PART 2: Fun City at Marina Mall, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, and ALL THREE Sparky's FECs in Abu Dhabi
And on we go! This is the conclusion of the first full day of our trip. All-in-all, we visited three Emirates (Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi), two major cultural sites, five indoor FECs at five separate malls, and added seven credits to our list! That's one hell of a day, especially with it being the day after a fifteen hour flight!
After our tour of the Emirates Palace, we made the short drive over to Marina Mall, home of Fun City and Shark Coaster. After how wonderful Adventureland had been a few hours ago, I was really disappointed by Fun City. It wasn't a very nice FEC, and Shark Coaster was pretty terrible. However, the mall itself was the nicest one of the day.
After a few spins on the coaster and a quick lunch, we checked into our hotel and went to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (SZGMC) for a 5:00 tour. Initially, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy touring a mosque, but this place is SPECTACULAR. The free tour is a bit long and winded, but you really do learn a lot about SZGMC, mosques, and Islam. As much as I'd love to spit out all of the details about SZGMC, that would spoil the whole tour for all of you! You truly haven't been to Abu Dhabi until you've been here!
Then it was back to coasters for a "Sparky's marathon." We visited the Mushrif Mall, Khalidiyah Mall, and Mazyad Mall locations. First, Mushrif; I believe this was the largest of all of the Sparky's that we visited, and was a half-decent FEC. Khalidiyah's Sparky's was the nicest of the three in Abu Dhabi. It's also home to one of the coasters that TPR broke (the creatively named Roller Coaster), which was an okay ride. Mazyad's Sparky's was one of the worst FECs I've visited to date. It's small, run-down, and the coaster is simply terrible.
On to the pictures! I hope you all enjoy! Some of the following pictures were taken by my trip companion, Keith Kelly. All of these pictures are marked (KK).
Welcome to Marina Mall! First thing we noticed was a Mercedes dealership. I guess you can truly buy EVERYTHING in UAE malls! (KK)
But our main goal here is Shark Coaster! (KK)
I rode it again to use up the credits on our Fun City card. (KK)
This coaster isn't worth going out of the way to ride, honestly. It is unique, though. (KK)
I regretted my second ride... (KK)
I did enjoy the look of this fountain in the mall.
Onto the SZGMC!
It's a BEAUTIFUL mosque!
Trying to be artsy.
Sometimes, the courtyard is filled with people praying. I can't imagine how many people it takes to fill this place!
The attention to detail here is incredible! They truly went all-out when they designed and built it!
I love this picture of the Wing. (KK)
The gardens around the mosque are well taken care of.
These towers are very cool! They light up the mosque differently depending on the phase of the Moon!
You can see the individual marble tiles on the courtyard floor. All of these were laid by hand!
The entry area is simply gorgeous. I'm already in awe of the craftsmanship, and we're not even to the main prayer room yet!
These flowers were designed by a British artist. I can't remember what his name is, though.
Their custom clock lists all of the prayer times and ranges for the five daily prayers.
The prayer room blew me away with its beauty!
This indent on the wall points to Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest Islamic site. All Muslims pray in the direction of the site. If you stay in a hotel in this part of the world, look at the ceiling! You'll see an arrow that points to it!
Again, the detail is simply incredible.
This was the world's largest chandelier when it was purchased.
It's so big that there's stairs for the cleaners to access it.
These columns serve a double purpose: elegantly supporting the structure and concealing the A/C unit! Look closely, you can see the fan!
This is part of the world's largest single piece of carpet. It weighs 32 tons and is a hand-woven Persian rug.
Personally, I think the pattern is ugly, but it's quite a feat!
Facing toward one of the secondary prayer rooms.
When we finished our tour, we got to see the mosque partially lit up. (KK)
Goodbye, SZGMC! I'll come see you again when I'm back in Abu Dhabi!
Time for more coasters! We were greeted by this aquarium upon entering Mushrif Mall.
Crazy Twister isn't quite as crazy as you might hope.
It's not a terrible ride, though.
Some of the cars spun a LOT.
Overview of Crazy Twister. (KK)
Fast foward to Khalidiyah Mall! Here is the coaster that TPR broke! (KK)
Its name is VERY creative. (KK)
It's a decent coaster. The laterals are surprisingly high! (KK)
Now to the crappy Sparky's in Mazyad outside of Abu Dhabi.
This ride is simply described by one word: crap. Seriously, you can and should skip this one!
Thanks for reading Part 2! Stay tuned for Part 3....YAS WATERWORLD!
And a BIG thanks for the front page feature! I can't wait to share the rest of my (and Keith's) incredible trip to such a wonderful country! Yas Waterworld will be posted tomorrow! To keep you all occupied until then, I've linked the TPR video of Roller Coaster at Sparky's FEC in Khalidiyah Mall. Luckily for us, we didn't break it like TPR did!
I would go and visit there, for the temple/mosque architecture, alone. Having a a few coasters here and there, is cool too. But the architecture looks so beautiful and well balanced. And so ornate, too!
Nrthwnd wrote:I would go and visit there, for the temple/mosque architecture, alone. Having a a few coasters here and there, is cool too. But the architecture looks so beautiful and well balanced. And so ornate, too!
Great "next part" Michael.
Thanks, Bill! Many of the mosques were absolutely beautiful, especially GSZMC! The only downside to lots of beautiful mosques near your hotel is the prayer calls. When you've got 14 (yes, 14) of them in sight of your hotel, and all of them are calling for sunrise prayer, it can be a little loud in the morning!
That mosque is absolutely beautiful, and more interesting than any of the coasters on this trip in my opinion! Awesome report, it's cool to see something like this that doesn't come up often on TPR.
TOP PARKS: Tokyo DisneySea, Knoebels, Disneyland, Holiday World, PortAventura, Busch Gardens Williamsburg TOP COASTERS: Phantom's Revenge, Phoenix, The Voyage, El Toro, T-Express, X2 TOP DARK RIDES: Journey To The Center of the Earth (TDS), Indiana Jones Adventure (DL), Splash Mountain (TDL), Pirates of the Caribbean (DL), Tower of Terror (WDW), Sindbad's Storybook Voyage (TDS), Spider-Man (IOA), Haunted Mansion (DL & Knoebels)
WFChris wrote:Cool report Michael! Glad to see you made it out to that part of the world and can't wait to see the rest of the story.
Thanks! I'm excited to share it!
p-sychiatrist wrote:That mosque is absolutely beautiful, and more interesting than any of the coasters on this trip in my opinion! Awesome report, it's cool to see something like this that doesn't come up often on TPR.
Thanks! There's still plenty of culture and coasters coming, so stay tuned!
Thanks for the awesome report! Now I'm really looking forward to our visit to Dubai in May. Already booked our ticket to Ferrari World and gonna combine it with a visit to the mosque.......should make a great day!
coaster-mm wrote:Thanks for the awesome report! Now I'm really looking forward to our visit to Dubai in May. Already booked our ticket to Ferrari World and gonna combine it with a visit to the mosque.......should make a great day!
You're welcome! I recommend doing the mosque before Ferrari World. If you can get one, you don't want to miss a night ride on Formula Rossa!!
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