Over the weekend, we went to the newly opened Universal Studio Singapore, located at Resort World Sentosa. We bought the tickets at full price ($72 for adults, $52 for kids below 12, and $36 for seniors above 65) but because it’s still in the soft opening period, we were given $15 of rebates in form of vouchers ($10 meal voucher, $5 retail voucher).
Having been to the Universal Studio in Los Angeles 10 years ago, I was very excited when I heard that Universal Studio will be opening one in Singapore. For me, it’s the theme park for adults (although I’m sure the kids especially the teenages will like it) and would prefer Universal Studio over DisneyWorld anytime. So naturally I went with alot of high expectations and anticipations.
The park is made up of 7 themes (or zones). They are Far Far Away Land, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Madagascar, Sci-fi City, Hollywood, New York, in the order of fun and entertainment factor, in my opinion of course. Madagascar and Sci-fi City, would be more interesting if not for the closed or in-construction rides. The Madagascar dance was very entertaining though. The closure of Battlestar Galatica is a big bummer, especially when there’s nothing left in Sci-fi City except for a lame “Accelerator” ride, which is nothing more than just spinning and spinning in a cup.
Between Hollywood and New York, I would prefer New York, but not by miles. The Lights! Camera! Action! in New York zone showcase some of the special effects made in Steven Spielberg’s movies, in a filming stage. Otherwise, there is really very little action in these two zones, mainly just merchandise and food & beverages shops.
So really, the action and fun-filled activities are really contained around the remaining 3 zones, at least until the rides in Madagascar and Sci-fit City become available or re-open again. Among the three, I would say The Lost World has the most (number of) fun-packed activities. The Canopy Flier is one breathtaking ride, that’s if one imagine himself riding over the “real” Jurassic Park 🙂 The gliding coaster does make one feel like flying across the jungle over the tree top. The disappointment bit is the short ride time. I didn’t time it, but it felt like a few second ride! It didn’t help that we have to queue for more than 40 minutes just to get the ride, and I reckon it will be even longer when the theme park fully opens in future.
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure is literally the most wet ride in the park. That said, other than the last section of the ride where the raft actually plunges down from a height, I am really not impressed by the ride. A word of warning though, be prepared to get very wet, if you do not intend to wear a poncho while taking the ride. I had my head, body and feet totally soaked with water. Disposable ponchos are available for $1.50 each, but many had opted not to buy, only to end up buying T-shirt at the Jurassic merchandise shop, which is located just beside the ride station exit. Brilliant business strategy I think.
My overall average impression of the The Lost World park may be swayed (somewhat negatively) by the fact that I have watched the same show Water World before, while I was at Universal Studio LA.Or at least that was what I thought. For first timer, he/she might be impressed. There are just too many similarity between the two shows in term of the stage, the story line, the scenes, the props, etc. I think the only thing that’s different, are the weather and the actors/actresses involved in the show!
I have a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to the next zone Ancient Egypt. It has the most lame ride in the park (although Accelerator in Sci-Fi City can easily be the other candidate for this “honorable” award) in Treasure Hunter. I am not sure if anybody would appreciate the ride, although this might be the only ride that senior visitors could take in the park :D.
The other end of the excitement spectrum, at least until Battlestar Galatica is available, can be found in this zone. Revenge of the Mummy is a high speed thrill ride with sharp turns and fast reverse, all while in the total darkness. The queue to the ride was also elaborately designed with interactive artifacts to blend in with the theme of the ride. The entire atmosphere really captures that found in the movie, dark and mysterious. The ride itself, starts with an excursion of the tomb which establishes the ride’s plot. Once the action (and I mean real action) begins, expect high speed launches, startling drops, sudden reverses. Or should I say expect the unexpected, since all these happens while in the dark, and that creates the feel that the whole ride is “out of control”! While I didn’t experience any weightless, g-force drop type of roll as one would expect in those roller coaster ride like Battlestar Galatica, and according to Universal Studio, Revenge of Mummy is supposed to be a family ride, with tame top speed of 45mph, it offers a different type of thrills that would easily matches the latter in terms of fear and excitement factors.
Far Far Away Land is a zone where I experienced the most unexpected, good or not so good. Upon entering the Shrek 4D theatre, I had expected to watch a breathtaking 4-dimension show. It is essentially a 3D movie with the 4th dimension where one physically feels the effect of the actions. The 3D effect was not the best I have seen, and the 4th dimension (with the spray of water, streaming of cold air and moving seat, etc) did not wow me, especially when I had experienced something similiar elsewhere. It does bring out a whole new experience for movie watching though; Just imagine a stream of water sprayed on your face when Donkey sneezed at you.
Anyway, as we walked over to the next attraction point, Donkey Musical, I had somewhat expected nothing more than just a musical show, by Donkey of course. Perhaps Shrek 4D had reset my expectation, because I was blown away by what I have experienced in the Donkey Musical. It is a simple musical show, but a very interactive one, where Donkey will actually interact with the audience, and I assume there’s somebody at the backstage controlling the animated Donkey, be it the voice or action responses during the interaction. I am pretty sure there are some technologies involved behind the simple show, but in the end, what impresses me is how much of engagement the show has with the audience. It would be even better if the audience is less shy, but then again, it is not uncommon in Singapore. Lastly, the enchanted airway is just a smaller scaled, teenage version of the roller coaster. Very suitable for kids or adults who are afraid to try out weightless g-force roll type of roller coaster rides.
By the time we finished the rides, and ready to leave the park, it was close to 5.30pm. Considering the size of the park (as compared to other parks in other parts of the world), I was quite surprised to see that we actually spent almost a full day in the theme park. For a park that’s still in its soft opening period, I must say that the experience was very positive. I hope with the addition of the new rides like Battlestar Galatica and A Crate Adventure that would complete the experience. Will I return and visit the theme park again? Definitely a resounding yes, at least to check out these unavailable rides!