Universal Studios Singapore a popular Singapore theme park and is the second Universal Studios for Alannah and I as we had the opportunity to visit Universal Studios Japan last year in Osaka. For Craig and the little ones, this was their first visit and to say they were a little excited was an understatement. I’ve never seen Caelan eat so quickly at the buffet breakfast! Our detailed Universal Studios Singapore review will assist you in planning your Singapore theme park visit.
After spending the previous 10 days in India, I felt the kids deserved the trip to Universal Studios Singapore. Singapore is one of my favourite Asian cities, it’s so easy to visit and get around. I feel like I know it too as we visited for a few days last year on the way to Cambodia. After the complexities of travelling in India with kids, Singapore was a very welcome breath of fresh air.
Universal Studios Singapore is located on Sentosa Island, click link for a list of free things to do on the island. Sentosa is an island resort off the southern coast of Singapore accessible by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail from Singapore. Singapore has to be one of the easiest places to travel around and there are a number of affordable ways to get there.
We were staying at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore and on this occasion and we decided to jump in a taxi for the trip to Sentosa. It was a very affordable option at just on $12SGD for our way trip for 5 people.
Getting the train is just as easy and the cost varies depending on where you are travelling from but its rarely more than a $2-$3SGD one way. Take the North East Line (purple) or the Circle Line (yellow) to Harbour Front Station. Follow the signs to Vivocity, then proceed to Level 3 and get on the Sentosa Express monorail. It’s just a short ride to the first stop, Waterfront Station and then a short walk to Universal Studios Singapore, just follow the signs.
To get the cable car across and take in all the lovely views, get to Harbour Front Station and follow the signs to Singapore Cable Car at Harbour Front Tower II. Once on Sentosa it’s a short walk to Imbiah Lookout Station. Catch the other cable car to Merlion Station and another short walk to Imbiah Monorail station for 1 stop to Water Front Station. Follow the signs to Universal Studios Singapore.
By foot, at Harbour Front Station head to level 1, Vivocity and look for directions to the boardwalk. Head towards Trick Eye Museum once you reach Sentosa Island, keep left until Universal Studios Globe is visible.
The costs are pretty standard for a theme park of this calibre, click the link to direct you to the ticketing page, the table below is correct as at October 2017. Australian dollar is almost on parity with the Singapore dollar, there’s not much in it at all.
There are 7 different themed worlds at Universal Studios Singapore for you to explore and all of them have rides that cater for every age group.
You can’t mistake Hollywood when you walk through those entrance gate, its like a grand entrance, just like you would expect in Hollywood. Its where you can meet and greet the cast of the Minions and take the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard. This is where we did our shopping at the end of the day and you will find a lot of the merchandise available here instead of carrying it around all day.
New for Halloween is Trick and Treat with Sesame Street, a fabulous stage show incorporating all our favourite Sesame Street characters, the kids loved it even though it is focussed for the little ones. It’s great how they have incorporated Halloween which is a bit of a treat for our kids as we don’t really celebrate Halloween in Australia.
This is one of the smaller worlds, home to Madagascar – A Crate Adventure, a river ride very similar to It’s a Small World but based on the Madagascar movie starring Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria. For the little ones there is King Julien’s Beach Party-Go-Round carousel and you will have your opportunity to have your photo taken with the Madagascar crew.
You can see the castle in Far Far Away from outside the park, when we drove on to Sentosa Island it was the first thing the kids saw and their excitement hit fever pitch. Inside the castle is the new Shrek 4D Adventure and I love these shows as it’s funny when you glance over at the kids and they are reaching out to touch Shrek or the Donkey! It is that real!
Next up was the Puss in Boots roller coaster. We got there pretty early so the kids were able to have a second go pretty much straight away. There’s a smaller roller coaster Enchanted Airways and the Magic Potion Spin ferris wheel. I love how each world caters for both the younger kids and the more adventurous kids and they do it well.
You can meet and greet the characters from Shrek including the man himself, Princess Fiona (Weeiona as Alannah called her when she was little), Puss In Boots, and Pinocchio. Or you can sing along with Donkey in his Live show, sounds exciting right!
Twice daily you can see the WaterWorld stunt show based on the movie of the same name. Its a stunt show of a high calibre with explosions, stunts and pretty impressive moves in boats and jet skis. Its pretty loud though so if you kids are skittish with loud noise, make sure you sit towards the back. Also it you’re in the first section expect to get wet, maybe soaked…. Good thing is in the Singapore weather you will dry pretty quickly.
The Canopy Flyer roller coaster is in Jurassic Park, the kids were super excited about this roller coaster and its the only on not covered by the Express Pass so we had to wait for about 25mins which is pretty reasonable. It’s takes you around Jurassic Park with dips and twirls with your legs dangling down throughout.
Mum even had a ride on the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure a thrilling river raft ride that is suitable for all the family.
The kids found the Treasure Hunters ride not so thrilling after the lofty heights of the Canopy Rider! So quickly moved on to the Revenge of the Mummy, this was the only ride Caelan backed out of when he saw what was involved. Its an indoor roller coaster in complete darkness where facing mummies and scarab beetles is all part of the norm. This is your opportunity to meet and greet with Egyptian royalty, now I’m sure that’s a first for most of us.
Now this is home to the most thrilling roller coasters, the Battlestar Galactica HUMAN on the red tracks and Battlestar Galactica CYCLON on the grey tracks which are all intertwined. HUMAN is a seated roller coaster with various twists and turns and the CYCLON is a suspended roller coaster which has big ups and downs and goes upside down! The kids loved these rides and had a second go on both. For the little ones there’s Accelerator that is similar to the tea cups ride only sitting in a spaceship.
Lets talk about the Transformer ride, even though I would prefer to not talk about the Transformer ride. There is a warning for people at the front that if you suffer motion sickness that you probably shouldn’t ride. That was my cue to depart, I spoke to the attendant at the front and she said it wasn’t very scary, the kids wanted me to go on so I did. I suffer terrible motion sickness on rides and I was only on the ride for 5 seconds before I knew I was in trouble. I quickly closed my eyes and kept them firmly shut concentrating on not throwing up for the rest of the ride. The end couldn’t come quick enough and I ran off taking deep breaths hoping not to be ‘that’ person. The kids tell me the ride was awesome!
A classic American street scape exactly like you would expect to see in Brooklyn, I’ll be able to confirm that in just a few weeks. It’s exactly how I imagine New York will be like. There’s a stage show Lights, Camera, Action created by Steven Spielberg and simulating a major hurricane about to unleash on New York City. This is the place for all things Sesame Street, with the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase and Sesame Street shows and shops. This is the place for your excited young ones to meet and greet their favourite Sesame Street characters including Elmo, Oscar and Big Bird.
Just so you can get an understanding of the lay out of the park but if you want to zoom in for a good look and visit planning click here.
I always like to pass on things that we have learnt that could help make you trip smoother, the biggest thing I found with this visit was to get there early. We arrived at 10am and stayed until the park was closing. There was definitely a big difference in the crowds over the day. The best times to visit are first thing in the morning at opening or later in the afternoon as the crowd started to thin as well. I think we were luck again on the day that we visited as the queues for rides was never longer than 30 mins at the worst. We did however have Express Passes for this visit.
There are 2 different types of Universal Express Pass that vary in price. The Universal Express Pass allows you to skip the queue once and the Universal Express Unlimited means you can skip the queue as many times as you like.
These tickets are separate to your entry ticket and are an added cost on top of the admission price.
This is also a great option for those that are happy to ride by themselves. The single rider queue uses single riders to plug all the gaps from people that are riding in groups of 3 or 5. People are able to jump the queue and sit next to people they don’t know and this substantially drops the wait time for rides. You can still line up in pairs, it just means that you will be seated separately on the ride but hopefully on the same ride!
This enables people travelling with kids that don’t meet ride requirements to ride separately and switch the kids from parent to parent so that the second parent doesn’t have to go to the end of the line when the other parent gets off the ride. It does not however mean you skip the queue to begin with, you will still have to line up as usual and when you arrive at the ride, one parent will ride while one stays back with the kids, then when that parent gets off the next parent gets a go.
While in Singapore we stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, this is a fantastic hotel and it also has a great family friendly sister resort on Sentosa Island. Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort is the only beach front hotel in Singapore. I highly recommend a stay at either of these where you will get to experience the superior ‘Shangri-La way’.
There are 14 resorts and hotels on Sentosa Island, while my pick is always the Shangri-La, others include the Hard Rock Hotel, Le Meridien Singapore, Aquarius Hotel, Capella Singapore, Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa, W Singapore, Hotel Michael, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa, Festive Hotel and Costa Sands Resort but to name a few.
We loved Universal Studios Singapore, its a nice size that can be explored over one day without rushing. The rides are all age appropriate for my kids ages right now and they were able to get on all the rides. I love that each world caters for all ages, so if you have a large age gap between your kids they will both be entertained in each world.
I loved that Keira and Caelan were able to ride every ride this time and to see them put themselves out of their comfort zones and experience some of the bigger scarier rides was really nice. It was their first visit to Universal Studios and they were so excited and really enjoyed every minute of it. They both voted the Sci-Fi World roller coasters as the best thing about Universal Studios. I most enjoyed the shows, the Shrek 4D one was my favourite. I also enjoyed Madagascar world, who doesn’t love Melman and Gloria!
We visited mid week and if you have the opportunity to go mid week I strongly suggest you do. I hear that weekends are very busy and queues can be over a 2 hour wait for the main rides. That’s a long time to wait for a 5 min ride. Go prepared, it was a very hot day when we were there and we took the complimentary water from our hotel. We bought refillable slushy cups and used them over the day as a refill was $5SGD, the cup doubles as a souvenir also so the kids bought them home.
If you want to purchase things as you walk around, you can purchase and have them sent to the front gate to pick up when you are leaving. This is a great idea because it means you don’t have to carry everything with you. Its a good incentive to encourage you to buy as you go and saves you going back later when everyone is tired and has sore feet.
Have you visited Universal Studios Singapore or any other Universal Studios Park? Which is your favourite and why, leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear what you thought.
Sal & Co.
Disclaimer: We had a mutually beneficial arrangement with Universal Studios Singapore but as always our opinion is our own.