Sign in to follow this  
Theme Park Girl

Finally getting my passport! Yay!!!!

58 posts in this topic

Better late than never, right? :lol: To date I have never been overseas, nor ever applied for a passport. I've been driven mad jealous reading about all your overseas theme park stories, so now it's my turn to get out and explore the world a bit :D So I'm currently doing just that - ordered my certificates (birth, marriage etc) last week, they arrived in the mail today. Have filled out my application, also doing one for my daughter who will be my accomplice for my first destination! The next step is to get our photos done by the end of the week. I've had a few workmates offer to be guarantors. Then I'll be sending the applications off on their way to get processed :)

My first short term goal is Universal Studios in Singapore B) Looking to be just a short stay, probably 3 or 4 nights. Looking to check out the Aquarium there as well :) I'm also doing it as a budget trip, so intending for us to just stay in a hotel on the mainland to help save $$ (the hotels on the island are crazy expensive!) and get the gondolas over to Sentosa Island on both days. Have already started squirreling money away, if the tax man is nice to me this year then it could very well only be a matter of weeks until we are off on our way - at the moment I'm aiming at around August/September. Hubby is just about to take on a second job as well, which is gonna help with saving up in the meanwhile :D

Either way, I'm totally pumped and can't wait!!! 

If anybody has any tips for a Singapore trip, I'd love to hear them :wub:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For us in Perth, USS is almost like our local park.

Catch a taxi to Sentosa.  The MRT(local train system) is really good and cheap, but when you do the numbers if it costs $2 for the train fare for each person and they're now charging $4 for the monorail out to Sentosa from Vivocity(it's free the other way), if there's more than one of you it's cheaper to get a taxi, which will be about $10-$15 from Orchard Road, which is where I like to stay.

Hotels I recommend:

The Quincy, a boutique hotel (all inclusive, but more expensive)

http://www.stayfareast.com/en/hotels/the-quincy-hotel.aspx

The York Hotel (which is just opposite, cheaper, and very popular with Australians)

http://www.yorkhotel.com.sg/

They're about a 5 minutes walk from Orchard Road.

Don't forget to go to the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.  They do tickets which include all of the biological gardens, but at least get to the zoo if you can.

If you do the aquarium (which I find overcrowded and overrated) be sure to visit the Maritime Experiential Museum and its Typhoon Theatre (which is now a $2 add on, I think).  Sentosa also has an Underwater World, which has a dolphin show, but it has seen better days.

Whilst the train and bus system (with its ez-link cards) is cheap, you'll be hard pressed to pay more than $30 for a taxi ride to anywhere on the island, and you'll save half an hour on travel time.  Whatever you do, do not hire a car, that would be foolish.

USS is a great little park.  Transformers is still the most popular ride there.  Be sure to catch the first show of the day of Waterworld(around 12-12.45).  BSG is pretty busy now that its capacity is halved.  You also need to get to the Jurassic Park River Ride early, especially if it opens an hour after the park opens. The slow loaders/kids rides also get busier later on too. I would recommend getting to the Puss in Boots ride within the first hour of the park's opening.

'Madagascar', 'Shrek 4D', 'The Mummy, Lights, Camera, Action!' almost never get busy, so go as many times as you want (they're great places to cool off in the afternoon).   

And not forgetting my Singaporean blogger of choice, Dejiki.  Just think of him as their 'Slick'.

http://dejiki.com/

Edited by iwerks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, XxMrYoshixX said:

Transformers is most definitely the best ride in the park.

Have heard lots of good things about this ride! Look forward to experiencing it :) As a massive Jurassic Park fan, I'm looking extremely keen to check out that section of the park, along with the River ride. Wanted to go on this the moment I heard about the one in the USA, and got so excited when I found out there was a local version... I've even held off watching any footage of it online, as I don't want to spoil the experience ??

Wow @iwerks, thanks so much for all that helpful information! I really appreciate it ?

Would I be correct in assuming that weekends are the busiest time for USS? I was looking at maybe flying in on a Monday, then going there on Tues/Wed, in hope it wouldn't be too busy. 

Would you recommend we buy fast track passes? Or do you think everything could be well and truly accomplished in one full day there? Do you know if they do discounted return visit tickets like Dreamworld like to do? 

Also, have you been to the Sea Life Aquarium in Melbourne? As I am wondering if the one in Singapore is comparable to that. If so, I might very well end up giving it a miss, since we have already done the Melbourne experience already and our money may be better spent doing something else ☺️ 

Sorry about all the Q's, although I'll probably have a lot more to bombard you with in due time haha ?? I appreciate all the information you're giving me ??

Edited by Theme Park Girl
Too many "also's" hahaha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have avoided the Sea Life Aquarium in Melbourne as it's so expensive. 

Tues/Wed are definitely the best days for USS.  I think their tickets are more expensive on the weekend.  I'm not sure about return passes as you can pretty much do everything you want in a day there and it is open longer hours (they do have a reasonably priced 6 month pass).  Usually, with careful planning, you can avoid a fast pass, although I did get one in early January one time and it was helpful at best.  Weekday entry price is $74, whilst the unlimited fast pass is $70 (that's pretty simple maths).

Their main school holidays are now (the month of June) and around the Christmas/New Year period.  Dejiki's pictures of the queues at the moment are interesting. You might also want to avoid the Grand Prix time and their national day (August 9). 

The Jurassic Park River Adventure is very different from the versions in the US.  It's still a hoot and lots of fun and worth going on for different reasons.  I once went on it six times in one morning and got drenched.  For me Transformers would have to be one of, if not, the best ride in the world.  The technology is amazing.  Wait times vary from 10 minutes at the start of the morning to 45 minutes on a quiet day (2 or 3 hours during busy times). 

Compared to the Japanese parks, USS is a breeze to get around.  In fact, I couldn't recommend a better place to go overseas for your first time away from Australia.  It will amaze you what they have down with a city/state with only 5 million people.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I went to USS we went both times in Easter holidays. The second time was a Saturday of our holidays. It was busy but we felt like a fast pass was not needed. Transformers was the only ride we waited a long time for and that was 1hour-1.5hour wait. But the way their queue lines are themed and have videos it did not seem to be as long. I suggest going directly to ride the Transformers ride as soon as the park opens. This gave us a 10 minute wait. Later in the day it was 1 hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With Sea Life they are all generally the same. But they do follow the rule of "same same but different". If you're willing to brave the heat, east/west side parks are nice, as is the Botanical Gardens. I also recommend popping into the lounge at the Shangri-La on Sentosa as the view is fantastic. The markets at Little India and China Town are great too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@iwerks has pretty much hit the nail on the head. I prefer to stay away from Orchard road, where accommodation is cheaper. Their 'go' cards are really useful, and I found it unnecessary to use taxis, even though it saved time, because their metro system is an experience (in a good way) and you get to see a lot more of the local culture that way too.

I also think the Monorail is worth the trip just for the ride - and I think they still give you a free return ride, which equalises the price a bit.

I skipped the Jurong bird park, but I say the Night Safari is DEFINITELY a must do. The day zoo is still an awesome experience but it is still 'just a zoo' (an incredible one) if you're trying to weigh things up.

Universal can be done in a day, two though is comfortable to make sure you don't miss things or to do re-rides. I'm saying this from a visit at a time when BSG, Transformers and Puss In Boots didn't exist, (And I missed LMA) so with that said a second day (even perhaps just a half day) could be worthwhile. If you plan it that way, the other half of the day gives you time to explore sentosa and do some of the other things they offer - I quite enjoyed the Luge, and we hired a bike on the coastal side and rode up and down for a couple of hours just enjoying the ambience. This 'second day' also gives you a chance to experience 'Wings of Time' which replaced Songs of the Sea - and is the world's only permanent show set in the sea. If it's anything like SotS, its a little camp, but still thoroughly enjoyable and well worth sticking around for.

I still say you're nuts not going to Hong Kong and doing Disney as your first trip, but Singapore is a good substitute. Make sure to stop by Raffles for the original Singapore Sling (and Virgin Sling for Becky).. either way you're going to have a blast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome, congrats on getting one. After decades of travelling without a problem. I managed to destroy my Passport overseas last year and had to get an emergency passport - you do not want one of these lol.

Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in Singapore. They have Halloween Horror Nights at Uni Singapore, but that gets crazy busy and would add expense to your trip.

Edited by downunder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Theme Park Girl said:

Better late than never, right? :lol: To date I have never been overseas, nor ever applied for a passport. I've been driven mad jealous reading about all your overseas theme park stories, so now it's my turn to get out and explore the world a bit :D So I'm currently doing just that - ordered my certificates (birth, marriage etc) last week, they arrived in the mail today. Have filled out my application, also doing one for my daughter who will be my accomplice for my first destination! The next step is to get our photos done by the end of the week. I've had a few workmates offer to be guarantors. Then I'll be sending the applications off on their way to get processed :)

Just a bit of a side note, Any physical passport application forms (collected from Aus Post) are changing as of tomorrow (July 1st), so any of these old forms will no longer be accepted for processing. But if you downloaded your forms online from the Government website your good to go! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol @AlexB I did do a lot of thinking over the Hong Kong/Disneyland idea, but honestly I think I'd rather take both kids to a place like that than just the one, I'd never forgive myself otherwise. And yeah, given hubby doesn't want to go (he is not a good traveller and only interested in relaxing holidays, not adventures ?) I think taking both my myself would be a handful at their current age.

My 6 year old won't go on half the rides he is currently tall enough for here, let alone elsewhere. He would need someone to supervise him whilst my eldest and I ride, otherwise we would both miss out on heaps. That and it would be a heck load more expensive overall. 

Youngest is OK with us going without him to USS (he's put off by the long plane flight and the fact they have 'scary'  rides) but he's seen and heard of Disneyland before, and I think he'd be less forgiving if we ever went somewhere like that without him ?

So I will definitely save it for a future date when they are older and he can come too ?? I'm glad you brought it to my attention though, as I was a bit sketchy as to where the closest Disneylands were and prices etc. At least I know about that one being an option now ☺️

 

@rac2703 lol thanks for the heads up. These were online applications I filled out ??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@AlexB Why is it not Tokyo Disneyland over HK Dinseyland?  Not sure why Aussies want to go to HK Disneyland first.  

I haven't been to HK myself but reports are way more negative on it than Tokyo Disneyland I generally find.  I guess the positive thing is the queues are shorter and the crowds are less insane.

If you get the right Jetstar sale, Gold Coast to Tokyo is cheap and I'd imagine everything else would end up about the same in terms of costs.  And DisneySea is an amazing park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd highly recommend Japan to anyone. After going for two weeks earlier in the year, it was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had. People, cultural, things to do, everything is great. And I've never felt so safe somewhere. Everywhere is clean, most people are kind, someone families should look at going. And despite missing out on visiting Disneyland Tokyo, I did go to Universal Studios Osaka, and it was an amazing day, with awesome rides, atmosphere, and despite it being busy, it still was great. And they've got Harry Potter there. Also things are either cheaper or the same price as what they are here (in Japan that is, Universal Studio is pricing you'd expect). Food and drinks are cheap, good accommodation is of a reasonable price, and transportation there is awesome. I don't know if you've looked into it @Theme Park Girl, but I'd look into going to Japan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RossL said:

@AlexB Why is it not Tokyo Disneyland over HK Dinseyland?  Not sure why Aussies want to go to HK Disneyland first.  

I haven't been to HK myself but reports are way more negative on it than Tokyo Disneyland I generally find.  I guess the positive thing is the queues are shorter and the crowds are less insane.

If you get the right Jetstar sale, Gold Coast to Tokyo is cheap and I'd imagine everything else would end up about the same in terms of costs.  And DisneySea is an amazing park.

I haven't been to Tokyo, but I want to. The last time I went to HK, the original plan had been Japan, but at the time, prices were against us. Japan was going to cost almost double what HK cost for similar experiences. Whilst I acknowledge that Tokyo offers two parks, and Osaka offers Universal as well, price was the big motivator. Flight wise, the cost was almost double*, accommodation was about 50% more for similar quality, and if we did Japan, we would want to do it all, which meant Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagashima and FujiQ - which of course starts to add up.

Other than cost, in terms of why I specifically say HK over Tokyo though, is because I know a bit more about @Theme Park Girl's plans for the trip than what she has said here, and I won't presume to reveal that - i'll leave that to her, other than to say its meant to be a 'quick dip' into the overseas theme park experience rather than a full blown coaster-to-coaster megatrip, and one that doesn't cost the earth.

*(I only fly Qantas on international routes from Australia. I realise other airlines offer cheaper tickets, but I like what Qantas includes in their price. To get similar inclusions on Jetstar for instance, it would have cost more than Qantas! So budget airlines are only better on price if you travel with budget inclusions. That's not something I like to do)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Yeah, you wouldn't be going many places if you flew Qantas International from Perth.

Singapore and HK are like quiet suburban starter parks and are quite similar in many ways. The Japanese parks are awesome, but will eat you alive. They are immensely popular and are the equivalent to the Florida parks in terms of scope and size.

I would say 95% of people in Singapore would be fluent in English. Maybe 60% in HK (like a waiter would speak English but a busboy/kitchen hand wouldn't).  And in Japan probably 80% do, but they're pretty reluctant to use it. You have to presume that most of their parks' shows are in Japanese.

The Singapore dollar is not far from parity with ours, which makes the maths pretty easy. 

Forgot to add, Legoland Malaysia is a long bus trip/limo ride away in Johore, Southern Malaysia. And why wouldn't your husband want to relax in Singapore?

Edited by iwerks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I regards to the language, what u lived about Universal Studios and the rides and staff is that despite the language barrier, the ride experience is so great it didn't matter you couldn't understand, because you knew what was happening. An example is when I went on Jaws, the staff were so energetic, you got a sense of what was being said. And the staff spoke to necessary/basic English.

In regards to the language, what u lived about Universal Studios and the rides and staff is that despite the language barrier, the ride experience is so great it didn't matter you couldn't understand, because you knew what was happening. An example is when I went on Jaws, the staff were so energetic, you got a sense of what was being said. And the staff spoke to necessary/basic English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, AlexB said:

I haven't been to Tokyo, but I want to. The last time I went to HK, the original plan had been Japan, but at the time, prices were against us. Japan was going to cost almost double what HK cost for similar experiences. Whilst I acknowledge that Tokyo offers two parks, and Osaka offers Universal as well, price was the big motivator. Flight wise, the cost was almost double*, accommodation was about 50% more for similar quality, and if we did Japan, we would want to do it all, which meant Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagashima and FujiQ - which of course starts to add up.

Other than cost, in terms of why I specifically say HK over Tokyo though, is because I know a bit more about @Theme Park Girl's plans for the trip than what she has said here, and I won't presume to reveal that - i'll leave that to her, other than to say its meant to be a 'quick dip' into the overseas theme park experience rather than a full blown coaster-to-coaster megatrip, and one that doesn't cost the earth.

*(I only fly Qantas on international routes from Australia. I realise other airlines offer cheaper tickets, but I like what Qantas includes in their price. To get similar inclusions on Jetstar for instance, it would have cost more than Qantas! So budget airlines are only better on price if you travel with budget inclusions. That's not something I like to do)

Totally understand and respect that.  Just in certain cases Tokyo Dinseyland may be a very similar price overall I suspect, like a Jetstar 2 for 1 sale or $1 return.  Then again if you get ridiculous mistake fares to LA then CA Disneyland stacks up pretty well as well.

Adding FujiQ and Nagashima and Osaka and Hiroshima certainly stacks a fair bit more on.

The AUD is also much worse against the Japanese Yen than it was last year and the year before, so that kind of sucks at the moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My tips for Universal Studios Singapore:

  • Get/Use a Mastercard - its their preferred payment method and you can pick up some good ticket deals by having one
  • Once through the turnstiles, turn right and head for SciFi City and get into that Transformers queue. It should be no more than half hour if you arrive at opening. This queue can get up to 2hrs, so get at least one ride in early.
  • After Transformers, hit up BSG. Cylon was my favourite. Free lockers for this one.
  • Next ride around the ring is The Mummy. Awesome dark coaster. If you don't want to carry your stuff, leave it in the BSG lockers. The ones at Mummy aren't free.
  • Jurassic Park comes next. You will get wet on the river ride, be warned. This ride typically has the longest line any of the times I've been.
  • Waterworld is a good fun show. If you sit towards the front you can get wet.
  • Far Far Away land is nicely put together. Puss n Boots wasn't open when I was last there. Donkey Live is a fairly fun show.
  • Madagascar Crate Adventure is a nice way to relax for a while, but not worth lining up any more than 15 minutes for.
  • I always go to Mel's Diner for lunch. If you time it right, sit outside and catch the performers on the stage.
  • The walk from VivoCity to Universal doesn't take that long. You'll need a $1 coin or an EZLink card when you get to the island.

The first time I went, I stayed at Hotel Ibis at Novena. It was a nice quiet part of town, about a 10min walk from the train station. The breakfast wasn't included in my price but I paid it for both mornings I was there. My next trip I stayed with a friend at Swisotel at Central - very business focused but comfortable enough, and would gladly stay there again. Last trip I stayed at Hard Rock Hotel at Sentosa, and probably would've preferred the Swissotel again.

Most hotels in Singapore will have universal power points, but not all so be sure to take a travel adapter. If you need multiple devices then also pack a powerboard. Also, put a Pen in your carry-on - Singapore has an arrivals card to fill in, and you need to keep a piece of it to hand back in as you depart. Flights to Australia require your duty free alcohol purchases to be completed at least 90 minutes before departure, so if you have a 1am departure, be sure you've shopped before 11:30pm.

If you see yourself doing a lot of public transport whilst in Singapore, grab a 2, 3 or 5 day Tourist Pass. They cost around $35, you can get them from the Ticket Counter at the train station at the airport (Counter only, not machines). If you hand your card back when you leave, they give you $20 of it back. All depends on how long you'll be there for and how much travel you plan to do.

Cable Car is kinda cool, but IMO not worth the money they charge for it - particularly going up Mt Faber. I still haven't managed to see the crane show, but I really want to.

You'll find most places in Singapore use Turkey Bacon. I found one place that did though, and it was a cafe run by some Aussies along Clark Quay - a good place to head if you're really keen on bacon and eggs for breakfast.

I did enjoy heading up the Marina Bay Sands to the observation deck and getting a look at the city from up high. The Gardens by the Bay are quite nice to wander through as well. Raffles Hotel is near Central, once there head upstairs and look for the Long Bar I believe its called. Once you've had a traditional Singapore Sling you can definitely taste the difference when you get the alternative. Be warned that they're expensive, around $26 last time I went.

Be sure your phone is not network locked before going over if you intend to grab a local SIM. Their plans are often quite cheap, but the initial SIM can be expensive. The last time I went I was on a Vodafone Post-paid plan, so I activated the $5 a day roaming plan and used my domestic inclusions whilst overseas.

Biggest shock I had of Singapore was actually on my way out - when you get to Changi Check-In Desks, don't be alarmed if you see Army officers with machine guns on patrol.

I flew with Scoot every time I've been. They have weekly specials on Tuesday mornings until around 11am. They fly from Gold Coast Airport around 9am, landing into Singapore around 3pm local time. The return flight departs around 1am Singapore time, landing into Gold Coast around 7am.

Edited by ads086

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Sentosa Island I would recommend getting a 2 day pass. This includes one day at USS and another day to do all the other attractions on Singapore. The price is $141.90 for Adults and $101.90 (Singapore Dollar) for USS and a one day pass at Sentosa Island.

DAY FUN Pass attractions include:

  • 4D AdventureLand: Desperados in 4D
  • 4D AdventureLand: Extreme Log Ride
  • 4D AdventureLand: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
  • Bi-Pedal Bicycle (1 Hour)
  • Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom
  • Fort Siloso Combat Skirmish: Indoor Maze
  • Megabounce or Parajump
  • S.E.A. Aquarium
  • Segway Fun Ride
  • Sentosa Merlion
  • Skyline Luge Sentosa (1 Luge & 1 Skyride)
  • Trick Eye Museum Singapore
  • The Flying Trapeze
  • Tiger Sky Tower
  • Wave House Sentosa: Catch-A-Wave (1 Try) or SeaBreeze Watersport: Single Kayak
  • Wings of Time (Standard Seat)
  • Images of Singapore LIVE*
  • Madame Tussauds Singapore*
  • MOSH!
  • Singapore Cable Car - Sentosa Line 

After you could do a third day on Santosa island and do underwater world and the Mega Zip Park or Ifly if you have the $$$$) Plus on one night you can stay for the night light show. One thing that cost extra on Santosa is to hire the Segway's for an hour to do a tour around the island. This cost extra but it is a great experience and to do the same thing in Australia's is a lot more. I have been the Singapore twice and both times got the 2 day pass. We ended up going the third time but we enjoyed it and thought it was good value for money. One thing is that you can purchase photos from anything on Sentosa. Segway, Flying Trapeze, Tiger Tower, Cable Car, Lazer tag, Merlion, Butterfly and insect park, and more. USS is also a good place for photos you can buy with all their characters from different zones and from different rides. Underwater world also offers photos via the system AW uses. Where they take a photo of you throughout the park (including in the lazy river by photographers) and you can pose for the photos and they will give you a wrist band and you can look and purchase them after.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone has added really good information already just a few things from me.

I like to stay near city hall area, Carlton Hotel is good and near heaps of restaurants,shops,raffles and MRT

Alcohol is very expensive in Singapore

I like to walk to Sentosa from Vivocity

I dont think fast pass is needed at Universal (and i'm a fast pass junkie)

As someone else said use Mastercard there, 10% off from memory on everything.

You'll love it

Edited by grrofunger
..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also there is a great Italian restaurant in Technocity. Next to Harvey Norman and its food is great and it was already on our table (warm) before we sat down. It was great. :) One thing you will notice is there shopping centres are tall (many levels) and I have never seen trollies in any shopping centre. We did look at the prices and over there is was cheaper to buy out then to get food to cook. Believe is or not the Shopping centre next to our hotel had 25 floors and believe it or not but the carpark went from levels 15-25.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow you guys are absolutely amazing!!! Thank you so much for all the detailed handy tips, I really appreciate it :D I've read through each and every one of your posts and absorbed everything you've told me. As suggested, I won't bother with the fast pass. Thanks @Tim Dasco for the 2 day Sentosa pass info as well, I'll definitely be looking into this! 

I'll be submitting passport applications this week, assuming they are all good then we should have them in roughly 3 weeks time. Then I'm finally free to go exploring outside the country! Seriously cannot wait :D

Please, if anyone else has any handy advice or info to add for this trip, I'd love to hear it. Can never get too many opinions :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Parkz Crew

    Support Parkz... join the Crew for:

    • Ad-banner free viewing
    • Parkz Crew profile badge
    • Extended editing
    • See who's liked your posts
    • Purchase discounts

    Join Now from $20/yr

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.