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Singapore stretches to the world with Universal Studios

SINGAPORE ― If you are searching for blazing sun, beautiful beaches and great scenery for your summer holiday but have overlooked Singapore, it’s time to reconsider.

With the opening of Universal Studios last week, the Resort World Sentosa on Sentosa Island off Singapore, is now transformed into an international leisure complex, aiming to attract more than 600,000 visitors annually. 
The Lost World
The Lost World

The family-friendly urban resort of Sentosa is now stepping up to become a prominent travelers’ destination. It hopes to appeal to both parents with fond memories of the great adventures of Rick O’Connell in “The Mummy” movies, and children who were taken with the adventures of Shrek the green ogre.

Situated in the southern part of the island, Universal Studios is the fourth film-based theme park, following those in the U.S. and Japan. However, among 24 rides and attractions at seven themed zones, 18 are original or adapted just for Singapore.

Upon entering the main gate, where the legendary Universal Studios sign spins with dry-ice pouring out to dramatic effect, visitors will instantly feel that they have entered a dream land.

In the Lost World area sound effects of a pterosaur flying overhead gives guests the chills. And frights are frequent at night when nothing can be seen but the red sign showing the entrance to Jurassic Park.

At Water World, 30 actors put on a stunt performance at 2 p.m. every day. Kevin Costner’s movie might have been a flop but the show fills the 3,500 seats of the outdoor theater with happy onlookers.

Kids jump all over the place looking for a good spot. A Shrek-exclusive souvenir store in Far Far Away entices kids with film character goodies. Meanwhile, parents can grab a bite to eat and relax. From simple snacks provided at the Celebrity Caf and Bakery and Superstar Candies to a bigger meal served at the Hollywood China Bistro, KT’s Grill and others, there seems to be something for everyone.

But of course the key draw is the rides. People queue for hours to get their hair-raising thrills.

The Battlestar Galactica, inspired by the cult American TV drama, is the crme de la crme of rides. The world’s tallest pair of dueling roller coasters ― one seated and the other suspended, propel a Zero-g roll, a Cobra roll, corkscrews, vertical loops and near collisions. The 90-second journey might feel like eternity to those who merely have an idea of what the modern day ride is like ― you cannot open your eyes for fear of witnessing the world flipping over again and again.

When the mind-blowing adventure ends, the whole family can sit around the pond and enjoy the 15-minute crane water show. The Hollywood Spectacular fireworks display is also something to watch out for.

After that the family can make use of one of four hotels, enjoy fine dining at restaurants including Joel Robuchon and more.

The tickets are also rather reasonable: prices range from S$32 for a senior-citizen day pass to S$118 for a two-day adult pass. A limited number of visitors are admitted daily but tickets can be booked in advance through www.rwsentosa.com or via local Korean travel agencies including Hana Tour.

By Bae Ji-sook, Korea Herald Correspondent
(baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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