Universal Studios Japan v.s. Universal Studios Singapore | Estella Tong, Grade 8

universal studios japan harry potter Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Japan
  • Universal Studios in Osaka spans 108 acres
  • There are more shops and better souvenirs in the Japan theme park
  • On the other hand, there are more things to eat in Singapore

Universal Studios is one of the most exciting theme parks in the world. There are two in Asia, Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and Universal Studios Singapore (USS). Both of them are very exciting and awesome. While both parks are very similar, there are more interesting rides in Osaka, Japan.

Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan

USJ is an extreme theme park in Osaka, Japan. It spans 108 acres and its design is similar to Universal Studios Orlando. It is one of the most popular theme parks in the world. Here are some rides that everyone should try:

Jurassic Park:

There are two rides in the Jurassic Park theme park: “The Flying Dinosaur” and “Jurassic Park – The Ride”. “The Flying Dinosaur” is a crazy ride that gives you goose bumps even when you’re just looking at it. Its total course length is 1,124 meters, and the height of the first drop is 37.8 meters (which is about 12-13 storeys)! If you’re too afraid to go on the Flying Dinosaur but want to try some exciting rides, then you should definitely go on the Jurassic park ride. It is super fun but be prepared to get soaking wet. This ride starts slow, then it gets more and more exciting. The part I like the most is when the boat climbs up on a very steep rail, then suddenly, it takes a 25.9 meter fall (which is about 7-8 storeys)!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

hogwarts universal studios japan

Hogwarts at Universal Studios Japan’s Harry Potter themed park

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a very popular theme park. The construction is beautiful, and everything there makes you feel like you’re standing in Harry Potter’s magical world. The best ride there is “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey.” This high speed 4K3D technology ride brings you into Hogwarts and allows you to join a Quidditch game. If you are with kids that are really young, why not attempt the “Flight of the Hippogriff”? Even though it is not as exciting as the Forbidden Journey, you can still give it a try. There are lots of props from the movie like cars, motorcycle, etc. on the sides of the waiting line.

Other recommendations:

Besides Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, there are lots of fun rides to go on. For example: both the “Hollywood Dream” and “The Hollywood Dream (in reverse)”, two identical roller coasters, but one that moves backwards. There’s also “The Terminator”, “Spider Man”, “Backdraft”, and the Minion Theme Park. These are all great but you have to wait for over an hour in line, especially during summer or winter break.

“Spiderman” is also a popular site. It is also a 4K3D ride, however, it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be because the effects weren’t realistic enough. Also, I didn’t think waiting for so long was worth it since the ride lasts only about 3 minutes.

As for Backdraft, there are three rooms you’ll go in. At first, there will be lots of talking (which is all in Japanese) and you’ll have to stand for the whole time. Even though it’s kind of lame at first, it gives you a breath-taking ending where there are lots of fire and smoke. The fire will last a long time and you’ll start to sweat. Then suddenly, everything starts to fall, even the bridge you’re standing on, which scares you because it makes you feel like you are in a real fire disaster.

The Minion theme park has lots of stores and things you can buy. However, you have to wait for over two hours to get on the rides. So, I recommend every Despicable Me fan to go to the stores instead of waiting for the rides.

Minion park universal studios japan

At the Minion Park in Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios, Sentosa Gateway, Singapore

universal studios singapore

The entrance to Universal Studios Singapore

Jurassic Park:

There are three rides in this park: Canopy Flyer, Dino-Soarin and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. “The Canopy Flyer” and the “Dino-Soarin” aren’t as remarkable as the “Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. Especially “The Dino-Soarin” since this ride is made for kids. The “Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure” is similar to “Jurassic Park- The Ride” in Osaka, Japan. However, instead of falling from a 25.9 meter tall slide, it falls from a slope 40 feets tall (about 12.2 meters, or about 4 storeys high). You will definitely get drenched on this ride, so there are 2 “dry-pods” (large dryers that can hold 2-3 people) for wet visitors to use, however it costs some money. If you aren’t with lots of people, you should bring your own pair of clothes to change or simply let them dry on their own.

Battlestar Galactica:

battlestar galactica universal studios singapore

The Battlestar Galactica park at Universal Studios Singapore

There are two rides in this park: Human and Cylon. When you get to USS, the first thing you’ll see are two huge roller coasters that look like they’re tangled up together: one’s red and the other one is grey(which used to be blue). The red one is “Human” and the grey one is “Cylon”. I like “Cylon” more because it is thrilling- there are lots of 360 degree turns that make you dizzy, and the high speed ride may make you want to throw up. Although you may be dizzy, you will definitely want to go on this ride again. Since this ride is so popular, you might want to go earlier so that you don’t really need to wait too long. As for “Human”, it is not as breathtaking as “Cylon”. It doesn’t have 360 degrees turn like “Cylon” does. Yet it is also very popular, so you need to get there earlier, as well.


“Transformers – The Ride” is also a trendy site in USS. Even if you get there earlier, you will still have to wait for a long time whether the line is long or not. I think this 4-D ride is visually stronger than the “SpiderMan” ride in Japan. It feels more real and the action in the 4-D adventure is super cool. I strongly recommend everyone to try this ride. It’s worth the wait.

Ancient Egypt:

I really like this park because there are lots of authentic-looking Egyptian statues in this park. When you step into this park, you will think that you’re in Egypt right away. Also, since it is so dry and hot in Singapore, it makes the park look more like Egypt. The “Revenge of the Mummy” is one of my favorite rides in this whole park. You can feel the creepiness even in the waiting line. The cold air, the fake tombs, and the creepy sound effects will almost scare the crap out of you!

Shrek 4-D Adventure

After all those hair-raising roller coasters, why not give this 4-D show a try? This show is entertaining and can be watched by everyone, regardless of age. Those jumps, bumps, bounces, air blasts and water spray also makes this show more enjoyable. Everyone should try it especially when you’re drained after all those rides in the hot sun.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed both parks and those rides. If you have time, you can go try both if you haven’t been there, if you don’t, you can refer my suggestions above. Even though both are related, there are still some differences between the two. There are more shops and better souvenirs in Japan. On the other hand, there are more things to eat in Singapore. There is a big cafeteria outside the park, and you can buy different kinds of food to eat. The food there is cheaper and of a higher quality. In all, I’d have to say I like Universal Studio Japan more, but why not see for yourself. I hope this guide helps you enjoy both parks!

*All photos courtesy of Estella Tong and family.

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