First Ferrari theme park revs up for October opening

A handout picture released on April 25, 2010, by Ferrari World Abu Dhabi shows testing of the GT roller coaster in Abu Dhabi April 17, 2010. REUTERS/Ferrari World Abu Dhabi/Handout/Files

ABU DHABI (Reuters Life!) - The world’s first Ferrari theme park, inspired by the luxury Italian sports car and racing teams, opened its gates in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for a sneak preview before its official opening in October.

What currently looks like a big construction site will become Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in just over three months, home to 20 Ferrari-inspired attractions including rides, a 4D fantasy adventure, a racing academy, children’s play area, restaurants offering Italian cuisines and various shops.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, described as the world’s biggest indoor theme park, will be home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster ride which developers say will reach a speed of 240 kms per hour, giving its riders the sensation of being in a Formula One car

The park’s manager Andy Keeling said he expects the park on Yas Island will attract a variety of visitors and not just fans of Ferrari, particularly as it is first of its kind in the United Arab Emirates.

“We give you the brand and our interpretation of the brand Ferrari, but we are not going to give it a Ferrari price tag. We are going to give it a very affordable price tag,” Keeling told Reuters Television.

Currently, the most visible element of the park is its 200,000m square, sleek red roof, which is inspired by the double curve side profile of the Ferrari GT car body and carries the largest Ferrari logo created.

The theme park, being built by Abu Dhabi property developer Aldar Properties and to be managed by a joint venture of Aldar and internationla leisure company ProFun Management Group, is due to open to the public on Oct. 28.

The theme park is located next to the Yas Marina curcuit that hosts the season-ending Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix on Nov. 14.

Abu Dhabi’s government-owned investment fund Mubadala has a five percent stake in Ferrari whose Formula One team has won more championships and races than any rivals.

Reporting by Reuters Television, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith