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Ride Review: Puss in Boots' Giant Journey at Universal Studios Singapore

April 28, 2015, 9:06 PM · SINGAPORE — Joining the Universal Studios Singapore family just a few weeks ago, Puss in Boots' Big Giant Journey was a must-see attraction during our short trip to USS. The ride joins the Shrek-themed, family oriented, Far Far Away Land area, filling a formerly dead cul-de-sac.

Puss in Boots' Big Giant Journey

The exterior entrance of the ride suggests, in a very Universal fashion, an attention to detail displaying the ruins of a castle overgrown in ivy. The queuing time was the longest in the park for the day - 50 minutes. Compare that to the two biggest rides of the park: Transformers - which had a queuing time of 30 minutes and Revenge of the Mummy ride - which was nearly walk on.

Moments after entering the queue, you're met by a large screen in a big golden frame in which Puss in Boots & his feline girlfriend (Kitty Softpaws) introduce you to the story of the ride — a local orphanage has hit financial hardship and will soon be shut down if it does not find some more money soon. Puss comes up with the idea that they can gather money by climbing up the giant magical beanstalk and stealing the golden eggs at the top to save the orphanage. The journey will be dangerous as there is a monster at the top. (It is inferred that this is a giant – from "Jack & the Beanstalk.) Puss is looking for brave volunteers and pleads for help using his signature pouty look. He suggests that the volunteers can reach the top using flying machines.

Passing beyond the screen the line moves on into what appears to be the giant's kitchen, filled with giant cooking utensils, giant books, recipes (that often include human beings as ingredients) and the odd golden egg. The theming in this room is top notch and comical, it's obvious that a lot of thought has been put into this room. Alongside the adventure/Spanish-themed music in the background this room certainly helps to build anticipation for the ride. The only let down for this area being the bare metallic roof which takes away from the theming – but at least it lets the breeze in. (Singapore is very hot & humid. Think an Orlando summer, year 'round.)

The day we visited, they were running 10 carriages (which each hold nine participants), so the line was moving relatively quickly. Once on, the lift system (which resembles that of a mixer) pushes your flying machine up the track lift in a spiral formation inside the castle turret, this is very cool & also helps to build anticipation. Unfortunately in my opinion, once the ride hits the top it is both physically and metaphorically all down hill from here…

The ride itself is very short and in this time they've tried to fit too much plot than the few static scenes will allow. The big twist (spoiler alert!) is that it's not really a giant you have to fear but mother goose who believes you are trying to steal her baby chicks. This plot twist sounds great on paper but in such a limited capacity it is hard to pull this off well and leaves the question — whose kitchen were we in? And why call it the Giant Journey anyway? Presented in the static scenes there is the initial goose revelation, then about three scenes of running and conflict, an unexplained resolution between parties followed by a bizarre concluding party scene. Being open air the ride also lacks the ability of hiding the next few scenes from view, which takes away from some of the mystery. I think it would have been far more effective to keep the storyline simple, sticking with the giant and keeping the story coherent.

Given, this is meant to be a family ride, so I'm not the demographic they're aiming at, your kids probably won't pick up on all this and probably still will love it. It's just hard to look past as an avid theme park fan. So overall I would suggest holding off a little bit, your kids may love it but I'm not sure they will love it enough to justify a 50-minute wait.

Editor's Note: Here is an on-ride video from Dejiki.

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Replies (11)

April 29, 2015 at 5:23 AM · Sounds a lot like a Fantasyland dark ride, actually. Just to know in case I visit USS in the near-future, do they use Universal Express over in Singapore?
April 29, 2015 at 6:06 AM · Great review! I doubt most kids that go on the ride will be confused about the "twist". It's straight out of the Puss in Boots movie.
April 29, 2015 at 7:39 AM · After watching the video a couple of weeks ago, I too felt that there was something lacking with the story. It seems disjointed, and the quality of the sets is lowered as a result of being outside. I am not fully sure what the takeaway is supposed to be.
April 29, 2015 at 8:28 AM · I feel a roller coaster actually limited the creative talent on this attraction. The problem with a story driven roller coaster is you usually are left with a disjointed story as you fly past scenes too quickly, and coaster supports aren't easy to hide (especially on an inverted coaster). You also have to cram a lot into a theoretically smaller space since coaster cars can't make as many quick and tight hairpin turns that dark rides can. Thus increasing the space scenes take up and limiting story progression. It's not impossible to do, it just takes a lot of space that many rollercoaster aren't granted on projects like this.

Disney accomplished this by spliting their Dwarves Mine coaster into a dark ride section and a "coaster" section which also feels lacking in some aspects as the story actually doesn't progress on the "coaster" sections.

I feel the creative team were pressured to build the story around a coaster, as opposed to building a coaster to drive a story. This was probably done so the park could advertise as having a new coaster even if it might have been the wrong ride system for a ride such as this.

A Peter Pan/ET type ride system with indoor, outdoor, and "speedy coaster like" sections controlled by computer as opposed gravity might have made for a more fulfilling environment in such a limited space.

April 29, 2015 at 8:42 AM · ^Agreed, Court E. A Peter Pan ride system along with an enclosed show building and more sets would have been perfect for this attraction. As is, the ride seems awful. Does Universal Singapore use the same creative team as the stateside parks? Gosh, I hope not.

Regardless, thanks for sharing, Dave. Appreciate the overseas report!

April 29, 2015 at 9:29 AM · Sounds a.lot like the Blues Brothers plot... Maybe the mother goose is Carrie Fisher
April 29, 2015 at 12:27 PM · While I disagree that the ride "looks awful" (it's not if you're a kid), I do agree that maybe a coaster wasn't the right choice. My guess is that they wanted to build a dark ride, but space constrictions prevented that and thus, they went with a coaster. Personally, I think it looks like a fun little addition. Nothing to rush out for, but a good ride that's aggressively decorated compared to others of its type. I'm sure kids will have a blast.
April 29, 2015 at 1:05 PM · The problem as I see it is it slows down to a stop several times throughout the ride. When the ride gains momentum, it stops again for a few scenes that are rather good but unnecessary. It just isn't much of a ride.
April 29, 2015 at 7:17 PM · Thanks for a great review.

I don't understand why they didn't enclose the second half of the ride. The lift looks great and with the top exposed, it looks like you get a great view. But after passing by the goose at the top, I don't understand why this didn't turn into a standard dark ride. It doesn't seem "coaster" enough that you need to expose all the coaster elements.

April 30, 2015 at 8:10 AM · It's a ride that looks like it was built by management rather than their creative talent. Reminds me of Primeval-Whirl and Goofy's Flight School. Pray that kind of business decision doesn't make it out this way...
April 30, 2015 at 2:39 PM · This park is in trouble. It doesn't have the numbers to warrant a massive injection of spend, but without any new world class attractions it's going to struggle to stop numbers falling.

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