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Ferrari World’s 10 best/worst attractions

  1. It's 1947. In the small Italian town of Maranello, Enzo Ferrari steps back and beams as the very first Ferrari 125 S rolls off the production line bearing what would soon become one of the most enduring symbols of excellence in the world of motorsport. The prancing horse - a truly iconic logo, synonymous with exclusivity, luxury and premium engineering, obtainable by only the world's most privileged engine enthusiasts.

    Fast-forward 63 years, hop on a plane to Abu Dhabi, capital city of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates and, under a scarlet red roof the width of seven football pitches, a similar scene is occurring. Only this time it's sub-minimum wage Ferrari World employee Ahmed with a delighted grin on his face, as he admires the very same logo shining back at him from the faux-leather jacket of a 4ft plush camel. Which is also wearing sunglasses.

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  2. Like it or not, Ferrari World is here. But is the Italian superbrand's desert-based foray into the theme park business as potentially tacky as its premise? Or a huge Italian angled-fist-over-forearm to the doubters? We went along to try out the big attractions, giving each a rating based on fun and legacy-denting wrongness.

  3. Formula Rossa

    Formula Rossa

    As the fastest roller coaster on the face of Earth, a ride on Ferrari World's main attraction offers the majority of visitors the chance to smash their own personal land-speed record. There's no dropping from ridiculous heights or spinning upside down until your breakfast comes through your nose - this is about one thing and one thing only: speed, and lots of it. 149mph of the stuff to be precise, which you'll reach in just under five seconds, causing F1-grade G-force to make your face look like it's travelling through time. Some viciously banked corners add a little bit of variety to the 2km track, but as you step back onto terra firma, the verdict from your co-riders is unanimous, with regional variations on 'bloody hell that was fast' ringing out all around.

    Fun rating: 5/5
    Cheese rating: 2/5

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  4. Fiorano GT Challenge

    The park's second-billed act is built around a nifty little gimmick that sees two F430 Spider-shaped cars tearing along parallel tracks. The twin coasters cross paths at several points during the ride, which - aside from an excellent opportunity to treat co-riders to your best middle-fingered gesture - doesn't really add that much to the overall experience. The sensation of bone-juddering speed never really kicks in and, with no loops or tall drops to speak of, GT Challenge is a far tamer beast than we'd hoped for. Still, the bored expression on your post-ride photograph could be worth picking up for comedy value alone. 

    Fun rating: 3/5
    Cheese rating: 2/5

  5. Ferrari Store

    There's no chance you'll miss out on this garish cathedral of tat, since its cunning location means you'll be shepherded through its gaudy aisles before you're actually allowed to leave Ferrari World. As well as the aforementioned shade-wearing camels, this is also your opportunity to stock up on everything from over-priced designer loafers to overpriced glittery key-rings, all haphazardly branded with the prancing horse. Which, by this point, we'd imagine is just about ready to hand itself over to the glue factory.

    Fun rating: 0/5
    Cheese rating: 5/5

  6. Scuderia Challenge

    A state-of-the-art racing simulator offering six-man races around a virtual Yas Marina Circuit, this is sort of like one of your Saturday nights in with Forza 3, with the addition of skeleton-rattling force-feedback and minus the multi-pack of Doritos. As well as 180-degree screens and a steering wheel intent on snapping your wrists, the little pods also feature hydraulic supports which react to what happens on the screen, giving you a satisfying jolt as you shift up through the gears and inflicting minor whiplash as you totally misjudge yet another breaking point and bury yourself in a tyre wall. There's also a larger F1 simulator, said to be based on the same technology used to train Felipe and Fernando. Genuinely great fun, especially if you're visiting with competitive friends.

    Fun rating: 4/5
    Cheese rating: 1/5

  7. Speed of Magic

    Speed of Magic

    What at first looks like a slightly lame roller coaster turns out to be a stomach-churner of a very different kind. It's one of those 3D-movies-on-rails efforts, in which you pursue an irritating insectoid creature across a variety of different exotic locales, climaxing in a high-speed chase through a futuristic cityscape. Some of the effects are impressive, but anyone who's been to Universal Studios or Disney World would agree that it's pretty underwhelming. And we're not just being stuffy old killjoys - the 10-year-old kid behind us thought it was a bit rubbish.

    Fun rating: 2/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

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  8. G-Force

    This is one of those truly evil ‘spaceshot' towers that we're still convinced were inspired by WW2 human experiments. It's located in a small, funnel-shaped opening in the centre of the park where, having been thrust 62 metres into the air, you've just a couple of seconds to admire the sea of red surrounding you before you're dropped back to Earth at a speed of 12 metres per second. At only half the height of the world's tallest spaceshot ride, it's unlikely this'll faze hardened adrenaline junkies. Still, variations in speed and timing ought to at least mix things up a bit.

    Fun rating: 3/5
    Cheese rating: 3/5

  9. V12

    Perhaps the most disappointing ride of them all, this boat-based affair is billed as a 'journey into the heart of a 12-cylinder Ferrari 599 engine'. As it turns out, this involves lots of floating through darkness and the occasional flashing cardboard disc that's presumably supposed to resemble a hyperactive piston. Lame visual effects aside, the white-knuckle factor is also, quite frankly, pathetic. You'll be handed a fetching yellow mac to don while you queue, but with drops no bigger than four metres (Thorpe Park's Loggers Leap, by comparison, boasts a 16-metre drop) you'll be left looking like a disappointed, PVC-clad idiot. Rubbish.

    Fun rating: 2/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

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  10. The Pit Wall

    A half-hourly quiz on F1 racing strategy, featuring big-screen cinematic interludes and moron-friendly multiple choice questions, which you answer with buttons attached to your seat. Posers centred around enforcing coded team orders and blatantly violating the sport's rules are curiously omitted, in favour of simple questions about tyre choice and pit stops. It's presented by a live host with all the charisma of a cheese and tomato sandwich, which makes for a rather excruciating experience when you're the only person in the audience, as we were. All in all, it's like the world's worst pub quiz, minus the saving grace of drink. You're in Abu Dhabi, remember.

    Fun rating: 1/5
    Cheese rating: 3/5

  11. Bell'Italia

    At last! The opportunity to take a 4mph cruise through a naff landscape of crudely constructed miniature Italian landmarks has arrived! OK, so this one's aimed at the kids. Still, if you can show us a 10-year-old who's impressed by a three-foot papier-mâché rendering of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, we'll show you a child who's destined to grow up into a mediocre actuary. The scaled-down 1958 250 Californias are admittedly quite cool - we just wish they'd move a bit faster. Preferably directly at the head of the person responsible for wasting five minutes of our life with this depressing yawn-fest.

    Fun rating: 1/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

  12. Made in Maranello

    A fist-bitingly bad virtual tour through the historic Maranello factory, with all the depth and insight of a glamour model’s Facebook page. As you trundle through various rooms in your little upholstered car, images of wind tunnels and production lines are projected onto the walls, complete with informative captions like ‘wind tunnel’ and ‘production line'. ‘This is like something out of an episode of The Simpsons,' we heard a co-rider sob. But as this is the last page, now us cynical hacks have had our fun, let's be fair. Ferrari World is well worth a visit. Overall, "fun" edges out "cheese". You'll enjoy it, TopGearers...  

    Fun rating: 1/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

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