Before our first trip to Universal Studios Singapore I asked if there was anything special we should know in a social media group for Universal Studios park enthusiasts. The only responses I got were variations of, “There’s a Universal Studios park in Singapore?”
Yes, there is.
To be honest, we didn’t know about the park in Singapore, either, until someone who lived there recommended we go. I just thought we were particularly out of the loop, but, it turns out, others are as unaware as we were.
What should I know before going to Universal Studios Singapore?
1. That it exists.
The very first thing to understand is that USS (Universal Studios Singapore) does, in fact, exist!
It’s the only Universal theme park in Southeast Asia (the second in Asia behind Japan). USS opened on Sentosa Island in March 2010, and was promised it would remain the only Universal Studios location for 30 years. The park is part of the Resorts World Sentosa complex, where it shares grounds with a casino, hotels, aquarium, zoo, beach, and more.
In it’s 9 years of existence Universal Studios Singapore has gained an impressive reputation as one of the top things to do in Singapore. When asked how to spend a few days in the country, the majority of those who live here will suggest a visit to the park and Sentosa Island. Locals are proud to claim a Universal property, and many hold annual passes to enjoy the attractions as often as possible.
2. It’s smaller than Universal Studios Hollywood or Orlando
USS is built in a relatively small location, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make the most of their space.
Seven zones take park guests in a circle around a lagoon. Visit Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, and Madagascar all within just 49 acres of space.
There are 24 total rides and attractions, 18 of which are unique to or specially adapted to Universal Studios Singapore.
3. It’s Absolutely Beautiful
Universal Studios Singapore is a gorgeous theme park! Partly based on it’s youth and partly on Singapore’s culture of cleanliness, USS is bound to be one of the cleanest and prettiest theme parks you could visit.
You’ll hardly see any trash on the ground, there’s no gum stuck on rides (gum is actually illegal in Singapore in order to keep the city beautiful), the buildings look fresh, and the decor is so well thought out you really feel part of the movies each zone is based on.
4. New zones: Far Far Away and Madagascar are awesome
If you’re only familiar with the American Universal theme park locations you will love these two new zones.
Far Far Away After brings the characters and setting of the Shrek franchise to life, letting visitors inside the giant’s magic beanstalk, Lord Farquad’s castle, the Fairy Godmother’s potions studio, and more. You can see a comedy show featuring donkey, help Puss in Boots save the Goose who lays the golden eggs, take a 4-D trip to save Princess Fiona from Lord Farquad’s ghost, and more. It was spectacular!
Madagascar isn’t a movie that’s been on our radar very much, but the Madagascar zone at Universal Studios Singapore revived my interest in the movie. The main attraction in this zone is a slow-moving boat cruise which follows your favorite New York City Zoo residents as they acclimate to life in Africa. The ride is funny, visually appealing, and interesting. Everyone in our boat loved it, even though half hadn’t seen the movie.
After visiting Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando so many times it was refreshing to feel immersed in a new story!
5. There are some old favorite attractions
While USS is home to some new, incredible attractions, it also incorporates some old favorites from other Universal Studios locations.
You’ll find Universal park classics like Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, Jurrasic Park Rapids Adventure (adapted for Singapore), and Transformers: The Ride 3D (adapted for Singapore) as well as the crowd favorite arena show Waterworld on the Sentosa Island park.
The ride decor seems to have gotten an upgrade, though. Ancient Egypt, the zone which features Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, has been turned into a 1930’s archaeological paradise. You’ll find pyramids, obelisks, and Pharaoh’s tomb, as depicted in The Mummy franchise, which make you feel like an ancient Egyptian explorer.
It felt wonderful to ride some of our favorite attractions while half a world away from the original parks!
6. Our Favorite New rides
USS features 18 rides and attractions which are new or adapted for Singapore. Here is a breakdown of our favorites:
- Sesame Street Spaghetti Chase (New York): Visitors sit inside 4-passenger cars which take them through an indoor journey from the streets of New York to outer space in search for their missing spaghetti. The ride is obviously geared toward young children, but the creativity and decor were so amazing we feel like guests of any age will appreciate it. We sure did!
- Battlestar Galactica: Humans v. Cylons (Sci-Fi City): Our single favorite ride, this is USS’s main thrill coaster. It happens to be the world’s tallest set of dueling roller coasters, where guests can choose to ride the Human or Cylon side. Though the two coasters run simultaneously in the same area, they feature unique twists and turns. We preferred the Cylon side (go figure), but both are worth riding!
- Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey (Far Far Away): Guests sit in a multi-passenger compartment which twists outdoors through the Giant’s beanstalk. This isn’t a major thrill ride, but we loved it for the imaginative decor. The waiting zone is inside the Giant’s kitchen, complete with all the giant gadgets and cook books you’d imagine. The ride, itself, beautifully follows Puss in Boots as he saves the Goose’s golden eggs, and tells his story wonderfully.
7. It’s Less Busy
If you’re used to battling American crowds as the first Universal theme parks you’re in for a treat at Universal Studios Singapore: most visitors report extremely low wait times!
As long as you avoid the major holidays (Christmas and Chinese New Year, for example) you could be on your favorite rides within 10 minutes.
Because the park is smaller in size you could even finish everything you’d like to do there in half a day!
8. There’s no park app
As of 2019 you’ll still need a paper map to find your way around Universal Studios Singapore. Unlike other Universal Studios locations, USS Singapore does not have an app to help you find directions or learn about individual attractions and rides.
This will be hard for techno-savvy park guests to get used to, but the park is small enough that you’ll soon feel familiar with the layout, at least.
9. USS Singapore has less thrill rides than other parks
Universal Studios Singapore does feature less thrill rides than you may be used to. There are only a handful of fast or high rides, for example, and those tend to queue up quickly. For this reason it’s often considered a better park for young guests, but we found ourselves enjoying the beauty, creativity, and storytelling of the park as much as we usually enjoy adrenaline rides.
USS offers so much beyond thrills that you shouldn’t feel disappointed!
Tips to maximize your time at Universal Studios Singapore:
1. Avoid holidays
Singapore is a top destination for Asian tourists around the major holidays. If you visit the park the week of Chinese New Year, for example, you could be stuck in lines with a 70-minute wait. If you can wait, try to visit the park on weekdays at regular times of the year to enjoy minimal crowds.
2. Buy an express pass
As other Universal theme parks, you have two express pass options at Universal Studios Singapore: A single use express pass allows you one express entrance per eligible ride, or an unlimited express pass allows for multiple express entrances on each eligible ride.
Single use express passes start at $30, and unlimited express passes start at $50. Ride attendants will ask for the physical pass as you enter each ride’s express line and will cross off the ride’s initial on your pass. Each pass is to be bought in addition to an entrance ticket.
3. Visit main attractions after 1:00 p.m.
Universal Studios Singapore opens at 10:00 a.m., which is when it sees it’s heaviest crowds. If you want to arrive at opening (we always like to) we suggest you spend the first few hours visiting different shows around the park, which tend to accommodate large crowds of people. Being first in line doesn’t matter as long as you get in to these attractions!
Wait to ride small-compartment rides until after lunch time, when the crowds drastically die down. Mid-afternoon is the lowest time for guests, so this is the best time of day to hit those popular thrill rides!
4. Buy tickets in advance
You can buy tickets online in order to skip the queue at the gate. By showing up with your ticket ready you can get started as soon as you step through the Universal Studios gate! Who doesn’t love more time at the park?
Buy ticket direct from the Universal Studios Singapore website here.
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*Our entrance to Universal Studios Singapore was provided in exchange for honest promotion. As always, opinions are our own.*