Sunday, February 1, 2015

bucket list item: Ride the fastest roller coaster in the world - check!

The fastest roller coaster in the world, Formula Rossa, can be found in Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World. It reaches a speed of 149mph in 4 seconds, blowing the previous world record, 128mph by New Jersey's own Kingda Ka, out of the water by a full 21mph!

formula rossa fastest roller coaster in the world
Formula Rossa in action

I have been a roller coaster enthusiast since the moment I met the height requirements to ride as a child. To give you an idea of the extent of my roller coaster insanity, when Kingda Ka opened about 10 years ago, I waited in line for 4 hours with Larissa from the Traveling Mortician to ride the front row of the then tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. (Kingda Ka still holds the title for the tallest roller coaster, although the Skyscraper currently being built in Orlando is set to steal this title when it opens in 2017)

In 2010 when I heard about the opening of Formula Rossa, I immediately put this item on my bucket list, and was finally able to complete this goal as a day trip from Dubai this year! We arranged for a private driver to take us the hour drive into Abu Dhabi on the last morning of our trip, where we first stopped at the Grand Mosque for an hour, and then were dropped off at Ferrari World. 

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Entrance to Ferrari World, which is mostly an indoor theme park

(Prices for this trip vary and we split the cost with another couple, but it is probably just as easy to take a bus into Abu Dhabi from one of Dubai's malls and then a taxi to the Ferrari World Entrance.)

You have 2 choices for Admission into Ferrari World:

General Admission - 250AED regular day pass to Ferrari World attractions (means you will wait in line)

Premium Admission 450AED regular admission with a fast pass, meaning you will essentially skip the lines

After inquiring about the current wait time for Formula Rossa and being told it was less than 30 minutes, we decided on purchasing general admission. This was a mistake as I ended up waiting a full hour and a half to ride! I highly recommend the fast past to maximize your time if you can afford it as I didn't realize we needed it until after I had already waited in line for 30 full minutes and it was too late!

The experience:

You are given safety goggles before boarding the roller coaster. No explanation on why was given, but I can only assume since the air in Abu Dhabi has a sandy haze to it, this was to avoid getting sand particles in your eyes given the speed. 

The coaster then inches out of the waiting area, where it briefly pauses before shooting like a rocket launcher down the track. Those few seconds of accelerating from 0 to 149mph feels almost painful, in a good adrenaline pumping type of way. Of course, this is the time where the picture is taken to get the most embarrassing faces out of the riders, and I couldn't resist purchasing mine even though I look completely ridiculous. 

Formula Rossa Abu Dhabi
That's me next to the lady in full UAE National Dress

The remainder of the ride is sorta a blur as I went from being excited to trying to keep my head straight as to not bang it against the back of the coaster, and trying to keep my eyes open!

Afterwards we went on a few of the other rides before having to head back to Dubai to catch our flight back to the USA. If you want to experience all the attractions and not just Formula Rossa, purchase the premium admission!

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