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Friday February 12, 2010

Universal Studios Singapore promises thrilling fun for everyone

WE were emerging from the Celebrity Cafe & Bakery at the Hollywood Boulevard at the Universal Studios Singapore when we heard from afar the familiar upbeat tunes of Madagascar’s I Like to Move It.

Not wanting to miss anything, we broke into a jog towards the source of the music and arrived in front of Penguins Mercantile, a lovely tropical hut.

Gathering there under the scorching sun was a small crowd, cheering and grinning like happy kids to the coordinated dance moves of Alex, Marty, Gloria, Skipper, Kowalski, Private, Rico and King Julien XIII.

Fascinating: The Far, Far Away Castle from The Shrek came to live at the Universal Studios Singapore.

It was certainly entertaining to see the penguins – which have heart-shaped tongues to boot – moving their plump bodies, flapping their flippers and skipping with their orange feet!

Having the privilege to stroll inside the Universal Studios Singapore before it was opened to the public was one of the highlights of a group of media during a recent trip to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

Featuring 24 rides and attractions (18 of them original or adapted for Singapore) in seven themed zones, the theme park prides itself on a collection of world’s firsts - the world’s biggest single collection of DreamWorks Animation attractions, the world’s first Far Far Away Castle from Shrek, the world’s first Madagascar theme park ride, the world’s first Sci-Fi zone, and a lot more.

While the rides, 13 restaurants and 12 retail stores were not operational yet, I had a jolly good time marvelling at the sophisticated rides and magnificent structures.

At Ancient Egypt, for instance, we were surrounded by the weathered walls and obelisks that transported the visitors back to 1930’s Egypt.

The hieroglyphs on the wall panels told a story in The Mummy, where high priest Imhotep and his lover, Anck-su-Namun (mistress of Pharaoh SetiI), murdered the monarch when he discovered their tryst.

Cute: Catch the Madagascar characters dancing to the upbeat song, ‘I Like to Move It.’

Two imposing Anubis statue stood grandly at the entrance of the Revenge of the Mummy, an indoor dark ride roller coaster which was said to be an expedition for the brave at heart.

Over at the Lost World, dinosaur footprints were found in the Jurassic Park that offers a river ride in a dense tropical forest — the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.

The WaterWorld, on the other hand, would present a 25-minute show based on the 1995 science fiction film that is set to thrill the audience with death-defying stunts amid awesome explosions.

Besides checking out all these rides, I was busy getting starstruck at meeting all the famous fictional or non-fictional characters.

To name a few, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop, Charlie Chaplin, Shrek, Princess Fiona, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda’s Po and Frankenstein created a commotion whenever they appeared on the streets to greet the visitors.

After spending the whole morning in the theme park, freshening up in my hotel room was a bliss.

The Deluxe King room in the Festive Hotel was nothing but comfy, fun and vibrant.

Designed with families in mind, the room has a separate chamber for parents, a loft bed for children and a sofa bed.

Scenic: 1.5 tonnes of sand were imported from Perth to transform one of the pools into a white, sandy beach at Hard Rock Hotel Singapore.

At Festive Hotel, kids are the VIPs. This was proven by the kid’s check-in counter at the hotel lobby that was specially prepared for the little ones.

RWS communications assistant director Robin Goh said the hotel also provided bedtime story reading for kids, a free service for the hotel guests.

The other five uniquely-themed hotels at RSW are Crockfords Tower, Hotel Michael, Hard Rock Hotel, Equarius Hotel and Spa Villas. The latter two are due to open later while the rest have already opened on Jan 20.

The next morning, we could not resist the tempting pool at the glamorous Hard Rock Hotel, where 1.5 tonnes of sand were imported from Perth, Australia to transform one of the pools into a white, sandy beach.

We had a splashing good time while enjoying the sun and relaxing in the jacuzzi.

Before we departed, we were given a short tour in the 15,000 sq ft casino that boasts more than 500 tables offering more than 10 games.

My only disappointment in this three-day, two-night trip was that I did not get to scream my lungs out on the Battlestar Galactica ride in the Universal Studios.

It is touted to be the world’s tallest pair of duelling roller-coasters (one seated and the other suspended), which zoom at a speed of 90km/h and propel the thrill-seekers over 14 storeys into the air!

After all that fun, I am really looking forward to the official opening of the theme park, and the rest of the hotels, casino, oceanarium Marine Life Park, concept stores and other fun-filled offerings in RWS, a S$6.59bil venture.

I am sure that the fun will increase by tenfold on my next visit!

RWS is located on Sentosa Island, off the southern coast of Singapore. It is only 30 minutes away from the Causeway and Tuas Second Link, and can be accessed by buses, taxis, cable cars and trains.

In the future, there will be direct buses operating from most of the states in Peninsular Malaysia to RWS, and visitors can grab package deals from our local tour agents.

For details, visit www.rwsentosa.com

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