On the long weekend of 27-30th of May 2010 me, my husband, Raya (my 2 year 10 month old daughter), Rana (my 14 month old daughter), sister, brother in law and mom went to Singapore. We have been planning to take our daughters to Universal Studio Singapore located at the Resorts World Sentosa because they love Madagascar and Shrek. Taking little kids on holiday needs careful planning to make everybody happy. We traveled to the United States when Raya was 2 years old and Rana was only 4 month old so we have an idea how to plan a family vacation by now, but if you would like to read more about traveling with kids you can browse through the articles at Mommies Daily.
Always, always do your research before you leave. How to get tickets, how to get to the location, how the weather is, food they serve, changing rooms, etc. Trust me this will make your life much easier to always be prepared. So in being prepared I did my research from the web and asked my friends who already went to Universal Studio with their kids recently. Since it’s a long weekend I figure it’s going to be very packed and I didn’t want to waste my time standing in line for tickets plus having the chance of not getting tickets because they are often sold out (due to the high demand and the novelty of the place).
So I went to a travel fair, bought my airline ticket with a discount (do enroll yourself in budget airlines mailing list and they will tell you when they have a promotion) and bought my Universal Studio ticket trough a travel agent that I found there (firstname.lastname@example.org). I even got them cheaper than buying it on their website or on site at the park entrance, the normal ticket price are:
- Adult SGD 66
- Child 4-12 years old SGD 48
- Senior 65years+ SGD 32
- Adult SGD 72,
- Child 4-12 SGD 52
- Senior 65years+ SGD 36
If we buy it here in Jakarta its SGD 60 for weekdays and SGD 66 for weekends. I’m not sure for child and senior fare since my daughters are still under the age of 4 so they did not have to purchase tickets. Now that I have the airline and Universal studio tickets, its time to research about everything else. We rented a 3 bedrooms apartment trough www.valuestay.com. Its very convenient if you’re traveling with a big family because they have a washing machine, fully equipped kitchen, microwave, hot water, clean rooms, cable TV, internet and 24 hour food court near by. Its better than staying at a hotel cause everybody can stay together and do what ever they want without disturbing the other guests. They also have a pick up service to and from the airport with a maxi cab (SGD 70 round trip fits for 7 adult 2 kids and their luggage). Makes your life much easier when you get out from the airport.
Next thing to do is to pack (don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and umbrella) since the weather is unpredictable. Also bring extra change of clothes and dress for a hot weather. It was very hot during the day when we were there and it rained very hard at night.
You need to get to Sentosa to get to Universal Studio and you have different option to get there:
- Taxi/car, they have an entrance fee to the island depending on weekdays/weekend and the time you enter.
- City bus, bus fare varies depending on where you board.
- Sentosa Bus, it cost SGD 2 per person boarding at Horbourfront interchange.
- SIA Hop on Bus service, this is a special service for Singapore airlines/silk air passenger for only SGD 3 or SGD 12 for public.
- Sentosa Express, which will cost you SGD 3 boarding from Vivo City level 3.
- The last option (and the one that we choose) is MRT. have to hand it to the Singaporean for making public transport so easy. We took MRT to Harbourfront station then take the Sentosa express straight to the front of the park (only 1stop from the station). It was a good choice because the kids love the train ride and you can see the view from inside the train.
When we got off the train there were signs saying Universal Studio tickets are SOLD OUT (weren’t we glad we already bought our tickets in Jakarta. Can you imagine the disappointment if we didn’t?) and it was only 11 o’clock in the morning when we get there. So we exchanged our vouchers for the entrance ticket and head to the globe before entering the park (we had to stop and take pictures off course). I was thinking it was going to be a very packed park inside but I was wrong. I guess they already counted the maximum capacity of people going in without being too crowded and endless lines at the attraction.
As we entered the park, we were asked to exchange our ticket with a $5 off merchandise and $10 off food voucher that we can use while in the park (so we get $15 worth of voucher back from the entrance ticket we paid, GREAT). We used it to buy Shrek T-shirt and lunch at Madagascar.
The park is divided into areas that, if you walk around every single area, you will make a full circle and end up where you enter again. They are: Hollywood, Madagascar, FarFar Away (Shrek), Water world, Ancient Egypt (The Mummy), Jurassic Park, Sci-Fi city and New York New York. Its very small compared to the Universal Studio in L.A but I’d say it’s just the perfect size to bring your kids and get to go to every single area. The park design is exactly the same as it is in the United States, only in smaller version with much fewer rides but everything else is just as nice. We took pictures everywhere, its like visiting so many places in a very short time. Great way to teach your kids a lot of things too (Africa, Egypt,etc).
In Hollywood we visited the gift shop which has so many cute things, took more pictures and head to Madagascar. Too bad the show is not open yet, but the girls got to ride the carousel which was very cute (I like to move it,move it), then we had lunch at the café there (a good place to eat because its cool and the design is very festive. Also not too crowded like the other places) and we only need to pay another $4 after using our voucher (lunch for 4 person, very generous portion, complete with drinks and desserts, great deal). Then it’s to the castle in FarFar Away land and wait in line for Shrek 4D show, it was a long line but they post water fountain if you ever needed a drink while you wait in line, a lot of people even filled their water bottle while waiting (great thinking). It was a fun ride and the waiting was worth it. At the end of the show we got to visit the souvenir show which was filled with more cute stuff to get.
My daughters then took their nap so I can go on the Jurassic park ride then The Mummy roller coaster.
A little tip: To cut the waiting time (since I only have a short time before my girls woke up) go for the single riders line, it is much shorter and you will get into the ride you want whenever there’s an empty single seat. The rides only lasted a few minutes so it’s ok to get separated from your group (better than waiting for an hour just to get on the rides right?). They will tell you out front how long the waiting time is, so you can calculate your time. And bringing little ones you must use your time wisely before they get cranky.
We had to skip water world ride in change for taking more pictures with the characters that’s walking around in the ancient Egypt area then to Sci-Fi city (too bad the battle star galactica roller coaster was not open yet), then we enjoyed a New York pizza in New York New York, took more pictures and watch Stephen Spielberg show. And since my husband just arrived in the afternoon we still had time to go to Farfar Away and watch the last donkey show. It was a nice air-conditioned room, a very nice change from the hot weather outside. My husband was even called by the maiden and officially pointed as an Ogre =) when we got out it was 6 o’clock and everything was starting to close so we headed back to Hollywood boulevard.
Since it was the weekend, public can enter the Hollywood boulevard for a fee of SGD 2 (they have Mel’s drive in restaurant which look like you were in the classic American 60’s, souvenir shop, cafes, etc) to eat, shop or take pictures in that area (everything else in the park was dark and closes at 6pm). The rain was pouring and we headed out of the park and have dinner outside. So even if you did not get ticket to go inside the park, you can still take pictures, buy souvenirs and take pictures outside because they have a lot of restaurants, shops and places of interest. They even have Hershey chocolate store. We visited their factory in the USA and this is almost the same, so you don’t have to travel all the way there to enjoy it.
After dinner, everybody was tired but happy and we headed back to the apartment. It was a very fun and enjoyable day. You should definitely give Universal Studio a visit in your next trip to Singapore, it is worth it.
Hope you like this review :)