Review: Wild Wadi Water Park
When it comes to theme parks, I’m basically a big kid.
There’s something about the pageantry, the unhealthy food, and the opportunity to scream like a girl that just really speaks to the Peter Pan in me.
So, while I was in Dubai recently on location with the Hidden Dubai campaign, I leaped at the opportunity to visit the famed Wild Wadi Water Park on Jumeirah Beach. In the shadow of the stunning Burj Al Arab, it’s definitely a park with one of the more impressive views out there.
If you’d rather not read a full blown review, Hidden Dubai have been kind enough to create this video introduction starring yours truly. Enjoy!
About the Wild Wadi Water Park
The Wild Wadi (Wadi is Arabic for fortress) is the older of Dubai’s two large water parks, but you couldn’t tell from looking at it. It’s a slick, professional quality water park with all of the bells and whistles.
As I said, it’s located on Jumeirah Beach, putting it conveniently close to the city centre and the more popular beach areas.
Entrance to the park is 275 AED ($96 AU) for Australians and a little less for children. This is rather steep given what you’re getting for your dime, but in line with the general cost of visiting Dubai.
Entrance to the park is free, however, for guests of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
I wouldn’t have thought water slides could be made to be particularly thrilling, but Wild Wadi was a pleasant surprise in this regard.
The park boasts two (three at a stretch) slides that could be considered thrill rides.
- Jumeirah Sceirah
- Tantrum Alley
- Burj Surj
The last was not something that got my heart racing, but I can imagine those with less of a thirst for terror than I might find it quite enjoyable.
The jewel in the park’s thrill crown is most definitely the aptly named Jumeirah Sceirah (sounds like scarer, get it?). This 32m high, 120m long slide sees you standing in a pod and waiting with increasing tension for the count-down to complete. When it does, the floor drops out and you take a near vertical fall that sees you accelerate to up to 80kms before you reach the end.
I’m not a guy who scares easily, but the first run on this was just a bit frightening. It’s dark, you’re traveling fast, and water is hitting your face the whole time. It’s intense and immensely enjoyable.
Tantrum Alley is the next best thing, The newest ride in the park sees you and three others tube through three pretty radical whirlpools that tumble you about likes clothes in the washing machine. It’s a real laugh provided you’re not accidentally losing your GoPro.
(Don’t worry, one of the helpful staff found it for us).
The final thrill ride is the relatively tame Burj Surj, which sees you raft down the slide and through a series of spins and bowls. It’s fun, but not particularly frightening.
Thrill Factor: 6/10
In past theme park reviews, I’ve had separate sections for families and kids. As I have no kids and have not been one since before Justin Bieber’s infancy, I’m just gonna roll them into one catch-all category.
Obviously, water parks are pretty much perfect for families. The majority of the attractions at the Wild Wadi are family friendly, with only the Jumeirah Sceirah being something I wouldn’t recommend for a young whipper-snapper.
In addition to the obligatory wave pool and faux beach, there are a few slides and attractions that are great for families or those less thrill-inclined.
- Master Blaster
- Juha’s Journey
- Juha’s Dhow and Lagoon
- Flood River
- Wipeout & Riptide
Of the above, the only one I had the time to try was the very cool Master Blaster. Stretching over 360m from the bottom of the park to the top, this ‘reverse waterslide’ has jets that literally blast you up slopes. It’s a great way to get around the park, and you can hop off at a number of stops to get to whatever attraction you’re looking for.
Of course, you can also just take the ‘Tunnel of Doom’ once you get to the top. This gets you all the way back to the bottom in utter darkness. Pretty groovy.
Juha’s Journey is a lengthy lazy river, while Juha’s Dhow and Lagoon is a children’s play area boasting over 100 different water activities including slides and water guns.
Flood River is a lazy river with a difference, with waves periodically surging along its length to make it a bit more exciting. It’s still fun for all ages, but would probably need parental supervision.
The Wipeout and Riptide are flow rider style boogie boarding or surfing challenges.
Family Factor: 7/10
As you’d expect in a city where money flows as freely as the water in the Wild Wadi, no expense has been spared on making the park as appealing to the eye as possible.
The place is kept immaculately clean, and the Arabic themed decoration at the park is all quite fetching.
I was there on a pretty quiet Tuesday afternoon, so I basically had the run of the place. That being said, I was impressed by the number of staff on hand and how friendly they all were. Even on a busy day, I can’t imagine not being able to find a staff member to chat with.
I even had a 10 minute chat with a Pakistani employee about the ongoing cricket World Cup festivities while waiting for my cameraman.
Their staff hail from all over the world, which I think is really cool. I chatted with Filipinos, Pakistanis, South Africans, Kenyans, and even a fellow Aussie while roaming the park.
Atmosphere Rating: 7/10
Time was really a factor when we visited (I had from 4pm until the 7pm closing time), so we didn’t get the opportunity to partake in any of the food on site.
The park offers five restaurants that each boast different cuisines ranging from hot-dogs, pizza, and burgers to health foods and local delicacies.
Their website does not give prices, but I’d imagine they’re in line with ticket pricing. Expect to pay $25 AUD or so for your food.
This one is a straight sets win to the Jumeirah Sceirah.
It’s something I hadn’t encountered at a water park before, so it really stood out to me. The whole idea of standing and waiting to be dropped into the slide is a novelty, and you certainly get a thrilling (albeit mercifully short) ride.
I really did enjoy the Wild Wadi. If I were paying for my own ticket, $96 for what amounted to 4-5 slides is probably not something I’d shell out for.
That being said, if you’re staying at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, you love water parks, or you’ve got a bit of disposable income and want to keep your kids entertained – it’s a good bet.