This is how the conversation went on a recent trip to Singapore:
Me: ‘Right, here’s what’s on the agenda for today. A trip to the National Museum of Singapore, followed by a walk around the cultural enclaves then perhaps the Botanical Gardens?’
My husband: ‘Let me stop you there. Our kids are 6 and 3. Let’s do something fun. Let’s go to Universal Studios’.
No sooner than you can say Madagascar, we were packing our bags and out the hotel door.
How do I get there?
Universal is part of Resorts World Sentosa, on the island of Sentosa. We took a taxi from our hotel (Shangri La) in downtown Singapore which took 20 minutes. If you’re traveling with young kids, this is the easiest option.
What day is best to go?
Use your judgement, avoid Singapore public holidays like the plague. We went on a Saturday and by mid afternoon it was extremely busy. If you can go on a quiet weekday, good for you.
What should I take?
Singapore is hot. There’s no escaping the heat, unless you’re there Dec/Jan. I packed water bottles (there are many water fountains around the park), suntan lotion, hats, sunglasses and snacks. It’s also worth making sure you’re all wearing comfortable shoes.
Should I take my stroller?
There will be lots of walking so if your little one needs it then yes. You can also rent single and double strollers for under SGD 20.
What age is the park suitable for?
I took my 6 and 3yo. My 6yo pronounced it ‘the best day of her life’. My 3yo was scared of most of the rides. Despite kids 3 and under going for free, entrance tickets are expensive. So if you’ve got young kids (i.e. 3 and under) and you’re really just going for them, they probably won’t appreciate it and it’s best to save for when they’re a bit older.
How much is it?
As mentioned above, kids aged 3 and under are free. 4+ are SGD 54 and adults are SGD 75. Where it gets even more expensive is in the purchase of an extra ‘Universal Express’ pass which allows you to skip all the queues. These are approx. SGD 30 per person and for us, well worth the money. We were there on a busy weekend and we covered 11 rides in about 4 hours, all thanks to this pass.
It’s worth checking in advance to see if there are any promotions/discounts.
What time should I show up?
The park is open from 10am. We got there around 9.45am and there was no queue to purchase entrance tickets. There was a big queue forming to get into the park although the VIP entrance (i.e. where you go if you have the Universal Express pass) had a much shorter queue.
What should be my park strategy?
Universal Singapore has seven lands and is easily navigable in a day. The two best lands for those with young kids are ‘Madagascar’ and ‘Far Far Away’. Get in to the park quickly, move through ‘Hollywood’ trying to distract the kids from already wanting to buy balloons and head left to Madagascar.
If you paid extra for the ‘Universal Express’ pass, don’t use it if there’s no queue for a ride as you might as well save it to return to the ride later (you can only use it to skip the queue once).
Pick up a leaflet and check the height restrictions on all the rides. There’s no point wasting time walking to a ride if your child isn’t tall enough to get on it.
For those with the courage to go on the vomit inducing rollercoasters in Sci-Fi City, run straight there.
Make a note of what time the shows are on. The Waterworld show is not to be missed!
Tips On the Lands
Home to two rides, King Julien’s Party-Go-Round (easily my 3yo’s favourite ride of the entire park) and A Crate Adventure (river boat ride).
Far Far Away
Enchanted Airways is a great taster for little ones who want to try their hands on a rollercoaster. Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey has you soaring above the sky (gently) and is a really fun ride.
Shrek 4D is a brilliant show BUT it is scary for little ones. It is also about 20 mins long so be mindful of whether your little one will sit through it. The Magic Potion Spin is a boring tiny ferris wheel housed inside a souvenir shop.
The Lost World
WaterWorld is a live stunt show on several times a day. I thought it was jaw droppingly brilliant. However, my 3yo was scared for most of it – there are lots of loud bangs and flames. Sit near the front if you want to get wet!
The Canopy Flyer gives you a bird’s eye view over Jurassic Park, however it doesn’t last very long. If there are long queues, give this one a miss. Dino-Saurin is a sweet little ride where kids can pilot their own Pteranodon.
My 6yo and I had a brilliant time on the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventures. Be prepared to get wet! Luckily my bag was waterproof or I would have had a soaked wallet and phone.
Kids can drive a pretend jeep through an abandoned excavation site on Treasure Hunters, another hit with my 3yo who sat behind the pretend steering wheel (we did have a bit of a fight about that).
Luckily my 6yo was too short for Revenge of the Mummy, an indoor rollercoaster in total darkness.
If you’re a roller coaster fan, you will love this part of the park. Even just watching them roar overhead made me want to vomit. Luckily there’s a minimum height of 125cm so I didn’t have to accompany my 6yo! The Accelerator is essentially a sci-fi version of the ‘Disney Teacups’. We didn’t do the Transformers 3D show as my 3yo was left a bit traumatised by the Shrek show but I’m sure it would have been brilliant.
Lights, Camera, Action is an amazing show – an insight into how an empty sound stage is transformed into a major hurricane about to hit New York City. Again, a bit scary for the little ones but luckily it’s fairly short.
Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase is a cute little ride featuring all the Sesame street characters. Great, except I realised that my kids have grown up in an age of Peppa Pig and have no idea who they are!
There are often characters such as Marilyn Monroe and Beetlejuice roaming the streets. There’s also quite a good street dance performance that’s on several times a day.
What are the food options?
There are loads of options from food courts to Starbucks. After having a huge buffet breakfast at the hotel, we somehow got away with just giving the kids popcorn and ice cream.
Three quarters of the family LOVED Universal Singapore. The Park size is really easy to manage in a day, in fact we were there for less than 5 hours and covered most of the rides. This was in a large part due to the Universal Express pass, definitely worth the money. My 3yo was scared by most of the rides so bear this in mind if you only have younger children in your party – you might want to save Universal for another time.