Friday, March 19, 2010

Universal Studios theme park gets thumbs-up

ACTRESSES dressed as Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe and prancing lion dancers were in attendance at Sentosa yesterday when the Universal Studios theme park greeted its first visitors at precisely 8.28am. The park is the last of the attractions at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to accept visitors under Phase 1 of its opening.

Universal Studios’ 18 attractions include the Battlestar Galactica roller coaster, several movie-themed thrill rides, and shows like Waterworld, which is based on the movie of the same title.

Most of the visitors in the early morning crowd of about 200 yesterday were Singaporeans with children in tow.

Lawyer Zee Liew, 39, who was with his wife and two sons aged eight and six, said the family had checked into the resort’s Festive Hotel on Wednesday for a school holiday ’staycation’.

His elder son, Wei Jin, gave the theme park a big thumbs-up and said the Jurassic Park ride was his favourite.

For newlyweds Raymond Ling and Liew Soo Eng, the star attraction was the Battlestar Galactica.

Mr Ling, 27, a sales manager, and Ms Liew, 23, a teacher, made a beeline for the ride and loved it.

Mr Ling said: ‘The goal was to come here first and experience the most terrifying rides. We’ll definitely be taking it as many times as we can.’

The 20ha park, Universal Studios’ fourth after those in Orlando, Hollywood and Osaka, completes RWS’ first phase line-up of the casino, four hotels and a retail and dining strip.

Still to come are a maritime museum, two more hotels, a marine life park, water theme park and luxury spa. No timeframe has been given for them.

No major glitches were reported yesterday, in contrast to the casino’s opening on Feb 14, when there were complaints of overcrowding, lack of sanitation facilities and long entry queues, among other things.

Park-goers yesterday said there were fewer people than expected, and that they did not have to stand in line for long.

This could have been due to the limited number of tickets sold.

RWS spokesman Robin Goh declined to say how many tickets were sold, but said that they numbered ‘in the thousands’.

He said limits were placed to avoid ‘over-stressing the system’.

Genting Group chairman Lim Kok Thay told reporters yesterday that RWS’ performance so far has ‘exceeded our own expectations’.

Both RWS and the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort – which will begin its phased opening on April 27 – are expected to boost visitor arrivals to Singapore.

In addition, they are expected to create about 60,000 jobs for Singaporeans and add $5.4 billion to the economy by 2015.

Judging by the reaction from tourists, the theme park is working its magic.

Australian Kirsteen Knevitt declared that Universal Studios Singapore is better than the theme parks back home.

She said: ‘Everything is beautiful, and the rides are really, really good.’

Indonesian businessman Edwin Purwohandianto, 44, said: ‘This is one of the more spectacular places in Singapore. I think many people from Asian countries will want to come.

‘Before this, the only attraction was Orchard Road.’

Source: Straits Times, 19 Mar 2010

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