Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina – Great Dubai Resort!

Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina – Great Dubai Resort!

Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & MarinaTo say that Dubai has a ton of  hotels would be an understatement.  I believe there are almost 600 hotels in this city state that covers 1,588 square miles, that’s roughly the size of Rhode Island which covers an area of 1,544 square miles.  And the hotel count is growing with 140 more set to open in 2016 and still more during  the next 4 years to accommodate visitors expected to flock to Dubai during the World Expo in 2020.

So there definitely isn’t a shortage of hotel rooms! There are hotels to fit all types of travelers and budgets.  From low end hotels in the old city to super luxury resorts on Palm Island Dubai has it all. We’ve stayed in several different hotels there, including the JW Marriot Hotel Dubai in Deira,  the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel & Resort,  and the Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina.

All three are great hotels.  They’re comfortable, luxurious, have awesome service, and great locations.  But our all time favorite is the Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina, specially when the kids and grandkids are with us, they love the Westin.

Most of the resorts in Dubai, special those located in Jumeirah or on Palm Island are very kid friendly, but from my experience the Westin is the least expensive for the this class of hotel, depending on the season rates start at about $250 – 350 per night for a standard room.  Believe me other luxury hotels in the area charge more.

westinWe usually book Executive Club Rooms that have sea views and come with perks like breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktail hour, and all day drinks at the Executive Lounge located on the 8th. floor.

An Executive Club room starts at about $350 a night.  When you have kids it’s sometimes worth the extra dollars spent on the Executive room to have access to free drinks and snacks all day.  [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]




Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina

Blue Orange Restaurant

We also try to book the room to include breakfast, yes the Executive Club rooms include breakfast at the Lounge, but we love the buffet breakfast at the Blue Orange Restaurant located on the ground floor.

Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina

Play area in the Blue Orange Restaurant

The space is much larger with a greater variety of food choices, and has a play area for the kids.  I did say the hotel was very kid friendly![spacer height=”-20px”]


Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina

Fresh crepes at the Blue Orange Restaurant

Not to mention their crepes are amazing!

The buffet breakfast is pretty pricey if it’s not included in the room rate.  It’s about $40 per person and children under 12 are half price.

If you can’t get the breakfast package when you make your reservation you can splurge on the breakfast buffet at least a couple of times during your stay.  It’s so worth it![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]



IMG_2735Ok other than the amazing breakfast buffet here are other reasons why we love this resort.

The rooms are spacious with ample storage, the beds very comfortable, and the bathroom luxurious with plush towels, robes, and slippers. Each room is equipped with a handy Nespresso coffee machine which housekeeping restocks at least once a day.  Did I mention they clean the rooms twice daily and have turn down service?  The kids love the little chocolates they leave on the pillows!  So yes the resort is luxurious and has awesome service.

On a tangent the kids loved the welcome gifts they receive when we check -in.  They each got a little backpack filled with vacation essentials; a disposable camera, water bottle, and beach toys.  I think the concierge gave them the gifts while we were checking in.  I can’t quite remember I was busy with the welcome drink and snack they let you munch on while checking in.  The cold towels they offer at check in was much appreciated too.  I told you they were awesome!

Oh and speaking of awesome the concierge will loan you a child’s car seat if you need one, free!  They add a small deposit to your room charge until you return the seat, then they remove the charge.  Fair enough because it was a very nice car seat.  Saved us a bundle too, Hertz was going to charge us $20 a day to rent Jett’s car seat and we were there for 2 weeks!

The concierge will also handle lost luggage, I mean luggage that the airlines very nicely lost for you on your way to Dubai.  A couple of years ago the airlines (not Emirates) somehow misplaced all our luggage.  The Westin’s concierge followed up for us and as they were delivered we found them already in our rooms.  It took the airlines  3 days to finally deliver them all.  The concierge kept us appraised of our luggage situation daily until they were all delivered, took the stress of arguing with the airlines away!

Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & MarinaAmong the best features of this hotel is the beautiful stretch of beach on the property, it’s quite a long stretch as the Westin is connected to its sister property Le Meridien, another great hotel.  Guests at either resort have access to both resorts amenities including the pools, kids’ club and play area, and restaurants.

It’s a private beach and from there you can see across to Palm Island.   The kids loved splashing in the very warm Gulf water and collecting the many shells scattered on the beach.


westinWhen they’re not at the beach the kids love the pools.  The children’s pool is shaded by a tarp.  It has a small water slide and a little cave the kids can play in.  The lifeguards are very friendly and attentive.   By the end of our last stay they were calling the kids by name!


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IMG_3019And whether you’re on the beach or at the pool the pool valets are always around.  They pass around cold water and small cups of cold juices and the always welcome cold towels and misters, all free of charge.  You can also order drinks, snacks, or lunch.  Just ask for a menu and they’ll be happy to bring it.  Food and beverages are charged to your room of course.   How much more pampered can you be?

While you’re at the pool you can enjoy some adult time with out the kids by dropping them off at the kids’ club, it’s located by the beach between the 2 resorts. A schedule of kids’ activities is posted by the towel kiosk as you enter the pool area.  There’re many different activities through out the day.

The Kids’ Club staff are very good.  When you first sign up the manager will let you know what the activities are and will list down any special needs your child may have including food allergies.  Snacks are provided and you can arrange for your child to have lunch there as well.  They will also ask for a list of people who you authorize to sign your child in and out of the club.

IMG_2291 IMG_2295The Kids’ Club area is very safe and secure.  There’s an out door play area with play ground equipment on the beach side, but you don’t have to worry, it’s fenced in and has no beach exits.  The indoor play areas is air conditioned and has books, toys, video games, and movies for your child to use.    For younger children they have art activities and story time, for older kids they have sports including soccer and basketball.  Did I mention most activities are free?[spacer height=”-20px”]




IMG_2559My grandson Dion participated in the Banana Boat ride.  The activity cost about $8 and was scheduled for one afternoon a week.  He had a blast!

IMG_2547We watched him from the comfort of the beach lounges!

But the water fun isn’t limited to kids! The water sports center rents jet skis, kayaks, speedboats, and more. Remember it is a Resort & Marina!

And of course there’s a gym and their Heavenly Spa.[spacer height=”-20px”]




The Westin Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina really does have something for everyone.  It’s a great family friendly hotel at a great location.   It’s fun and comfortable resort at a great location, with excellent service, and great restaurants.  That’s why it’s our favorite reasonably priced resort in Dubai!

For other kid friendly hotels in Dubai click here!  For budget friendly Dubai hotels click here!

Dubai Mall – Free & Not So Free Things To Do With Kids

Dubai Mall – Free & Not So Free Things To Do With Kids

Dubai Mall

Dubai is such an amazing place.  The city state boasts the world’s tallest building, one of largest suspended aquariums in the world located in one of the largest indoor malls, and so much more.  There’s lots to see and do in Dubai you won’t know where to begin.  We’ve been there several times and still haven’t seen it all.

For our family one of the best things about Dubai is that it is very kid and family friendly.  Many of the venues are geared for families with children.  But it’s not cheap!  Many of the attractions such as Ski Dubai and Atlantis’ Aquaventure  come with a very hefty price tag.  But don’t despair, there are many things you can enjoy with the kids without breaking the bank.  One of them is a day at the Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest indoor malls.  It’s home to 1200 retail stores, The Dubai Aquarium, an ice skating rink, a real dinosaur, movie theaters, and more.  Sure most of the things in Dubai Mall are not free, but there are many that are free or very inexpensive.

First let me start some of the free and less expensive things you can do with the kids and end with the most expensive activities.

Dubai Mall

The Toy Store

Browse the candy and toy stores, they’re pretty amazing!  Of course this can get costly if you decide to go on a shopping spree, but if you can manage to keep your credit cards in you wallet, or stay on budget, the kids will be delighted.

The Toy Store located on the lower ground floor is a child’s dream store.  It’s a huge store filled with just about every toy imaginable.  It’s also lots of fun.  The store front is filled with sales associates demonstrating cool new toys, best of all they interact with the kids and even let them try out the toys.  Great marketing!  You’re welcome to browse thru the store, touch, and even play with the samples that are scattered throughout. Getting out of the store without making a purchase can be challenging, but we managed several times.  Well ok, we got the kids out fine, but on one visit my husband insisted on purchasing one of the flying gizmos!

Dubai Mall

Al Nassma Kiosk

The kids loved the Al Nassma kiosk also located on the lower ground floor.  The kiosk sells beautifully boxed chocolates made from camel’s milk.

The kids thought camel’s milk candy was cool, but I’m not sure they really liked it.  They did love the gold colored camel that was part of the decor.  The sales associate was nice enough to let the boys ride the camel and take photos.

My grandson Dion picked up a small box of chocolates for his mom and my husband bought several bars to munch on.  If you’re adventurous you may want to give it a try, but the chocolates are pretty pricey!

There are several other sweets shops nearby including Patchi that sells high quality chocolates made in Lebanon.  The kids loved choosing samples which the sales associates handed out freely.


Dubai Mall


Candylicious located on the ground floor directly across from The Dubai Aquarium is actually a bunch of candy stores under one roof.  The store is huge and houses different sections of various products.

In the front you’ll find Garret popcorn shop selling a variety of yummy popcorn.  The popcorn is sold by weight so you can buy as much or as little as you want.  We picked up a couple of bags to munch on.

Dubai Mall

Chocolate Moonshine Co.

Further in the shop you’ll find the Chocolate Moonshine Co.  This family owned US company prides itself in making artisan that are gluten free and have 0 trans fats.

You’re encouraged to sample the many flavors and create your own sampler box.

We picked up a couple of  boxes to enjoy when we returned home.  They really are yum with lots of interesting flavors.

Dubai Mall


In the back of Candylicious you’ll find candy confectioners busy making handmade candy at Spun.

If you want you can order custom candy in the flavors and colors of your choice or have them write a message on one of their large lollipops.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Spun Confectioners

You can watch them make colorful hard candies and lollipops….[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Sushi Tray made of hard rock candy

and browse their cool candy creations like this sushi tray.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai MallOn the other side of the store there’s a wind booth where you can buy a ticket for a chance to grab coupons for a chance to win prizes.  Each ticket costs about $5 and gives you a couple of minutes in the booth to grab as much coupons as you can.  My grandson Dion tried it and won a bag of goodies. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Devon with his freshly made cotton candy

My grandson Devon loved watching the candy maker make cotton candy, he loved eating it too!  The cotton candy cost about $5.  If you want to save it for later the candy maker will happily bag it for you.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Now that the kids are on a candy rush you can head to the Dubai Fountain located on the lower ground floor.  You can’t miss it, just follow the signs!  There’s a fountain show every half hour or so, check at the mall for the schedule.  Enjoy the show for free anywhere along the promenade or grab a cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s or a burger from 5 Guys and take a seat in their outdoor seating area.  For more upscale fountain side dining check out Wafi Gourmet for lunch or dinner.  They serve delicious Middle Eastern cuisine and have outdoor seating where you can watch the fountain show during your meal.

Dubai Mall


Check out the DubaiDino on the ground floor.  Hard to miss just follow the dino tracks!

This real dinosaur was discovered almost intact in 2008 in Wyoming.  It was air-freighted to its new home at the Dubai Mall and is now on display in the Souk Dome.  You can gaze at this 25 foot tall behemoth, read its story, and chat with the Dino Team.  They’re real friendly folks and will happily answer your questions.  Best of all this is free![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

The Dubai Aquarium

Another popular free attraction is the outer wall of The Dubai Aquarium located across from Candylicious.  You’re welcome to watch its many inhabitants swim by as long as you want, as long as you can fight the crowds!

If you want to walk thru the tunnel you’ll have to buy a ticket.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Food Court at the Dubai Mall

If you get hungry you certainly have lots of places to choose from.  Just about every floor has a restaurant.  But when you have kids the food court is a good choice.  There are so many choices I’m sure you’ll find something for everyone, the challenge is finding a table![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Ice Cream Lab

After lunch or dinner if you have room try the ice cream of the feature from the Ice Cream Lab located in the food court.  The kids got a kick out of watching the ice cream makers make their ice cream for them.  If ice cream’s not your thing there’re many other sweet shops in the food court.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Dubai Ice Rink

You can work off that ice cream at the Dubai Ice Rink.  Or you can just watch the skaters!  The Olympic size rink is located a couple of floors below the food court.

Check for times and prices before  you go.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Sega Republic

Or you can check out Sega Republic and indoor theme park located across from the food court.  You’ll find rides and arcade games all centered around Sega video games.  There are different passes available for purchase.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai MallOr you can just walk the upper level of the mall and browse the shops.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall


The boys loved the Lamborghini store and took photos by the gold Lamborghini on display.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Dubai Aquarium

Or you can head back to the Dubai Aquarium, it’s very cool.  Tickets start at about $25 per person to the Aquarium and the Underwater Zoo.

The Underwater Zoo is located on the upper floor, once you’ve walked thru the aquarium tunnel you’ll be directed to the elevator or escalator to the zoo.  There are many cool exhibits and habitats in the Zoo.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

You can purchase the ticket that includes a ride in the glass bottom boat and get a different view of the aquarium critters.  We did this one year, it was very cool![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Dubai Mall

Emirates A380 Experience

If you or the kids love flying and splurging is within your budget then book a session with the Emirates A380 Experience.  It’s a flight simulator that puts you in the cockpit of this beautiful plane.

As I said this is a bit of a splurge!  A thirty minute session costs a bit over $100!

The Emirates A380 Experience is located on the ground level right next to the Emirates Official Store.  The boys loved the store, they were able to buy model planes, pilot and flight attendant uniforms, and other logo stuff at fairly reasonable prices.

If you want to ride the high speed elevator to the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck you can purchase tickets at the Dubai Mall.  The ticket booth is located not far from the Dubai Fountain.  Tickets start at about $30 per person depending on which floor you want to go to and the time of your visit.

Whatever you decide to do at the Dubai Mall I’m sure you’ll have a great time.  There is so much to see and do you’re sure to find something that fits your tastes and budget.  Remember you don’t have to spend a cent, but it’s sure hard not to!

For more information on Dubai activities click here!  For kid friendly hotels in Dubai click here!


Dubai’s Children City – Fun, Educational, and Inexpensive!

Dubai’s Children City – Fun, Educational, and Inexpensive!

Childrens City

One of our favorite and least expensive places to visit in Dubai is Children’s City.

Located inside Creekside Park on the Bur Dubai side of Dubai Creek Children’s City is fun and educational for the entire family.  It’s one of the best Children’s museums we’ve visited.

Children City

Children’s City is dedicated to children between the ages of 2-15.  It’s a place where they can play, learn, explore, and discover the world we live in.  They have a theater, a planetarium, toddler play area, and galleries with interactive displays where kids can learn about nature, communication, space exploration and more.

Our kids love it!  It’s a good inexpensive way to spend the day.  In a town filled with the biggest, fastest, tallest, and other extreme sights Children’s City is a refreshing change from amusement parks that charge a small fortune for admission and overwhelming malls that are packed with thousands of shoppers and tourists.  Entrance to Children’s City is a mere 10 AED for kids 2-15,  15 AED for adults, or a family ticket for 40 AED admits 2 adults and 2 children.  Kids under 2 are free.

Children City

At the entrance there is a map of the building to help you find the different galleries.

Children City

In The Way We Live gallery kids can learn about Dubai’s past and present.  They “ride a camel” or have a camel or horse race.  They can learn about Dubai’s architecture both past and present, sail a Dhow and our favorite activity in this gallery…

Children City

Go on a Magic Carpet ride over Dubai!


Children City

In the Nature Center kids can learn about different environments and the creatures that live within.  From fossils to fish and more they have all sorts of interactive displays that kids and see, touch, do, and explore.

Children City

There are lots of fun exhibits in the Human Body gallery.  Kids can have fun on the interactive displays while learning about their bodies.

Dion’s favorite is biking with the skeleton!  And everyone loves exploring the mouth!

Children City

From Morse Code to Cell Phones and computers, the giant interactive displays in the Computer and Communication gallery has it all.

This is one of the kids’ favorite galleries.  We spend a lot of time here!

Children City

The Space Exploration gallery is another fun place.  The kids love sitting in the cockpit of a model Emirate Airlines plane.  In this gallery they explore all things that fly.

Children City

The Toddler Play area has slides and rides for kids to play in.  When we were there last summer there was a huge bounce house in the lobby, the kids loved it!

There is always something fun and educational in Children’s City.  They have a schedule of workshops and special exhibits year round. While we were there they had a gentleman face painting and making balloon animals.

Children City

If you get hungry there’s a small snack bar in the back of the lobby.  They sell burgers, pizza, and other snacks at reasonable prices.

You can also host a birthday party here if you like.

Children City

If you still have energy after a few hours in Children’s City there are more things to do in the park.  You can ride a donkey or camel, take one of the trains for a ride around the park, or rent a go cart.  Each activity is charged separately, but they’re pretty inexpensive.

The Dolphinarium is also within this park as is a small amusement park and water park.

You can’t do it all in one day, but this park can keep you and your kids entertained for a day or two for less than what you’d pay for a day at one of the big theme or water parks.

For more free & cheap things to do in Dubai click here!

For more kid friendly Dubai attractions click here!  Or check out my posts about Atlantis Aquaventure Park, Ski Dubai, Yas Waterworld, and Ferrari World.



Fun Day at Ski Dubai

Fun Day at Ski Dubai

SkiOnly in Dubai can you ski, sled, and snowboard in the middle of the dessert when the outside temperature hits 100+ F. degrees.

Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates, one of the world’s largest malls, lets you do all that and more.  It’s a must do, or at the very least must see, sight in Dubai.  It’s the world’s most exotic ski resort and is home to one of the longest indoor ski slopes in the world.
Whenever we’re in town with the grandkids we’re sure to spend a day or two at Ski Dubai.  There’s so much to do there it keeps the boys happy and occupied for hours.

SkiThey have rides and activities for toddlers, young kids, teens, and adults.

My 2 year old grandson had so much fun on the toboggan!

Ski7 year old Devon loves them too!

Mini toboggan slopes for the little ones!  You don’t have to worry about safety, there’s lots of attendants to help kids get on and off the rides safely.

We all, except Jett, loved rolling down the slope in this giant air filled ball.


For a bird’s eye view hop on a ski chair lift.  It takes you all the way up the slope, stopping to let skiers and boarders off at the top, then back down to where you started.

SkiYou can see all the skiers and snowboarders from the lift.

SkiSeveral times a day there’s a penguin show featuring the resident King and Gentoo penguins from Antarctica.  For a more up close look and personal time with the penguins you can book a Penguin Encounter starting at 175 AED per person.

Playing in the snow is always fun, there’s a snow park area away from the crowds where you can build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or make a snow angel.

If you like they offer ski and snowboarding classes for young and old.  Or if you’re an experienced skiier head over to the lifts and ski your heart’s content.

And if you get hungry or thirsty there’s a snack bar within the park that sells hot chocolate and other snacks.  For something a bit more substantial there are many restaurants just outside the park and the food court is one floor up.

SkiThe fun begins in the park’s mall entrance where you can purchase tickets and rent a locker.  You might just be greeted by the polar bear!


 SkiGeneral Admission starts at 250AED for adults and children. Kids under 2 are not permitted in the park.

There are separate admission prices for certain rides such as the Snow Bullet (a zipline ride down the slope) 150AED, or it can be included in one of the packages offered.

There’s also slope passes for experienced skiers starting at 200AED for adults and 170AED for kids.

Penguin Encounters start at 175AED, but that doesn’t include park admission.

Ski lessons start at 150AED

SkiAdmission includes the use of ski pants and jacket, ski boots, and helmets (kids under 12 must wear a helmet in the park). It also includes a pair of disposable socks and a voucher for a pair of gloves from the gift shop.

You can also purchase tickets online to avoid the lines at the ticket counter.  You just have to exchange your ticket for the passcard that you will need to get into the park.  Lockers can’t be rented online.

There are changing rooms and restrooms before the park entrance.  Lockers can be rented for 25AED a day plus a refundable key deposit.

If you have a stroller there’s a stroller park on the left before the ticket counter.  Register with the attendant who will give you a tag and claim ticket for your stroller.

We usually begin the day at the gift shop to pick up a pair of gloves.  We have a bunch of them, but we always seem to misplace them.

SkiThen we gear up.  Grab your gear from the counter.  The attendant is pretty good estimating sizes, but try on the boots before you leave just to be sure they fit comfortably.
Gear in tow we head to the locker area.  There are benches in front of the lockers so you can get into your snow gear. (At this point we always have the kids use the restrooms, it’s a pain to have to undress them when they need to use the bathroom and there are no bathrooms in the park).

Once you’re dressed and your belonging stowed in a locker you can grab a helmet from the shelves on your way to the park entrance.  You will need your passcard to get in and out of the park, there’s a zipped pocket on the sleeve of the jacket to keep the card safe, locker keycard fits there too.

SkiScan your passcard at the turnstiles and you’re icy adventure is about to begin!  Right thru those sealed glass doors and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to an Alpine winter wonderland!

SkiYou can wander thru the snow caves and have a look at the giant ice sculpture before heading into the main park.  Photographers are lurking every where, have them snap as many pictures as  you want, you’re not obligated to buy any.  You can check the pictures later at the photo booth before you go home for the day.
Once you enter the main park look out for an available sled.  It comes in handy for towing small kids around.

 SkiThe activity areas are clustered at the foot of the slopes with separate areas for the little kiddie rides.  There are signs pointing to the different rides, you may have to grab a tube for some of the rides, there are single and double tubes available.  You can walk up the slope or hop on the conveyer belt.  There are attendants at every ride, they will instruct you how you must sit and help you down the slopes.

When you get chilled or just need a break you can exit the park at anytime.  You don’t have to remove all the gear if you’re planning to return after you warm up or have had a bite to eat.

When your day is done just drop the pants, jacket, and boots in one of the bins located in the changing areas.  You can keep or toss the socks and gloves.

SkiOn your way out you can try your luck at the ring toss game for a chance to win a plush penguin.  I believe the bucket of rings cost about 20AED.  Dion tried his luck and won a medium sized bird.

By this ring toss game you’ll find the photo center.  Scan the wrist bands you were given with each photo.  You can view your photos on the screen and choose the ones you want.  There are several packages to choose from, and you can also purchase a disk or thumb drive loaded with your photos.  If you took lots of photos this might be more economical.
You can stop by the gift kiosk or wander over to the gift shop for a souvenir or two.  Magnets start at 10AED.  We always end up with a magnet or two and several plush penguins when we go.
On your way out don’t forget to drop your locker key off at the automated booth to get the refund on your deposit.
We love Ski Dubai, it’s a nice change in the summer when the Dubai heat can be unbearable.  It’s a bit pricey, as most Dubai attractions are, but it’s worth it!
Yas Waterworld in Half a Day

Yas Waterworld in Half a Day


Located on Yas Island just outside Abu Dhabi’s downtown area is Yas Waterworld, the UAE’s first Mega Waterpark.  It’s centered around pearl diving and showcase’s the Emirati’s traditional pearl diving culture.

It offers 43 slides, attractions, and rides, including 5 unique rides never before seen in a waterpark, and the first interactive treasure hunt in a waterpark.  The park is also home the the largest children’s play area in any waterpark in the Middle East.  It was named 2nd. best waterpark in the world by the LA Time’s Global Ranking of the World’s Top Waterparks.
Last summer we combined a day trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi  to spend a fun filled day at Abu Dhabi’s Ferarri World  and Yas Waterworld.  We spent the morning in Ferrari World then cooled off at Yas Waterworld until the park closed in the early evening.  The kids had a blast!  From riding the world’s fastest roller coaster to sliding down one of the world’s looping waterslides the day was packed with thrills and adventure.

The park opens daily from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and is located on the island’s main road not far from Yas Mall.  Prices start at 240 AED for adults and 190 AED for children under 1.1 meters tall for Bronze tickets which gives unlimited all day park access and includes a 5 AED merchandise voucher for the shops.  Silver and Gold tickets are priced higher; silver tickets include 3 fast passes and 10 AED voucher; gold tickets include unlimited fast passes, 15 AED voucher, and a souvenir towel.

Or you can purchase a 2 Park pass starting at 50 AED more per ticket.  The 2 park pass can only be purchased at the ticket booth and will allow you to one day access to each park within 14 days, at least in the off season and provided you purchase the tickets at Yas Waterworld’s ticket counter. During peak season or if you purchase your tickets online (from the Ferrari World web-site) or from Ferrari World’s ticket counter you must visit both parks on the SAME DAY.  Do check the parks’ websites before you go for prices and park times as they are subject to change without notice.

One thing I noticed about both parks, they’re very strict about safety and adhere closely to height and weight requirements for all rides.  They are also have a strict policy against cutting in lines, so strict that it is written on their tickets that cutting lines will result in expulsion from the park! (Believe me after spending some time in the UAE you will appreciate this as for some reason folks can’t seem to grasp the simple concept of queing up and waiting your turn, specially in the women’s restrooms!)
The waterpark is also very strict about bringing in outside food, guards at the gate check bags and will ask you to remove any food other than baby food and formula before entering.


They’re not overstating it when they claim to have the largest children’s play area in a waterpark in the Middle East.  From my experience they have the largest kid’s area in all the waterparks I’ve ever visited and that includes Atlantis the Palm.

The play area consists of 3 sections;  The Marah Fortress that has 6 slides, 2 water dumping buckets, geysers, and water canons; Yehal which has 3 little slides, and small dumping bucket; and the Tot’s Playground complete with swings, mini slides, and other mild water activities protected from the sun by giant canvas tarps.


For a bit for excitement you can wander over to Amwaj, the beach and wave pool area.  Be sure you grab a life jacket for the little ones as the ebb and flow patterns generated might get a bit rough. Life jackets are provided free of charge and can be found around the entrance of the attractions.

Floating down the Al Raha River (Lazy River) was my idea of a relaxing ride until we merged with Yadi Yas.   It got a bit more thrilling when the pulse waves hit our tubes!


For more thrills slide down one of the slides that exit out of the serpent mouths.  There’s too many of them to name!  My grandson Dion managed to do them all!

If you’re more of a surfer or want to be a surfer check out the swells on one of the 2 endless wave sheets the Rush Rider and Bubble’s Barrel where you can Flow Board or Body Board. There are height requirements so small kids won’t be able to participate due to safety reasons.


The Dawwama – one raft holds 6 people for this exciting tornado ride.  There is a minimum and maximum combined weight requirements for this ride that are strictly enforced.  If you don’t have 6 people in your party or don’t meet the weight requirements, no worries, the attendants will load you into the appropriate raft and you’ll make new friends.  We did!


If you’re a real adrenaline junkie then check out one of the major thrill slides under the giant pearl.  From loops to drops you’re sure to find a slide you’ll love in this area!  These slides have strict height and weight requirements that are strictly enforced for your safety.  I know my grandson Dion was disappointed when he didn’t meet the 40 kg. minimum weight of the Liwa Loops, but we couldn’t have him stuck in one of it’s curves or flying off in one of the loops!

For those of us who aren’t big time thrill seekers there’s fun and adventure on the inter-active treasure hunt or you can water bomb innocent pedestrians while riding the inverted roller coaster equipped with water canons and buckets!

We didn’t get to ride all 43 slides in the half day we were there, but we got enough thrills and water fun to make it worth the visit.  We all had a great time and slept all the way back to our Dubai hotel.

Half Day at Ferrari World is More than Enough

Half Day at Ferrari World is More than Enough

Ferrari WorldAbu Dhabi’s Ferrari World is the world’s largest indoor theme park.  It’s located just outside of Abu Dhabi’s downtown in a man made island called Yas Island.

Yas Island is an entertainment Mecca filled with theme parks, malls, theaters, hotels, and restaurants.  You could spend your entire vacation without ever having to leave the island.

We took a day trip over to Abu Dhabi when we were in Dubai last summer.  It’s about a 1 hour drive.  We left bright and early on a weekday morning, we wanted to beat the crowds at Ferrari World. We arrived about 9:30 a.m., Ferrari World doesn’t open until 11:00 a.m.

Ferrari WorldWe parked at Yas Mall, Ferrari World is connected to the mall, and spent the time wandering the shops.  The boys were quite impressed with the Lego Store and The Toy Store.

They loved the huge Transformer Optimus Prime standing at the entrance to The Toy Store, a Dubai based brand that is a kid’s dream.  The store is filled with displays of popular toys that kids can touch and play with.  The boys would have happily stayed at The Toy Store but we had to drag them away and head for Ferrari World.

Ferrari WorldThe theme park is accessed from the mall’s second floor which connects them via a walk way.  You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction when you see the red Formula 1 Ferrari race car in the middle of the mall.

The entrance to the park is located next to the mall’s Cascade Dining area, a multi-cuisine food court featuring Buca di Beppo, Chili’s, and more.

If you haven’t purchased tickets online, we didn’t, you can buy them from the ticket counter located on the right side after the walk way.  The Ferrari Store is on the left.


FerrariTickets start at 250 AED for a one day one park adult Bronze ticket which gives you unlimited park access for the day and a 5 AED merchandise voucher to spend at the Ferrari Store.  Kids under 1.3 meters cost 205 AED, and kids under 3 are free. Silver and Gold tickets cost more but they come with 3 fast pass and 10 AED voucher (silver) or unlimited fast pass and 15 AED voucher (gold).  You can upgrade Bronze and Gold tickets to one day 2 park tickets for 40 AED and 130 AED respectively.  They both give unlimited access to both Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld on the same day; the Gold ticket comes with priority seating and souvenir towel at the waterpark.  The combined ticket is a good deal if you have enough time to go to both parks on the same day.  The ticket agents are helpful and will let you know if it’s doable to go to both parks, if the parks are busy they will recommend against it.

Ferrari WorldThe first thing we did was head to the Karting Academy, a go-kart type ride,  to book our ride. When you get there you will be directed to a computer where you must schedule a ride for your party, you will be given a ticket that tells you when to come back for your ride.

When you return at your designated time you must change into the racing suits and shoes they provide.  Then you must sit thru driving instructions and will be given a paper helmet to wear.  Before you get into your race car you will be given a helmet which you must wear during the ride.

It’s a fun ride.  We took turns riding because someone had to stay with 7 year old Devon, and 2 year old Jett, they weren’t allowed on this ride.


Ferrari WorldRight by the Karting Academy is the Tyre Twist, a ride very much like Disney’s teacup ride, but instead of a teacup you’re twirling in an huge tire.  Devon was allowed on this ride, but Jett was not.








Ferrari WorldThe Junior GT and Junior Grand Prix rides were also in this area.  These rides are slow paced electric cars kids can drive around a track.  Devon was not pleased, he wanted something that  went faster than a turtle.

The Bell ‘Italia ride is also here.  It’s a slow paced ride where you can sit in vintage Ferraris and ride around a miniature Italy.

Other family rides include Viaggio Italia where you sit in seats that rise in the projection dome and you appear to be flying over Italy.  There’s also a cinematic simulator ride that gives you the shotgun seat behind a race car driver.

There’s also the Galleria Ferrari where you can get an up close and personal look at these beautiful cars.  Ferrari fans will think they’re in heaven!

Another thrill ride by the Karting Academy is the Scuderia Challenge, a racing simulator.  We didn’t try this one, it costs an extra 100 AED per person to ride.

Ferrari WorldThe Fiorano GT Challenge is one of the 2 roller coasters in the park.  The dueling  Ferrari F430 Spider cars race around twin tracks at 95 km/hr. My daughter Jaime and 13 year old grandson Dion rode the coaster while the younger boys and I watched them from the outdoor viewing area.







Ferrari WorldFormula Rossa, currently the world’s fastest coaster, is the park’s main attraction.  This coaster goes from 0-240 km/hr in under 5 seconds.  Jaime and Dion went on this coaster too while I tried to get Devon into the Junior Training Camp.

The Junior Training Camp is all about climbing, they have all kids of walls and equipment.  Alas Devon did not meet the minimum height requirement, he was not pleased.





Ferrari WorldInstead we spent our time in the kid’s play area where Jett and Devon ran around, climbed small steps, and went down not too tall slides.

Lucky for us we purchased the 2 park ticket, the younger kids has much more fun at the waterpark.  We were done with all the rides we wanted to go on by 2:00 p.m., and this included shopping in the Ferrari Store.

I had somehow (I still don’t know how) ended up with 120 AED worth of merchandise vouchers.
The boys ended up with a bunch of Ferrari stuff, and I only spent 50 AED in real money.  The Ferrari Store was the best part of the park for Devon and Jett who each picked out a logo shirt and toy.

The park is rather pricey given that they don’t have very many rides.  If you’re a big Ferrari fan or need to ride the world’s fastest coaster than the $68 ticket may be worth it.  If you have kids under 1.3 meters the $56 ticket in my opinion isn’t worth it, there’s not much there for them to do.  For toddlers under 3 it’s free, and they do have a great time running around the cool play area.  Jett loved the Ferrari!

The best buy would be to purchase the 2 park ticket assuming you can go to both parks on the same day.  If Ferrari World isn’t busy you really don’t need more than 3-4 hours there.  Tickets for Yas Waterworld for one day is the same price as Ferrari World, so the 40 AED upgrade is really worth it, besides on hot days it’s perfect.  You do Ferrari World, which is indoors in the morning then head over to the outdoor waterpark later in the afternoon when it’s not so hot.