Saturday, July 23, 2016

Legoland Malaysia

So just across the border from Singapore is Malaysia. Richard likes to collect passport stamps and the kids like Legos. So it made complete sense to cross the border to Malaysia and go to Legoland while on our trip.


We opted to use a bus service to get there. We took a taxi to the Singapore flyer, got on the 9:30 bus, rode to the Singapore border, disembarked the bus, took about an hour and half to get through the Singapore border check point, got back on the bus, crossed the Johore Strait, disembarked the bus again, took about 20 minutes to get through the Malaysian border check point, got back on the bus, and arrived at Legoland about 10 minutes later (just before noon).....guess we should have gotten an earlier bus, but at least we missed the opening queues.....

We immediately started trying to hit all the rides. The boys went on Project X, while Clarissa and I went on the Technic Twister. Here is her reaction to that....



The kids then got on the Aquazone Wave Racers. We weren't sure how Clarissa would react since she doesn't like going fast and Mason was taking her.


Since Richard was kind enough to spray water on them every time they passed by all was good....


Just working to secure his Dad of the Year award here....lol. She did have a blast and wanted to go again, but since we had arrived so late we said let's go and we might come back later.

We found the Star Wars exhibit. I think everyone was excited. It was pretty dark inside (and since we were tired of carrying a heavy backpack we opted to leave the big camera locked in the safe at the hotel), so we didn't take many photos in the exhibit.



I do have to say Richard's inner child may have made an appearance while seeing the giant Lego displays of different Star Wars scenes....I tried to capture a photo of his happy face but the light wasn't cooperating...


We have a family joke about a certain tantrum Mason once threw when he was 4 or so, we left a toy Yoda at Nana's house and he cried all the way home for it. Being sassy, I kept telling him we were driving home in the Toyota, why was he crying.....He would try to correct/explain between sobs...guess you had to be there.....so he was happy to find the ultimate toy Yoda!


We hopped on the Dragon's Apprentice (another junior rollercoaster)....ooh, Clarissa was mad at me. I got yelled at it the whole ride (which I may or may not have laughed during...bad parenting...oops).....and the "best" part was since the ride was so short they send you around two times without stopping when you go through the loading area, the second time around I got the silent treatment and evil eye. It was so funny! Afterwards, the boys went on the Dragon, while Clarissa went down to the Royal Joust.


Going on a Tuesday, it was a slow day so if there wasn't anyone waiting in line, they let the kids go around a second time. Then she went back and rode it two more times. Since it was slow and fun, she got over being mad at me. We then decided to ride Merlin's Challenge.....FYI...if you don't like fast rides don't go on that one...it was a train, so we didn't think it would go very fast....wrong!

We grabbed some lunch and made a plan to hit the most rides we could before the 4D Lego Movie. Got a great view from the Observatory Tower.


We went over to the Egyptian area. We all rode the very nice air con ride Lost Kingdom which had fun laser guns you shot to earn points. Mason then wanted to get soaked on Dino Island, so I walked him over (and waited), while Richard and Clarissa rode on Lost Kingdom a few more times and then played on a playground over there. We then headed over to Lego City....Clarissa's favorite video game.


One of the first activities, we came across was the Rescue Academy. I thought of my firefighter brothers as we I participated in the race. Clarissa was a good cheerleader, but I did a majority of the pumping to move the Lego firetruck, pump the water pump, and then pump to move the Lego firetruck back.....quite the workout in that heat (at least the humidity wasn't as bad as the day at Universal)! We did come in second place!


The kids went for a flight in a Lego plane (and were apparently blowing kisses to everyone).


We took a ride on the train. It had a nice little loop that gave our legs a little rest. Next stop.....Driving School! While waiting for their turn to drive, they took photos for their driver's license (which of course cost money....which since Clarissa actually smiled for....we paid!), then they watched a movie on how to drive a lego car....they came out and picked cars to drive.


Even though Mason is tall, he is still in the age range to drive....though not very comfortable. Uh...we are in a right hand drive country....kids are driving on the wrong side of the road.....oops.


I think she was loving it!


Finally on the right side of the road!


She was a little old lady here....serious look on her face and leaning up over the steering wheel....we may or may not have been laughing at this....


As soon as they got done we raced to the opposite side of the park to get back to the 4D Movie....we made it just as they were shutting the doors. They actually had to have us go to a back door and reopen it we cut it so close (and we got a lovely seat right up in front). It was a lovely short about Lord Business's brother, Risky Business.....


We then headed back to front to hit the 'Big Shop'....touted as the largest selection of Lego toy sets under one roof in all of Asia. Mason had been saving up his allowance for weeks for the sole purpose of buying Legos at Legoland....so we didn't want to run out of time and not be able to shop.  Richard and Clarissa posed with the Lego versions of themselves in front of the Big Shop.

Afterwards, we had a little time to hit the Miniland....where iconic landmarks from 12+ Asian cities were built. It was real neat to see places we have been (and places we want to go to). The kids each got to ride one more ride (Mason rode the dragon and Clarissa opted for the Royal Joust).

We selected the last departing bus that left at 6:45 pm (the park closed at 7:00 pm), we had to head out and catch our bus. We then hopped on the bus, drove about 10 minutes, disembarked the bus, took about 15 minutes to get through the Malaysian border check point, got back on the bus, crossed back over the Johore Strait, disembarked the bus, this time it took about two hours to get through the Singapore border check point, got back on the bus, rode the rest of way back to the Singapore Flyer (then cabbed it back to the hotel). It was late when got back....we were tired! I think since when we book the bus we had to enter all our passport info we were under the impression our border crossing would in some way be expedited.....but it was obviously not. Richard saw on the news the next day there had been some threats made to Singapore and all their border crossings had been backed up....so maybe our waits were extraordinarily long and not the norm...who knows...we made it back and forth safely...so I guess ultimately that is what is important.

So back in my post college/interning days, I moonlighted (and at one point managed) at a one hour photo shop. I happened to be working at one in San Diego when the first Legoland in the US opened up there. I would print photo after photo of these Lego creations. Being a single, 20-something with no kids, I thought these people were nuts taking all these photos.......well now I'm married, not 20-something with 2 kids and have spent hours helping them build things with Legos. So, when we saw really neat things built with Lego....yeah, I took a bunch of photos (like those crazy people I used to shake my head at). I opted to save those photos for the end....so if you really aren't interested you can stop reading the post......

Plumber outside the restrooms....


This one is for a certain friend....who had a pet squirrel named Rocky....
  

Picking Einstein's nose.....boys


A diver (with a floatie?)


Clarissa is our little painter....


Hanging out with some forest friends....


Steven Spielberg is up there on top of the camera!


This was in the ladies restroom.....a mural of a girl lego putting on lipstick.....so Clarissa!


King Tut Lego


Getting eaten by a shark....aaah!


C3PO! 


That's all folks.....


Friday, July 22, 2016

Universal Studios Singapore

On our second day in Singapore we took the kids to Universal Studios. Mason is still very interested in all things movie making (just bought himself a severed leg prop....because we all need one of those...). So movie things + roller coasters = tween heaven!

We pre-bought our tickets online prior to departing Fiji, so we were able to avoid that queue. We took a taxi over to Resorts World on Sentosa Island. This is a relatively new renovation on the island, the majority of it occurring in the last 10 years (Universal Studios Singapore opened in 2010). The sun was shining brightly while we waiting in the bag check/entry line. So Richard and the kids checked out some of the shops/stood in the shade while I held our place.


So I took a token selfie with the iconic Universal globe. Once in, both kids agreed they wanted to go to Far, Far Away (the Shrek themed area) so we headed towards that area. We did stop in Madagascar on the way and ride the merry go around.


As you can tell, it was a scorcher this day....just after 10 am and her cheeks are red from the heat (we applied sunscreen about 3x that day....nobody got sunburnt so that was apparently enough).


Once in Far, Far Away Clarissa rode her first junior roller coaster, the Enchanted Airways. We all rode on dragon's back. She had her head down the whole time.....so apparently she is not a fan (she doesn't like going high or fast on swings either....so we were not totally surprised). Afterwards, we went to the castle. It was a 4D experience with phenomenal air con! We got sneezed on by donkey, spiders crawled up our legs, and got to soar on dragon's back.


Afterwards, in the gift shop you exit through you can ride a mini ferris wheel in the fairy godmother's magic potion factory, as well as, make some magic potion of your own to drink. It was cold and tasty! The boys went on the Puss in Boots ride while Clarissa and enjoyed our magic potions. Next up....


Somebody must of bumped Richard when he took this.....he cut off the "C".....the boys opted for another roller coaster, while Clarissa and I headed off to fly our own Pteranodon!


Given this wasn't the fastest or tallest ride, it had a very short queue! So Clarissa and I rode it 3 times while the boys were gone. Then she rode it again with Mason (see them in the second Pteranodon).


Afterwards we headed off for some lunch. We ate lunch in New York....nothing says New York like a slice of pizza.....afterwards while Mason was off washing his hands I saw a character meet and greet....so I hopped in line to meet Charlie Chaplin. I wasn't sure if he would know who he was. He did and was super excited to meet him. The guy playing Charlie was quite funny and did a great job staying in 'silent era' character. The couple before us, he directed the guy to face away and then snuck off with his girlfriend. We handed the photo lady our SLR camera.....which he knew is tough to focus when the subject moves close and far a lot. So he had us running up to the camera girl and back away 3-4 times until she gave him a 'cut it out' look so she could take a picture...Mason loved it!


A few minutes later, as we were heading towards "Lights, Camera, Action" Charlie was heading backstage....he stopped and danced with Mason for a second in the street.....he loved it!


So, as I was saying we were heading to "Lights, Camera, Action" hosted by STEVEN SPIELBERG...you know the guy Mason dressed up as for Halloween a couple years back because that's his dream job.....so to see special effects on a sound stage narrated by his hero....you can bet we were going to that (twice!). Afterwards, Mason ran into Vin Diesel (well a wax one...not sure how he wasn't melting)....


Afterwards, the boys headed off to ride Battlestar: Galactica. This was the ride with the longest queue....over an hour for the human side and almost an hour and half for the cylon side. We picked a place to meet up for the Hollywood Dreams Parade (since Richard couldn't take a single thing on the ride I took everything with me in the backpack). Speaking of we were a bit disappointed, we had brought the GoPro with us having the intention of using it on some of the rides, but they have really cracked down and not only discourage any photography on all rides but on roller coasters they don't let you take any cameras....so it was joy to lug that around all day and not be able to use it.

Clarissa and I headed back to Far, Far Away. As soon as we turned in. She saw Shrek and Fiona....we totally stalked them over to the onion carriage photo-op spot we had seen earlier. We got in line to get our picture with them. Even though we stood in line for about 10 minutes, she was still shy.....(she did see them later and gave them a high-5).


We headed back to the Shrek 4D adventure to enjoy the cool air. Afterwards, we got some BEN & JERRY'S ice cream!!!!! They had a limited selection of flavors....but still so good!! Yum! The boys found us at that point and we went and found a shaded spot for the parade. Since we were sitting and waiting, I hopped onto the park's free wifi.....I wanted to see how hot it was....at 3:00 pm with the temperature and humidity the heat index was 108ºF!!  No wonder it felt as if our feet were melting to our shoes. Though both kids didn't understand why I insisted we go see the parade, they both loved it and said "take a picture" of everything that went by....so here is a fraction of the highlights.



The penguins were kind enough to spray us with water.....





Mason and this Egyptian guy were having a staring contest....which he loved!









After the parade, Mason wanted to check out a gift shop in The Lost World. Clarissa and Richard headed over to the Pteranodon flyer again.


Afterwards, we headed to the last area we hadn't really explored, Ancient Egypt. The boys went on the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster and Clarissa and I went on Treasure Hunters (the ole timey car ride). Unfortunately, our ride broke down while we were waiting so our wait took a lot longer....but eventually Clarissa drove a car!


She did real good at first, but then got distracted by the things to see (such as scarab beetles running around). Apparently, Revenge of the Mummy was not the hot ride of the day and Mason ended up riding it four times while waiting on us (a few more times later whenever we passed by it).

When then looped around a few more times and hit our favorite rides. As the it became evening, the park was quickly clearing out and queues were very short (on the Madagascar: Crate Adventure we even stayed in our boat as there was no one waiting to get on when came up to get off, so we went around again).  We happened up on the Madagascar Boogie.


Mason went and checked out Shrek's outhouse....apparently it stinks....


and Clarissa rode the Fairy Godmother's Potion Spin again.....


We then headed up to the group of gift shops up front and picked out things we never knew we had to have. Afterwards, we grabbed some dinner outside the park and picked up some Krispy Kreme donuts (because we could!). Before we could head back to the hotel, we had one more queue to stand in...the taxi queue....someone was going, going....


and gone......she was out like a light.....She had gotten so sweaty during the day at the park I still gave her a bath when we got back to the hotel around 10:00 PM and she pretty much slept through that too!