a day out: universal studios singapore.

10 May 2012 § 1 Comment

I love how Singapore is practically a hop, skip and a jump away – a three hour drive and there we are, in a country that’s almost always immaculately clean and safe (with impeccably spotless washrooms that’s always stocked with toilet paper, heh!).

Well, the boyfriend and I made a short trip to Singapore over the past weekend to utilize the tickets that we’d previously purchased for Universal Studios (our plans in December were thwarted by the horribly rainy weather). The past week had seen a series of hot, sweltering days so I was quite disappointed when I peeked out of the windows of Mandarin Orchard early Friday morning to see overcast skies instead – “Not again??“, I thought. Luckily for us, the weather held out, and with exception for a short drizzle at 11am, the sun came out to party for the rest of the day!

Posing alongside a vintage car

This is the first time I’ve visited a theme park in a hot and humid climate, and to be perfectly honest, it’s an experience I’m not too keen to repeat despite repeatedly wishing for sunny weather prior to our visit. The short mid-morning drizzle only served to increase the humidity as the rain evaporated off the pavement, and by the end of the day, I felt sticky and grimy all over, which was altogether a thoroughly unpleasant feeling. The day was punctuated with short visits to souvenir shops, eateries and shaded areas for some relief from the scorching sun, and if time permitted, I would’ve gladly spent more time in the air-conditioned washrooms!

The Rockafella Boys performing at the Big Apple

At 49 acres, Singapore’s Universal Studio is apparently the smallest amongst all the Universal theme parks around the world, and yet it was already 6pm by the time we covered the entire park (including meals), even with the Express Pass! Thinking back, I really wonder what we did with our time there as we only went on the main rides, didn’t watch all the shows and performances, and hardly spent any time taking photos with the gaily dressed characters that were wandering around the park…I guess it boils down to poor time management, perhaps?

Nevertheless, we did manage to ride the main attractions of the park, namely the two dueling Battlestar Galactica roller coaster tracks, Revenge of the Mummy as well as the much-talked-about Transformers: The Ride and the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, so all’s good!

Star attraction: Battlestar Galactica – Human (Red) vs. Cylon (Blue)

I wouldn’t call myself an adrenalin junkie, but I do love a good roller-coaster ride despite my last minute misgivings when I’m at the front of the line, and Battlestar Galactica and Revenge of the Mummy definitely does not disappoint. Between the three rides, I would have to say I enjoyed the Cylon track the most…the inverted roller coaster meant that our feet dangled dangerously free while our world was turned topsy-turvy by a series of cockscrews, loops, a cobra and zero-g roll as we screamed at the top of our lungs at near misses while we ‘dueled’ with the Humans. Not forgetting that drop into a pit filled with artificial mist…what a rush!! The Human track did pale slightly in comparison after the Cylon track (plus point: it was drizzling slightly when we were on the Cylon, which only served to add more excitement to the ride), though the stomach-churning drop on the Human track definitely brought back good memories of riding the Pepsi Max @ Blackpool – at that time, it was the tallest roller-coaster in UK with a heart-stopping drop of 62m (I still remember muttering ‘oh-my-god-oh-my-god’ non-stop as the carriage click-clacked its way up the 65m hill)!

The Revenge of the Mummy is an enclosed ride, and most of the ride sequence takes place in pitch-black darkness which only heightens the excitement. There is something dangerously exciting about not knowing whether you’ll be plunged downwards or flung side-to-side in the yawning black hole ahead!

As for the other two rides, I personally felt that Transformers: The Ride did not live up to the hype. It was fun, but nowhere near as exciting as I thought it would be. I didn’t quite enjoy the Rapids Adventure either – being turned round-and-round was too dizzying for me and the drop at the end was not as high as I’d expected it to be (though my friends who got thoroughly soaked would probably beg to differ, heh!).

Live performance at Mel’s Drive-In

We ended the day with a stroll along the Sentosa Boardwalk which connects Sentosa Island to Vivocity, whilst drinking in the lovely sight of the sun setting in the distance. After a quick dinner at Oriole Cafe right outside Somerset313 and a hot shower, it was truly a big relief to crawl into bed to rest our aching feet and tired calves!

Gorgeous sunset along Sentosa Boardwalk

Here are some of the highlights and tips I can share about our visit to Universal Studios Singapore:

  • There is a complimentary shuttle bus for foreign tourists from certain hotels to USS (there are two routes: Orchard and Bencoolen/Marina); the earliest pickup for the Orchard Road route is from Concorde Hotel at 9am and you will arrive at USS at 9.55am. You will need to show the bus driver your passport and Singapore Embarkation card before you’re allowed to board the bus.
  • Try to arrive at 10am when the park opens. We scheduled our visit on a Friday to avoid the crowds, but there were already a fair number of visitors there by the time we arrived. The morning sun from 10am till noon is still pretty bearable, so you have a good 2 hours to complete the major outdoor rides. 1pm – 3pm was just sweltering hot!
  • Buy the Express Pass (SGD30)! Although most of the rides had a short queue of about 15 mins with exception of the Canopy Flyer at The Lost World which had a whopping 50 mins queue (we were quite mystified by that crazy queue!), it was wonderful to be able to walk right up to the turnstile whilst bypassing the long(ish) line of people. In addition, we were given priority when entering the shows and we even got front row seats for most of the rides (Human vs. Cylon, Revenge of The Mummy).
  • To be honest, there are only a few rides worth going on for adults, namely:
    • The dueling roller coaster ie. Battlestar Galactica (do go for the Human ride first, then Cylon) @ Sci-Fi City
    • Transformers: The Ride @ Sci-Fi City
    • Revenge of The Mummy @ Ancient Egypt
    • Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure @ The Lost City
  • Shows worth watching:
    • Lights, Camera. Action! @ New York (special effects simulation of a Category 5 hurricane in New York)
    • Waterworld @ The Lost City (be prepared to get wet if you’re sitting in the ‘soaking zone’). The queue is kinda crazy for this show if you don’t have an express pass, so go early and be prepared to wait!

Battle scene @ Waterworld

  • Do utilize the computer operated, keyless lockers that are free-of-charge for the first 30-45 mins. The lockers are conveniently located near the Battlestar Galactica rides, Revenge of the Mummy and the Rapids Adventure as you are not allowed to bring loose items with you on the ride.
  • Buy the poncho when you go on the Rapids Adventure unless you don’t mind a soaking (it’s random – the driest seat from the previous round does not necessarily guarantee you’ll emerge nice and dry!). For those who do end up getting soaked, there are two drying pods at the exit of the ride, however, it’s not free of charge.

More details:

Ticket prices from Resort World’s website (tickets can be purchased online, just print out a copy when you go):

Ticket Type
(Ages 13 to 64)
(Ages 4 to 12)
(Age 65 and above)
One Day Non-Peak Pass1
One Day Peak Pass1
Two Day Pass1
Annual Pass-
Fun Pass2
Annual Pass-
Action Pass
488 408 358
Annual Pass-
Superstar Pass

Express passes are highly recommended, especially if you’re going on a weekend or public holiday – don’t say I didn’t warn you! Each express pass costs SGD30 (off-peak) / SGD50 (peak).

Have fun!


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§ One Response to a day out: universal studios singapore.

  • rodmapada says:

    Cylon’s my favorite ride of the bunch too! Though I thoroughly enjoyed Transformers: The Ride. Maybe because my expectations weren’t that high. =)

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