There’s never a “right” day to go to anything outdoors here in Singapore, as the sun is usually always shining and there’s always a chance of rain. So you just go, no matter what. Put down your weather app, bring some sun block and know you’re going to create some memories, sweat, rain and all! Now, what you DON’T do is head for the most popular amusement park in Singapore, let alone South East Asia, on Chinese New Year! Well, unless you’re my crazy family.
We’d lived in Singapore for seven months before we took our first trip to Universal Studios Singapore! Crazy, I know, but this country has so much to offer that you need to spread it all out. We’d visited Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove on Sentosa Island, but we hadn’t yet visited the theme park that kept calling our name each time we walked by. Something about that spinning globe out front with cooling mist pouring out of it beckons you to walk through their gates. Well, on Chinese New Year Day, we answered the call of the mist.
For a family of five like mine, nothing is cheap, especially in Singapore. Prices are higher than normal for well-known entertainment venues like this, so we were prepared to spend a pretty penny on tickets for the day. What we weren’t prepared for was the “awesome-at-her-job-lady-behind-the-counter-with-the-fantastic-upsell personality.” We ended up buying six-month season passes, including the Universal Express Unlimited option. Not that I feel the need to justify this, on the contrary, you’ll WANT the Express option if you’re visiting over holiday breaks. Everyone goes to Universal Studios, and it’s BUSY. The Express Pass lets you go in the bypass queue once per ride while the Express Unlimited lets you do it as many times as you want. For us, living here, it’s a quick jaunt down there any day of the week, so it just made sense.
The park itself is truly fantastic. I equate it to the Hong Kong Disneyland of Universal Studios parks…small but packed with fun. It’s also laid out much the same. For my kids, their height at ages 6, 8 and 10 wasn’t an issue for any of the rides, which made the park fun for all of us. I love that we’re finally at the ages where everyone can enjoy the park rides and neither my husband nor I has to stay back with one who’s crying because she’s “just a hair too short.”When you enter the park, you first walk down Hollywood Boulevard where you’re greeted by characters, shops and for you caffeine addicted parents, Starbucks. If it’s a holiday season, prepare to be amazed at the effort Universal Studios goes to in decorating and amazing your visual palette. At the end of Hollywood Boulevard, you can then choose to go right or left, either way leading to a big circle of sorts around the park. We’ve been twice, chose left the first time and right the second time. Both worked out great as the “big” rides tend to all meet up at the top of the circle (Revenge of the Mummy, Transformers and Jurassic Park Rapids).
As for the ride selection, we were quite impressed. There was everything from the nice and calm to the fast and scary. The only ride my kids didn’t really enjoy was the Treasure Hunters, but I think had they been younger they would have thought it was cool. For them, it was slow and uneventful. I guess compared to everything else in the park, it is. We’ve now been on every ride in the park, that is currently open, and many of them we went on over and over again. We haven’t yet had the time to see two of the shows though, Donkey LIVE and When I Grow Up. But don’t take my word for the thrills of Universal…here’s my little expats’ reviews:
E1 “My favorite ride is Transformers because you feel like you’re in the movie, where Transformers are attacking you and you’re trying to get away in your own mini bot. It feels so realistic, like its actually happening. For example, when you’re falling off the building.”
E2 “My favorite ride is Transformers because it feels like I’m in an adventure. We’re in a car and it felt like we were fighting real Transformers. At first I thought it was a little scary, but then the second and third time it was really, really fun.”
E3 “My favorite ride is Canopy Flyer because you get to see everywhere in Universal Studios and it’s really fun and fast. And also, you can get a good breeze.”
Make sure you catch the fantastic parade (weekends only) featuring all of your Hollywood favorites such as characters from Madagascar, Shrek, Jurassic Park, even Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin! If you can make it till Saturday evening with the little tykes, stick around for the fireworks show over the lake. Quite and impressive choreographed display, a perfect ending to a wonderful day at the park.
What gave me possibly the biggest excitement of the entire park? Churros and corn dogs! I know how ridiculous this sounds, but having those two flavors at a theme park brings back childhood memories every time, and I’ve passed this legacy down to my kids. We love them and we’re so happy to see them served at the park. Whatever your favorite pastime is at Universal, or even if you’ve never been, enjoy your time at Universal Studios Singapore!