Anyone who has been on a trip with me to a hot sunny place will know that I absolutely love a good trip to a waterpark. When we decided that we would go to Dubai and I asked people what to do there, I was told repeatedly that the waterpark was really good. Sadly water parks aren’t really Craig’s favourite thing, and it was his birthday trip after all. Also, at 365 AED for a day ticket (approx £75) it was pretty pricey to say the least!
Tickets to Aquaventure Waterpark
I of course went ahead and looked into it and explored the website a bit, and to my delight, I discovered that Aquaventure will give you a free ticket on your birthday or for the following six days after. Upon realising this, we thought it was worth considering going and splitting the cost of the other ticket…
As it so happened, there was also an offer on when we would be there that if you bought an advanced ticket on a MasterCard, you got 25% off the ticket as part of a promotion they were running. So between this and the free birthday ticket which we had dowloaded for Craig, it cost us around £28 each, rather than the £75 mentioned in the introduction… We needed to go to the Atlantis resort for our meal at Ossiano anyway… Would have been rude not to really!
Aquaventure park lockers
Once we had proven it was in fact Craig’s birthday week to use the free birthday ticket and handed mine over, we paid for a locker to share to keep our valuables and clothes in. It was about £9 for a small locker (45 AED) and £15 for a larger one (75 AED) – if you take your stuff out of your bag and fold it rather than trying to shove it in all together, it might fit in a small one, ours did thankfully. We kept the travel towel, flip flops, sunscreen, water and the GoPro.
There is a pretty good mixture of rides at Aquaventure. There are three main attractions – Neptune’s tower, which is full of raft slides, Poseidon’s tower, which consists of body slides and then the lazy river section.
You may have seen pictures of Neptune’s tower, it is the great big Mayan looking pyramid in the middle of the park, which has a great big aquarium at the base. Eye catching no?
Here you have:
- Storm, The Stinger and The Surge – coaster style slides that take you out into the rapids
- The leap of faith – a body slide that takes you straight down vertically and through the shark tank
- Shark attack – A slide that takes you under the aquarium
The coaster slides are interesting, they have mechanics in that lift your raft at certain points do you can go up as well as down on your journey, which is pretty novel – I had been on a ride like this before at Volcano Bay, Orlando, and they are really good fun, very fast and very splashy. They all popped you back out into the lazy river tributaries, so you could either continue into one of those or jump out and head back up the tower.
The leap of faith is extremely tall. I am not afraid of heights but I did feel pretty nervous up at the top of that slide. Particularly as many feet below is an open shark tank and there is no cover over the slide! You are of course down it in a matter of seconds and too quick to really see the fish above you as you rocket through, but still pretty cool. I don’t have any photos from going down this one as it was an arms and legs crossed job so we left the GoPro behind, but trust me it is quite terrifying but great fun!
The shark attack is a tube slide again – I should mention you can do most of these slides in single or double tubes, same goes for the lazy river, although the Storm coaster you have to be a minimum of 65kg to ride solo. The shark attack ride is pretty slow going, it takes you through a dark tunnel then you pop out into the glass tunnel of the aquarium, home to sharks, rays and loads of fish. You don’t move very far until the swell from the next person coming down pushes you forward so this is definitely a good one to start with if you are feeling nervous! Also it had virtually no queue when we went first thing in the morning and then huge queues later in the day, so head here first!
Poseidon’s tower is towards the back of the park and is more lost ruin of Atlantis type style with big pictures of sea creatures inside etc. There are 4 lots of slides to choose from in here:
- Poseidon’s revenge – body slides with entry chamber and trap door
- Slitherine – twin racer tube body slides
- Aquaconda – shared raft ride
- Zoomerango – half pipe wall ride
So let me tell you about the one ride that I did not go on while we were visiting Aquaventure waterpark. Poseidon’s revenge. This slide is fairly steep and quite cool in that it goes through the rest of the tower so you can see people whizzing down as you head up through the tower. But it has a trapdoor start and a chamber entrance. Now I didn’t have my travel blog back in December 2017 when I went to Volcano bay, so let me tell you a story.
Imagine climbing up what felt like hundreds of steps in a fake volcano in the Florida heat. The theme park you are in is Tiki themed, so naturally, you have a drum beat surrounding you as you make the climb, and start to feel a little bit like a sacrificial offering to some kind of Volcano dwelling god. You get to the top and watch as people get ready to go into these slides, and there are very few people ahead of you since it’s off season. People scream as they plummet through the trap door with no warning to their watery fate. You go first because Bradley your best friend has bullied you into the slide and you don’t want to be left out. You head to the next available slide, which happens to be the green one. You climb in and they shut the glass chamber door. Your heart pounds to the tiki beat, the tension is high. The person opposite in the blue slides door falls and they vanish from view. Bradley gets in the opposite chamber and the door shuts. You know it will be your turn soon and suddenly the floor drops out. You spend a few moments free falling unconnected to any surface before gravity catches up with you, meanwhile a lot of water is thrown in your face. The slide is really steep and water is flying at you everywhere. Having made the mistake of screaming, you have just swallowed half the water in Florida. You trying and keep it shut for the rest of the traumatic journey and emerge at the bottom vowing never again. Bradley careens into the next pool and thinks it wasn’t so bad. You look up at the slides and realise, the blue one is at a nice gentle 45 degree angle. The green one has a much linger and more vertical drop. The life guards confirm the green one is by far the worst, but you are now too traumatised to fancy trying the others. The end.
So that is why I didn’t go on it. I was tempted, particularly because Craig went for it and FOMO. But I couldn’t get that mental block out of my head. Turns out not only is there no scary tiki drums to mess with your anticipation, they also count you down on their fingers so it isn’t a total surprise and you know when it is coming, so it probably isn’t anywhere near as terrifying. Maybe some other time.
The Slitherine twin racer slides are also at the top of the tower like Poseidon’s revenge, but they are just normal slides, no scary chambers. The Aquaventure website claims that these are the worlds first twin racer slides. Not sure how old the park is but having been on some in Cyprus 19 years ago (which were still alive and kicking when we went back last year) I am not too sure about that… Alas, they were fun racer slides the Craig won on.
The Aquaconda is apparently the longest raft slide of its kind. It is pretty fun, but as it is so long and they can only have one raft at a time on the slide it is a pretty long wait in the queue. Each raft takes 5-6 people, so if you are in a two or a three like we were they put you in with others, distributing seats based on weight. You zoom around corners and fly up walls, with the raft spinning slightly the whole way down. Definitely worth the wait.
The Zoomerango is one of my favourites. Again this queue was quite long and you went in six person rafts so we had to join some others. You go down a winding slide here and then suddenly shoot out over a massive drop, only to fly up the opposite wall, then back down again (a bit like a boomerang – been on a few rides like this around the world and they are often named along these lines). This is such fun and a great adrenaline rush without being as scary as the individual drop slides. Also pretty family friendly as you can all go down together.
The Lazy River
I believe they call this the rapid river, but it only has a short section of rapids. At various points you can choose which way to go to experience different parts of the river course. Also, confusingly, you have to go round a bit of the river to get to the Storm ride on Neptune’s tower. You queue round in a tunnel and as you are in tubes you can’t see round everyone to know how big the queue is which is weird but eventually you get to a huge ramp that takes you up and throws you around through the ‘storm tunnel’ – definitely the wettest and most violent of the coaster rides! You then sail down to the Surge or Stinger, I can’t remember which! But took me and Craig ages to figure this out, we couldn’t understand how people got on it when there were no more stairs in the tower and it brought you out at the top level!
The rapid section is great fun and so is the wave section – where huge burst of water come from a giant pipe which causes great swells throughout the narrow channels of that section. We did each of these a few times as they were so fun and relaxing and there was no queueing or feet burning involved!
They also have a wave rider thing where you can do fake surfing along with several bars and food kiosks if you require them. There is an entire mini park for kids called splashers, which has 14 slides for kids and an activity area and lazy river access.
We didn’t visit any of the food or drinks areas really, other than the food kiosk by the lockers for a water and an ice cream, but if you were spending all day rather than the 4 hours we did you would probably want to explore these, there seemed to be plenty of different options.
I really enjoyed my visit here, definitely makes it into my top water parks, thanks to Craig for indulging me even though they aren’t your favourite thing! Totally worth a visit if you can get discounted tickets, or if your a massive waterpark fan and want to spend a full day here. You won’t be disappointed, although I feel our 4 hours was enough time as we managed to do all the rides in that time. Below are my top tips for visiting, hope you have found this guide to visiting Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis the Palm helpful!
Top tips for visiting Aquaventure
- You are going to want your flip flops or if you are really sensible, water sports type shoes as the floor is absolutely scorching hot. I am not talking Cyprus ooooh its hot run to the next slide, I am talking literally burning your feet unbearable here. You have to leave flip flops in wooden holders at the base of slide towers and as all the slides are based in 2 separate towers, you find yourself running from the bottom of one to the next and that would have been less necessary if we had had such shoes! They sell these weird sock things too for protection. Even the stairs are partially exposed to sun and they are HOT.
- They don’t have a wristband system you can load money onto like other water parks I have visited for food and drinks, so make sure you being some cash as most of the snack places are little kiosks.
- If you are taking a GoPro with you, don’t bother bringing your handle for it with you as they don’t let you bring that on the rides, you are only allowed to take the camera itself. No idea why but there you go.
- As mentioned, the shark attack ride is probably the most popular and the biggest queues we say later in the day so hit that one early to beat the crowd!
- Both the towers are set up so you queue inside and are not in the sun but do wear and reapply sunscreen for the lazy rivers which are largely exposed!