My daughter is nervous. She’s jumping from one foot to the other.
We’re in the line for Transformers at Universal Studios Singapore.
With every ride we’ve tried around the park, she’s grown more and more brave.
We started easy, with Madagascar: A Crate Adventure ride. All four of us hopped onto a crate that floats along the river and into the ocean tanker that hauled Marty, Alex, Gloria and Melman away from New York towards Madagascar.
This ride is gentle with animatronic versions of the famous characters and loads of warnings to stay away from Mafusa. Of course, you do meet Mafusa eventually, in a dark section of the ride. The scary bit happens at the end when you see the waterfall you need to exit through. But we can’t give away what happens. That’s a secret you will have to find out for yourself.
After the crate ride, we jump onto King Julien’s Beach Party Go Round. A roundabout carousel ride that features the characters from the movie – including the granny. The characters rise and fall to the beat of the music and the kids sing along with the music. The carousel seats here are quite high – you may need to help little ones to climb up.
From Madagascar, we enter Far Far Away – the land of Shrek and Princess Fiona.
Inside the castle, you’ll find Shrek’s 4D adventure. We convinced Amelie that it would be fun and then we entered the dark “torture chamber”. She squeezed my hand tightly as the scene was set for our ride. But she didn’t have to worry. Both kids loved this ride.
Shrek’s 4D Adventure isn’t a movie, it’s a 4D experience. Expect to feel squirts of water, tickling on your legs and gusts of air as you join the race to save Princess Fiona from Lord Farquaad.
Just outside the Shrek 4D ride, you’ll find a few rides for really little kids. The Magic Potion Spin is a gentle and very small Ferris Wheel. If you have kids that are too young for Shrek 4D, or one that doesn’t want to ride – they could try this while they wait. My tweens decided it was “too baby” for them.
My son and I rode Enchanted Airways – an easy rollercoaster for younger kids. It’s based on an airline started by all the Shrek characters. You board a friendly dragon and then spend the next few minutes swopping through the swamp. This is a junior rollercoaster. It’s great for tweens who want a little more adventure, but who aren’t sure about upside down rollercoasters. It will build their confidence for the rides to come.
The last ride in Far Far Away is Puss In Boots Giant Journey. Amelie’s confidence was building at this point and she decided, much to our surprise, to give it a go. This rollercoaster is a little more thrilling than Enchanted Airways. Housed in a castle overgrown with ivy, the ride starts with the carriages climbing up and up a spiral staircase. Then it’s a series of swoops and turns, past a cranky goose who thinks you are stealing her eggs.
The next land along the circle of Universal Studios Singapore is Jurrasic Park. This was an instant hit with my kids. They loved the huge Jurrasic Park wooden gates and the jeeps (which are actually food stalls). You can buy an iced-coconut at the food stands. It’s lovely and refreshing on a hot day.
The Canopy Flier is the only ride in Universal Studios Singapore that you can’t use an Express Pass for. The line was 45 minutes long when we arrived. The kids weren’t convinced they could wait that long. It looks fun – you fly underneath the rollercoaster track in a carriage that is designed to look like a dinosaur. But in the heat of an April Singapore day, we decided to skip it.
While my husband and I had a rest, Amelie and Callum jumped onto Dino-soaring. Each carriage on this ride is a Pteranodon, which spins around a central pole. The kids can make it soar up into the sky or down into the cooling shadows with the press of a button. Amelie loved this one so much, she did it twice.
You will need to pop your stuff in a locker for the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. The lockers are just outside the entrance and cost about $2. You can get a raincoat, but we didn’t bother. It’s nice to get wet when it’s hot and humid.
This is a white water raft ride with a difference. You enter the gates of Jurassic Park and check out the lovely, plant-eating dinosaurs roaming the banks of the river. But then something goes wrong. An alarm sounds. Amelie looks worried and everyone in our raft gives her reassuring smiles. We hurl towards the danger zone and into a darkened tunnel.
Amelie grips her dad’s hand. Callum turns to me with a look that says “should we really have taken her on here?”. “Close your eyes, Amelie,” he yells. The end of this ride is a little scary. You will meet the meat-eating dinosaurs. You will crash down the rapids. But surprisingly, Amelie whooped with joy when she got off. It was at this point that we knew, Universal Studios Singapore had converted her into a theme park addict. She was loving it.
We had packed a few snacks to get the kids around Universal Studios Singapore. Our tickets included $5 off at one of the restaurants for lunch. So we decided to try out the takeaway in Jurassic Park. It is standard theme-park friend fare. And the kids love it.
At this point, we’re only halfway around the park. There’s so much more to explore. If you are going to do Universal Studios with tweens or teens, you need to plan in an entire day.
Get here as soon as Universal Studios opens at 10am. And if you want to do the Canopy Flier – head straight for it and then come back to the other attractions.
Post-lunch is when Universal Studios Singapore is the busiest. Expect much longer wait times. This may be the time to see a show. But my kids just wanted to do more rides.
After Jurrasic World, the park changes into Ancient Egypt. Here you will find Revenge of the Mummy – a dark rollercoaster that swoops past warrior mummies and scarab beetles.
Little ones will love Treasure Hunters, a ride where they can drive their own desert jeep through an abandoned Egyptian excavation site. See if you can spot the hippos soaking in the water below the track.
Adventurous kids might like to try Amber Rock climb – a rock climbing adventure. If you make it to the top, past the precious stones and fossils, a treasure awaits.
Battlestar Galactica Human Versus Cyclon dominates Sci-fi City. This duelling rollercoaster is terrifying. Neither of my kids could do it. But I think, if I was up to it, I may have got my son on.
To ride, you need to choose whether you want to be human or cyclon. Both of these intertwined coasters are terrifying. You’re secured under the track and will twist, turn and drop as scream your way all the way to the end. Watch the video from Resorts World below to see just how freaky it is.
The Accelerator is a sci-fi, high-speed version of a teacup ride. We enter the bright yellow space capsule for a spin around the track. Both my tweens love it. They giggle the whole way around and wave furiously at their dad, who is waiting on the sidelines.
“That was my favourite ride ever,” Amelie squeals as she races off the track.
Next is the Transformers Ride. Amelie is small for her age, and just (only just) clears the height requirement. She’s thrilled. But as the queue enters a darker zone, I see her feet start shuffling her weight from one side to another. She’s a little bit scared.
Transformers the Ride: The ultimate 3D battle is a dark ride in which you join Optimus Prime and the Autobots to battle against the Decepticons. We jump into a car and pop on our 3D glasses because we’re launched into the darkness. The car accelerates and breaks at rapid pace. This ride makes you feel like you are part of the action. You will think the Decepticons are coming after you.
At one scary point, I look over at Amelie, expecting to see her scared. Instead, she’s loving it. Absolutely loving it. The car falls from the top of a building and it feels like we’re falling with it. Both the kids are thrilled.
As we leave, Amelie declares this ride to be the best one in the park. She’s so pumped that she decides to spend her money on a Universal Studios Transformers cap.
After Sci-Fi city, the rest of Universal seems calm and easy. We find the Sesame Street characters dancing on the street in preparation for their show in New York. The Spaghetti sauce chase ride is closed so we buy some cookies from Oscar the Grouch and sit on the curb to devour them instead.
It’s nearly 4 pm so we decide to call it a day and head back to the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa for pizza on the beach.
But not before one final stop at the Universal Studios Singapore shop on the way out so my son can buy his own Universal Studios hat.
And now, both the kids tell me that we have to come back again.
Getting there: Universal Studios Singapore is at Resorts World Sentosa. To get here you can catch the monorail from Vivo City, The A Bus from Sentosa Island Resorts or the Sentosa Cable Car.
Staying there: We stayed at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort. This resort has a huge family-friendly pool with floating balls and a basketball hoop, three waterslides and beach access to Siloso Beach.
Playing there: You will need at least one day to cover everything at Universal Studios Singapore. We also suggest spending one day at Adventure Cove Waterpark – it’s awesome fun with kids. Universal Studios is undergoing an expansion – it will soon include Minion Park and Mario World. It doesn’t have Harry Potter World – for that, you will need to go to Japan or the United States.