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Movie magic at Universal Studios Singapore

Boy Eats World's family holiday to Universal Studios Singapore

“It was, to use my kids' vernacular, 'Epic!'”

I have to confess to being a little wary about big theme park visits with my two daredevils, and not because they like to terrify me witless by heading for the biggest, fastest and scariest rides. It is more because I am worried that the expansive parks will tire them out, there’ll be a junk food binge and that there’ll be epic meltdowns when I won’t buy every set of themed headbands and piece of colourful merchandise in sight.

But after five visits to Singapore in a matter of 18-months, I finally caved in to take eight-year old Rafferty and five-year old Marlo to Universal Studios Singapore. And I have to say, I don’t know why I waited so long. It was, to use my kids’ vernacular, “Epic!”

Southeast Asia's first Hollywood movie theme park, Universal Studios Singapore on Sentosa Island offers an impressive selection of cutting-edge rides, shows, and attractions based on the kids favourite films and television series. And many of the rides can’t be found anywhere else on earth.

We started in Madagascar, designed with little ones in mind. A Crate Adventure is a nine-minute boat ride highlighting the adventures of Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria and the penguins. It is a fairly gentle introduction to the park’s immersive rides, but the kids loved it and quirky carousel, King Julien’s Beach Party-Go-Round.

Madagascar Fun

After escaping “The Wild” we set off to hunt ogres in Far Far Away. Inside its towering castle, the Shrek 4-D Adventure show had my giggling kids donning ogre-vision goggles to see, hear and feel the action of the fairy tale film. They took to the skies on Airways, a gentle, dragon-themed coaster and then, after downing ogre waffles, hit the heights of a magical beanstalk on the brand new, world-first ride, Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey. The amazing anti-gravity, swashbuckling roller coaster adventure was a firm favourite and recipient of repeated rides.

In the Lost World, the kids went Dino-Soarin’ for a Pteranodon’s-eye view over Jurassic Park and got a little soaked on Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.

We treasure hunted under the shadow of enormous ruins and obelisks in mind-blowing Ancient Egypt. We skipped the awesome looking indoor thrill ride, Revenge of the Mummy, because even my eldest wee adrenalin-junkie balked at thrills that big, and instead my young explorers drove their own desert jeeps through an abandoned Egyptian excavation site.

Marlo headed to New York to munch on cookies with Cookie Monster and laugh her way around the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase while Rafferty got lost in Sci-Fi City. His absolute favourite zone was home to Transformers: The Ride, a hyper-realistic 3D thrill ride where he joined Optimus Prime and the Autobots to fight the forces of evil. About six or seven times!

Raf and Optimus Prime

There were plenty of celebrity sightings along the way with my little one in a tizz over Cookie Monster, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch and Raff going gaga over Frankenstein. Even I got a bit fan girly in the presence of Minion superstars, Kevin, Bob and Stuart.

Universal Studios Singapore is not so big that it overwhelmed the kids, nor too small to keep them excited. There is a good balance of rides and attractions for younger kids and thrill-seeking teens, a great selection of tasty and healthy food, which meant that the kids filled up with noodles and chicken and kept the sweet snacks to a dull ogre-like roar!

And as for those predicted tantrums? The kids were too busy enjoying the park’s amazing offerings to bother, so were duly rewarded with their pick of the themed merchandise on their way out! That’s what I call movie magic.

When she’s not treading on Lego and being forced to watch Frozen on loop, Aleney de Winter is a travel, food and parenting writer. She shares tales of travelling and eating along with the hilarious antics of her globetrotting six-year old foodie son and daredevil three-year old daughter on her blog, Boy Eats World.

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