Ferrari has always been synonymous with research, innovation and the cutting-edge of the automotive world. However, in recent years the Prancing Horse has applied the same logic to sectors not strictly related to cars. This is certainly true not only for Ferrari-branded products for sale in the Ferrari Store, but also for Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, the first ever theme park dedicated to a car manufacturer.
The project was first mooted in 2005, when discussions began between Ferrari and Aldar Properties, a company that deals with the development of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The first stone was laid on 3 November 2007 and the park was ready to open three years later. The park is located on the artificial island of Yas Marina, which is also home to a circuit that has hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix every year since 2010. Indeed, the first F1 race coincided with the official opening of Ferrari World that, together with Ferrari’s top management, also saw the presence of two Scuderia race drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. The park, which opened to the public on 4 November 2010, has a large red roof with the Scuderia shield in the middle. The park stretches a total area of 200,000 square metres, 86,000 of which are covered.
While Ferrari World is clearly dedicated to the Prancing Horse, it is also a celebration of Italy and the country’s culture. Indeed, its attractions include “Viaggio in Italia” and “Bell’Italia”, which allow visitors to admire some of the Belpaese’s most iconic beauties during a fascinating tour in miniature. The restaurants offer real Italian food, which hasn’t suffered the distortions that often befall Mediterranean cuisine abroad.
But what attracts most visitors is the Formula Rossa. This is the fastest rollercoaster in the world, with a top speed of over 240 km/h. Riders are given protective goggles, because they travel so fast. Ferrari World has been an immediate and huge success: every day there are long queues of visitors at the gate, while the facility collects awards one after another. The most prestigious came in 2015 when it was named Middle East tourist attraction of the year.