Night view of the BSG from across the USS lagoon
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The first of its kind in any Universal Studios theme parks in the world, the USS Ancient Egypt zone would strive to bring the enigma and awe of the exploration era of the 20th century to USS. The area is themed to look like an excavation site and the two attractions here tie in directly with that.
Now, right beside the Café and in front of the RotM attraction, there is the Pharaoh’s Walkway leading all the way to the lagoon in the middle of USS. While not technically an ‘attraction’, this is a great place to experience, for a moment, life back in Ancient Egypt. Walk in the shadow of the towering Obelisk, flanked on both side by statues of kneeling Anubis as you head towards the viewing platform by the lagoon. There are plenty of photo opportunities with all these awesome backdrops.
Monday, November 2, 2009
So what can you expect when you walk among the lizards?
Well for starters, definitely visit the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. This attraction is a flume ride so you definitely need to be prepared to get yourselves wet! Based loosely on the blockbuster hit Jurassic Park and the sequels, this attraction have you revisit John Hammond’s (you still remember the grandfatherly old man?) Jurassic Park after it re-opened after days of torrential downpours. A routine Rapids Adventure through the safe regions of the park was disrupted due to flooding and the visitors (you included!) are thrust into an unplanned trip into unchartered territory. While there, come face to face with Velociraptors (raptors), Dilophosauruses (spitters) and the notorious Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) as you try to escape with your lives. Will you survive? Just wait and see.
Another major wow here is the WaterWorld (WW) attraction. Re-visit the oceans and human settlements set in the post-apocalyptic film world of the same name released back in 1995. Be awed by the spectacular and death-defying stunts as the Smokers (in WW speak, that’s the pirates and the bad guys) attacked the Atollers (the good guys) in an attempt to discover the secrets to Dryland (the Paradise). It culminates in a showdown between Deacon (of the Smokers) and Mariner (helping out the Atollers), both vying for Helen, the person with information to Dryland. There will be plenty of actions on jet-skis, lots of explosions and plenty of humour in the antics of the casts. Not to mention, a seaplane would also make an appearance. A fan classic from Universal Studios Hollywood and Japan, don’t miss this out. And for those sitting in the front rows, you will get wet.
Oh and did I mention this was a live show?
Parents with children would not want to miss out visiting the Dino Soarin’, a carousel ride where the young ones can ride Pteranodons as they soar up into the skies and dive towards the ground, metaphorically speaking of course. Of course don’t forget the view from up there. Unfortunately, only children are allowed.
If you are looking for a leisurely ride along the tree tops of the foliage, head over to the Canopy Flyer. Sit in a 4-person gondola under the wings of a Pteranodon as you glide across the Lost World zone. Take in the view of the other attractions and the central lagoon while you are up there.
Once you are ready, it’s time to visit the other zones and attractions in the park! That, however, will have to wait until next time.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Some of you may have read the press release announcing collaboration between USS and Dreamworks. If that has whet your appetite and you want to know a little bit more, dive on in!
This huge zone is separated into two distinctly themed areas: Far Far Away and Madagascar.
Far Far Away on the eastern region revolves around the fairy tale world of Shrek. Entering from the east, expect to be awed by the 40-metre high Far Far Away Castle as you pass under the castle wall’s archway to be greeted by attractions and sights featuring the now familiar names of Shrek, Gingerbread Man and of course the quirky Donkey, among others.
If you head towards the eastern wing of the castle, you’ll come across the Donkey LIVE show, where guests get to interact with the lovable Donkey in a theatre setting. I wonder whether there will be a real life Donkey character in there…
If you head towards the castle entrance proper, you will reach the location of Shrek 4-D. Be indulged in a whole new, never-been-seen-before Shrek adventure, where you’ll be in for a treat of 3-D cinematography, complete with special glasses as well as seats that come equipped with all kinds of (hidden) contraptions to bring your 3-D experience into the next dimension, hence the name Shrek 4-D.
Nestled in between Shrek 4-D (in the main keep) and Donkey LIVE (in the east wing), you’ll come across the Fairy Godmother’s Potion Shop, perfect for those looking for memorabilia and gifts to bring away. Not only that, right at the back of this shop, you’ll stumble across a miniature Ferris wheel, the Magic Potion Spin, an attraction in itself, where the countless potions for sale are actually made, or so we are made to believe! Hop on and maybe, just maybe, you may get sprinkled with some magical powers during the ride.
After all that, you can cross Romeo Drive and visit either Goldilocks Fried Chicken “Tastes just right!” or Friar’s Good Food (or both!) to quench your thirst and satiate your hunger. When your belly is full and you are ready to adventure on, head on west and…
You will see, on your left, the Enchanted Airways. This is merely a moniker for a ride on the back of a dragon! Hop onto the Dragon (that female dragon that’s enamored with Donkey) and coast along to sights from the World of Shrek. This ride is fit for the whole family, so parents can join their young children for this adventure.
It is then time to bid farewell to Shrek and friends. And it’s time to move it, move it to the land of the lemurs, the Foosa and the cast from Madagascar.
If you haven’t had enough to munch on previously, or if you want to try the tastes of Madagascar, head on to Casa de Wild right beside Far Far Away Castle. Or you can keep your tummy space for later and visit Madagascar: A Crate Adventure.
Follow the quartet of Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria of the Madagascar fame on their adventure after the ship they were on ended up beached on the shores of Madagascar. As this is a flume ride – a crate ride to be exact – be prepared to get slightly soaked while taking in the sights of lush jungles to forbidding volcano, to meeting the lemurs and the erratic King Julien. You may even get to show off some of your dance moves.
Of course we must not forget the surprisingly charming though thoroughly psychotic penguins; in fact they are undoubtedly the reason you – and the quartet – are stranded in Madagascar in the first place.
Once you are done saving the world (or saving the lemurs), grab some memorabilia and/or photos of yourself during the adventure on your way back out at the Penguin Mercantile – the penguins never fail in trying to take you unawares.
Right across the street, you will see the domain of the King Julien and the lemurs where you will find the King Julien’s Beach Party-Go-Round. This is a carousel ride meant for the young – sorry folks, adults not allowed. As the kids spin around, be prepared to be assailed by King Julien and his repertoire of high-energy dance music. Now if only he can shut up for a while…
After you get away from the incessant King Julien, now it’s time to eat some more! Visit either Gloria’s Snack Shack right beside the carousel or head back towards Casa de Wild.
And that’s about a short preview of Dreamworks. Phew! Right about now, I should be getting a nice pina colada at Gloria’s Snack Shack, if only I can fast forward into the future. I can wish, can’t I?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
If you happened to be walking past the bowling alley in Marina Square after work on Sep 16, I hope you were not shocked by the screams emanating from the group of over 80 Universal Studios Singapore Park Ops personnel having a game or two of bowling there.
Yup, they were feisty, they were loud and they were definitely screaming themselves hoarse. And all these were part of having fun of course.
Two buses were chartered for this first team building event, organized by the FUN Committee.
The participants, mostly garbed in the bright orange tees of Universal Studios Singapore vPark Ops, descended upon the quiet Marina Square on a cool drizzly night and turned it riotous. Starting from 7pm, for two hours, they bowled, howled (probably more than they bowled!) and had a blast.
The event kicked off with some words of wisdom from John Hallenbeck, the USS Park Ops Director.
Not to be outdone, Nelson Chan (below), the event organizer, followed up with instructions on the flow of the night’s events.
Ater this, the group helped themselves to the buffet while the bowling lanes were opened for some trial throws. The event proper commenced at around 7:20pm and the screams didn’t subside until nearly two hours later.
Meanwhile the award for the team with the highest aggregate score went to team 17 comprising of Fu Shiqi, Paul Yuen, Chan Chee Wah, Huang Huimin and William Ang. They won a set of Vivocity shopping vouchers.
The most-likely-to-improve awards went to Andrea Ng for her individual score and team 5, comprising of Joey Guo, Tan Qiuhua, Fey Cho, Joshua Nathaniel and Iffah Suhaila. They won the encouragement prizes: The Cruise to Nowhere AKA Float for Miss Andrea and Exotic Dinner AKA instant noodles for the team.
We are expecting great things from them the next time round!
Everyone gathered for a final round of photo-taking and there were, not surprisingly, more screams.
With more people coming on board as the time nears opening, future events would undoubtedly become larger in scale. And you can be sure they will definitely be ear-shatteringly loud indeed.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The idea was to see what goes into the process of getting an attraction from the drawing boards all the way into reality.
His interest lies in a multitude of disciplines. His main and probably first long-lasting interest is in the written word. For the longest time since he could possibly remember, he loves to read: he prefers fiction but any well written (read: not dry) non-fiction works just fine.
He's currently especially interested in books on alternate history, psychology and morality. But he’s ready to pick up books from any genre: thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, adventure, romance, life, current issues, technical, self-help, magazines, reviews etcetera.
In fact if you have something to recommend, he would really love to hear them.
When he’s not reading, he enjoys his computer games. He used to go on a gaming spree for up to 48 hours at a go. His friends reportedly mentioned that Jimmy once slept for 36 hours at a go. He refuses to validate or deny that statement.
He prefers games on the PC – nothing beats the control the mouse and keyboard gives, especially when matched against the clumsy controllers on the consoles (sorry, he remains thoroughly unconvinced that FPS – first person shooters – are worth playing on the consoles). Unfortunately, he has less and less time nowadays to commit himself to this passion of his.
He went skating every Saturday and Sunday; he makes time if he couldn’t find time. He was so crazy about it he even tried skating after work on Fridays. Now that didn’t work out too well; the paths were a little too dark for his liking.
His favourite haunt was, and still is, the relatively straight and flat paths along East Coast Park. Distance and speed are his mainstay workout as he’s not yet limber or agile enough to perform the tricks of aggressive skating.
He took a break from skating, literally, after a bad fall in which he fractured his left humerus in May 2008. But that didn’t deter him and he’s back to it after a near 6-months hiatus. And still loving it.
You can usually find him breezing along East Coast Park on both weekends, unless he was taking a trip or running his legs jelly in a race in some other part of Singapore; sometimes you may even find him running a race at ECP.
After his 'failed experiment' skating after work on weekdays, he wondered if he could do something else. Something like... running! You just need a pair of good shoes, some lighting, a running path relatively free from vehicular access and you can run your heart out.
He started running sometime in February 2008 after being influenced by his friend to sign up for the Sundown Marathon 2008. Now perhaps you may think he’s crazy to sign up for such an extreme distance after 20 over years of near sedentary lifestyle and you are absolutely right, he was nuts!
Little did he know the pain people put themselves through running a marathon but ‘luckily’ for him, the accident with the skates put him off any physical activities for at least 3 months. As the marathon was slated for end of May 2008, that was definitely a no go.
Not feeling grateful that he missed out on his serving of pain, he signed up again for Sundown Marathon 2009. This time he ran, he wept, he walked, he limped and he practically crawled his way past the finish line.
And not merely content with the pain he suffered (and upset with his timing) he promptly signed up for the next marathon in town – the Standard Chartered Marathon 2009, held annually on the first Sunday in December.
In between marathons, he trains 3 times a week. Recently he has been participating in a multitude of ‘shorter’ distances races aka the 10-kms and 10-milers. He’s been trying to get in more long runs in between the hectic race schedules and also having enough rest so that he does not get himself injured.Jimmy is now looking forward to his latest project: unloading his mundane ramblings weekly. Hopefully the masses wouldn’t just disappear like the dodo bird when his mind starts wandering and his fingers start dancing.