Magical moments

Welcome to Universal Studios Singapore
Magical moments at Universal Studios Singapore

THERE´S much to see and do at Sentosa Island´s Universal Studios Singapore, writes PEGGY LOH.

I read the email from my boss asking "Can you go?" and my reply was a "Yes!"  How could I give up the chance to join Shrek, Princess Fiona and Puss in Boots in Far, Far Away and walk the streets of the Big Apple?  Best of all, I didn´t have to take that long flight as it´s all in Universal Studios Singapore on Sentosa Island! 

The morning downpour did not dampen my enthusiasm. With Sentosa now linked to Singapore by bridge, it took only minutes to arrive in the well-organised parking area.  The rain turned into a drizzle as I donned my hat and stepped off the escalator to the entrance concourse.  I walked into a cloud of buttery popcorn flavours and followed my nose to see a long line of people queueing patiently for freshly-made popcorn.

I exercised great restraint from going into the chocolate shop next door.  Instead I turned away to watch visitors defy the rain to pose for photographs with the iconic Universal Studios globe.  As I entered the entertainment park, I was told that I can pick up a S$5 (RM12) meal voucher and S$5 shopping voucher from the Guest Services counter.

My favourites

My close encounter with Herman Munster!
Armed with a studio guide filled with helpful information and a colourful map, I found myself on Hollywood Boulevard with New York just ahead.  I had to jostle my way to the famous Walk of Fame through a crowd waiting to take pictures with Woody Woodpecker, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe.  As I lingered on the boulevard lined with shops reminiscent of the 1940s, I was fascinated by the window display in the Roslyn Mann Make-Up Studio and took my time to soak in the atmosphere of a bygone era with music fanfare a la Hollywood.

I turned the corner to Pantages Hollywood Theater, just in time to catch the first Monster Rock stage show of the day. It was a blast to watch Henry Preston Jekyll III transform Universal Classic Monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman and the Phantom of the Opera into modern Rock ´n´ Roll stars.  From the opening Queen classic, We will rock you! to the close with Bon Jovi´s It´s my life!, the audience rocked and danced to great music and a spectacular show fitted with cutting-edge cinematic technology, state-of-the-art digital projectors and stunning pyrotechnics.

Shrek's castle in Far, Far Away with the
Enchanted Airways roller-coaster in the foreground
I wandered down a quaint little lane bordered by shops and warehouses: The Wharf Arcade.  The architecture and authentic features on shop fronts, complete with piped-in sound effects, transported me to another world. 

I was charmed by the ambience and jazzy music as I settled down to enjoy the panoramic view of Shrek´s castle at Far, Far, Away and the Enchanted Airways roller-coaster across the lake. This was my favourite spot in the park.

I emerged from my reverie to accept Steven Spielberg´s invitation to experience a category five hurricane that was about to hit New York City.

Try using this out-house for ogres!

I joined the audience at Lights, Camera, Action! inside a boathouse by the harbour to watch the movie magic that turned a calm day into a stormy one.  As I braced myself to face winds fuelled by hurricanes, falling debris and shattering glass, nothing prepared me for the fiery explosions and the embarrassment of realising that the piercing scream in the sound stage was actually mine.

Meal choices

For a taste of all-American burgers, fries, sandwiches and frosty milk shakes, go to Mel´s Drive-in in Hollywood, a cool 50s rock ´n´ roll drive-in restaurant complete with a jukebox that plays favourite oldies.  The Oasis Spice Cafe in Ancient Egypt serves Mediterranean, Indian and Malay cuisine buffet-style in an exotic Egyptian setting while Casa Del Wild in Madagascar offers a variety of familiar Asian favourites like chicken rice and nasi padang. Most of these restaurants are halal.

Throughout the park were booths and pushcarts sporting various themes that offered snacks and drinks in collectible containers.  Among these is a colourful van with a dinosaur on top that was selling popcorn.  At The Lost World is the Fossil Fuels, a quick-service restaurant that serves light snacks and frozen drinks.

I decided to pamper myself at KT´s Grill, an authentic 1950s New York Grill room which serves healthy and vegetarian dishes.  I was thrilled to see the sweeping staircase, wooden balustrade and beautiful ornate decorations. The service was good and the meal satisfactory. You can choose from a menu of steaks, sandwiches, seafood and pasta.  Before leaving, I seized the chance to take pictures from the balcony of the adjoining dining room, resplendent with a fireplace and furnishings reminiscent of a gentleman´s drawing room.

More attractions

Imposing entrance to The Mummy adventure ride
Madagascar´s four heroes hold a special charm for people of all ages and I watched with amusement as a never-ending trail of visitors turned up for photo opportunities with the life-sized Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria.  Before one group moved away, the next was already inching its way for a photo shoot with these fun characters. I even saw an elderly man holding on to Melman´s (the giraffe) tongue!

I was appalled to see children sticking their heads into the open mouth of a giant T-Rex.  Upon closer inspection, I realised that the mouth was designed with rubbery fangs and that the children could fit between these without injuring themselves. The queue at popular rides was long but there are signs to indicate the estimated waiting time. A favourite ride must be the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure where one gets to experience a white water ride on circular rafts.

At every attraction, merchandise stores with attractive collectibles and themed souvenirs beckoned, reminding me to bring home a memento.  After browsing through the Silver Screen and Universal Studio stores, I picked a novel collectible designed like an Oscar figurine for dad. It came with a plaque that read: World´s Greatest Dad.  Alas, I also gave in to temptation and wandered into the chocolate shop for some serious chocolate shopping.


Universal Studios Singapore is located at Sentosa Gateway on Sentosa Island, Singapore. Visitors should follow posted guidelines and for safety reasons, there are height, weight and health restrictions at various attractions. Open daily from 10am to 7pm and limited same day tickets on Fridays and Saturdays for dining and shopping from 7pm to 10pm and a spectacular night show. Visit for more info.

The writer´s trip was courtesy of Mutiara Johor Baru Hotel. For more info on hotel and package tours, go to

This article was first published in The New Straits Times, Life & Times on 7 October 2010

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