WEDNESDAY 21ST - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
8.00am - wake up
9.00am - breakfast. The free breakfast on level 2, inside one
of the restaurants... we give them our vouchers, and are shown some seats.
Then we just help ourselves to a whole buffet (at the back of the photo
below), including fruits, cereals, hot foods, breads, eggs, juices, soups...
The great thing about a hotel that had breakfast included, is that it can cover half of your food budget if you fill up enough (as you can often go right through to dinner if you have enough). This was one reason I picked this hotel over ones that didn't, especially if the room rate is about the same. That's a big saving... especially for a big eater like me.
Some pics of the food I had over different days (not all on the one
Dispensor helping me out one morning. I loved the mini pancakes and
french toast. I couldn't stop myself with those two.
Dispensor bringing me some sugar and milk for my Tea.
10.00am - leave hotel on foot, to check out the ToysRUs next door, before we head off to Universal Studios.
Heaps more Transformers toys. Found some more that I needed, but
most of the prices were above Australian prices... so I had to restrain
I was hoping to find new Fall of Cybertron Deluxes, but this store had heaps of just the first wave. Heaps of Asian Generations though, which was good, as I was missing two small ones and the largest two.
The big surprise was how expensive toys were in Singapore, with Masterpiece Optimus as the worst example. A regular price that is about AU$220, compared to AU$150 here, and AU$100 in America.
Even though we were going to Universal Studios all day, I couldn't help
buy some toys first, even if it meant carrying them all day with me. I
knew that we'd be back there in the evening, but I would have kicked myself
if the ones I wanted were gone during that time. I only bought small
ones though - the two small Asian Generations at the top, the yellow motorbike
(was a major loose end, that would never show up on ebay), and two of the
three BotShots (Skywarp and Roadbuster). I got Chase Shockwave while
at Universal Studios, which completed my collection of 44 Botshots in series
one. They had about 7 Chase Shockwaves!
11.00am - Next up, to the bank to exchange my AU$ to SG$. It took
a while to find a bank that could do it, but once I did, I managed to get
a good rate. The banks there don't charge an extra fee for currency exchange,
like they do here. Places will charge an adjusted rate to make their
profit, but some places (like Australian banks) charge an exchange fee
on top of it.
I had taken AU$2000 with me (which got me SG$2,200), thinking that it wouldn't be enough if I found some vintage Gen1 JP toys (that might be cash-only sales)... but in the end I had money left over, and was using cash for just about everything.
These are some of the notes, to show what they look like. They appear to be plastic coated, as they felt like plastic, but some of the notes still managed to get a little water-logged on one of the days.
11.15am - headed over to a taxi rank near the hotel, as it was getting
late, and I didn't care how much it would cost to get to Universal by Taxi.
In the end, it only cost $9.20 for about 15 minutes to Sentosa (see pink
X on the map below).
We had been told of a free tourist bus that stops at the hotel across from our hotel, but it could have been another 30-60 minutes, and then a slow drive to Universal as it stops at other hotels. It was free for tourists, as you had to show a foreign passport to be allowed on. Anything free sounded good, but it was too late in the morning to waste time on it.
11.30am - at Universal Studios.
Took some photos of the entrance, bought tickets, and we entered the park.
Found the lockers near the entrance, which was just as handy as when I needed one at the Hollywood One.
First priority was to head on over to the Transformers Ride. Even though I had picked a mid-week day to go to the theme-park to avoid any potential crowds of the weekend, I still wanted to get there straight away in case the park got crowded later in the day.
As you can see on the map below, this Universal Studios is quite small
compared to the California one. And it doesn't appear to have any
room to expand either, which could limit return visitors, if the park is
small enough to do in a day, and there is little chance of anything new
added in the future. I think if this place wasn't cheap to build
and run, it probably wouldn't last very long.
We first went up to the main entrance (Hollywood) to the central lake. From there, we basically went anti-clockwise the whole day.
Hollywood... the main entrance road.
Inside the gift-shop near the entrance.
The first of the Transformers merchandise...
Drinking mugs on the top. The exclusive Optimus figure, only available
at this Universal Studios theme-park (not even at the California one).
And at the bottom, bubble-makers (lame expensive, and flawed - they leak)
Mens and ladies shirts.
Some IDW inspired t-shirts.
At the end of the opening pathway, looking right towards "New York"
and the 50s diner.
Looking to the left, towards "Madagascar", which looks like a giant
cargo ship parked in the middle of the island (reminded me of Cobra Island
from the 80s comic series).
Looking towards the lake, which has a sculpture-fountain thingy.
Looking back down the "Hollywood" street.
A photo-stitched image of the lake. From left is Madagascar, Far Far
Away, The Lost World, Ancient Egypt, Sci Fi City and New York.
Inside the diner, which had some interesting burger deals, including...
....THE JUMBO BURGER! For SG$40 (about AU$33.40). I really wish
I was well enough to try it, as I would have loved to get a photo of one,
and to challenge myself. Unfortunately it would have been wasted if I did
buy it, as I wouldn't have been able to finish it before it went off.
On the right is the burger I did end up having later in the day - the Shiok
burger was like other western foods I found in Singapore... in that it
was "Asian-ised" with chicken floss. The turkey bacon is something
I found a lot on burgers in Singapore as well, which is very American.
Below is another example of "Asian-ised" western food - the Noodle Dog.
Instead of being coated in batter like it is here and in America, in Singapore
it was covered in noodles and baked until semi-crispy.
Which looks like this... (it tasted very plain though, as the batter
on our version has a fair bit of the flavour - believe it or not, I threw
about half of it away it was that boring and messy)
The other item there that was more interesting to me was a "Cone Pizza",
which was basically just a pizza pocket shaped as a cone. Very processed
in taste and texture, and certainly not worth $5.80 (about AU$4.80).
Look how tiny it is.
Just like at other theme-parks, there were people walking around in
costumes. First ones we found were Mr & Mrs Woody Woodpecker.
Near the Diner was one of the performance stages, which we didn't go
A new themed section for Sesame Street, which was still yet to be completed. (opening in December)
They did already have the stores open for merchandise though.
And another one. (yes, that's an Asian dude with a huge afro... I was so impressed, I had to get him in the photo of the Sesame Street store)
A close up of character statues for people to get their photos taken.
Another outlet for the Sesame Street theme - Cookie Monster's cookies.
Looking back down the street at the diner and at Madagascar in the distance.
The "New York" section, which appeared to be just building fronts, with
no actual event, ride or show in that section. And since the Transformers
Ride actually forced the demolition of part of "New York", it really seemed
like a temporary "backlot" section, ready to be replaced with another themed
ride or section.
It wasn't even like people were taking their photos in front of the
buildings to fool friends into thinking that they had been to New York...
it just seemed like a bridging section to the Sci Fi themed section and
Speaking of which... Sci Fi City, featuring Transformers.
The street is all shaded under tinted glass, but it is actually out
in the open.
Opposite the ride is a big statue of Evac, for photographs.
And next to it is a Camaro Bumblebee (probably just a shell prop).
Looks like you used to go up to it to have your photo taken with it, but
now looks to be roped off (people were probably damaging it too much).
Dispensor made me do it...
Inside the gift shop first... to see what other stuff they had for sale.
Toys, toys and more toys...
A central display of toys that they used to have, and some they currently
And another display... with a lot of expensive prices. There were
a few that I wanted, but had to skip them, hoping that I would find them
in retail stores later in the week (kinda like at the California one).
Then the non-toy merchandise...
The shiny things between the columns of t-shirts are cushions. Single-sided
allegiance cushions... and now that I have a growing collection of Transformers
cushions, I "had" to buy these two as well...
Bags and satchels.
Activity books and snow-globes.
Lanyards and Kreons.
Kids clothing and two different Bumblebee Roleplay guns (the bigger
one on top was at the California Theme-park).
Roleplay guns and electronic coin counters.
The middle t-shirt is the one that was only in kids sizes at California,
so I was quick to grab one here in adult sizing. I also got one that
didn't end up in one of these photos, which is a brown one with Sideswipe
in both modes and the phrase "Autobot Racing". It is in a photo at
the end of this page (of all the stuff I bought).
Cups, plates, bottles and cutlery.
More bottles and bags.
Bubble blowers. As mentioned earlier, these are heavily flawed in their
design, as the detergent has to pool in a reservoir for the blower to create
the bubbles... but if the gun is tilted the detergent spills out.
And even if you hold it straight, the reservoir overflows quickly, dripping
out everywhere, making a slimy mess. The gift-shop attendant was
even telling people to not tip it over, probably from so many complaints
about the design... yet, they weren't willing to remove them from sale,
hoping to scam more people with defective goods so that they don't lose
any money. After all, how many people would actually go all the way
back to the Park to demand a refund for a $20 bit of merchandise, especially
if they have already left the park on their only day there? And to
make it worse, one of the two that I bought, didn't even work straight
out of the packaging.
Totally dodgy... and spoils the impression of the brand by regular people (kids) who end up with a messy, defective toy to ruin their experience with Transformers and Universal Studios.
Pins & Badges.
Stickers and badges.
And a wall poster in the corner that I liked. I almost bought
a t-shirt with this image on it, but ended up passing on it.
Now for the ride.
As you'll see in the photos below, for most of the day, this ride was almost completely empty.
At the worst, there was probably about 40 people in line, which took up less than one percent of the queuing area, and that just took 5 minutes to get onto the ride. Imagine how long it would take to wait for the ride if all the queuing area was full of people. You'll see several photos of queuing areas that were all empty, but if they were full, I'd estimate it would take about 3 hours to get on the 5 minute ride. I guess we were lucky enough not to know, by being there on a Wednesday instead of on the weekend.
It makes me wonder if they just over-estimated the popularity of the ride, or the numbers at the park, as I couldn't imagine there would be that many people in the park to even fill the Transformers Ride queue.
INTRUDER ALERT!!! INTRUDER ALERT!!!
A DECEPTICON HAS BREACHED N.E.S.T.
The mighty Decepticon Dispensor has infiltrated the NEST base, to capture the Allspark shard.
Ah... the Shard is mine.
Now, to escape with it.
The mighty Scorponok was not as lucky.
Yes mighty Megatron... I'm on my way to you with the Shard.
Hmmph... Wheelie the traitor.
Now... where the heck am I?
Oh no it's Optimus... he's found me.
Gotta get my 3D glasses to blend in with the humans.
A little bit of recon, while deep within the NEST base.
Ah, Evac is evacuating the humans before I can destroy them with my
Soda Cans Of Doom.
(photo is from the website on the logo - all my photos of Evac came out all blurred)
If you want to know what the ride is about, my
detailed description can be read here.
Despite the ride being the same, there was something wrong with this one. The scenes which had a lot of white or bright (like the first appearance of Devastator) the fabric/texture of the screen could be seen, distorting the image. Either the screens are too coarse, or they are already getting dirty from usage and no one has thought to clean them.
My camera battery died after I took some of the photos of the queuing
area, so after we went on the Ride, I told Julian to go on it again, while
I'd go back to our locker to swap over the battery in my camera.
When I got back I looked over the merchandise store a bit more, to wait for him. The queue on the ride was so small, he managed to go on it twice while I was gone.
I asked him if he wanted to go back on it again, but he said that three times was enough for now, so we went back outside and continued on around the rest of the park.
Universal Toys and Merchandise I bought later in the day.