Ultimate Yas Island Theme Parks Guide for Families in 2024

Yas Island is definitely one of the most exciting parts of visiting Abu Dhabi for families – as well as thrill-seeking junkies and general theme park lovers – we know there are plenty of big kids out there too!

And for good reason, Yas Island truly is developing to be one of the best entertainment destinations in the world.  Most come for the “Big 4” theme parks; these are:

  • Yas Waterworld
  • Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
  • Ferrari World
  • SeaWorld Abu Dhabi (new in 2023)

We are going to walk you through what to expect at each of these mega-theme parks; Most importantly, how you get there – from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, how to get discounted tickets and what else you will find on Yas Island, from meals to accommodation and other entertainment.

Let’s dive into Yas Island!

How to get to Yas Island and the Theme Parks

  • Self-drive & park
  • Buses from Dubai & Abu Dhabi
  • Private transfer services & taxi
  • Yas Express shuttle on Yas Island

Self Drive & Park

The easiest way is always with your own car, if available. There is ample car parking at all three theme parks.

Are they all next to each other? Not quite. Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros World entrances are adjacent – but not their car park entrances. WB World has a covered car park but it’s a bit of a hike, the Yas Waterworld car pack is actually best if you want to switch between the two.

For Ferrari World, you can actually park in any of the Yas Mall car parks, but there is one dedicated to theme park parking.  You can walk from Ferrari World/Yas Mall to the other two, but on a hot day with kids – it’s a hike. You can take the free Yas Express shuttle in between – more below!

Dubai to Yas Island

Public Bus from Dubai to Yas Island

There are usually two public buses from Dubai. However, since COVID, only one route, the 101 Intercity Bus, has resumed.

The 101 leaves from Ibn Batutta Station (Red Line Metro) and arrives at Abu Dhabi Bus Station (Al Wadha). This bus costs 25 AED per person. You then need to connect with local bus service 102, which takes you to Yas Island via Saadiyat Island (6 AED).

The 100 Intercity bus from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station (in Deira) is yet to resume.

You can see our full guide on getting between Dubai to Abu Dhabi here

You can then catch a 190 bus from Abu Dhabi Bus Station to Yas Island (separately ticketed, not on Nol).

Yas Express complimentary shuttle bus service from Dubai

These buses depart in the morning from Dubai at 11:00 AM and return to Dubai in the evening from two pick-up points at Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld/WB World Abu Dhabi :

  • Route Y6 – Deira City Center (next to Aloft Hotel)
  • Route Y7 – Ibn Battuta Station (China Court entrance)

The buses return from Yas Island at 7:30 PM (Route Y7) and 8:00 PM (Route Y6)

Arrange a private transfer from Dubai to Yas Island

The easiest way with a larger group is to arrange your transfers door to door, a same day service.  You can try these providers from our affiliate partners:

A taxi from Dubai to Yas Island will cost you in the vicinity of 300 AED each way. Some Dubai taxis have been reluctant since COVID to drive the whole way, so you may need to change taxis just over the border at a petrol station.

How to get to the Yas Island Theme Parks by bus from Abu Dhabi

Just as above, from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, you can catch the 190, which will loop around Saadiyat Island and drop you at the front of Ferrari World. You can see the full route map here.

If you are coming from the Airport, local bus service A19 leaves once an hour and stops at Ferrari World/Yas Mall and Yas Waterworld.

From other major tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi, look for the Visit Abu Dhabi shuttle service Route B, which takes in a circular loop including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Central Bus Station, the Louvre and Jubail Island Mangroves.

Staying on Yas Island, there are free Yas Express shuttle buses with pick-ups at the major hotels.

  • Y1 runs from Yas Plaza Hotels & W Hotel to the theme parks
  • Y2 runs from Hilton (Yas Bay) to the theme parks

Yas Express buses also run from Masdar City and Yas Marina.

Alternatively, a taxi is an easy way to get a group there. You are looking at 45AED coming straight from the airport AUH (as there is a 25AED flagfall), or approximately 60-80AED coming from “on island”.

Transport once you are on Yas Island

Once you are on Yas Island, all shuttle services are FREE on the Yas Express.

You’ll find all current Yas Express Time Tables here.

What to expect at the Yas Theme Parks

We will cover each of the theme parks, and what to expect in much more detail (coming soon), in the meantime, these are the basic facts you need to know:

Yas Waterworld

Regularly voted as the region – and the world’s – Best Water Park, it’s not hard to see why. This Emirati-themed water park includes a sensational 40+ rides and attractions.

A great place to take even your under 3’s as some of the splash areas and specifically designed with tots in mind, through the junior slides then the Marah Fortress for your older kids. There is, of course, the waterpark favourite the crazy river and the Amwaj Wave Pool for all the family to enjoy together.

Thrill-seekers can then graduate on to the Slithers Slides, the Sebag racing lanes and a straight drop down in the Liwa Loop. There are family and group rides, too like the Falcons Falaj and Dawamma, the world’s largest tornado water coaster!

Amwaj Wave pool at Yas Waterworld © Our Globetrotters

Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

With a spectacular 29 rides, attractions and entertaining shows, this entirely indoor theme park is an absolute family crowd-pleaser. You will find cartoon favourites from your own childhood from the Flintstones and the Jetsons as well as DC Comic heroes wandering the streets of Metropolis and Gotham City.

It is primarily suited to your kids of 4 years+, but some rides and attractions are suitable for those under 1.1m or open to all ages.

You can read a detailed review of what to expect at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi here

WB World Abu Dhabi
Dynamite Gulch in Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi © Our Globetrotters

Ferrari World

Home to some of the fastest rides in the world – including the World’s Fastest Roller Coaster, Formula Rossa – this is where you want to take your little adrenaline junkies.  The recently extended Family Zone makes it accessible to a much wider age group, with many rides now available to kids under 1.2m.

Ferrari World's new family Zone
The new family zone at Ferrari World includes rides younger kids can enjoy © Ferrari World

It’s a great place to enjoy endless hours of rollercoaster fun, simulator games, and live shows and dining options. Everything is, of course, Ferrari-themed in this one-of-a-kind action theme park – entirely indoors (except some of the coasters, which need to escape outside the building due to their height!)

You can read a full review of what to expect at the Ferrari World Family Zone here

Yas Island Theme Park Tickets

There are many ways you can get your hands on Yas Island theme park tickets and simply buy them at the door when you get to each venue. We always recommend pre-purchasing and having vouchers on your phone.

One of the best third-party ticketing apps we have found is Klook. They offer discounts off the standard price you will pay at the door and often can include transfers in their tickets. You can see the latest ticket packages here (Will open in a new window):

If you are staying at one of the Yas Island hotels (see below), you may also be able to get tickets included in the price of your hotel room.

What other attractions are on Yas Island

It is definitely worth sticking around Yas Island for more than just the theme parks. Here’s what else you can find:

Motor Sports

  • Well, we can’t not mention the Formula One Grand Prix, right? Held at the end of November every year on the island’s centrepiece, the Yas Marina Circuit. Come and party with the rich and famous, and enjoy the concerts and the general party atmosphere around town.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Marina Circuit
Starting positions for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, held annually at the Yas Marina Circuit
  • Visiting off-season? Not to worry, there are plenty of ways you can still enjoy the track. Our favourite is joining in with the open track nights on the Yas circuit – TrainYas.  Entry to the track is free, and you can hire bikes – some are free, or better bikes are paid. The free ones get snapped up early when the weather is good. There are also AM track mornings for the super-fit bikers!
  • You can do a lap of the track with Formula 3000 Driving Experiences (over 18s and need to be between 160cm and 188cm.)
  • If you’re not quite ready for the big cars, give the karts a go! Yas Marina Kart Zone can be found at Yas Central – in the heart of the GP track, still enough to get your adrenaline pumping!
  • Or for a more sedate option, go with a 2 hour behind the scenes tour of the circuit and race control rooms.
Yas Hotel lit up at night
W Hotel, viewed from the Yas Marina the colourful night roof

Leisure Facilities on Yas Island

  • Further around the island, Yas Marina is a beautiful setting to enjoy dinner and a drink overlooking the marina. There’s also a fountain area and playpark for kids.
  • Newly opened in 2021, Yas Bay Waterfront is the city’s stunning new nightlight destination, with more than a dozen bars and restaurants is attached to the Etihad Arena.
  • Etihad Park is a spectacular open-air events venue between the race track and Ferrari World.
  • Yas Links includes an 18-hole golf course with a spectacular waterfront setting and a links course and dining overlooking the water.
  • CLYMB Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s largest indoor skydiving centre and the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall for the fitness enthusiast.
  • Yas Beach provides a luxurious cabana-style setting if sun-loungers on the beach is your thing. Normally pretty quiet on weekdays, then weekends, when school is out, is family and party time. There are water sports on-site and dining options.
  • For those living in Abu Dhabi, you may enjoy picnicking or taking the kids down on their bikes to Yas Gateways parks, north and south. Most of the year, these lie empty as overflow parking for the Grand Prix, but they’ve been made into beautiful parkland to enjoy the rest of the year.
Yas Gateway Park North
Yas Gateway Park North © Our Globetrotters
  • Oh, and looking for all-around dining and entertainment options? Yas Mall is as big as it gets in Abu Dhabi. Attached to Ferrari World here, you will find not just shopping but cinemas, restaurants, a food court, a giant Toys R Us, Virgin Megastore, a Pop in & Play Lego childcare, Air Maniax, and KidZania Abu Dhabi. It’s a hub of activity, especially evenings and weekends.

As you can see, you need far more than a day to enjoy everything on offer on Yas Island truly. We recommend at least two full days to enjoy it all, if not more.

Yas Island Hotels: Where to stay on Yas Island

There are several hotels to suit different budget ranges on Yas Island.  All come with great facilities, are interconnected by the Yas Express shuttle bus system, and have access to Yas Beach.

  • The newest opening is The WB Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton – ideally situated between Yas Waterworld and WB World. Think themed rooms and dining with theme park tickets included with your stay!
  • Our next choice for families would be Hilton Abu Dhabi – Yas Island. Situated in the brand new Yas Bay this hotel is simply bursting with leisure facilities, dining, and theme park ticket packages are possible too.
  • The most unique of all the hotels is W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island (previously called Yas Viceroy and Yas Hotel). W Hotel straddles the actual Grand Prix track and has sensational track views and a rooftop pool.
Swimming Pool on the Yas Hotel Roof top
Swimming pool on the Yas Hotel Roof Top © Our Globetrotters

The other choices on Yas Island to try (all located together in the Yas Hotel plaza) are:

You really can’t go wrong staying at the nearby hotels if the theme parks are the aim of your trip, and you want the ease of access either back to Abu Dhabi Airport or driving back to Dubai without hitting the centre of Abu Dhabi.

If you did want to add some sightseeing, you are less than 20 minutes away from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in one direction, and the Saadiyat Island luxury beach resorts in the other, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi. 

We hope we’ve inspired you to book a trip from Dubai to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi to experience the theme park fun.

You can catch more of our UAE inspirational family travel guides here:

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This page is in no way sponsored by any of the businesses mentioned, however our editorial team have received occasional complimentary passes to attractions. We are affiliates for some of the ticketing services mentioned and hotels. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Feature image copyright Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. You can read our full website terms of use here

Family Travel Middle East
Family Travel Middle East

The Family Travel in the Middle East team of travel writers are all parents based in the Middle East, sharing first hand experiences and reviews from across the region to help you plan your next family adventure.

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