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Universal Studios Singapore: Trip Report

To go, or not to go. That is the question. The answer... Yes, but wait a few months.

From Daniel Smith
Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:58 PM
ARRIVAL

The first thing I loved about Universal Studios Singapore was that it is easy to get to from wherever you are staying in Singapore. There are a huge number of shuttle buses and also the MRT rail system. If you prefer, you can take a taxi or drive a car. I took a shuttle directly from my hotel reception to the park. It cost SGD$4.00 (USD$3.06, AUD$3.10, EUR€2,31) and that was the expensive option! Many hotels have free direct shuttles to the park. However, the MRT rail system (at only SGD$1.00 (USD$0.76, AUD$0.78, EUR€0.58) is a bargain! The good thing about the shuttle bus is that you can buy your park ticket on-board. Just as well, the park was sold out for the day when I arrived.


ENTRY

Entry is a breeze. There are no security bag checks or great entry lines. Before I knew it, I was in the park, walking in Hollywood. This park is so highly themed; you don’t feel at all like you are anywhere but on a movie set. The shops in the main street are great, however, they don’t have collector spoons (something I collect!). A great thing about Hollywood Boulevard is that it is completely undercover, should it rain. Later in the day, I went to the Celebrity Café & Bakery (which isn’t listed on the themeparkinsider.com restaurants page) for a Gingy (from Shrek) gingerbread man and strawberry shake… delicious and highly recommended.


NEW ATTRACTIONS

I know you are all dying to know when Madagascar and Battlestar Galactica will open. I asked everywhere! The official response is that the rides are not yet complete and no date has been set but keep your eye on the website. The unofficial response, which I managed to get from half a dozen people, was that they should both open sometime around June to August 2011, possibly at the same time as Transformers. The park is therefore still in soft open mode and the official opening will probably be mid-2011.


ATTRACTIONS

REVENGE OF THE MUMMY
DAY: Friday. TIME: 11.45am. STANDARD LINE: 30 minutes. SINGLE RIDER LINE: 2 minutes. RIDE DURATION: 3 minutes. TIP: Bags are not allowed on this ride. There are free lockers on the left of the ride building. Head there first before getting in line. DESCRIPTION: Outstanding ride. I feel the total darkness parts are better than the Florida counterpart, however, I find the Florida version scarier in the reverse section. The outside area surrounding the ride is quite phenomenal!

SHREK 4-D
DAY: Friday. TIME: 2.00pm STANDARD LINE: 7 minutes. SINGLE RIDER LINE: No single rider line. RIDE DURATION: 26 minutes. TIP: In the main showroom, try to sit in front of the non-moving seats, not behind (as it's too far back for the 3D effects). DESCRIPTION: Good ride. The castle is absolutely amazing! The ride itself, I believe, is an exact copy of the other versions around the world. Lots of fun!

ENCHANTED AIRWAYS
DAY: Friday. TIME: 1.00pm. STANDARD LINE: 5 minutes. SINGLE RIDER LINE: 5 minutes. RIDE DURATION: 3 minutes. DESCRIPTION: Weak ride (for adults). Think along the line of Gadget's Go-Coaster in Disneyland and cut it in half. I found the queue very entertaining, but not so much the ride (of course, I'm telling the adult perspective)

PANTAGES HOLLYWOOD THEATRE
DAY: Friday. TIME: 1.40pm. SHOW DURATION: 25 minutes. TIP: Everywhere has a good view of the stage so it's not necessary to push and shove to get a good seat. DESCRIPTION: Fun show, as already mentioned a short collection of rock and pop songs (mainly from the 80s) sung by Universal monsters with a very tacky storyline (but that's part of it isn't it? :P). Don't expect a Broadway production but it's an enjoyable break from walking!

JURASSIC PARK RAPIDS ADVENTURE
DAY: Friday. TIME: 4.00pm. STANDARD LINE: 85 minutes. SINGLE RIDER LINE: 5 minutes. RIDE DURATION: 10 minutes. TIP: There is a single rider line, even though it is not advertised. Just ask a cast member before entering the queue. TIP: You may take bags on this ride. They won't really get too wet. Think of pouring a cup of water over your bag. If this concerns you, get a locker. Lockers are free for 45mins in front of the Mummy ride next door. The Jurassic Park lockers are not free. DESCRIPTION: Commendable ride. I prefer this raft version over the boat version in the US, however, the drop is just too short. It has even less drop feeling as Pirates in Disneyland. I feel also the rapids could be taken up quite a few notches. It's overall too calm. I prefer the scenery in the Hollywood version. If you go down the drop facing backwards, be prepared for a complete soaking. Otherwise, you will just have a splash (which in Singapore weather, will dry in about 5 minutes!). Good job, but I hope they ramp up the rapids before the official opening. Australia's Wonderland still had the best rapids I ever rode!

WATERWORLD
DAY: Friday. TIME: 3.00pm. SHOW DURATION: 23 minutes. TIP: Be seated at least 20 minutes before show time if you want a decent seat. Weather is hot in Singapore so sitting in the soak zone is actually a good thing!! You will dry instantly (almost!) and this area has by far the most fun before and during the show. I really regretted not sitting in that section! DESCRIPTION: I never tire of this show. Lots of action! It's very loud so just be prepared if you are sensitive to loud noise. Love how the Singapore crew really get the audience going with the goodies and baddies :P

CANOPY FLYER
DAY: Friday. TIME: 3.30pm. STANDARD LINE: 65 minutes. SINGLE RIDER LINE: 9 minutes. RIDE DURATION: 3 minutes. TIP: There is a single rider line for this ride even though it is not advertised. Ask a cast member before joining the queue. DESCRIPTION: Mediocre ride. Good concept but just too short. Sitting backwards does give a bit of a thrill towards the end of the ride though!

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! HOSTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG
DAY: Friday. TIME: Midday. STANDARD LINE: 6 minutes. SINGLE RIDER LINE: n/a. RIDE/SHOW DURATION: 11 minutes. TIP: In the first row, you may get splashed, however, you can choose where to stand once in the main show room, so don't worry if they put you in the front row! DESCRIPTION: Unfortunately, for me, this is the weakest link in the park. I was very disappointed. The first room with Mr Spielberg was great (although sound-barrier breaking loud). I was expecting more rooms behind-the-scenes, but there is only one. Nothing even looks remotely real. It's very slow and mechanical. You'll see what I mean :P Sorry Universal but you could have done much better with this.


MEALS

CASA DEL WILD
Was excited to see the menu for this one. For lunch, I had a Chicken Satay Set (with Fried Rice), Coconut Cake and a Coke. Cost was SGD$12.60 (AUD$9.98/USD$9.62/EUR€7,33). Satay sauce was great, however the rice and vegetables (90% of the meal) were completely inedible with a very strange taste. Cake was fine.. a standard vanilla slab cake with coconut sprinkled on top.

CELEBRITY CAFE
Great! Had a Gingy (from Shrek) Gingerbread Man and a Strawberry Shake. Both delicious and well worth it!


CONCLUSION

A brilliant park in the making. For international visitors, I don’t think it is worth the trip, yet. Wait until Madagascar, Battlestar and Transformers are open and you’ll have a park for the day. As it stands now, I finished the park in around half a day (with two meals, shopping and photo times included). The great thing about the area is that there is now quite a lot to do in Singapore. I recommend the Night Safari and having a suit tailor-made while you’re at it. Don’t forget the food! Try the night noodle markets and great Asian cuisine. Any questions… just ask!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:15 PM
Very good!

How does the storyline of Jurrasic Park compare with its American Cousin. I wonder how they can tell a story on Jurassic Park without everybody bascially seeing the same thing.

From Daniel Smith
Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:51 AM
Dear Anthony,

There was a storyboard floating around before the attraction was opened. You can find it here: http://tiny.cc/uss-jurassic

However, it couldn't be further from the truth :P

Once loaded, you enter Jurassic Park in a similar fashion to the Hollywood version (although the Hollywood version seems more regal as in Singapore, you don't see the large gate if you are facing backwards on the raft). I'm quite sure you only see two dinosaurs before things "go wrong". I would like one of them to at least spit! You see a car overturned and then the rapids start. You enter a tunnel (I'm not sure what it is for) and float along in complete silence in darkness for a bit before being lifted up a couple of metres. The raft stops, you see Mr T-Rex and you see the shoot where you will go. Splash-down and back to the dock.

I felt the Hollywood version had a real storyline but I just don't feel the same on the Singapore version. Perhaps I was spoilt with the USA version hehe.

Overall, I think the rapids are a great "concept". I hope they will do some more research before building the Dubai version! It has the chance to be one of the best rides out there if they put a little more effort into it.

Go Universal Studios, you can do it! :)

From Donna McKay
Posted December 20, 2010 at 6:28 AM
My parents visited in October and from what they've said, they agree with your view that its a half day park at present. They did, however, remark that the park was absolutely lovely- very clean and a nice place to wander around even as it currently stands

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 20, 2010 at 9:48 AM
Maybe I missed it in the report, but how much money was it to enter the park? I just noticed that its a pretty affordable park!

From Daniel Smith
Posted December 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM
Dear Donna,

Yes, the park is by far one of the most intensely themed parks I have seen. My cleanliness score would be 99%. I actually, just walked around around the whole park before I started on anything. It was fabulous :)


Dear Anthony,

Sorry and thanks for picking it up! The park cost me SGD$66.00 (USD$50, AUD$51, EUR€38). Whilst it is in soft-open mode, you also get a SGD$5 gift voucher for food and a SGD$5 gift voucher to use on any merchandise. A nice touch indeed!

The park is open from 10am to 7pm every day. There is a fireworks show around 9.30pm (I think) but I didn't want to wait around for over 2 hours after the park closed to see it :P

From steve lee
Posted December 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM
The fireworks are two hours after the park closes? I think they might have missed the point on that one.

From Daniel Smith
Posted December 21, 2010 at 4:54 AM
Dear Steve,

Yep! Here is the description.

At 9:30pm you’ll get to watch the Lake Hollywood Spectacular… an incredible new pyrotechnics show set to a brilliant musical score that will burst across the night sky right in front of you!

Whilst the park closes at 7pm, you can stay in the entrance plaza (equivalent to Disney's Main Street) until 10pm. What you can do in those 2.5 hours since closing beats me :P

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