Universal Studios Singapore was the no brainer. We knew we had to be here, and spend one full day. Among all the planning we had done for Singapore, this was something that we didn’t do much research about. The only thing that we kept in mind was not to go on a weekend, especially since it was the Diwali weekend. You never know what the crowd might be like.
So monday was the plan. We woke up really early, we didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun rides and shows, and so we had a quick breakfast and were off to Universal Studios by 8:30am. The place opens only at 10 am but we thought we should be a little early just to be there before anyone comes.
We kept our bags at minimal weight. We had read online that one has to walk quite a bit when inside, and it gets rather tiring after awhile. So all we took was two bottles of water which we could refill, some food supplies because I hated Singapore food, a raincoat just in case and our sunglasses.
We then took the metro and saw so many localities looking miserable going to work on a monday. It was amusing yet, somewhere I thought this is exactly us when we head out to work. I guess some things are the same across the globe.
We reached Sentosa Islands, same place as the S.E.A. Aquarium, and the first things we saw immediately reminded me of India. The queue for Universal Studios Singapore was crazy long. People had come and stood in the line just to get in since the wee hours of the morning. + When we asked around, people said that day was relatively less packed, as they didn’t even open that many entry gates.
We were shocked to put it mildly. 9:35 am sharp, we were at the place, and all we could do was to stand in queue. Little did we know that this trend pretty much would haunt us through our entire day. Surprisingly that day, it turned out to be really hot. Like very humid.
The line though moved at a decent pace, by the time our turn came it was already 10:45 am ! We had stood there outside for more than an hour ! But that feeling of crossing the entry gate and finally getting inside the magical land of universal studios, that probably was the highlight of my day.
TOP 4 ATTRACTIONS AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE
There were 4 rides which were quite hyped at this place. Transformers 4D, Battlestar Galactica, Jurassic Ride, and Return of the Mummy. We had read some reviews online and most of them said to finish with these four before lunch, as the other rides and shows were not all that difficult to cover.
So the minute we entered the place, we ran towards the first major ride of the day. Transformers 4D. Every ride had a waiting time assigned outside, and this ride had a waiting time of 45 mins. Nevertheless we got in. It really was a 45 min wait time, but the ride was amazing. It only lasted for like 2-3 mins I guess, but was definitely worth the wait.
Next up was Battlestar Galactica, and Oh my God…this was the mood killer of the day. The queue was 1 hour 20 mins, and we had to keep our back packs in the locker. For which we had to pay. For the first hour it was free, and every 20 mins hence, they were charging $6. I was already pissed, but we had no other way around it.
We stood in line, which pretty much reminded me of my Shirdi Sai Baba visit where disciples were chanting in long queues waiting for that one second darshan. Believe me, this was no different. There was an express line, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, you pay for and go…because then its basically like a VIP line, and you get access to rides from a different queue. The wait time there also was like 20 mins, but its better than 1 hour+.
The thing is online the rates of express pass was quite high, so we never really thought of picking it up, but at Universal Studios they were only giving it for S$50 per person, which is totally worth it, if you want to really enjoy the place. We didn’t know it at the time, we only came to know about the price around 4pm, it was not of any use then.
By the time we were out of this ride, we were exhausted. It was just too too tiring. Also, somewhere I felt it was not worth standing in queue for that long for just one single ride. We ended up paying a hefty price for the locker, and we decided we didn’t want to stand in queues anymore.
Even the smaller rides, had a waiting time of 30 mins…which was just absurd. Sun+queue+hunger = I pretty much hated universal studios singapore. I would much rather just chill in the artificial beaches of Sentosa.
We ended up not doing Return of the Mummy at all, because the wait time even in the evening was somewhere around 2 hours ! We did do the Jurassic Ride in the end…for which again we had to put our items in the locker, and it so happened, that locker had mentioned no change would be given. So the machine gobbled up S$10 as is, without giving us the change. 👿
The ride was eh, nothing great…it was pretty much hyped. I mean Transformers 4D was way way better, and we ended up going there again…we were the last group to get entry at 5:30pm. I just had to do that ride again. It was amazing. Think Gotham city…felt like you’re driving in the city, with evil monsters trying to kill you. Was quite an adrenaline rush.
6 TIPS TO PLAN YOUR DAY AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE
#1 Do not miss Waterworld
Its an experience to have. Its a complete movie setting, filled with daredevil stunts, fire, water being splashed on the guests and even has a plane landing almost on top of you when you least expect it. Its a huge auditorium where the actors enact the movie in front of you for almost 40 mins or so.
When you enter the universal studios, just take the pamphlet for the show timings, and make sure you don’t miss this one. Sit on the bottom most rows, as that’s where the maximum impact and engagement is.
#2 Attend all the shows
There are stand up shows, movies, and song and dance happening all over the venue. You just need to know what time which show is. We attended the Shrek 4D Movie when we were really really tired, and it was so refreshing, just to be sitting inside an ac theatre and experiencing the movie.
If you are the minions fan, then don’t miss out on getting a photograph clicked with the minions in the afternoon. They have two time slots when they make an appearance for the public. Mind you, there will be a queue. So plan ahead.
#3 Keep the best for the last a.k.a. do the major 4 rides in the end
I know..what if you miss it?! Well chances are, you are likely to miss one or two of four rides as is, if you have to stand in the queue. Everyone rushes to these 4 and that’s why they are always crowded in the first half. My suggestion: Do these rides post 3pm. We got into the Jurassic Ride at 4:30 pm where the waiting time was written to be 120 mins, it took us 15 mins. I realized, that post afternoon, they simply show the wait time to be more, to discourage the public from getting into the queue.
Everywhere on the internet you will read tips to do these 4 rides first. High chances are, everyone reads these reviews and goes and stands in queue. Don’t do that. It really drains away the enthusiasm and energy and you will like the place a whole lot less when your first half goes for a total waste.
When we went for transformer 4D the second time, we didn’t stand in a queue at all. ! Something which almost seemed impossible.
#4 Click pictures in the afternoon. Not beginning
It takes some time to figure out the park. Its quite spread out, so don’t get too caught up in the surroundings, and finish off all the “empty” rides while you can. the best time to click pictures is post noon because that’s the time most of the street performances take place. You will capture the essence of the park better then.
#5 Buy express passes without a second thought
You will thank me later for this. The best place to buy the express pass is when you reach there itself. If you try buying it online you might not get the best (lowest) rate.
#6 Don’t go with the intention to cover EVERYTHING !
You might be in for some disappointment. Just enjoy your time there. Bookmark the rides and shows that you must check out and keep some as the optional rides. The place has a lot more to offer than just rides. Walk through the 7 zones of universal studios from Hollywood, to Madagascar, Far Far Away etc etc.