Throughout my life, I’ve never been a fan of theme parks, mainly because I’ve always had an old woman’s heart when it comes to the rides – I freak out at the slightest things and get motion sickness over everything. But there are two theme parks I would always make an exception to due to my love for children’s films: Disneyland and Universal Studios.
During my last visit to Singapore with my family, we spent an entire day at Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa Island. Over the course of almost 12 hours, we watched plenty of shows, got on several rides, had some food, and met a whole lot of theme park officials. So, with the knowledge I’ve gathered about Universal Studios Singapore, here’s a guide I can put together for you future visitors of the theme park.
- The best way to get to Universal Studios Singapore is to take the bus or MRT to VivoCity (HarbourFront for MRT users) and from there, climb to the third floor of VivoCity and get a SGD4 Sentosa Express pass. The train itself is super crowded in the morning so try to get there earlier.
- Ticket prices for Universal Studios Singapore are around SGD68-74 for the regular passes. And paying extra to get an express pass is really not worth it, just queue at the Single Riders’ ride if you want to be fast and don’t mind being separated from your friends on rides.
- Best time to visit: March to September. We visited in December and there were several hours of us simply being trapped at a covered section of the theme park because it rained like hell! Although the Christmas specials were fun, if you’re not that into the holidays, it’s better to visit during those months I’ve mentioned.
- Wear comfortable clothes! I wore a muscle tank and shorts that day and still felt that it was super hot during the periods when the sun shone.
- Get one water bottle inside and refill it at drink stations. Most of these can be found near toilets or in the queue for rides.
- There’s a map of the theme park that you can get at the entrance and show schedules. Get both of them and plan your day at Universal Studios Singapore with them.
I didn’t get to all the rides because of my horrible motion sickness, but I managed to do a lot in the theme park regardless. Here are the rides I did get on during my previous visit.
- Transformers: the Experience – two words: MOTION. SICKNESS. I did not realize that it was going to be that bad in terms of motion sickness. Basically, it’s a revolving, moving simulator ride that takes you through the journey of fighting Decepticons and is kind of like an extreme 4D simulator combined with a roller coaster. It was fun and enjoyable at first for me, but by the middle to the end, I was just holding on praying for the ride to be over.
- Shrek 4D Theater – when I first visited Universal Studios Singapore, this ride was super fun. It was a small theater which played this short film with Shrek characters in it and there was a lot of motion! The seats shook, the waters sprayed, the spiders felt real. However, now all this ride does is let you sit back at a huge theater, shake the seats a bit, spray a bit of water and that’s it! It’s nowhere near as fun as it used to be.
- Canopy Flyer – When I first saw this in the Jurassic Park area, I thought this was going to be kind of like a slow cable car ride. I was so wrong. It was a bit like a 40-second hanging roller coaster with two seats facing the front and two facing the back. My sister and I faced the back and there was an old couple in front. I basically saw the sky move above me, side to side, and felt myself being catapulted to the ground while cussing in such a beautiful flow, I believe Gordon Ramsay would be proud of me and I owed the old couple an apology if they could understand me.
- Steven Spielberg’s Lights, Camera, Action – this was more like a studio experience than a ride, but it was my favorite! For about 30 seconds, we experienced being part of an action sequence in a movie which portrayed a Category-5 hurricane. There were strong winds, great sound effects, sloshing water, flames, petrol smells, and even shattered glasses. It was amazing and I highly recommend anyone going to the theme park to do it.
Based on reviews from other blogs, I’ve also heard that some other rides are recommended if you’re a thrill-seeker, such as Revenge of the Mummy and Battlestar Galactica. However, somehow the rides broke down every time my sister queued for them so I can’t pass her feedback to you here this time around.
The Shows & Character Meet and Greets
Since I went to the theme park during the holidays, there were a lot of seasonal shows to catch and because I’m not a fan of rides, I decided to watch a lot of shows instead. Also, something I noticed to be different compared to my first visit to the Universal Studios Singapore is that character meet and greets are now scheduled, meaning you can’t just stumble into characters randomly so be sure to keep a lookout for that if you want photos with characters.
- DJ Eddy Elf’s Rocking Radio Station – We caught this show just as we were leaving and the MCs and the show premise itself was too much fun, we decided to stay. Basically, it’s a pretend radio/game show with a lot of cool Christmas music and fun games like “Guess the Song”. I actually liked how they made the audience get involved and be competitive as part of the show.
- Under the Mistletoe – This is basically a special musical performance by Marilyn Monroe and Betty Boop (wow, imagine a universe when you can actually see this happen!) that I feel is a bit more for older children and adults since some of the jokes can probably only be understood when you’re older. It gives off such a glamorous holiday vibe and everyone in the show actually gets so into their character. The women are accompanied by some backup vocalists trying to get their attention and they’re something else to write about because oh my gosh, they’re gorgeous guys who can sing and dance. I was more fixated on them than the women the entire time, haha.
- Santa’s Village – During the holidays, Universal Studios opens up another section of the park for Santa’s Village. This year, it’s filled with so many characters to take photos with – from an elf (who’s hella cute and gave me the name “Marshallow Mary”), the shoe maker, the toy soldier, and Santa himself. It’s a bit overcrowded to be honest, and there aren’t really any lines for photos so you have to kind of make your own line or compete for a photo. Besides, having nothing to do but take photos in the area wasn’t exactly fun so I hope the theme park would change things up this year.
- WaterWorld – A stunt show which was INSANELY GOOD! The stuntmen and woman were really interactive and got the crowd going. Plus, they know how to put on a show. From insane drops, super good fighting choreography, explosions and gunshots, and just to go over the top – a damn airplane landing on water and exploding in front of us. The only thing I wish would change was the area size since it’s way too small for such a huge stunt show to put on.
- The Rockafellas – This one’s a street dance show in the New York section of the park which features B-boys showing off their stuff and inviting some members of the audience for a dance-off. It was okay and I loved how they were really supportive of the audience members dancing along with them.
- The Minions – This was the only character meet and greet I actually scheduled for because I wanted to get a photo with them. Unfortunately, the minions weren’t interacting much that day and just posed for photos. I wished they would do something minions usually do just to actually make me feel like it’s the actual character though.
Bonus: Off-the-Beaten Path Area We Found
We found this alley and deck next to Mel’s Diner between the Hollywood and New York areas of the park and discovered that it’s such a cool place for a photo shoot if you have a good camera. Also, it’s a really quiet part of Universal Studios Singapore compared to the rest of the theme park so if you need a break from the crowd, turn to Mel’s Diner and go straight ahead here.
Overall, my theme park experience in Universal Studios Singapore was okay and I had a blast spending the whole day there. Even though the food was expensive and some of the rides broke down and it rained like hell that day, the time I spent there was time well-spent. However, I don’t think I’ll go back to theme park again since it’s such a touristy place and all the prices are jacked up in there. Still, if you have nowhere to go and want some thrill rides and happy shows, this would be a great place to go in Singapore.