I love theme parks. I love eating ice cream to a dramatic film score soundtrack. I love walking through carefully constructed, exquisitely detailed scenes, imagining the hard work that a team of immensely creative people put in to make me feel like I’m in a 1920s-era, hyper-stylised New York.
And, of course, I love the rides.
I recently visited Universal Studios Singapore for the second time and got my brother Kevin to come along for his first (despite him living in the city for almost two years), and we preceded to try everything aimed at adults who, like us, steadfastly refuse to grow up.
Here are the five best rides and attractions at Universal Studios Singapore (for older kids and adults).
1) Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon
Battlestar Galactica is a duelling coaster with a blue inverted coaster representing the Cylons and the seated red coaster representing the Humans. The Cylon coaster has multiple inversions, including a cool loop that takes you below ground level through a thick mist.
The Human coaster has no inversions, instead delivering it’s not-insignificant excitement through speed, quick stomach-lurching drops, and tight turns.
Both coasters require you to put all of your stuff in a nearby locker, which is free for the first 45 minutes. And when they say require, they are serious—staff members stand at the head of the line and are armed with hand-held metal detectors to detect wallets and phones that you may not have put away.
We didn’t get to go on this one when we were first here as it was closed for repairs, so this was our first stop this visit. Transformers is the most popular ride after park opening—it was already at 40 minutes when we passed—but both Battlestar coasters were under 15 minutes, and we were on the Cylon in five.
2) Transformers: The Ride
Transformers is a 3D ride where you don glasses and sit in a cart that flings you around in time to the action on the screens, and it is incredibly effective. Zooming down city streets being chased by giant fighting robots is as dramatic and exciting as it sounds, and the ride gets you as close to actually being in the movie (assuming you’d want to be in a Transformers movie) as you’re ever likely to get.
This is probably the park’s most popular ride (and rightly so), and it went from a 40 minute wait 10 minutes after opening to 120 minutes an hour later. I have a policy of not waiting more than 15 minutes for any ride, so I wasn’t sure that we were going to get on it this visit.
However, at 3 pm, the queues were down to 10 minutes. In fact, we got on so quickly that we ended up doing it twice in quick succession. I’m not sure if this is a freak occurrence or the natural flow of the day, but if it’s super busy when you first arrive, then wait until the afternoon and see if it clears up.
Unfortunately, if you are prone to motion sickness, then this one is very likely to set it off. For everyone else, it’s an incredibly thrilling next-generation ride.
3) Revenge of the Mummy
In a similar vein to Transformers but without the 3D glasses, you set off in your jeep through an ancient Egyptian tomb in search of The Book of the Living and are taken through various scenes before being thrown onto a surprisingly intense roller coaster. It’s an effective mix of roller coaster, haunted house, and multimedia adventure.
This one also requires lockers (again, free for the first 45 minutes), but they’re not as strict as for Battlestar, and we queued for around 15 minutes through a very dark and nicely detailed Egyptian tomb scene.
4) Jurrasic Park Rapids Adventure
A river rafting adventure through the world of Jurassic Park, this one is a guaranteed soaking and includes an impressive waterfall drop and plenty of splashing river rapids.
Lockers are available nearby, but they’re not free for any amount of time (unlike Ancient Egypt and Battlestar), but unless you bring a dry bag for your valuables, you’ll want to use them.
If you find yourself uncomfortably drenched afterwards, there are drying pods available to blow dry you for $5.
The Waterworld stunt show is set in a specially constructed theatre and is an absolute delight. The performers are fully committed to their roles, providing slapstick entertainment before the show begins and breathtaking stunts throughout. Multiple three storey drops, jet ski chases, explosions, and dramatic fights on narrow catwalks are thrilling to behold.
There are multiple daily shows and it’s definitely worth scheduling in one of them.
Universal Studios Singapore Tips
- Tickets cost S$76 (US$54 / £42) for adults and S$56 (US$40 / £31) for 4–12-year-olds. We recommend buying your e-ticket in advance from Voyagin for a saving of 10 to 20%. We did this on our most recent visit to Universal Studios Singapore and it was a very easy process. We showed our email booking to Guest Services at the park entrance and were given a paper ticket to enter the park. Definitely worth it! Get your discounted tickets from Voyagin here.
- Express passes are available to give you access to the priority express queues and might be worth considering on weekends, although we got on everything just fine on a Friday. These add-ons are priced dynamically and start at S$30 (US$21 / £17) for one use per ride or S$50 (S$35 / £27) for unlimited uses per ride.
- The park opens at 10 am and closing times vary from 6 pm to 9 pm. Arrive at opening time to give yourself the best chance of getting on the good stuff quickly.
- Singapore is easy to get around by public transport, and Universal is no exception. The efficient MRT goes to HarbourFront Station, and from there you can get the Sentosa Express monorail to Waterfront station. The monorail is a little more expensive than standard MRT rides (S$5 return) but you can use your MRT card to get straight on.
- To enjoy the view, you can take the cable car to Sentosa Island—follow the signs in the HarbourFront MRT Station, take the cable car to Imbiah station, then take the Sentosa Express monorail one stop to Waterfront station. Voyagin offers discounts on Universal + Cable Car packages.
- Alternatively, you can walk the 25 minutes across to Sentosa Island but given how hot and humid Singapore is, you might find yourself wishing you’d paid the S$5.
- We recommend Booking.com for finding a hotel in Singapore. Sentosa Island is the nearest place to stay—Hotel Michael, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Crockfords Tower are all highly rated hotels within easy walking distance of Universal. The bonus of staying nearby is being able to take a break during the hottest part of the day.
- If you are on a budget, stay in Chinatown and take the MRT to Universal (it should take about 30 minutes). The Bohemian Chic is a well-reviewed and stylish hostel and Hotel Mono has attractive ensuite double rooms.
- Airbnb is also a great way to find budget and luxury accommodation, either a private room or whole apartment. Again, Chinatown has the cheapest options closest to Universal. Sign up here for $40 off your first booking.
- There are no obvious restrictions on bringing food and drink into Universal (we brought in water, and our bag was not searched), and there are water fountains throughout the park so you can refill bottles.
- Of course, there are plenty of food stands and restaurants in the park offering a mix of Asian and Western fast food. Vegetarian options are available (Loui’s NY pizza in New York is decent), and there is a Starbucks in Hollywood.
Although it’s not the largest theme park, Universal Studios Singapore packs a lot in, and there is plenty to keep die-hard thrill-seekers occupied for a day. All of the rides above could easily stand multiple visits, and wandering around wonderfully crafted themed worlds past bright and cheerful characters can’t help but bring out the joyful child in all but the most hard-hearted of cynics.
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Many thanks to Universal Studios Singapore, who provided Kevin and me with complimentary one-day tickets. We have also visited twice more and paid for ourselves and will likely visit again on our next Singapore trip.
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