Thursday, July 29, 2021

Innovating at Yas Waterworld: Alhasan Kaabous Alzaabi, VP of Operations at Farah Experiences

Photo: Yas Waterworld featured a giant “pearl” at the center of the waterpark, encapsulating the park’s theme and region’s history of pearl diving.

Located on Yas Island in the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld has been open since 2013. Operated by Farah Experineces, the waterpark is one of several major themed entertainment attractions located on the island, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.

Since opening, the waterpark has been recognized for its theming and storytelling, as well as its commitment to innovative, new attractions. InPark asked Alhasan Kaabous Alzaabi, VP of Operations at Farah Experiences for an update on the park and their plans for attracting new guests.

How is Yas Waterworld continuing to innovate?

Alhasan Kaabous Alzaabi, VP of Operations at Farah Experiences

Yas Waterworld is a one-of-a-kind waterpark that draws inspiration from the UAE’s pearl-diving heritage to offer families a truly unique, fun-packed aquatic adventure. Having received over 40 accolades over the years from leading organizations within the industry, we are constantly innovating to elevate and expand upon the world-class experience that guests have come to expect at Yas Waterworld. Today, the park is home to over 45 rides, slides and attractions; six of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world including Dawwama, Bandit Bomber, Cinesplash, Bubble’s Barrel, Falcon’s Falaj and Slithers Slides.

When introducing new rides and attractions, we really ‘dive deep’ to go beyond the confinements of our physical space and create never-before-seen experiences. We place a keen focus on the interactive nature of the park and constantly leverage the latest state-of-the-art technology within the entertainment industry to curate incredibly immersive and personalized experiences.

Most recently, we launched the UAE’s first-ever Underwater VR experience. Guests can jump into the fantastical world of virtual reality while submerged in the water for an unprecedented immersive sensory experience. Whether gliding down mountainous slopes, floating high in space, or partaking in drift diving in the ocean, the new attraction takes guests on incredible journeys to four different worlds. 

As a proudly Emirati establishment, we are also cognizant of catering to audiences who value their privacy; that’s why our Ladies Season events continue to be a staple part of our calendar. Taking place yearly, female guests can enjoy a fun-filled evening complete with aquatic activities, music, Zumba classes, and more. Guest privacy and comfort are guaranteed thanks to our all-female staff and a strict ban on photography. Another fan favorite is Cinema Under the Stars. This signature event gathers families and friends of all ages to kick back and relax poolside or float in the water as they watch their favorite blockbuster movies under the starry night sky.

How has innovation helped the park succeed and how does it fit into plans for the park going forward?

Yas Waterworld is based on an original story developed exclusively for the waterpark: The story of ‘The Lost Pearl.’ The story follows the adventures of Dana, a young Emirati girl in search of a legendary pearl which had once brought prosperity to her village. Whenever a new ride or attraction is developed for the waterpark, we ensure that it fits into our story and pays tribute to the Emirati culture and heritage of pearl-diving. At the same time, it is important for us to stay in touch with the modern world to infuse the latest technology to deliver a stellar guest experience.

Innovation is no longer a luxury – it is a prerequisite. At Yas Waterworld, we continuously look to expand our portfolio of rides and attractions in a bid to cater to the wide array of guest segments that visit our waterpark. Leveraging technology plays a big role in that regard, as it enables us to innovate new and novel water experiences. For example, the waterpark’s Cinesplash delivers an immersive cinematic environment that uses special effects to awaken the senses and takes guests on a simulated journey to the UAE’s pearl-diving past.

How is the park handling operations during the pandemic?

The safety and health of our guests and employees have always been our top priority. Following our reopening, Yas Waterworld was awarded the ‘Go Safe’ certification by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). This certification was a testament to our efforts to enforce global standards for safety and cleanliness. We also received the COVID-19 compliance certificate from TÜV SÜD, one of the leading testing and certification bodies in the world.  

We have been working alongside the relevant authorities to implement stringent precautionary measures throughout the waterpark including mandatory online booking to ensure that a limited capacity is adhered to, thermal screening cameras, safe distance markers at all rides and outlets, and modified ride capacity as well as modified dining and shopping experiences. We also have support staff stationed throughout the water park to encourage guests’ adherence to precautionary measures by wearing face masks, observing social distancing markers in addition to regularly sanitizing hands and opting for contactless payments at all outlets.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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