Universal Studios Singapore – 5th Anniversary Celebration

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - USS 5 YEARS Logo

Universal Studios Singapore celebrated its 5th anniversary on 18 March 2015. Relive the moments of this joyous day in this special park update!

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Parade Car

One lucky family was selected to be part of the 5th Anniversary Opening Ceremony – which is a ride on this classic Chevrolet used for the May 2011 Grand Opening Procession Parade as well as the Hollywood Dreams Parade / Universal Party Parade.

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Opening Ceremony Driver

The driver looking all suave and ready!

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Mel's Dinettes and The Cruisers

You can’t have a grand event without the park icons! Mel’s Dinettes and the Cruisers, Sesame Street friends and classic Universal icons joined park guests at the entrance.

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - The Cruisers

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Park Icons gather to open the park on 18 March 2015

After a quick rehearsal of the birthday song for USS, the emcee welcomed the arrival of the car and First Family into the park.

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - First Family opens the park in style

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - First Family opens the park in style 2

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Park iconic characters welcome the first family as they ride into USS

Everyone’s so excited!

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Park iconic characters welcome the first family as they ride into USS 2

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - The first family onboard USS vintage Chevrolet during the opening ceremony for 5th Anniversary

As the car makes its way down into Hollywood, I’m quickly reminded of the Grand Procession back in 2011. It’s been such a long time since the park had this sort of celebration. Maybe we’ll see something more elaborate for the park’s 8th or 10th year!

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - John Hallenbeck presents the First Family with a special hamper filled with USS park souvenirs

Joseph Pua and his family were the lucky ones given the celebrity treatment. They just happened to be at the park early (similar to some other first family “picks” in other parks).

John Hallenbeck, Senior Vice President of Attractions, presented the family with a huge hamper packed with USS souvenirs. What a way to start their day at the park!

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Minions, Mel's Dinettes, The Cruisers and Marilyn Monroe

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - The Cruisers and Hollywood Dreams Parade Opening Unit

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Special Photo Wall to celebrate 5 years

A special photo op spot is set up outside Star Characters, where guests may have their pictures taken with lots of props against the celebratory backdrop.

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Special Photo Wall to celebrate 5 years 2

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Special Commemorative Cupcakes

And here are the special cupcakes to make the guests’ day a bit sweeter!

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Commemorative Park Maps and Pins

And of course, the park maps were unique for 18 March 2015 and include a sheet of 5th Anniversary stickers. Guests were also given the commemorative pins – and many of them were wearing it in the park!

What’s Next?

While the park is not embarking on a massive year-long anniversary celebration, there are some good news off the grapevine for the year ahead.

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 5 – More Nights, More Frights!

Halloween Horror Nights 5 will be much bigger than last year’s HHN4 and the haunt season will start earlier in September 2015. We’ll be in sync with Hollywood this year, I hope!

NEW ATTRACTION ANNOUNCED – Cars from the Fast and Furious

USS will be bringing in the sports cars from the Fast and Furious franchise. These hot wheels will be displayed at the park from next week. Nope, this is not going to be Fast & Furious – Supercharged that’s opening at Universal Studios Hollywood, but at least we’ll get to check out some cool rides.

OPENING VERY SOON – Puss in Boots ride and BSG roller coaster

Of course, let’s not forget that Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey and Battlestar Galactica will be opening very soon, sometime before Mid 2015.

Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - Betty Boop daydreams
Betty Boop wonders…

WHAT WOULD YOU WISH FOR? – Minions, Springfield, Wizarding World…

Universal Studios Singapore’s long-term plans remains a mystery. What new zones and rides would you wish for?

ICYMI – In Case You Missed It!

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Universal Studios Singapore celebrates its 5th Anniversary - The Cruisers 4

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9 Responses to Universal Studios Singapore – 5th Anniversary Celebration

  1. KM March 19, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    Damn I missed this event.
    Glad to have my annual pass renewed. It had always been renewed since my run-out date last Nov. But there was no notification from USS nor was there a reminder/update from RWS Invites. Got it renewed because I spent in a bracket of $588-$5000.
    Now I have a shorter time to rake that expenditure for an instant renewal this year. I have from now until Nov 2015. So I guess I’ll have to be visiting USS more frequently now… perhaps dine at KT’s Grill more often.

  2. Wee-Sen March 19, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Actually Nicholas I always thought that Egypt as a zone was rather wasted. Mummy is never crowded and there’s a lot of wasted space in the queue that’s never used. The animatronics are always down despite “refurbishment”.
    I propose that the whole Egypt zone be bulldozed and replaced by diagon alley (minus hogwarts express). I checked on Google maps – the land area is exactly the same. If needed the zone can encroach a little into the lagoon.
    What’s the trade off? 6 new shops and 1 new restaurant with guaranteed returns based on popularity of the HP IP. USJ is a proven test bed. Plus the replacement ride is more or less like mummy but less thrilling (family ride). Most effects on screens – less upkeep problems. Only the goblin animatronics need a little tlc but as they would be front and centre rws dare not neglect them. Plus the whole setup effective shields sight intrusions from nearby BSG.
    Whatcha think?

    • Dejiki March 19, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

      You’re right, the Egypt zone doesn’t use its area as intensely as the other parts of the park. Let’s not forget the entire section facing the lagoon, which doesn’t even get much use as alternate paths to other zones! The main street is also far too cramped to enjoy the (artificially exotic) architecture or even make Egypt believable. So having an enclosed experience – which is what Diagon Alley is all about – would be a big improvement.

      • Jeremy March 19, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

        I really like the Egypt zone! I think the theming is pretty elaborate, although Treasure Hunters seems so cramped in one corner. I wouldn’t mind if they built a Mummy Museum Scare attraction/ walkthrough at the unused queue area. I think they did a Mummy walkthrough at USH some time back.

        I think the New York zone should be expanded, especially after I visited the one at USJ!

        The park also really needs to compose its own background music! That way, it would feel more authentic

  3. Wee-Sen March 21, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Agreed. In fact with Diagon Alley there are so much more possibilities especially with the huge money maker that RWS spends so much effort on that is HHN.
    Have always thought Egypt as a backdrop for a scare zone (ancient Egypt) is rather limited in scope as can be seen in previous HHN. With the London facade I can think of many themes for a scare zone including
    1) Death Eaters theme – Voldemort’s Revenge
    2) Jack the Ripper theme
    3) Zombies – 28 days later
    4) Werewolf – American werewolf in London
    5) Woman in Black theme etc etc
    Plus if one does not want to participate in the scare zone one can duck into diagon alley itself and enjoy the Potter offerings. Also Borgin and Burkes can then carry the HHN merchandise instead of creating another shop in Hollywood.
    All it takes is verve and shrewd marketing for RWS to take up the offer!

  4. BWF March 22, 2015 at 1:56 am #

    Dear Wee-Sen. Your recommendations are very interesting and I can see the logic in your suggestion of Diagon Alley as a revenue-churner for USS. However, on various levels I do not agree on its viability as a replacement for Egypt Zone.

    Firstly, we need to understand the concept of a Theme Park. It’s core business function is to operate licensed amusement rides, shows and other related activities. Other services that run within its operational framework (eg. souvenir shops, restaurants, etc.) are supporting businesses that complete the whole theme park business model.

    The idea of Diagon Alley is appealing, but if you look specifically at USS, it will not work. Firstly, you mentioned about the 6 new shops based on Harry Potter IP. Business-wise it sounds enticing, but this is a theme park, not a shopping mall. People pay $70+ entrance fee to enjoy unique themed rides and shows that you don’t get anywhere else. Replacing an entire Egypt Zone with a concept that focuses on shops and only one dark ride is inappropriate planning. It confuses the framework.

    Secondly, don’t forget, USS has an entire promenade filled with souvenir shops right at the main entrance. Having another 6 new shops is really turning USS into a very expensive pasar malam.

    Thirdly, USS already has its own alley, at the New York Harbour side, within identical cramped street layout. If the management desires, it could easily turn that alley into one filled with 6 new shops selling specialty items from New York. Granted it may not have the same appeal as Harry Potter, but again, this is not a shopping mall.

    Fourthly, I assume the dark ride you mentioned is the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 3D coaster ride? I believe this ride will never be built in USS because its concept is similar to Transformers the Ride, and it’s very expensive. And honestly speaking, Revenge of the Mummy is quite a popular ride there, a lot of people will be disappointed if it’s replaced. Don’t forget a theme park is also a place for thrill seekers to go, and Gringotts doesn’t offer the same level of pure adrenaline thrill.

    By the way, I disagree that Mummy is never crowded. You’ve probably not seen the ride in operation during peak periods, the waiting times frequently exceed 25 minutes. Don’t forget the turnover rate of this ride is much faster than several other rides in USS, as it can take 16 people per car, and the vehicles arrive within a minute. Still, the queues really stretch during peak periods.

    But thank you for your suggestions and I really respect your opinions. Just offering my alternatives.

  5. Wee-Sen March 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Dear BWF,

    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate and acknowledge your point of view.

    In response to your post, I have the following comments:

    1) Though there are more shops in Diagon Alley as compared to Egypt, these are immensely themed areas to a universally appealing IP and are not mere shops. In fact merchandise sales from both the Wizarding Areas in Orlando are among the top there. If you look at USJ, merchandising sales are also very high in the newly opened wizarding world. At the same time these shop facades are interactive with the use of interactive wands which are an attraction in itself. Also the Ollivander’s Wand shop contains a “preshow” of sorts that the “wand chooses the wizard”. All these are experiences “you don’t get anywhere else” unless you fly to Japan or the US. As can be seen they are entertained while buying merchandise that is in fact quite unique (only available in the Wizarding World – JK Rowling has seen to that). Thus many are willing to pay to enter the park just to purchase these items. Matter of fact, at one point in time, the queues to enter the shops are longer than that of the major ride. Revenue from theme parks draw mainly from merchandising and dining. There is a finite number of people that can enter the parks (before it is too crowded for the experience to be pleasing). However, there is no limit to how much people will spend on merchandise or dining (if they so wish to).

    2) There is actually no space for USS to install shops in Sting Alley as these are mere facades which are used to disguise “Lights Camera Action!” as well as “KT’s grill”.

    3) Unfortunately we must trade one ride for another as USS is rather landlocked and there is no way to introduce more unless the old make way for the new. Yes 25 min may be long for Mummy to us but it was intended to have queues lasting way longer than that (hence the long and windy queue). However the queues have never materialised (the second loading bay has never been used unless queue times exceed 45 min and that is on a very busy day which is infrequent). Escape from Gringotts however normally had wait times of at least 45 min to 3 hours on opening day/week (which also never materialise for Mummy either).

    4) In the same vein that you compared Gringotts to Transformers the only similarity is that they both require use of 3D glasses. However that’s where the similarity ends. Gringott’s is by nature a roller coaster ride with show elements and 3D scenes. Thus this is akin to say that Mummy is similar to BSG (both roller coasters) and thus should not co exist. Also, BSG would provide the adrenaline thrill and queues for that coaster wasn’t very long to begin with. This brings to mind that perhaps Asians and esp the mainlanders (whom RWS is trying to attract) are not too keen on thrill rides. Space Mountain (the most thrilling ride in Hong Kong Disneyland) rarely sees a line either. In fact the longest line in USS is usually Jurassic Park RIver Rapids (which is only moderately thrilling).

    4) I understand also the economics and know that Diagon Alley is a very expensive venture even for Comcast (US$250 million). Before building HP at USJ, the management there had difficulty attracting people to the park. After a visit to Orlando (which also saw an attendance jump as well as increase in revenue), they bit the bullet and invested (the board baulked at the high startup cost) but are now pleased with the success (they are now thinking of building a second park in Okinawa). As the construction of Diagon Alley in USS (should RWS proceed) would not be the first attempt that would in a way downsize the initial technological research costs. Sad to say the price tag would still be quite big.

    At the end of the day these are but mere suggestions and wants of the fans and followers of USS. What eventually happens will be decided by the parent company RWS. I’m merely voicing my thoughts on why Diagon Alley would be a good fit for USS. After all in Universal Studios Florida, a once popular ride JAWS was demolished to make way for Diagon Alley to much success so the same can be said of USS.

    • BWF May 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

      Hi Wee-Sen,

      Indeed, there’s currently very little space at that alley as they are really just facades. However, the queue area at Lights Camera Action is again overtly generous, and hardly has there ever been a scenario of extended lengths in the triple-lane queues, thus with small reductions to the queue area and a platform extension into the lake, it’s possible to create space for an additional small attraction. This view is not merely mine, but shared by a couple of important people working in the industry whom I’ve spoken to.

      I agree Diagon Alley shops bring great revenue profits via merchandising in Orlando. But HP is far bigger in the West than most ASEAN, East and South Asian tourists which make up the majority of USS visitors. But that is besides the point. Ratio of shops vs rides is the most crucial element of theme park planning, to balance the interests of serving hardcore thrill seekers, families going for overall entertainment, and those merely hunting for souvenirs. USS has a far larger ratio of shops vs rides – the entire Hollywood zone comprises only of shops and food outlets with no rides, while there’s one dedicated shop to every ride. The problem is there is too much repetition in the selection of commodities, so yes a HP variety is a great idea, but that would entail a whole new blueprint which given USS’s limited space, requires massive re-planning. It is not feasible in the near future, until the park has reached a point in need of major attraction overhaul.

      Your comparison of Mummy to BSG is really interesting. To a proper coaster enthusiast, their differences are night and day. Mummy is an indoor multi-sensory dark ride laden with special effects and a reverse section. It’s ride experience centers on a brief “encounter and escape” prelude segment followed by a short but intense roller coaster segment. BSG, on the other hand, is a conventional high speed roller coaster with a twist, incorporating a dueling component. In addition, Cylon’s 5 inversions provide totally different ride experiences to Mummy’s dark and non-looping track. People wIth severe height phobia and fear of hanging inverted cannot stomach BSG’s Cylon, while Mummy is not for riders afraid of the dark and loud theatrics. FYI, in some coaster forums, dark rides are classified differently from conventional coasters. In coaster industry, Mummy is a hybrid of coaster and special effects chamber.

      But I’ve enjoyed this discussion. All of us share the same enthusiasm for a better USS and I do hope they will start to regard customers with greater respect and care.

  6. Serena July 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    I agree!!! I am really in love with Harry Potter that my friends call me POTTERHEAD and I fell that we should have a Harry Potter land or at least a shop. I feel that Madagascar is really childish but I know that they build that land to suit the weather in Singapore I don’t mind if it goes. I don’t like the mummy ride because I am like scared of it ( please don’t make fun) I think I also don’t mind it going but the MAIN THING IS THAT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE SHOULD HAVE A HARRY POTTER LAND sorry for being such a big POTTERHEAD

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