Monday, September 13, 2010

Universal Studios Singapore: A Sneak Peek

A recent business trip to Singapore opened my eyes to a city that I once thought was boring. This series on Singapore may just be in time for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix (not attending though). So let's begin, with the most obvious new attraction - Universal Studios Singapore.
Universal Studios is located in massive Resorts World in Sentosa Island. From Vivo City (take an MRT to Harbourfront), you can cross to Sentosa via its monorail. This is perhaps the most convenient and fastest way to visit Sentosa. The first stop on the monorail is Resorts World.

I came on a Sunday, which means tickets are almost impossible to get, especially if you arrive 30 minutes after opening. I don't know if this is still the case, but during that time, I had to purchase my ticket for the next day. Thus, I wasn't able to get into Universal. Instead, I explored a new Sentosa. More of that on my next entries.

So, moving on to the next day, I was finally able to get inside. The first thing you will see is an American boulevard, lined with souvenir shops and restaurants, similar to what welcomes you in most theme parks.
The old Hollywood setting was quite impressive, as they had saxophone players, dancers and even Marilyn Monroe posing on one of the building's steps.

I beat the crowd to get into the special effects studio, where they demonstrated how a storm movie is made.

The sequence lasted for around 20 minutes, and it was a visual display of all elements. It's amazing to see these kinds of sets come alive in front of you. It's really like watching a movie live.

The Madagascar zone was not functional that time. I was disappointed, since I was really looking forward to it. They said that they had to close down for the day due to technical problems.

Anyway, I moved on to Far Far Away Land, where I watched a 4D movie of Shrek of course.

The Lost World was also a popular attraction in the park. Again, I wasn't able to try any ride, because of the long lines. I'm not as patient in lining up, so I decided to skip it.

There was Battlestar Gallactica, a rollercoaster ride, that wasn't operational yet when I came (July 2010). It was a very complex structure, thus, I assumed it would be one hell of a ride.

I was able to get inside the Mummy's Tomb though, where you get to ride on a visual coaster, much like Space Mountain. The exteriors of the Mummy was impressive and very imposing too.


I also enjoyed the Waterworld performance. Waterworld was a movie that flopped in the box office, but seemed to have found its profitability in this park.

It was a large arena theater. The show began with 3 of the actors shooting water in the wet zones. Those are the first rows of the theater. It was really fun, and they made the entire audience (and that's a huge audience) interact with each other through water splashes and fights.

The show was also impressive. Again, it was watching the movie live. I'm in Universal Studios, so what do you expect? I also watched a horror musical in an enclosed theater in Hollywood road. It was not as nice as the shows in Disneyland, but it made excellent use of lights and LED screens.
Universal Studios Singapore may not be the grandest. It may not even compare to the size of the ones in the United States. I'm happy though that the popular theme park is now in Southeast Asia. And Singapore is definitely going to earn lots of additional tourism dollars with this park.

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