• Vivian Teo

Taking kids to Universal Studios Singapore? 10 must-knows this pandemic

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Despite shorter operating hours and not all rides being available, Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa still makes for an enjoyable vacation-like escape for kids and adults this pandemic.

USS Universal studios RWS resorts world sentosa

We've been thinking of taking our kids to Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa for the longest time - the last we had been there was in 2017 when our girls were 5 and 7 years old. Now at 9 and 11 years old, I feel they are at the age when they would really be able to appreciate the rides there. But we've been hesitating because since the pandemic started, USS' opening hours have been shortened and I had heard on some days the ride queues are really long. The long queues aside, going to crowded places is a definite no-no for us during the pandemic.

Well, we finally decided to go to USS this September school holiday - we still have some SingaporeRediscovers vouchers (SRV) we had yet to use which will expire at the end of the year and with the rising COVID-19 cases and vaccinated travel lanes opening in Singapore, we thought we visit sooner rather than later, cause you never know if it'd all get worse and we'd end up staying home for the rest of the year (And I know we are not the only people thinking this way!)

So if you're taking your kids to USS, here are ten things you need to know. Do note that USS' operation hours do change with COVID-19 restriction changes in Singapore. What you read here is up-to-date as of time of writing but do check the RWS website for the latest updates before you go!

1) What are the opening hours?

USS is currently open 12-7pm on Thursdays and Sundays, and 12-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays as part of its Halloween Trick or Thrills event till 7 November. The opening hours can change with COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore, so it is best to check it's opening hours at the Resorts World Sentosa website before going.

While the opening hours are at 12-7pm, the rides' operating hours are staggered. For instance, Puss In Boots' Giant Journey and King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round operate at 12-5pm, Enchanted Airways and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure at 1-6pm and TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle and Revenge of the Mummy at 2-7pm. They vary for the late night openings as well.

Certain rides, street entertainment and select experiences are also closed and/or under maintenance until further notice. These include Amber Rock Climb, Magic Potion Spin rides, 4-D Shrek Adventure, Battlestar Galactica, Lights, Camera, Action! and WaterWorld. For full list of ride operation hours and unavailable rides, do check RWS' website.

2) How much are the tickets?

Tickets sold on the RWS website for Singapore residents are at $69 for those 18 years old and above, and $59 for children 4-17 years old. But if you want to use your SRV, you'd need to book through one of the approved platforms. We used Klook where the SRV-eligible adult tickets are priced at $69 and it comes with a "no minimum spend" $5 retail voucher. The SRV-eligible children's ticket on Klook is at $69 but it comes with a free Halloween meal and 2 carnival game coupons. The children's tickets essentially costs $59 if you use the $10 SRV children ticket subsidy. See our Singapore Flyer post on how to pay with SRV vouchers and utilise the children ticket subsidy.

Note that these tickets are fixed dated tickets, meaning you have to choose the dates you are visiting when you book them. As many of the rides are outdoor and much of USS is not sheltered, you might want to check the weather forecast in the morning before purchasing tickets.

3) Do you need to pre-book on RWS website?

At time of writing, pre-booking is not required for fixed dated tickets. But if you hold tickets which are valid for a certain period, you'd need to make advance reservations on RWS' website. Note that advance bookings are subject to changes to operating days and capacity restrictions, so do check RWS' website before heading down.

4) Are the rides suitable for young children?

We had been there when our girls were at 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 years old, I really think they can enjoy most of the rides now at 9 and 11 years old. When they were 3-7 years old, we took most of the kiddy rides like Madagascar: A Crate Adventure, King Julien's Beach Party Go Round, Sesame Street Spaghetti Chase, Accelerator and Dino Soarin. The height requirements for the rides aside (the height requirements vary for the rides, so do check before you take the little ones there!), they were also not game enough for the more thrilling rides at those age.

At 9 and 11 years old, my girls were a lot more gung ho, and we were able to try out the more thrilling rides like Transformers, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Canopy Flyer, Enchanted Airways, and Puss in Boots' Giant Journey. In fact they weren't even keen on the less thrilling rides like Spaghetti Chase and King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round!

Puss In Boots Giant Journey ride USS Universal studios RWS resorts world sentosa
Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey

I think every kid has their own fear threshold when it comes to thrill rides and I'm not one for forcing our kids to try them till they are ready. Turned out they were very ready at this age for most of the rides, but they still wouldn't go for the Mummy Revenge or Battlestar Galatica (if it was open)!

That said, I think there is still some variety of rides for the younger ones (though not as many as compared to those for the older kids) like those I had mentioned above. The little ones would also still be able to enjoy the atmosphere and grandeur of the attraction which feels very magical even for adults.

There are also character photo opportunities - we saw Po from Kungfu Panda, the Count Dracula from Sesame Street and the three girls from Despicable Me - which should amuse the younger ones.

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Photo op with the Despicable Me girls

5) How crowded is it?

We were there on a Monday during the September school holiday and it was not crowded at all.

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Pretty quiet streets of New York at USS

Our waiting time for the rides ranged from 5-30 minutes. The longest we queued was our first ride on the Transformer which took about 30 minutes. But when we tried a second time, it took only about 5 minutes. I remember in the hey days when tourists were visiting, some queues could take up to 60-90 minutes.

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Queuing for the Transformers ride

So I'm happy to say the lines move pretty fast for most of the rides. We heard from other parents that the weekend queues moved rather fast as well but I can't say if it's better on a weekend or school holiday week day as we deliberately avoided the weekends thinking it should be more crowded compared to a week day, even if it's the school holidays.

6) How safe is it?

This was definitely on the top of our minds before we visited. We definitely felt safe when we were there as it was not crowded and there were markers in queues which reminded everyone of social distancing. There is social distancing on rides as well like at the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, one seat on the ride between two different groups of visitors will be left empty...

and at the Transformers ride, the middle row of the 3-row ride is kept empty. You can see the queue markers on the floor below.

I think the attraction is doing its best with cleanliness and social distancing measures but individual behaviours matter too. So far, we find people are mindful about social distancing by standing on markers in the queue but like what you see in daily life, there are still a few here and there who wear masks revealing their noses or do not wear their masks properly on rides (despite reminders by staff). Hand sanitisers are available at all the rides but I noticed we were the only ones sanitising our hands after every ride while most people just walk past the sanitisers. I guess ultimately it's our individual responsibility to be mindful of personal hygiene, and observe social distancing and proper mask-wearing to keep safe during the pandemic, no?

7) Is dining-in available?

Not all the restaurants there are open for dine-in but there are a few options. Vaccination status will be checked before you're allowed to dine in. Do note that if you are redeeming the free Halloween meals included in your Klook-bought tickets, you can only do so at the stated restaurants in the ticket.

USS Universal Studios Singapore resorts world sentosa RWS
Our free Halloween meal - the bread with tomato and cheese and walnut for grubs tasted pretty good!

8) What to bring?

Do bring raincoats and umbrellas as much of the attraction is not sheltered. Brollies and caps will also be handy when it gets really hot. The raincoats will also be useful on the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure if you don't want to get wet during the ride!

ride USS Universal studios RWS resorts world sentosa Dino soarin
It was a hot day when we just arrived - can so feel it on the hot Dino-Soarin seats - but it rained later in the afternoon!

9) How much time to budget?

We had arrived around 1pm and had time to re-take rides a second and third time. By 630pm we were all pretty beat but at least we took all the rides we enjoyed. I've heard kids who could go on till 10pm on the late nights but doubt we had the energy to hang out till that late!

10) Are the souvenirs worth buying?

There are many gift shops at the attraction and the one nearest the entrance is the largest and with the most variety. If you're going to let the kids pick some souvenirs, I would suggest doing so at the largest gift shop near the entrance. They even have Gudetama and Hello Kitty sections which we didn't see at the other smaller gift shops in the park. There are ongoing promotions at the shops and we bought two huge Gudetama plushies at $10 each (after using our $5 retail voucher that came with our tickets).

The trip, though only for a day, felt like the closest thing we've had to a vacation in a long while! Hopefully the next time we go to USS, it'd be part of a staycation at Sentosa!

What other attractions have you visited during this pandemic that is safe and worth visiting? Do comment below!

Disclaimer: We paid for our tickets, and my opinions and reviews here are strictly my and my family’s own.

©Vivian Teo. All content and photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.