Before I start my next chapter, let me say sorry for being MIA for long and secondly for a long post!! But hope you read till the end!
I have a confession to make; I love theme parks more than my sons!!! When we went to Hong Kong in 2016, nobody was happier to be in Disneyland than me!! I wish it hadn’t rained on that day because it spoiled the fun and could not ride any outdoor rides!! So, when I woke up to a sunny day the next day in Singapore, I was so so excited because it was the day we were going to Universal Studios!! And it couldn’t be a more perfect day! It was not too hot and there was no cloud anywhere.
We had asked our hotel receptionist and he said to go to Joo Chiat Complex bus stop (about 10 min walking distance) and catch a direct bus to VivoCity from where we were to take the direct train to Santosa Island. But first we needed food. And luckily, I spotted this little hole in the corner breakfast joint that had neatly packed boxes of pasta, rice noodles and fried rice for 1 SGD each!! It was like jackpot!
We sat down and had some fantastic noodles and pasta which were delicious and then packed some for lunch. The Malaysian lady who ran it was very nice; we all had a bottle of water each we took from our hotel, and she filled it up after we nearly finished half of it there only. The bus stop was easy to locate and opposite to a bigger food court (Geylong Serai Market) beside the bustling mall called Joo Chiat Complex. Best was that, it was opened 24 hours (many of the Dunman food court were closed when we had reached there last night); so, it was decided that our dinner was going to be from there. Susanta had planned to go to station for returning our passes as we were leaving at 6 AM next day, while returning from Universal Studio, so it was decided that he could get down at the metro station and I was going to get down on the bus stop with sons.
The bus ride was about 40 minutes and we saw the harbour and the Singapore flyer. Finding the ticket counters in Vivo City Mall was also pretty easy; and there were kiosks that told you all about Sentosa Island like which shows were free which were paid, the trails one can hike there, etc. Got some Singapore themed fridge magnet from little stalls there, which were quite cheap, even cheaper than those we saw in Bugis or Little China. The short mono rail journey was great but very crowded but being Indian it was nothing new to us! You then have to walk about five minutes from the station to the entrance and when we arrived, the first thing we did was of course take a picture on the front of the Universal Studio logo.
Since we had bought our tickets online, we didn’t have to wait long to go pass the first gate; but however, we were stopped in the second as we had food with us. We had just a light snack and like Disneyland in Hong Kong last year, we thought we could be allowed with it. The man said something to my husband and he pointed us to walk a little away from that gate. I thought we were going to have to finish the meal there, but it turns out, the man in charge merely pointed us to another gate to go through with the food!
We started with the New York Street side and the first thing we saw was a dance performance going on. The dancers were superbly athletic and funny. And of course, when they asked for volunteers, my younger son had to jump in! It was a fun performance with my son, another girl from India and a young man from Australia, who turned out to be a professional dancer himself! After that, our whole day was spent on standing in queue for the rides as it was very crowded that day. Each ride had a minimum 45 minutes waiting period and for our first ever roller coaster, we had to wait nearly more than an hour!! Photography was not allowed inside any of the rides, so instead of pictures here are my take on the various rides:
- The best is of course the roller coaster named Battlestar Galactica. It was some fantastic loops and 360 degree turns for which, you must be very careful on what you are wearing. I saw one Indian lady who was wearing a saree had to be harnessed in the most awkward way possible as one harness comes from down below and between your legs. No flip flops are allowed and there are little cubicles to leave them. As for us, Susanta is averse to any such rides, so we deposited everything with him, like my phone, sunglasses and the bag while he waited. If all of you are going in, you need to hire a locker to keep your items. They are available outside most rides and the charges are not very nominal; but when you do it for all the rides, your incidentals will go high for your Universal Studio tour. My husband opted out for most rides that were speedy or with flashing lights, so we saved a lot that way! Going back to this ride, make this your first ride as this is the most in-demand one. The fastest way to reach it is, turn right after the main entrance and then turn as the road turns and go straight. Get the Studio map (free of charge) at the entrance and follow it.
- The second best was the transformer ride. It is a 3D ride where you wear glasses and speed up among the cities amongst Decepticons and Transformers fighting for the “Cube” which of course you have. This is not for the faint hearted; some portions are generally scary thanks to the almost real life-like 3D effect. Again, expect a good amount of waiting time. One thing we learned from this ride (this was our first ride) is that there are two kinds of queues; the fast queue and the regular one. The difference is, in the fast queue, you will be seated with random people; if you like to seat with your family, take the regular one. Our aim was to ride the rides, so we were happy to split up and go with strangers and enjoy the ride. It saved us quite a time of standing in tedious queues!
- The third ride we loved was the Jurassic Park Rapid Adventure. This one my husband also joined in, and my older son was tired to wait in line and so he opted out. Hence, we didn’t need to hire a locker, which is must here because the ride is one water and there is a fantastic waterfall drop which is guaranteed to get you wet. Unless you have a waterproof bag, hiring a locker is must. Then they also were offering raincoats on rent but at $5 which of course we didn’t go for. We had known about the rides before hand and so worn clothes that were fast drying, and it was such a hot day, a little splashing was a welcome relief!! Of course, if you want to dry, there are drying station again for a fee of $5 SGD.
- The fourth ride we loved was the Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey in the Far Far Away land. This is again a rollercoaster and had the least wait time. Which is why we did it twice!!
- Then there was the Canopy Flyer in the Lost World Section which is also must not be missed. It was another ride my husband opted in and this one provides a whole view of the amusement park. It was not that scary and was easy breeze after the rollercoasters!
- The only time we all went in was in the Revenge of the Mummy ride, which was like the Transformer one but without any glasses. It reminded me much of the Mystic Manor ride at Disneyland Hong Kong (which still remains our favourite amusement ride so far) and had a bit of roller coaster and haunted house feeling. The locker here are free for first 45 minutes, the ride itself is not that long, so if you see that the wait time is less than 20 minutes take a locker. Our wait time was about 10 minutes and so we didn’t pay any charge!
- Another great show was the Shrek show where we had to sit on chairs and were taken into a ride with Shrek. It was like the 5D — 6D movie experience you have in any mall with chairs shaking, wind gushing in, water spraying. It was fun but nothing spectacular. Also another time we all were together and you didn’t need to submit your bag or anything.
Apart from the rides, another not to be missed thing is the Water World show. Now the movie Water World might have been a total flop, but the show isn’t. The stunts, the story line, the players everything was perfect. Best was that, seats were marked on basis of how much you have a chance of getting drenched! So, seat accordingly. My youngest son promptly took of his t-shirt and sat in the front row where the actors sprayed water on the audience from time to time. The best stunt was of course the water plane crashing and I also loved the only female stunt player.
Now what to avoid. If you don’t have toddlers and small children, avoid Sesame Street unless you are very nostalgic about it. And give the ride Treasure Hunter in the Mummy Section a miss because it must be the most boring ride we have ever been to!! Wasted precious time in waiting for it and as a result, could not see the Madagascar section of the park.
As for food, it is not very pricey. We tried the restaurant adjacent to Lost World and it was moderately priced. We ordered one Singapore styled steamed chicken and rice which was a bit bland for us Indian palette. The other one was a Malaysian “thali” and great value for money. Free water is available throughout the park and even in the waiting area of most rides which means you don’t need to buy water bottle, just bring one. As for shopping, there will be a souvenir shop at the exist of almost all the rides, each selling themed items. We ended up getting fridge magnets because they were the cheapest items available! We didn’t go for any meet and greet, just saw one character from far and as my sons were not interested, we didn’t go there.
Overall, it was a fantastic day. While returning, I dropped in the Hershey store just outside for some chocolates. There was also a cute Reese mascot with whom my son took a picture.
Then while returning, found the Etude House outlet in the shopping mall and of course I had to shop there (over the objection of the Das men!!). While returning we took a double decker and my husband got down at a metro station because he needed to return our travel passes as we were leaving very early the next day. We three got down at the same stop, and as planned ate in Geylong Serai, noodles for sons and laksa for me while I packed prawn mee for husband. The prices were very reasonable and quantity enough for one. And of course, we sipped some more iced tea. After returning, it was straight to bed as the next day was going to be spend mostly on journey.
So there ended our Singapore holiday. If you liked it so far, stay around for our Malaysian leg of the holiday. If you have been to the places we been to, did you have same experience, or did we miss something? Till next time, bye.