

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