Abu Dhabi Weather

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Iceland Review

So there's this water park in Ras Al Khiama, but the only thing is that it is an hour outside Dubai and you have to pass another water park to get to it. In addition, the prices were significantly higher than other water parks. The press on this hasn't been great either, including mine. I was curious to go, but the distance involved combined with the high price discouraged me. However, because no one was going to the out-of-the-way, overpriced Iceland, the park dropped its prices to a more reasonable 150 dirhams for people 120 centimeters (4 feet) and over and 100 dirhams for children under that. That was enough to get us there.
Looking at the website, the place looks pretty good. There seem to be a large variety of rides with spacious shaded seating. The website makes it seem like there are a lot of cool rides and tons for kids to do. As it turns out, it was pretty good. I thought that the for the money, it was pretty good.

The rides are pretty standard fare with a few novel rides thrown in to make it interesting. The tube rides end up in a pool of water only about three inches deep making it safe for smaller children. In case there is a worry, the park loans out children's vests for a refundable 50 dirham deposit.

Lockers are available for a 25 dirham fee and are accessible throughout the day via your wristband. In addition, you can put credits on your wristband for use of the food court. The meals there are good and reasonable priced. Also, there are creepy food statues.

There are little mini tube rides and a mini children's play area for smaller children.

They even have a soccer field with artificial turf and water sprinkling on it. When people organize teams, one of the staff will come over to referee.
While I thought the place exceeded my expectations, I still thought Dreamland water park was better. I asked my wife and kids which they liked better and everyone agreed with me. First of all, it was too hot. Even the water wasn't refreshing because it was like a bath. I realize that wasn't the fault of Iceland and am not using that to judge the park. Unfortunately, the lack of green space at Iceland versus the grass at Dreamland did hurt. Literally. The ground was too hot to walk on. The artificial grass (different from the soft, spongy surface of the soccer field) really started to hurt after a few hours. Wearing sandals was an option, but some of the rides ended far from where they started necessitating me making fun of my wife looking for her sandals. Eventually, I went back to the locker to get mine and just wore them on the rides.

Secondly, my daughter is under 120 cm (4 feet). That meant she was restricted from going on most rides, even though my wife was with her, she was wearing a life jacket, and the ride ended in 3 inches of water. When I took my son to the children's area, I was told he wasn't supposed to be there because he was over 120 cm, so we pretty much had to split up most of the day. To add to the insult, on some of the rides the staff tried telling me that he was under 120 cm so couldn't get on the ride. I should point out that when paying for the tickets, they measured him at over 120 cm, charged me accordingly, and gave him a wristband color coded to say that he was over 120 cm so he could get on rides. I later noticed that the measuring stick they staff at the ride was using was a few inches off the ground.

Third, the wave pool was pretty lame. Even my 5-year-old daughter was fairly unimpressed. Sure the scenery was nice as can be seen from this photo of my son posing, but even when the waves were on they were pretty small.

Overall, it was an OK experience. The whole thing is centered around a gimmick so the aesthetics were pretty good. If the amusement park, hotel and shopping mall ever get off the ground, it might be a bit more worthwhile going there. I'm sure I'd go back were it not for the superior Dreamland water park about 20 minutes closer. I think it's worthwhile to see once, but I don't think we need to go there again.


  1. How does it compare to Wild Wadi or Atlantis?

  2. I haven't been to Atlantis, but I suspect that with Atlantis part of the novelty is with the water slides going through giant aquariums and swimming with dolphins.

    Iceland was much more spread out than Wild Wadi. Iceland had some unique rides as well as the standard ones. Because it was spread out, there were a lot of areas where there wasn't a lot going on like where they have shows such as with the Bollywood actors that I mentioned previously. Wild Wadi seemed to have something everywhere you looked.

    Also the atmosphere at Iceland was very theme-based. The whole arctic (and antarctic) theme was fairly well done. Wild Wadi felt like it was more about luxury and scenery.

    Both Wild Wadi and Iceland were annoying in that kids under a certain height didn't have much to do. Though, that could just reflect my preference for Dreamland's easygoing attitude towards safety standards.

  3. thanks for the review.. very useful one.

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