Mondays on whilst on holiday are a special kind of Monday to me. Whilst they'd be spent in the real world commuting, working, keeping to routines and getting buried in the daily affairs of keeping a household on its toes: Mondays in holiday mode are just filled with hours waiting to be spent on block capitals FUN.
RWS is a collection of theme parks, museums and other attractions that are housed in a sprawling complex that adjoins a casino. It's so user friendly it's like stopping off at a shopping centre. Once you are dropped off at the undercover transport area, you literally just take a lift up to all the attractions.
But wait, this is Singapore we're talking about so before you get to the attractions, you'll find yourself in The Forum, a pleasant sky lit arcade full of eateries and shops. The Chinese New Year decorations were still up and they added a larger than life and festive feel to things.
Because this is me we're talking about, there was a pre park stop off at Bread Talk. Actually, Toddler SSG found it for me. No mistaking that he's very much my son.
And then we were there. At Universal Studios Singapore. Where again there was friendly efficiency, immaculate surrounds and just enough of a crowd for atmosphere but not enough to totally overwhelm a three year old.
I know that some are of the opinion that the park is a bit small compared to Orlando but this is a huge advantage to those who may be travelling there with young children. It wasn't completely overwhelming to walk through the entire park in half a day and amenities were always within a short walk from the action.
Toddler SSG was totally Minion-ed early in the piece. He couldn't tear himself away from Minion Mart and wanted all the Minions he could carry stuffed into his back pack....
And the water features that dottted the park were all just begging to be climbed into so that their jets of water could be high fived with glee.
We managed two rides over our half day visit. The Sesame Street Spaghetti Sauce Chase is a gently paced ride with no sudden dips or turns.
While the Madagascar themed merry go round was a bit more old school. So the Staying Alive soundtrack for the ride was probably a bit cheesy but I loved it.
Walking through Hollywood and New York was probably the most enjoyable part of the visit for Toddler SSG.
And he really got down and moved during a street performance.
The park was also gearing up for Easter so beautifully decorated eggs sign posted the avenue through Hollywood.
And the Universal globe elongated itself into an egg.
It was a cloudy day which made for some beautifully moody shots of the park.
Far Far Away looked strangely menacing with the storm clouds behind it.
And we ended off with a little walk through Ancient Egypt before the excitement got the better of Toddler SSG and we had to stop for a nap outside a cafe in the Lost World. You know you're tired when you manage to sleep through an hour of the Jurassic Park theme song being played continuously as your mother holds you in a surprisingly comfortable metal chair.
My big tip for visiting with a toddler is to be prepared to just walk around exploring without feeling the need to go on as many rides or see as many shows as you can fit in. The waiting in line can be really tough at this age (even if its only for five minutes). You can get Express Pass access but being a Monday morning, we didn't need to do this for the child friendly rides we wanted to go on. Four hours was enough for Toddler SSG and towards the end, the colour, movement and constant noise did overwhelm him.
Our best and only buy of the day was this Elmo themed water spritzer and fan combo. It got surprisingly hot in the park, despite the shaded walk ways, trees and water features. We brought hats from home and lots of water bottles but the spray fan helped when Toddler SSG was too excited to drink or slow down.
We also chose to eat outside the park. Again because of the noise and lights and a need to find a quiet place to regroup for a bit. There are many eateries to choose from outside the park on the promenade. Most are Asian whilst the park's choices were heavy on fried chicken, burgers and chips. Malaysian Food Street is to the left of Universal Studios and is a collection of hawkers stalls featuring favourite noodle, rice and meat dishes of the region - as well as a killer selection of refeshing shaved ice based desserts. The stalls are presented as shop houses and the kitchens in each are authentic bare bones affairs with pots of help yourself condiments at the counter and hooks of meat in their front windows. Apologies for the lack of photos but we were so hungry we fell onto our food the moment we carried it back to our table. Dishes are in the $5 - $10 SGD range. Pretty good for a tourist area, I reckon.
Our second and final stop for the day at RWS was for the SEA (South East Asian) Aquarium. It's a short walk (minutes) from Universal Studios and combines historical exhibits of the maritime history of the region with a breathtaking collection of aquarium exhibits.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The colours and gentle sway of both creatures and vegetation are guaranteed to calm even the most energetic toddler -
even if it's only for a few seconds so that they can be like everyone else and take their own smart phone photo of Nemo.
Delicate jelly fish pulsed and floated through the water,
some were a striking neon orange.
Our visit concluded with a few minutes just gazing from the large viewing platform into the main tank.
Manta rays just have this other worldly look to them as they glide amongst schools of fish, don't you think?
And then it was up another elevator and back to land. Where there construction equipment and massive freight liners stretched out into the horizon for as far as the eye could see. The landscape of the city has transformed since the last time I visited five or six years ago. And it looks like its in the process of continuing to do so right now as well.
Just as a quick tourist note, there are cable cars, shuttle buses and a sky train that service the island's attractions and its beaches. The cable cars are ticketed but other forms of transport seem to be free around the area. We took the buses and sky train just to have a look around before we left and it was actually a lovely way to end the day.