The second and last day in Singapore would be spent at Universal Studios, located on Santosa Island as part of Sentosa Resort World. As of the time of this trip, this is the newest of the Universal Parks, and offers a selection of rides that blends popular attractions from the other Universal parks with several unique attractions to this park. This is also true of the themed sections of the parks.
Having purchased my ticket through Viator, I needed to visit the ticket kiosk for redemption of the voucher I received from Viator as it would not scan at the gate. The location of the kiosk is just over to the right of the park gate in the same space as the luggage lockers, which I used to store my bags while visiting the park so that I could take advantage of a bus that goes right from the resort to Malaysia. (The locker area photo was taken as I came back to get my stuff as I realized I had not taken a photo earlier in the day, so that is why it’s dark outside).
The way I went about my visit was to start with the coasters first to try and ensure that I rode them before there were any major lines (which wasn’t much of an issue today because the majority of lines would be in the 20-30 range, the longest I saw would be about 50, and the longest I waited was around 35 or so). After getting all of the coasters, I then went ahead to other rides and shows, as well as taking a few re-rides.
The first coaster that I rode was one of their unique offerings, and the park’s biggest, Battlestar Galactica. This dueling, twin-tracked coaster from Vekoma felt like a hybrid of two coasters from Islands of Adventure as it features a launched lift hill like the Incredible Hulk, and the dueling is like that of the former Dueling Dragons/Dragon’s Challenge. Where this ride differs itself from the other two is that the two coasters are fairly unique compared to its dancing partner as one track, Human, is more of a traditional sit-down style train. The other, Cylon, is inverted.
While the two tracks do intertwine with one another, they also offer very different experiences. While the two tracks of Dragon’s Challenge were also different than one another, the level of intensity for both were fairly close, as opposed to Battlestar Galactica where Human is more family friendly with more turns and drops and Cylon is more intense and features inversions as it takes riders upside-down five times. Human to me felt like a larger family coaster, akin to some of the larger Disney coasters that are designed to appeal to a broader audience with some moments of intensity, but not quite at a level that extreme thrill seekers would be looking for. Cylon is more likely fill that area with its twisted layout.
The second coaster would be Revenge of the Mummy. The layout of this indoor coaster from Premier Rides is a clone of the ride by the same name at Universal Studios Florida. The difference between the two lies in the storyline of the rides as the Orlando version was centered around the production of the Mummy movie, versus this version which is treated as if you are in the story of the Mummy with no references to the movie production as part of the ride’s story. The level of theming for this is on par with its Orlando cousin, and is a fun ride with its launches and light airtime hills.
The next two coasters were found in the Shrek themed area of the park, Far Far Away. The theming of this area features aspects of the Shrek franchise of films for some good photo opportunities, and is home to the park’s Shrek 4-D attraction that has been featured at several Universal parks. Another featured attraction here is Donkey Live. This was an interactive digital puppet show where Donkey is shown on a movie screen at the front of a theater, and can be controlled to interact with members of the audience, similar to Turtle Talk at Disney World’s EPCOT park. The show was fun with a few laughs for the audience.
The coasters here were more of the family friendly variety, as they included Puss in Boots Giant Journey and Enchanted Airways. Giant Journey is a suspended coaster that passes through several scenes sharing the adventures of Puss in Boots and his companion Kitty Softpaws that is connected to the Puss in Boots film, with several scenes that feature statues of the characters and audio with music and dialogue to help tell the ride’s story. Because of the style of the cars, the ride itself is a tad bit clunky, but not uncomfortably so. In general, it is a fun ride and easy to follow.
The other coaster, Enchanted Airways, is a Vekoma junior coaster that offers the same layout at Flight of the Hippogriff in the Hogsmeade section of Islands of Adventure in Orlando, but with the larger version of the train using individual lap bars. What helps to set this ride apart from other Vekoma junior coasters of the same variety is the theming as it is based on a new airline where you ride on Dragon from the Shrek franchise. The queue and exit feature several references to air travel, but with a Shrek spin on it.
I then backtracked over to the Jurassic Park area for the last coaster in the park to ride. While this section sits between the Egypt section of the Mummy and Far Far Away, it was not yet open at the time that I had made it over, so I went to ride the Far Far Away coasters first, then came back for Canopy Flyer. This ride is similar to the Pteranodon Flyers, but had four seats instead of two, and the back seats face backwards. Also unlike the Orlando version, this one does not have a height restriction where you need a younger rider with you to ride. While at times the Orlando version has allowed those without smaller children to ride either early or late in the day, you can ride this one at any time. The ride is the tamest of the park’s coasters as it is more of a gentle glide through the Jurassic Park section with views of the other rides in the area.
After successfully getting all of the six coasters in the park within an hour and a half, it seemed like a good time for lunch and recharging the phone. After that, it would be time for a blend of re-rides on some of the coasters as well as enjoying other attractions in the park. I took a spin on Transformers, which is the same as the ones you can experience at the other Universal parks. While I do enjoy the ride, I prefer Spider Man a bit more.
One attraction that I really enjoyed was Lights Camera Action!, which was similar to the old Twister attraction at Universal Studios Orlando, where you are in a room on the side watching a natural disaster occur using many of the tricks that are used in the movie making process. In the case of this attraction, you were observing a Category Five Hurricane in a boathouse in the harbor of New York. The building begins to fall apart and there is a ton of fire as well. In a way, it was a nice bit of indirect nostalgia as Twister was my first attraction at Universal Studios in Florida, and I liked it a lot as I did with this one.
Also in the New York Section of the park was my favorite non-coaster ride of this park, and that was the Spaghetti Space Chase, featuring the characters of Sesame Street. The story is that you join Elmo and Super Grover to rescue spaghetti for an evil doer called Macaroni. The ride is suspended to help give the feeling that you’re flying through space. Having seen a lot of Sesame Street as a kid, I liked seeing many of the classic characters in the ride. It was a cute ride, and I enjoyed it for the sake of personal nostalgia.
Another unique ride to this park was the Madagascar Crate Adventure. A dark boat ride that centers around the movie with a portrayal of some of the first movie’s scenes. It was a cute ride, and would certainly be enjoyed by fans of the movie.
My favorite water ride in the park was the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. When you go to most Universal Parks, the Jurassic Park water ride is one of the big splash boat rides, but this one is a rapids style ride. While it is a different style of ride, it still follows the same plot as the splash boat versions, where you go into the park and see some of the dinosaurs before your boat ends up off course and into an area where the dinosaurs have started getting loose and into one of the buildings where you have a near encounter with several dangerous dinosaurs including the T-rex, which then leads to a big drop. With this particular ride, the seats are a bit of a tighter fit than most other rapids rides because of the little walls around your legs, and while you would think the little walls may block some of the water, it ends up becoming a pool for your feet. I ended up feeling like I had puddles in my shoes for a while.
After some more re rides, and ending the day with a visit to Donkey Live, I made my way out of the park as I would spend the rest of my time before the bus ride to Malaysia exploring the area of Sentosa Resort that is near the entrance of Universal Studios. It was a great day in the park. With lighter crowds, there wasn’t much waiting to be done, and I really like the blend of rides they have at this park, especially as there are rides that are unique to this park.
Now the area outside of the park offers a number of restaurants to enjoy, one of which is a personal favorite out of Taiwan, Din Tai Fung. This restaurant chain features locations around the world, and specializes in steamed dumplings, including their signature XiaoLongBao style dumplings. I was introduced to this restaurant by my friend Rick during our visit to Taiwan last year, and have since discovered that they have a few locations near home in the Seattle area. So this is now the third location I have been to, and will certainly be adding to that collection when in South Korea later in the month with Rick and a few other friend. Like the other times I have had it, it was delicious! I also tried the locally made Tiger beer. It seemed to be very light much like a light beer from the states, so not the best I’ve had, but it was alright.
Continuing my exploration, I wondered around the Candylicious store which had a ton to choose from. I also went to the lower level of the area to explore the casino which provided some interesting insight into Singapore. Unlike any other place where I have visited a casino in my travels, Singapore charges its citizens and permanent residents a levy of 100 Singapore Dollars in order to visit. This is their way to ensure that they have some control on the flow of people in the casinos. As for the casino itself, it felt quite different than American casinos, as they have a lot more space dedicated to table games than they do to slot machines, especially for Pai Gow and Roulette.
After the Casino, I came back up to the outer level and wondered around to enjoy the sights of the resort at night along the Festive Walk, which was gorgeous! At one end of the festive walk is this large lion that overlooks the area, and in between there are tons of beautiful fountains.
The time finally came to begin the bus ride up north to the other side of the border to Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Transtar offers several border-crossing routes, including this one which went from Sentosa to the Johor customs building. These buses have several stops along the way where they also pick up those who live in Malaysia and work in Singapore, and it is quite affordable as it was about seven Singapore dollars one way from Sentosa.
The hour+ ride was comfortable, but you have to be prompt with the border crossing because of the way it works. When your bus arrives to the border, you go through the exiting process in Singapore by exiting the bus, going upstairs to immigration, getting your exit stamp and then head back down on the other side to get back on the bus to cross the Strait of Johor, and then repeat for entrance into Malaysia. I lucked out as the driver of the bus could tell I was foreign tourist, and waited an extra moment for me since I had to take my bags up with me, and I also got stuck in a line that had a guard change, but the bus drivers won’t necessarily wait, in which case you will have to wait for the next bus on your route to come.
Upon arrival to the Malaysia customs building, I was able to be a bit more relaxed as I only paid to ride to this point, although the route did go further into Johor, so those going past this point would need to be prompt here as well to catch the bus again. From here, I went to my hotel which was just across from JB Sentral Station, but because of layout of the streets, I had to take a bit of a hike to get to it. The hotel for this stay in Johor was the Amari, and it was quite nice as it offered some neat views and was well maintained. Probably my favorite hotel up to this point.
And with that, Day #2 of this visit to Southeast Asia was complete. While I had only a short amount of time in Singapore, I really enjoyed it, and would certainly enjoy the chance to come back and see more of it, especially in the event that Universal makes some major additions between now and that hopeful next visit. Up next, the first stops in Malaysia will feature two very different parks.
See More of the 2019 Southeast Asia Trip:
1: Going East by West / 2: Exploring Singapore / 3: Universal Studios Singapore / 4: Legoland Malaysia & Danga Bay / 5: Desaru Coast / 6: Bukit Gambang & Genting Highlands / 7: Theme Parks of Ipoh / 8: Batu Caves & Sunway Lagoon /
9: Exploring Kuala Lumpur / 10: A Day in Brunei