Sunday 14 December 2014

USS - Snowy Christmas Celebration

I hope you aren't running out of places to visit or soak up for the festive spirit. While there are lots of events and places out there for you to touch foot on, I will say we had tremendous fun in Universal Studio! Great play with unending excitement within.

Being crowd adverse in nature, we had planned and decided to visit the theme park on a weekday. I thought we were being wise to shy the weekends, but there were still some long ride lines and crowd within the park. Not overly crowded though.

We stepped foot in the park at about 11am, and left exhaustedly at 9pm! It was some good entertainment we had, and we clearly didn't forget about playing hard. Very much blessed with great weather too.

The park sectioned in 7 themes - Hollywood, Madagascar, Far far away, The Lost World, Ancient Egypt, Sci-Fi city and New York.

We caught the awesome show of Sesame street saves Christmas. A live show to the short story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer who fell sick from shooting a movie, leaving the fate of Christmas to Sesame Street friends. A lovely production that had bagged off the following award: 2014 IAAPA Brass Ring Award Winner, Live Entertainment Excellence: Overall Best Production.

Go ahead and fill up the front rows if you're early. This is probably the only time when you have the up close experience of a live show with no hefty price to pay for front seats. First 5 rows give you snowy experience and sitting along the inner aisles give you good chance to hi-five the characters too! It was an interesting opportunity to catch a rocky and rappy Santa in the show, which I thought was really cute.

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Lovely production
Don't forget to catch the adorable minions from Despicable me at Hollywood too! If you arrive on time for the meet and greet, you'll be able to catch them dancing to their version of Chrstmas songs. Totally cute! Though I'm constantly wondering if the use of child labour was involved. I thought I had been a dwarf till I met them live.

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Cutie Minions!
And we caught Dear Santa! Oh, we love the Santa here because he looked like he came all the way from North Pole. Not sure about you, I don't really fancy Asian Santas. Perhaps, it's more convincing that 'real' Santa had arrived with good news that he received our wishlist. I challenged Js to brave up on telling him their wish list, but they were not up for it this time.

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Ho Ho Ho!

While you're hanging around Hollywood or New York, weather forecast says there is a high chance of snow that falls hourly!

Hop on the very young child friendly rides:
  • A crate adventure ride (Min 80cm to ride with chaperone)
  • King Julien's beach party-go-round (No min.)
Do catch the Madagascar boogie performance too, if you're fans of the casts!

Far Far away
  • Enchanted airway (Min 92 cm to ride with chaperone)
  • Shrek 4D Adventure
  • Magic potion spin (In the shop)
  • Donkey Live (Hourly show)
So yeap, another young child friendly area. Jare was exhilarated to be able to get on the enchanted airway, a junior roller coaster ride!

Look out for the street show, The dance for the magic beans. you'll spot puss in the boots entertaining you.

The Lost World
  • WaterWorld (Live water show)
  • Canopy Flyer (Min 92cm to ride with chaperone)
  • Dino-Soarin (No min.)
  • Amber rock climb (with additional fees)
  • Jurassic park rapids adventure (Min 107cm to ride with chaperone)
WaterWorld performs the death-defying stunts with loud shocking explosions and sounds. Great thrills within, and a good watch. However, loud sounds might startle the really young ones.

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WaterWorld show

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We arrived lost world at about 2pm, and there were long lines to almost all the rides. We queued for the shortest line we could spot (20mins) and left with a decision to come back for conquer later. Best decision ever, because when we were back at about 7pm, there were no lines to the rides. We could even go multiple times.

We tried to look out for the meet and greet with the Velociratoprs, but to no avail even though we were on time. We have no idea where the meet and greet spot was held at. Sigh! 

Ancient Egypt
  • Treasure Hunters (No min.)
  • Revenge of the mummy (Min 122cm to ride)
Treasure Hunters seemed to be a new ride as we've never seen it on our past few visits. Let me warn you kindly, if you queued like 45 mins for this, you'll go cursing and swearing at the end of it. It's rather crappy and unexciting, only good to wow the little visitors. If you've no kids, forget it! Unless no queue.  

I challenged my Dad to get on the Mummy ride with us, and he took on the challenge! Not once, but twice! Most cool Dad I ever ride with, he was laughing while I was screaming away. Again, no queue at 7pm. So love this exciting and thrilling high speed, indoor roller coaster ride. A good chance to train up bravery.

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The army of Anubis
Sci-Fi City
  • Accelerator (No min.)
  • Transformers the ride: The ultimate 3D battle (Min 102cm with chaperone)
The highlight was meeting the transformers, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. You've no idea how excited Jare was to meet them. He wouldn't take his eyes off them. Glad to finally capture his attention for a good shot.

To catch a shot with both Bumblebee and Optimus together, we rejoined the line after a shot with just Optimus. For the first 10 minutes, Optimus was alone, then joined by Bumblebee for 7 minutes before Optimus retreated, and Bumblebee was left alone for meet and greet. Am I confusing you? Just approach the friendly staff on site.

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Autobots, roll out

New York
  • Lights, camera, Action!
  • Sesame street spaghetti space chase (Min 92cm to ride) 
You know you're nearing the exit when your day had been fun-filled to great content. The big apple city, New York is happening! We caught the street entertainment by rockafellas, who showed us the real stuff of B-Boyin. Cool street dance!

The spaghetti space chase was also another new ride which we didn't spot on the previous visits. It's where you should bring your little ones if they don't have a heart for spaghetti. He might ask you for a plate of it after the ride. I was very impressed with this ride because Jare who just made it slightly over the 92cm mark was given a go on the fixed booster seat. Totally awesome that he doesn't have to overwork his neck to enjoy the viewing journey. Good move!

Catch too, the Sesame street stage show. Get up close to sing and dance along with the Sesame street casts who will hop off the stage individually after their performance, for meet and greet. No idea why, the show was very much delayed. About 10 minutes with no announcement given. Our trait of punctuality issue is dominant everywhere.

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Sesame street takes the stage

We ended our night with Santa's toy soldiers show. There was also a meet and greet opportunity at the end of it. Again, show doesn't start on time. A bad waiting game.

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Santa's soldiers

We were then beautifully farewell by snowfall! We had a great time of immersed fun, and the kids survive the park with no naps or signs of lethargy. We had a very late dinner to buy more play time within the park. The restaurants within closed pretty early, much before the official closing time of the park. It quickened our decision to dine out of the park.

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Lovely snowfall

We headed out of the park for dinner at Coca, which was extremely bad tasting because of its horrible service and attitude. Aww... a good dinner would have been a better wrap.

Nonetheless, we know nothing beats to spending quality time together as a family! Jare was extremely happy that he could get on more rides this time. And for being at the age of terrific three, his entrance was free. Awesomeness for being little. For offering senior citizen rate, I could play filial by getting my parents in too! Theme park is for everyone.

USS has really magical Christmas programmes this season. If you are thinking when to visit USS, this snowy Christmas celebration is probably the best time of the year to tour it. If you are hoping to get some thrill on our world's tallest duelling roller-coaster, Battlestar Galactica, it's still running under tests. Rumours has it that it's re-opening soon. But no one knows when.  

And of course, if you think spectacular fireworks must complete your theme park experience, visit it on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. Fireworks will spark off at 9:30pm.

Show times and meet and greet timings are available for pick up near the park's entrance. Good guide for park planning.

It will cost you less to buy the tickets online. One-day pass:
Adult: $71 (online with min purchase of 2 tickets) (Offline price at: $84)
Child: $64 (4 to 12 years)
Senior: $46 (60 years and above)
Valid for visit from 1 Dec 2014 to 4 Jan 2015 with extended hours from 10am to 9pm and 31 Dec from 10am till 1am. Inclusive of a Christmas set meal voucher. Do note that Christmas extended hours is not applicable on 19 Dec 14.

There's also an option to buy tickets for entrance to park from 5pm onwards, if you aren't intending to spend a full day in. Christmas event ticket is priced at $50.
Valid for visit from 1 Dec 2014 to 4 Jan 2015, 5pm to 9pm.

I had really wished this was a sponsored post, but nah, another good things must share post. USS is a local pride! You ought to be there, at least once. Having said that, I will still say much love is left in Hollywood's Universal studio and Orlando's Universal studio. 

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