Visitors to Singapore most certainly have heard about Resort World Sentosa, the latest and most extensive tourism project that the city-state has to offer.
Built at a reported cost of US$4.93 billion, the so-called "mammoth" resort occupies 49 hectares of land on Sentosa Island and is host to Singapore's very own Universal Studios, the world's largest oceanarium, two casinos and six hotels offering a total of 1,840 rooms.
The resort's fi rst four hotels had their soft launches in January 2010 with a shopping mall, FestiveWalk, following suit on Feb. 1. Marking the fi rst day of the Chinese New Year, the resort's casinos recently opened their doors on Feb. 14.
Soon to lead the lineup of attractions at Resort World Sentosa is the Universal Studios Singapore, which brings together the best of Universal Studios around the world with a pair of the world's tallest dueling roller coasters, a castle from the world of Shrek, live shows by the infamous Universal Monsters, and countless celebrity look-a-likes crowding its streets and pathways.
Universal Studios Singapore will boast a collection of many world fi rsts: it will be home to the world's biggest single collection of DreamWorks animation attractions, the world's fi rst Madagascar ride, the world's fi rst Sci-Fi theme park zone, and more.
The studio will feature 24 rides and attractions, 18 of which are exclusive to the park. Supported by dozens of restaurants, retail shops and stalls, the rides will be scattered through the seven zones of the park:
Hollywood: Step into the center of the entertainment universe with a Broadwaystyle theater, dynamic architecture, palm trees and the famous Walk of Fame to landed guests straight at Hollywood Boulevard. Those feeling a bit famished can step into Mel's Drive-In from the hit movie American Graffi ti, which serves up burgers and cokes the old-fashioned way.
New York: Feel the spirit and energy of the Big Apple with its glimmering cityscape fa*ades and neon lights. The LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! special effects stage and Stage 28 offer a chance to get behind the scenes as well as take part in a real-time movie production.
Sci-Fi City: A futuristic metropolis that seems to be "hanging atop the clouds" and is fi lled with the most modern conveniences, remnants of past inhabitants and cultures, and visitors from around the world and other planetariums. The Battlestar Galactica dueling coasters, the tallest of its kind in the world, lets visitors catch glimpses of the subterranean world in the tumultuous battle between humans and Cylons.
Ancient Egypt: Be transported to 1930s Egypt, the golden age of explorations, when Pharaohs' tombs were discovered and their terrible curses unleashed. Aspiring archeologists get to unravel the cryptic riddles of the Sphinx in this sand-swept land while various restaurants and shops distract other "treasure hunters".
The Lost World: A marriage between Jurassic Park and WaterWorld, this is where familiar and time-tested favorites of Universal fans are renewed.
Far Far Away: A showcase of how the rich and fairy-taled lived inspired by the world of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek franchise. Discover Shrek's swamp house and stroll along glamorous Romeo Drive.
Madagascar: The place to fi nd the heroes of DreamWorks' Madagascar franchise - Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria -and join them on an adventure through the dense tropical jungles on a one-of-a-kind immersive river ride with state-ofthe-art animated fi gures, digital projection, evocative sound and moving show-action effects.
Visitors pursuing fun at Universal Studios Singapore can choose from a number of passes that best fit their liking. While one- and two-day passes are available alongside limited Express priority passes, the park also sells the Superstar pass (with complimentary hotel upgrades) and an annual pass with abundant freebies and privileges.
For more information, visit www.rwsentosa.com. -JP