Universal Studios Singapore
When I first saw the television series Westworld, it blew my mind. What if we were given the similar opportunity in this world. It would be wonderful if we get to live the fantasy life for a day. The closest alternative to that in Singapore is the famous theme park Universal Studios Singapore (USS). I boarded the bus to Vivo City Mall and headed towards Resorts World Sentosa through the connecting board walk. The USS theme park is split into seven zones each based on different movie themes. We were greeted at the entrance by the trademark Universal Pictures revolving globe.
Universal Pictures was originally formed on June 8,1912 by Carl Laemmle. It is the second oldest studio in Hollywood (beaten by Paramount Pictures by one month!). He opened Universal Studios in 1915. The initial logo resembled Saturn with a ring. The logo underwent many changes and today its a revolving globe with the text UNIVERSAL in gold and inner white part rising out of the gold part.
The park is themed after famous movies and television series. Each of the zones are uniquely designed and consistent with the theme. I entered the park and walked into the first zone, HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood Zone is themed after the real Hollywood Boulevard of 1970s. You are reminded of Elvis Presley’s era when you see old fashioned 1950s American Diner (Mel’s Drive In). Food served in this zone is strictly American – burgers, fries and shakes.
The zone has many restaurants and retail outlets. During the meet and greet sessions, famous characters from the movie walk into the zone to meet the tourists.
Smelling the fresh popcorn from Pops, I stumbled upon the famous walk of fame. I managed to notice only one popular name I knew !
As you walk out of the Hollywood zone, you enter into the modern New York City. You immediately get a sense of being a part of a major big budget Hollywood film. Replica of the New York library and the construction of the sidewalks and buildings give you a glimpse of Soho in New York.
The best feature of this zone is Lights Camera and Action hosted by Steven Spielberg. He gives you a glimpse of how special effects are created in the movies. The beginning of the show is an introduction where he explains the importance of special effects in the movies. We were then led to an empty dark room where they simulated a Category 5 hurricane about to hit New York City. You stand on the railings of the boat house (stage) and watch the lovely calm day suddenly turn stormy. I could feel the fresh breeze of air which enhanced the experience. The highlight of the show was when a huge ship drives straight into the stage close to where you are standing. This is one show which can be enjoyed by all age groups.
The next zone was Sci-Fi City which was a striking contrast from the chic New York style. The first ride you encounter is the famous Transformers. This 3D ride happened to be the best ride of Universal Studios for me. Its a hyper realistic thrill ride where you join Optimus Prime to save the city. The action takes you through high rise roof tops, tunnels and through the city streets. All the time it is very realistic keeping you engaged and giving you goosebumps all the way. You are so involved in the action that you feel sad when the city is saved so soon! (around 4 mins)
Next to the Transformers was the famous Battlestar Galactica. Looking at the screams coming from the top and the 180 degree shift of human bodies, I gulped and hurried towards Ancient Egypt zone.
Welcome to Ancient Egypt Zone – Corpses, Pyramids, Pharaohs, Curses, Mummy. The zone was designed based on the famous movie Return of the Mummy. The only ride worth taking in this zone was the Revenge of Mummy. It was definitely not for faint hearted. The ride happens in pitch dark where scary skeletons and creepy beetles turn up when you least expect them to. My heart skipped a beat or two as the vehicle starting tilting at an inclined angle suddenly. The moment you feel that it is going to end, the vehicle pulls a surprise on you.
The lost world is divided into two themes: Jurassic Park and Waterworld.
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure is one of the best water based theme rides. The ride is on a circular free float raft which is tossed on waterways. As you float aimlessly following the currents of the water, you hear the sounds of pre historic creatures. The highlight of the ride is when the raft is lifted to a certain level and then dropped from a certain height abruptly. It is best to wear a raincoat to minimize the risk of getting totally drenched. There are drying pods where visitors can step into the chamber to dry off.
This ride is based on the movie Waterworld. There was nothing exciting about the ride and it can be totally skipped if possible. The only moment where it caught my attention was when the plane landed from nowhere and splashed the water on the audience. There are too many stunts and actions happening all over the place.
FAR FAR AWAY
As I walked into the next zone, Far Far Away, I saw Shrek and his princess Fiona meet and greet in front of the beautiful castle. The 4D Adventure show was about Shrek saving his princess Fiona. The best surprise of the show was that the seats were not stationary. There was a moment when Shrek and the donkey start riding a carriage, the seats started to rock and roll to match the scenes shown in the movie.
When I came out of the Shrek 4D Adventure show, a familiar tune caught my attention. Next to the exit was the show “Dance for the Magic Beans”. The theme is taken from the famous movie Puss in the Boots where the original movie had a dance fight on the same song. I enjoyed the way they flaunted their dance moves.
After the show, we hopped into the Puss in Boots Giant Journey. It was a regular roller coaster ride.
Enchanted Airways is another roller coaster ride which is part of the Far Far Away Zone. The two seater dragon ride is less scarier than Revenge of Mummy but it definitely doesn’t qualify for a junior roller coaster. By the end of the ride, I was very disenchanted.
After all the insane rides, Madagascar is a normal zone. The Crate Adventure boat ride is average and nothing to write home about. Alex and Penguins from the movie perform during the meet and greet session.
Time passes very quickly in Universal Studios. While going back, I noticed the waiting line of Transformers was very small. What luck! I quickly stepped into the queue to experience the adrenaline rush one more time 🙂
Recommended Activities / Rides in descending order:
- Transformers The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle (Sci-Fi City)
- Lights, Camera, Action (New York)
- Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure (Lost World)
- Shrek 4D Adventure (Far Far Away)
- Dance for Magic Beans (Puss in the Boots) (Far Far Away)
- Revenge of the Mummy (Ancient Egypt)
Copyright ©2017, Lakshmi Nair . This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.