We all love Universal Studios. No matter how old we are, our inner child comes alive as soon as we see that unmistakable, colossal globe. Our hearts start racing, and adrenaline courses through our veins just by imagining the wild roller coaster rides. But Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is so much more than only just the rides. It’s the experience – the shows, the walk inside, the roadshows, the little details you never realised despite it being your hundredth trip to USS. It’s the same place, but each trip is a new experience.
But now, when you go there, you will get to see so much more. As the Year of the Ox comes around, you will get a whole new experience this Chinese New Year! You will sink in nostalgia as you see some of your childhood favourites coming to life – Gru and the Minions from our favourite Despicable Me movies, Po from the DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda movie, Woody and Winnie Woodpecker, and even Megatron and Optimus Prime from the Transformers! I transformed into a child (pun not intended) as I waved wildly like I had never waved before, to get their attention (and I got it!).
Don’t worry; all Meet-and-Greets at Universal Studios Singapore were done with close adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols. To take your photographs, you would have to queue up one metre away from the person ahead of you following the lines on the ground. When you have your pictures taken, you must stand at the designated line which is at least one metre away from the characters. There will be staff and safe-distancing ambassadors there to guide you and correct you. Of course, wearing masks is compulsory, and you cannot remove them for the photo-taking.
The first Meet-and-Greet I had was with the adorable Minions and Gru, with the Majestic Dragon! It was a splendid sight, as they graced the grand staircase with their cuteness and Chinese New Year spirit. While it was not the most interactive experience due to the large space and crowd, I assure you that you have their full attention when it’s your turn to take your photograph! It was also so amusing how each character’s personality was brought to life, and just watching their silliness is bound to make you smile.
The next characters I met were Woody and Winnie Woodpecker! They were the most adorable couple ever. If you ask me, they are Hollywood’s supercouple. You could tell Woody was head over heels for Winnie, looking at her starstruck in some shots taken with the public. He even guided her up and down the stairs, and was wowed by her beauty. What a gentleman, Woody! I’m proud to say, I got them to wave at me several times, and they blew some kisses my way. I was beaming at this point, and I felt like a child!
I also got to meet everyone’s favourite panda, Po from Kung Fu Panda! Since his last appearance was in 2015, I’m sure this particular appearance has your inner child quaking with excitement! Po was such a delight to meet. His iconic movements caught everyone’s eye, and it was so entertaining to watch others take pictures with him in his poses. I waved to Po many times, and he reciprocated with his famous bow. How polite.
Lastly, I got to meet someone whom I personally was really looking forward to meeting – Megatron! The experience with him was so delightful, that I did not want to leave until he bid us adieu.
To make the most of the experience, I recommend that you interact with Megatron. His snarky comments and jabs at Optimus Prime were just hilarious, and you could hear everyone in the crowd laughing. He even reached out and stepped out of his little cubicle space sometimes, and I assure you, a huge talking robot moving towards you is scarier than it looks. His responses were all in real-time too. Do you know what’s funny? He even spoke in Chinese! I was extremely amused by it.
Just remember, if you’re bringing along your kids, Megatron will probably scare the living daylights out of them, and he will simply say “Ah, the crying of children is music to my ears!”
I remember a particular interaction I shared with him that ended in the crowd cackling, and me running away in embarrassment. When Megatron said that he was about to take over humans, I shook my head aggressively, which he saw! He replied, “What are you shaking your head for, woman? Do you think I can’t see you?” and I ran away, which gave him satisfaction as he said, “Yes, run from me!”.
Lucky for you, you will even get to meet Optimus Prime, and perhaps witness their hilarious banter in person!
These are the special guests who will be celebrating the new year with you, and you can take photographs and videos with them. Of course, my favourite interaction was with Megatron, and I might have to go back again just to catch another glimpse of him being an absolute savage! All the other characters were such a joy to interact with, so be sure to head on down to USS yourself for a nostalgic time.
There is also a roadshow with the Minions and Gru where you meet them a little more up-close.
Universal Studios will always be the place you become a child again, no matter how many times you go there and how old you may be. Our childhood knows no boundary of time, and these shows are bound to give you and your friends and family new memories to cherish as you kickstart the brand new year of 2021.
Happy New Year, everyone! May this new year revive our inner child and bring us lots of happiness.
Photos by Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC team.