This week, let's spend some time with a rare beast in the theme park world - a ride that is staying open because of the pandemic.
Madagascar: A Crate Adventure at Universal Studios Singapore is something rare for Universal - an indoor boat ride. Featuring animatronic animals from Dreamworks Animation's Madagascar franchise, the ride and its surrounding land were supposed to close to make way for a new Minion Park land. But the pandemic has led Resorts World Sentosa to delay its expansion plans for the Universal Studios Singapore, giving Madagascar a reprieve.
The ride opened in May 2011, more than a year after the park soft opened, but two weeks before Universal Studios Singapore's official grand opening. Problems with the ride system, coupled with a fire in the show building, delayed the attraction's debut.
Housed within a show building decorated to look like the cargo ship that brought Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman to Madagascar, the seven-minute ride revisits many favorite moments from the original film, including King Julien XIII, his lemur dance party, and everyone's enemy - the "foosa." Universal's not known for its animatronic dark rides, but A Crate Adventure distinguishes itself well, delivering an entertaining narrative with plenty of engaging details along the way.
Let's take a ride with our on-ride POV:
Universal is working on another indoor boat ride with Kung Fu Panda: Journey of the Dragon Warrior at the upcoming Universal Studios Beijing. For fans in the United States, we're not getting a boat ride, but Universal will open The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! animatronic dark ride at Universal Studios Hollywood whenever that park gets the okay to return. Still, I hate the idea of losing Madagascar: A Crate Adventure, especially for another installation of Universal's Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, which is available at every other Universal theme park resort around the world. It's nice when chains offer something unique.
Yet Resorts World Sentosa doesn't have easily available space to expand Universal Studios Singapore with the planned Super Nintendo World taking pretty much all that the resort could make available. That meant that the Minions would need to evict someone else in order to move in. But until that happens, I am happy that the crew from Madagascar remain in Singapore. As I wrote when I reviewed Universal Studios Singapore in 2011, "even if they're not fans of Madagascar, visitors to steamy Singapore at least should appreciate seven-plus cool minutes floating in the dark, with air conditioning."
For tickets to Universal Studios Singapore, please visit our international travel partner's Universal Studios Singapore tickets page.
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What I think is most impressive here is how they managed to capture the highly stylized and angular look of the characters as animatronics. Honestly, it's better than Madagascar deserves.
Maybe its just because i'm from Orlando and ridden all those attractions a million times, but i've been to USS and thought it was a cheap knockoff of the Orlando dark rides. Its a bunch of mediocre animitronics in a big soundstage building with black curtains everywhere.
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I'm happy to have gotten the opportunity to enjoy this ride in person because as the story says, its days may be numbered. The facade is very impressive and the animatronics and sets are well done. Now, it is no Pirates of the Caribbean, but it does offer an entertaining family-friendly look at a successful franchise.
Having said that, although Minion Mayhem may or may not show up at Singapore, I do see this land as being replaced by something in a land-challenged park.