Freelance writer, mum of two who loves living in sunny Perth.
Published January 13th 2014
Join the movie world at Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore With Kids
Being based in Perth, Singapore is only a hop skip and a jump away from this west coast of Australia so perfect for a stop over on the way to Europe, but also a handy holiday spot in its own right. With so many tourist attractions dotted around Singapore, it's also fast becoming a popular hit with families seeking an fun filled holiday packed with things to do. At the top of many 'to do' lists is Universal Studios Singapore (USS), based on Sentosa Island.
The fun filled land of Universal Studios Singapore
The Park Opening its doors in 2010, USS launches its visitors headlong into a world of movie, with seven lands to enjoy on your travels. This is a theme park for the whole family, but a preface to this would be that there's really not much here for babies, so bear this in mind when you are planning your trip. We actually visited USS with a baby in tow, so if you also have a baby in your party, I'll include some tips for you to make your trip more enjoyable.
Hollywood - Based around Hollywood Boulevard, there's lots of photo opportunities in this land by the famous Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame and Mel's diner - a throw back the glamour era of Hollywood. There are a number of character meet and greets in Hollywood, we saw Kung Fu Panda, Woody the Woodpecker in addition to Marilyn Monroe. If you've not had much chance to pick up souvenirs whilst around the park, the Hollywood area features a great array of shops for you to enjoy on your way out of the park.
New York - As you'd imagine, there's some great faux New York style architecture in this area in addition to a number of Sesame Street attractions. Have your photo taken with a New York yellow taxi, or with some of the characters from Sesame Street. There are some great New York style eats in this area if you fancy a snack.
Sci Fi City - Right next door to New York, you know the moment you enter Sci Fi City as everything becomes futuristic and you are on the look out for meeting autobots and other robots. Have your photo taken with Transformers, and grab some great robotic merchandise.
Far Far Away - the land where Shrek lives, featuring a number of themed shows and rides that the kids will love. Character meet and greets are aplenty in this area. Ask a crew member for timings so you can plan your visit around who you (or the kids) want to meet.
Madagascar - Not the biggest land currently, but one that has a great vibrant theme to it, based on the much loved animated movie of the same name. Kids can look forward to meeting many of the Madagascar characters here and catch some great street entertainment.
When we visited, we didn't find any rides for hand held infants, but check here for the rider guide which indicates height requirements for all the USS rides.
Queue times for the rides vary, but they are published at the start of the ride queue, so that you know the type of queue time you are embarking upon. This might help you manage the expectations of kids within your party. If you are completely averse to queuing, and lets face it queues over 1 hour in Singapore heat don't make for fun times, you might want to consider purchasing the Express Pass which is an additional cost to your admission price, but allows you to skip the the regular queue for your favourite rides.
For the little kids
Climb aboard your spaceship for this journey with Elmo
- Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase - Join Elmo and friends on their adventure into space to stop Macaroni the Merciless from stealing all the spaghetti. This is a calm ride with great commentary from Elmo throughout the journey. Riders must be over 92cm to hop on.
- Accelerator - based in Sci Fi city, this is a futuristic take on the tea cups so expect lots of spinning around until you get thoroughly dizzy. If your little one is under 122cm then you'll need to join them on this ride. My three year old loved this ride and the queues stayed relatively quiet all day.
- Treasure Hunters - take a leisurely drive in your desert jeep around an abandoned excavation site in Egypt. Watch out for the scarab beetles who might chase you on your journey. My three year old loved this ride, and we went on a number of times as queues were fairly short. Children under 122cm need to accompanied by an adult.
- Dino-Soarin - Children under 122cm must be accompanied by an adult as they pilot their own Pteranodon around Jurassic Park. Choose to soar high in the sky or stay down low in the shadows. This is a great ride for little ones who might enjoy the independence of being their own pilot and taking control.
- Jurassic Park Rapids - Take a river raft ride through the Jurassic Park to see dinosaurs roaming free in the jungle. There's a steep drop into the rapids towards the end of the ride, but you can tell it's coming and can prepare your kids for a super soaking. Kids need to be over 107cm to take this ride and will need to be accompanied by an adult. There were lots of kids enjoying this ride, and you can even dry off in the air blasters after the ride.
- Canopy Flyers - suitable for those over 92cm, so height wise a three year old would be able to fit on this ride, albeit my three year old was put off by the height of the attraction as you are fairly high up. I saw some 4 and 5 year olds on this ride, but many did seem put off by the suspended nature of the ride. This was my favourite ride in the whole park, as I loved flying around the suspended track.
- Magic Potion Spin - Kids will love stepping aboard this miniature ferris wheel where they'll join the assembly line making Fairy Godmother's magic potion. Parents will need to ride with kids who do not reach the 100cm height restriction.
- Enchanted Airways - This dragon themed mini coaster, is a nippy little thing that takes its riders over the land of Far Far Away. It's fairly speedy and kids under 92cm are not permitted to ride.
- A Crate Adventure - Take a ride on the river through the Madagascar story. This ride features fantastic animatronics, and if you've got Madagascar movie lovers in your party, they will really enjoy the ride. It's a calm ride on the river, with no sudden or jerky movements; really enjoyable and perfect if you've got small kids in your party. Guests under 80cm are not permitted to ride, which is a shame as I'm sure little infants would love the colours and music of the ride.
- King Julien's Beach Party Go-Around - This is a beautifully appointed colourful carousel featuring King Julien and his army of happy lemurs. Children under 122cm must have an accompanying adult with them. When we went on this, you were not permitted to take on a hand held infant.
For the big kids
- Transformers The Ride - this is the big draw card for the Sci Fi city, and amongst my favourite rides in the park. It's a 3D ride, so you'll be wearing special glasses for the duration, and this creates a ride that puts you straight into the action as a freedom fighter working with the autobots to fight evil forces. You need to be at least 102cm to ride, and parents should be aware that this ride is in the dark and very bumpy. If your child is keen to ride I would steer them towards the centre of the car so that they don't bump their head on the outside (like I did). Queues tend to be very long for this ride, so put this at the front of your to do list.
- Battlestar Galactica - is a duelling rollercoaster that was closed at the time of our visit, and is still closed now at the time of writing this review. When operating, guests can choose to ride the sit down speedy coaster, Human, or ride Cyclone a suspended coaster. Check out the USS website to see if the coaster is in operation on your visit.
- Revenge of the Mummy - this indoor coaster, is the drawcard of the Lost World land and often has an impressive queue to match. You're in total darkness which means you have no clue when the sudden drops are approaching, so this makes for a real knuckle clenching ride. Not suitable if you're under 122cm in height. Definitely one for the older kids.
Attractions (not ride based)
Most of the attractions and shows take place inside, which can be a great respite from the heat of the day.
- Hollywood Theater - productions vary, but this 1,500 seat Broadway style theatre is currently showing Monster Rock, a rock and roll musical featuring the Universal Monsters. You can check out times for shows outside the theater or with Guest Services.
- Lake Hollywood Spectacular - Running on Friday and Saturday nights, this firework show is a great round up to your day at Universal Studios.
- Lights Camera Action - hosted by Steven Spielberg. This is a special effects show, where an empty sound stage becomes the setting for a major hurricane setting down in New York city. Kids will be enthralled by the effects here. Kids under 122cm will need adult supervision.
- WaterWorld - This is a thrilling stunt show that takes place over the water adjacent to the Lost World. Based around the Kevin Costner film of the same name, this is a great place to rest your legs for a while and enjoy the sites, sounds and thrills of the stunts taking place before your very eyes.
- Shrek 4D - Don your ogrevision goggles to help save Princess Fiona. This animated show takes 3D a step further, by having a few surprise features that let you feel the action right from your seat. Look out for water sprays and a few jumps and bumps that will no doubt have any Shrek loving kid giggling with excitement. The queue for this attraction is shaded, so even though it can be a wait to get in to the theatre, you are waiting out of the heat of the day.
- Donkey Live - Donkey is my favourite character in Shrek, so this is a great attraction to see him brought to life in an intimate live chat show setting.
- Hollywood Dreams Parade - Operating on weekends only, this parade features music, floats, street entertainers and dancers on a journey through most of the park. If you've not managed to meet your favourite characters during the day, then this is a great time to check them out to a really catchy music soundtrack. Check out the show schedule here.
If you have a baby or infant in your party who can't go on a ride (height restrictions apply), then consider using the parent swap system. To do this, approach the ride staff and tell them that you want to take turns going on the ride. In some cases, they'll simply let one adult head straight onto the single rider queue, and then when they return the other adult in the party then takes there turn. For some rides, they'll issue the adult with a parent swap pass and you get to fast track up the queue and then once you've finished the other parent then gets their turn. This saves so much queuing time. We didn't queue at all for Transformers or the Mummy rides by using the parent swap pass. On other rides - such as Elmo's spaghetti chase ride, we both wanted to go on with our son, but also had a baby with us, so on this occasion, we all queued up and then one parent went on with our son, and then when the ride was finished the other parent hopped on with him without having to queue again. Our son got to ride twice in one go, so it's a fast track to a happy family.
Parent Room - Guest Services
There is a really well equipped parent room, right near the entrance within guest services. In this room there is a couch, perfect for feeding a baby on it, in addition to filtered water, a microwave for heating up foods, and changing stations. There are also a few toys if you've got toddlers in addition to babies with you. The room is beautifully air conditioned, so this is a great place to stop by for infant feeding time.
Strollers are available at Rentals, located at the right side of the park upon entry.
A single stroller is priced at S$15, a double stroller is priced at S$20. There is stroller parking outside of all ride/attraction entrances. You are not allowed to take the strollers into the queuing area for most attractions.
Plan Your Day
Even if planning and organisation isn't your thing, it's really worthwhile looking at the online map before your visit and planning what you'd especially like to see and do on your visit. Knowing which rides and attractions are at the top of your list, means you can plan your route around the park and hit your preferred rides first before the queues get too big. Once you get into the park, you can also find out what time the shows and street entertainments are on. Some of these you'll not want to miss, so incorporate these into your plan of attack, so you'll get the most out of your hours in the park.
Singapore has year round tropical weather. It's hot and humid, and you will most likely have some rain during your holiday in Singapore, hopefully not on your trip to USS, but you might as well prepare for both sunshine and rain on your visit. To this end, sunscreen is a must, and you might also want to consider disposable ponchos for the family too. At the very least they'll come in handy on the water rides! Umbrella's can also be useful if downpours are forecast. USS do not refund tickets in the event of inclement weather, so in many cases it is a case of just making the most of it. In the heat of the day, the Madagascar area had the most shade and in the tropical storms we took cover in one of the indoor shows. Some of the attractions will be suspended in the event of rain, and staff will update you if this occurs.
Food and Beverages
Baby food is not available to purchase within the park, so take provisions with you. Whilst you aren't allowed to bring picnics with you for the adults, you are allowed to take in small snacks for the kids, and water bottles for everyone in your party. If it's a hot day, taking your own water will save you money.
What, Where, When, How
The fun filled land of Universal Studios Singapore
The USS website is the best place to check out operating hours and times and prices for tickets, as these do change from time to time and it's best to be up to date on this information.
Located on Sentosa Island, which is easily accessible by public transport, monorail or by taxi. It's fairly inexpensive to get around within Singapore so we opted for a taxi on our visit and this proved cheap and very easy.
Tickets can be purchased via the website here or at the kiosks on the outside of the theme park.
Top Tip: Buy your tickets in advance. Not only will this save you queuing time but there are busy days when tickets actually sell out, and you'd not want to end up with a whole family disappointed by not booking in advance.