|Universal Studios Singapore|
Universal Studios Singapore is the very first movie-themed park in the whole of Southeast Asia. Spanning 49 glorious acres of film / tv show-inspired rides and attractions, well-known and loved shows and movies from Universal Studios are well-represented here.
And yes, it does not fail to impress.
(NOTE: Please visit www.rwsentosa.com for full instructions on how to get to Universal Studios Singapore.)
Another Hong Kong Disneyland?
I've been to Hong Kong Disneyland before, when the Hubby and I had our honeymoon in HK and Macau. And although the little kid in me who grew up on a full cartoon diet of Disney shows and films, the trip to HK Disneyland, although memorable, left me wanting for a more age-appropriate theme park experience.
So a visit to Universal Studios Singapore was inevitable.
|Our gateway to Fun! Fun! Fun!|
Tickets! Get your Tickets Here!
Although Universal Studios Singapore opened to the public in 2010 (soft opening), the Hubby and I have made a point to not "go with the flow" and wait for a more suitable date to visit. For one thing, there would be tons of visitors and we might not get to fully enjoy the attractions. Second, not all rides were open to the public yet. And at S$60 (Php1,900*) per adult (price of admission then), we felt it was just not worth it that time (in fact, family friends told us that they paid that much and were sadly disappointed upon seeing that the whole Madagascar zone of the park was still undergoing some finishing touches and was closed to visitors. For shame!)
So now, I guess, is as good as time as any to visit, seeing as it's been a year since its official park opening (last May 2011.) FYI: As of June 2012, a one day pass for adults costs S$68 / Php2,200* during non-peak periods and S$74 / Php2,400* for peak seasons. Passes for children (those aged 4 to 12) are priced a little lower at S$50 / Php1,600* for non-peak and S$54 / 1,700* for peak periods (you may view ticket/passes prices at the Universal Studios Singapore website.)
A little steep but trust me, it's well worth it.
The 7 Themed Zones of Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore consists of 7 themed zones, based on either a movie or tv show, surrounding a clear lagoon. Each zone has its own attractions, characters, shopping and dining areas that follow with their area's central theme.
|View across the lagoon from the Madagascar zone|
The very first zone visitors step into upon entering the park is the Hollywood area, a short street mainly filled with shops and restaurants reminiscent of the real Hollywood boulevard of the 1970s.
|A glimpse of Hollywood life|
It even comes complete with their own "Walk of Fame."
|I see stars...|
Don't forget to take a souvenir snapshot with Woody and Winnie Woodpecker (betcha you didn't know Woody has girlfriend, noh?)
|The whole family with Woody and Winnie Woodpecker|
Next stop, New York!
|Start spreading the news, Frankie!|
Patterned after a post-modern New York City, this zone is full of brick buildings and quaint shops. Even comes with its own mysterious alleyways.
|Wonder where this leads to|
Beetlejuice calls this zone home. It was quite unfortunate that we weren't able to take a photo with him. He did scare the beegeebies out of the Madir when, as we were both distracted and wondering where this alley led to (photo below), he suddenly tapped her on the shoulder and made a scary face. He then went along his merry way inside the same sidestreet were looking at. Guess even the paranormal needs a coffeebreak every now and then.
|Beetlejuice! Come back!!!|
I love the vibe of this zone. With it's brick buildings and old-style store fronts, it sort of reminds me of New York in the early 21st century.
|This lady was nice enough to have posed so elegantly for us|
From New York, you move on next to Sci-Fi City, giving visitors a glimpse of what modern cities of the future may look like.
|A look into the future|
This zone also feautures the world's tallest pair of dueling rollercoasters, the CYLON and the HUMAN, based on the popular TV series, Battlestar Galactica.
|Battlestar Galactica: CYLON (blue track) and HUMAN (red track)|
And before you ask, no, I did not ride any of these since I am scared stiff of riding such extreme roller coasters with loop d' loops.
I did get a chance to ride this -- Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle -- and it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
|Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle|
It's a 3D attraction featuring a new Transformers character, who you ride on, and help in the completion of his mission. Along the way, you dodge Decepticons and watch Optimus Prime while he kicks bad guy butts. It's a really cool ride! And it it were not for a few time constraints, Hubby and I would have rode this one more one time.
From a modern city of the future, we move on the past, back to the days of pharoahs and pyramids -- Ancient Egypt.
|Dance like an Egyptian...|
The Ancient Egypt zone is actually influenced by the architecture and artifacts discovered during the Golden Age of Egyptian Exploration in the 1930s, and...
|The Madir in front of a statue of the Egyptian god, Anubis|
... with attractions and rides highly influenced by The Mummy movie franchise.
If you ask me, this zone is so befitting of the tropical Singapore climate. It didn't help make matters any better that the day of our visit coincided with really hot, scourching weather. Guess this is why these guys opted not to put their shirts on.
|Our horrible expression of anger|
The Lost World
Children of the 90s can clearly remember Steven Spielberg's, Jurassic Park movies. It kept many a tiny heads awake late at night dreading a ferocious roar or even the shake of a spoonful of jelly, a tell-tale sign signalling the presence of a carnivorous reptile out to make you his main course.
So stepping into The Lost World zone certainly brings back memories, both the good and the frightening.
|The Lost World|
The Lost World area actually features 2 smaller themed regions. Aside from The Jurassic Park, there is also the Waterworld section which, during our visit, was unfortuntely closed for maintenance so we weren't able to check it out.
|Waterworld was closed. Such a drip.|
The Madir, however, had a blast at The Jurassic Park section (as evidence by this photo.)
|An archway of dinosaur rib bones|
One of the main attractions of this zone is the Jurassic Park Rapid Adventure, a thrilling river raft ride inside the park's "Hydroelectric Plant."
|Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure|
At the side, you can find this -- a full-body drying pod! Just the thing you need to dry you up after your rafting adventure. Costs S$1 (Php33) for a few minutes' use.
At least they're very considerate.
Far Far Away
Come with me on a quest,
Of this I do attest.
To the days of ogres and princesses,
Who find themselves in dreary messes.
Of talking donkeys and booted kitties.
Who often come with their own little missus
And where love's true kiss
Solves everything that's amiss...
Yes, I'm talking about Far Far Away!
|Once upon a time...|
There's no denying that DreamWorks Animations' Shrek movies drastically changed the way we view our well-loved fairytales. Quite refreshing really as I was sorely getting tired of watching damsels-in-distress who always seem to be gorgeous nymphs with a great bodies but are braindead twits.
Universal Studios Singapore aims to capture the Shrek vibe with their Far Far Away zone. It seriously feels like you've stepped right into the very story. From the king and queen's castle...
|...in a land Far Far Away|
... to the billboard of the evil fairy godmother (complete with her waving wand)...
|For all your happily ever afters...|
... all featured in such quirky replicas reminiscent of the movie...
|Robin Hood and Little John star in Lethal Arrow 4|
... with a touch of the modern.
And so we move on to the 7th and last zone, Madagascar.
I believe this is the place that will be the most fun for the kiddos since Madagascar is quite a hit among children and the kids at heart (although, personally, I prefer the 4 military penguins over Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria anytime.)
|Tin, the hypocrite|
It didn't stop me from posing with the 4 anyway. J
Don't forget to look up at the trees or else you'll might miss this...
|Amelia Earhart, I presume|
Tips and Tricks
Here are but a few tips and tricks to get you started on your very own Universal Studios Singapore adventure!
1. Schedule in a whole day to take in everything (and I do mean everything!) Tickets to Universal Studios Singapore don't come cheap so why rush when there's just so many things to see and do!
|Anubis standing guard|
Additionally, try to schedule your visit on an ordinary weekday (not even on one that falls on a public holiday) if possible since there will be less people. Less visitors mean shorter lines to the rides hence more time to scope the whole park out.
There is, however, also a disadvantage as Universal Studios Singapore's newest attraction, the Hollywood Dreams Parade (a parade featuring all of the park's well-loved characters riding themed floats), happens only on the weekends and select holidays. Just pick out what works best for you.
2. Aside from their cool rides, Universal Studios Singapore offers a number timed attractions (i.e. select shows and street entertainment) at select schedules during the day. If you plan to catch these as well, then be sure to strategize and plan your itinerary wisely by checking out this Map to the Stars booth located upon entering the Hollywood zone.
|Map to the stars|
This booth has flyers with a map to the whole park plus the schedule of performances for timed shows. I know it sounds so boring to be strategizing on a holiday, but think how much time you'll save and how many more rides you can go through just by checking and taking note of the schedules of performances.
3. Buy cute souvenirs! Self-explanatory here, folks. The only problem you'll have if you're on a budget is choosing what items to puchase.
Personally, I'm lovin' these little cuties -- Oscar statues with a special message engraved on them for the intended recipient (think World's Greatest Dad, Mom, Pet, etc.), and...
|I'd like to thank the Academy Awards...|
... a Puss in Boots plushie!
|How could you ever say no to that?!...|
4. If you really do need to tighten the pursestrings, since tickets are expensive enough as it is, then fret not! You can still have something to take home as souvenirs simply by having your photos taken with the various characters at each zone. Don't worry, it's free and best of all, you can use your own cam!
|Charlie Chaplin in color!!!|
5. This last tip might elicit some harsh reactions, but please, do leave the babies (I'm talking about newborns to 11 months of age) at home, and this I say in all seriousness and as a loving, concerned parent.
Universal Studios Singapore, although such a really enjoyable place, has very little in way of rides for babies (Although we were able to bring in the Little One to the Shrek 4-D Adventure, an interactive show featuring Shrek and the gang, but I was strapped with the Little One in a non-moving seat for safety and she was sleeping the whole time the show was on. Good thing, too, as I'm very sure she would have been scared silly just by staying inside a dark, movie-like theatre with monsters going at her from the screen.)
That plus the unreliable Singapore weather (blazing, scorching heat at first, then heavy downpours the next minute), is a really bad mix.
So if you're really dead set on cathching all the rides and/or don't want to subject your little ones to the crazy weather (lest they catch a cold), then leave baby at home for a while. If you really do want to bring your little ones, then make sure to have reliable adults with you who could care for baby while you ride the attractions and bring lots of changes of clothes, plus a handy umbrella, too.
|My poor babies L|
To be Continued...
And you thought the Little One's adventure to Universal Studios Singapore ends here? You thought wrong cause there's still more to come! Stay tuned for the 3rd and final installment coming up soon! J
*S$1 = Php33
|Couldn't have said it better myself...|
Universal Studios Singapore
8 Sentosa Gateway
Be sure to catch my Universal Studios Singapore series:
The Little One Goes to Universal Studios Singapore! (OR What the Little One Saw Along the Way... Part 1 of 3)
Planning to visit? Drop by my "Getting Around Singapore" post (click here) for more details on how to get around the