Thursday, 29 May 2014

5 impressive features of Genting Highland's 20th Century Fox Theme Park

September 2013 marks a new chapter in Genting Highlands Resort as they bid farewell to their old theme park. This park, with 6 roller coasters* and 5 water rides has been demolished after thrilling millions of fans for decades. However, what is about to come is even more exciting - the world's first 20th century fox theme park. This 300 million dollar investment will pack a whole host of surprises, though I anticipate 5 features that are particularly interesting.

Artist rendition of the 20th century fox theme park

1) The park might host Southeast Asia's first B&M Roller Coaster

In the world of Roller Coasters, B&M (Bolliger and Mabillard) is regarded almost as the Ferrari of the pack. This manufacturer is responsible for some of the world's most iconic roller coasters, and judging from the concept art, 20th Century Fox theme park is going to have one!

The middle of the picture depicts a pink tracked roller coaster with what looks like a dive loop followed by a zero G roll. In fact, the way the track is depicted is very similar to a winged coaster - one where there is no track above or below you. If it is, this is a real blessing, as there are no such coasters in the region. 

The Winged Coaster (like this one in Germany) is the newest product of famed manufacturer Bolliger and Mabillard

2) 1/3 of the theme park will be indoors.

If we look at the top left hand corner of the picture, it is clear that there is a large building with lighted corridors. As far as I know, this area is where Rolling Thunder Mine Train used to stand, which means it is still part of the new theme park.

I think an indoor section is very important for a resort at 6000ft since the weather is really unpredictable and having a large indoor component will ensure that the park can stay open regardless of the conditions outside.

Some rides I will want in the indoor section include a dark ride roller coaster (like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts), an interactive show and a large, multi-attraction kids section.

3) The park will be centered around a big Bellagio style musical fountain

While smaller than its Vegas counterpart, the streams of water in the center of the park is almost too difficult to miss. This musical fountain is going to be the focal point and a navigational landmark. Even more importantly, it provides an excellent avenue for guests to relax at their own pace.

Imagine strolling along a beautifully themed broadwalk in a European-like climate, listening to music and watching the water flow with the songs. It is almost a fairytale experience.

The world famous Bellagio Fountain

4) The Go Kart is now bigger, taller and possibly faster than before

Remember the old Go-Kart? Just a simple flat circuit under Corkscrew roller coaster. Well, the new one will be on an elevated track with multiple levels and varying elevations. There are also long, straight sections where drivers can really push the pedal to the metal.

5) (and yet) 20th Century Fox Theme Park will be built for 1/4 the cost of Universal Studios Singapore

Alright, this is really quite unbelievable. In spite of the logistical difficulties of bringing so much stuff to the mountaintop, in spite of working in comparably tough conditions of strong winds and unpredictable weather, and in spite of having more attractions (25) than Universal Studios Singapore (19), this park is somehow going to cost 300 million opposed to 1,400 million to build USS.

So, should we expect that the quality of park will be lower than USS, or does it just follow the mantra that "Everything is cheaper in Malaysia"?.

Anyways, indoor attractions like Genting Skyventure and Euro Express will also be closed due to the building of this new theme park.

*The 6 coasters are Corkscrew, Flying Coaster, Cyclone, Rolling Thunder Mine Train, Flying Dragon and Super Toboggan

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Will Harry Potter come to USS?


Harry Potter is one of the most popular fictional stories in Popular Culture, from books, movies, and even theme parks. In fact, when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010, the attendance at Island's of Adventure in the United States exploded from 4.6 million to 5.9 million, or an over 30% increase. Universal even had to impose an additional entrance fee for the Harry Potter section due to excessive crowding.

With Wizarding Worlds slated to open in Japan in 2014 and  Hollywood in 2016, Singapore will be the only park left out. Nonetheless, I am convinced that plans are already on the way to add the Wizarding World in the future (perhaps long term) as it can really spike up the park's below-expectation attendance.

I think given the available land, there are 2 possible options for USS to add Harry Potter. Please first take note that I am not affiliated with RWS or USS.

OPTION 1: Behind New York (Diagon Alley)

There is actually an unused piece of land in between Transformers The Ride and Sesame Street in USS. While not the largest plot, I think it is large enough to fit more than 1 single ride, so a scaled down version of Diagon Alley will fit well there. Potential opening: 2016

This set of doors looks almost like a prepared entrance to a future attraction 

 Site of available land at New York

Schematic of a possible USS Diagon Alley
Advantages
+Do not need to eliminate any existing attractions
+Much lower cost due to the small area and fewer features, estimate SGD60 million
+It is too wasteful to commit such a large area to a single ride (vs a themed land)
+Escape from Gringotts is a less common ride (only 1 vs 3 for Forbidden Journey)
Disadvantages
-Not much variety, only 1 ride and a couple of shops
-Transition into the themed land will be far too sudden as it is directly tied to New York
-Escape from Gringotts is almost a too similar ride system to Revenge of the Mummy

OPTION 2: Get rid of Madagascar

Madagascar themed area is a big waste of space to me. The main attraction, A Crate Adventure is not very popular (there are many empty boats) and the park puts only 2 rides in such a large area. A Harry Potter world here will most likely be themed to Hogsmeade and will include a family ride (Forbidden Journey), 2 thrill rides (B&M flier and drop tower) and a kids section (Softball play area). This makes the Singapore version of Harry Potter the most family friendly and diverse targeting version. Potential opening: 2018

Map of the current Madagascar 

Schematic diagram of Hogsmeade at USS
Advantages
+It will be the best version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with the broadest target audience
+Addition of Owl's Flight means it is alright for Battlestar Galactica to go and make way for a more reliable ride
+Much more immersive experience with genuine Hogsmeade Main Street and a forested area leading to Hogwarts and the thrill rides
+USS does not currently have a drop tower, robotic arm ride nor children play area
+For coaster fans, it will have South East Asia's first B&M Roller Coaster
Disadvantages
-Bad news to all Madagascar fans - it has to go
-May take longer before completion due to the need to demolish then build
-Definitely very, very expensive. We are talking about a SGD200 million range at least

I know that most people would rather see Harry Potter come to USS, so please share this link with all your friends so people will know. If enough people are aware and have a desire for The Wizarding World, RWS may just well decide to bring it here. To be honest, I really, really prefer option 2. Please reply and tell me which option you prefer.


Monday, 19 May 2014

Welcome to Second Drop - The Attractions Blog

Welcome to the all new SECOND DROP!

Before we begin, though, let me first share with you why "Second Drop". Basically, I was brainstorming for ideas to brand this blog and several come to my mind, including second drop. The main significance of this title is that I think the "first" or "most xxx" ride may not necessarily be the best, so I want my blog to be a post where I explore genuine ride experiences, rather than just chasing records. The "Second" also comes to represent the smallest unit of time, and it reinstates the rapid rate of progress in the theme park industry.

"Second Drop" ended up with 10 votes, 1 vote shy of the winning name. However, I ultimately chose this name as it sounded more professional and because a wider demographic of people cast votes for this name. Once again, I thank all the 37 people who has participated in my inquiry. Among the seven other names I considered include Coaster Kingdom and CAN'T (Coasters Are Not Terrifying).

Of course, the most intense part of most roller coasters is the first drop. Now, let's kick off with some roller coasters with excellent second drops!

picture of Phantom's Revenge taken from wikipedia

1) Phantom's Revenge, Kennywood, USA
This ride stormed into the top 10 of Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards simply for having a fabulous 2nd drop, which is almost twice as tall as the first drop. It also has excellent ejector airtime. [video POV]

Picture taken from website of Great Coasters International, a Coaster Manufacturer

2) Wood Coaster, OCT East, China
To match the terrain, this woodie has a small first drop which straights out then enters a taller and steeper second drop. It is a good long ride with an excellent view of the surrounding hills. [video POV]

Picture of Supersonic Odyssey taken from wikipedia

3) Supersonic Odyssey, Berjaya Times Square, Malaysia
The first drop of this indoor coaster is actually before the lift hill; the second drop after. It is one of the largest indoor roller coaster drops at over eight stories and the confined space really gives this ride an excellent sense of speed. [video POV]

Remember, first is never enough. Support Second Drop today!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

8 ways to save money at Universal Studios Singapore

With a flat rate admission of $74 $76 (2017), Universal Studios Singapore is easily one of the most expensive tourist attractions in already expensive Singapore. By following these few simply tips, find out how to save money at USS.

1) Visit Tour Agency Ticketing Sites or RWS Promotions Page

Since the tickets are the most expensive part, it is only fitting that I start by showing you how to get cheaper tickets. Generally, the best online deals are offered by tour agencies. For example, Voyagin offers 20% off USS tickets. Plus they are the only online travel agency the offers Universal Express Passes at the moment. Also, Klook Travel gives you access year round discounted tickets for USS tickets - including seasonal offers that comes with meal or shopping vouchers! The best part of buying tickets online? You don't need to queue 30 minutes at the park entrance to buy tickets!

There are also seasonal deals on the Promotions Page of RWS Website! However, from my own experience the deals by the tour agencies are better!

2) Purchase the tickets with an RWS Invites Members Card


RWS Invites  has a 20% rebate for Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium and Adventure Cove. If you know any friend/relatives who is a member, you can purchase a 1 day pass at just $59.20. However, please note that this is limited to 6 tickets per card per day.

You will also gain access to special discounts exclusive to RWS Invites Members! However, please take note that the discounts are actually Invite$ Rebates, so the rebate amount is actually credited into your RWS invites card to offset your future purchase/parking.

Caution: RWS Invites is for Singaporeans ONLY.

3) Eat at Harbourfront Food Centre before going into USS


A typical set meal at USS will cost about $12 per pax, ala carte about $10. This adds up to almost $50 for a family of 4. So, instead of having a late lunch inside the park, why not eat an early lunch before going into the park? Surprisingly, just across the road from Vivocity, there is a cheap hawker center that sells food at heartland prices. For example, Hokkien Prawn noodles is $3/$3.50 and a small serving fried carrot cake is only $2.50. Of course, do not expect the same good quality that some USS food outlets has to offer.

Caution: Food at Vivocity itself is NOT cheaper than USS. Meal will cost $5, Side $2.50 and Drink $2.50, whereas USS typical set meal is $12 with Drink and Side, and better quality.

4) Walk into Sentosa


Taking the Sentosa express will cost you $4, so why not take a leisurely stroll down the beautifully landscaped Sentosa Broadwalk instead? It is only $1, and you avoid all the crowding on the trains!

UPDATE 2017: Up till 31 December 2017, there will be FREE ADMISSION for walk ins via Sentosa Boardwalk EVERYDAY!

5) Bring the necessary items


A 500ml bottle of coca cola in USS costs $2.50. Since there are so many water coolers at every toilet entrance and in the queue of every ride, why not just use the free service? Singapore public water supply is potable. (ie. drinkable) You can also borrow a USS water bottle from your friends, so you can top up soft drinks in the park for just $2. Most USS bottles are larger than 500ml FYI.

Also, bring along a plastic bag to keep all your stuff when taking Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. Trust me, the $4 "life saving" ponchos do not really work in this ride. You will still get soaked!

6) Buy a 6 month season pass


1 ticket to USS costs $74. However, for an extra $24, you get to have unlimited access to USS for 6 whole months. This means even if you visit only twice, you would have made back your investment. If you plan to visit once a month, you would have saved a whopping $74 x 6 - $98 = $346. You will most likely want to go with a different group of friends each time.

Not to mention, a Season pass gives you 10% discount on F&B and Souvenirs. University and polytechnic students will love the season pass as it is the same price as the children's ticket, even if you are over 12 years old!

UPDATE OCT 2014: RWS now offers an RWS Invites Attractions Pass that combines the rebates of RWS Invites and privileges of an Annual Pass

7) Buy Sentosa Islander Membership (for Season/Annual Passholders only)


This $25 membership allows you to have unlimited access into Sentosa for 1 year. If you are a passholder and is lazy of walking, if saves you a big deal as entry by Sentosa Express costs you $4, so you just need 7 admissions to break even. (I have entered USS more than 11 times within 4 months of my season pass)

The price is cheaper if you purchase as a family since the price is $50 for up to 4 people, regardless of children or adult! That's a full 50% discount if you have 4 family members!

If you want to enter Sentosa in style, you can even opt for the $39 Faber License, which is essential Sentosa Islander plus unlimited Cable Car rides. Though I don't think I want to call that saving money.

Note: Sentosa Islander and Faber License is for Sentosa Admission only and does not include USS ticket!

8) Ask your company/interest group to buy tickets together


Finally, USS bulk discount tickets are available if there are just 40 tickets in 1 order, and the tickets are open dated (you can go any day you want). The last time I checked, the bulk discount tickets are about $50 each, less if in a very large group. If you can get, say 7-8 colleagues to bring their families or friends to USS (at any date of their choice), you have access to this ticket.

Fixed date tickets are available at a slightly lower price ($5 cheaper), though it means all of you have to decide and agree on when you want to go.

Useful Links

I know 8 ways is quite a mouthful, so here are some quick links that you may find useful in your quest to save money at USS:



Know of more ways to save money at USS? Please post them in the comments. Also, don't forget to like our facebook page to receive new and better theme park guides! You may also like How to Save 2 Hours of Queue Time at USS or 8 ways to save money at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

This airplane ticket will cost you $25000!

When we imagine a typical First Class seat, we think of a large sofa-bed like contraption, perhaps with some blinds or a small wooden wall for privacy and a TV not larger than 20 inches. Guess what? Etihad Airlines has blown apart the traditional wisdom of First Class with the introduction of The Residence on its new Airbus A380.

Living room of The Residence

Bedroom of The Residence

Deck plans of Etihad A380

This 6 Star Hotel room in the sky includes a bedroom, living room and full bathroom. Goodness! 90% of all business jets do not even have such luxuries. To double the indulgence, there is even a personal butler to cater to the passenger's every whim and desire. This is not the usual flight attendant that will merely serve you meals and sell duty-free goods; the butler serves NO ONE ELSE except you and your partner.

While the ticket price of USD25,000 from Abu Dhabi to London sounds like a lot, do not forget that this suite is for double occupancy. Also, consider that chartering a private jet with such luxuries could cost you upwards of USD100,000 per flight, the Etihad Residence is actually quite a bargain (if you can afford it)!

Nonetheless, I cannot believe that someone will be so desperate that he calls for DONATIONS for an air ticket on the Residence. Luxuries really spawn eccentric behavior.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2625526/Etihads-The-Residence-suite-Blogger-appeals-donations-pay-15-000-ONE-WAY-ticket.html

Even the Apartments in Airbus A380 are a step above standard first class travel, with separate beds and seats, a large 24 Inch TV and private vanity. However, there are very limited amenities beyond the seat. There is just a small longue-bar, unlike A380s of comparable airlines like Emirates which provide full bars and lounges. Also, if we look at the plan carefully, it appears that some seats in the Apartments are facing BACKWARDS! Not sure if that's a comfortable arrangement.

Etihad Airbus A380 First Apartment

Etihad Boeing 787 First Suite

However, I think that the Boeing 787 First Suites are little better than the first class offered by Singapore Airlines, Emirates or, as in the picture below, Air India.

First Class Seat from Air India. It is closer the Etihad's Boeing 787 First Suite

For those of us who cannot afford the sky high costs, not to worry. Etihad is also introducing new generation economy Smart Seats, though I must admit that the only real development over current airlines is the larger In Flight Entertainment (IFE) screen. The business class is a slight improvement in terms of comfort, but I think that the Fishbone Seating used by Air New Zealand can offer the same comfort while using less space.

 Etihad new Business Studios vs Air New Zealand's Business Premier

Etihad Economy Smart Seats vs Singapore Airlines Economy Seats

More information can be found on Etihad's website
http://www.etihad.com/en-sg/experience-etihad/flying-reimagined/

Copyright of all images belong to the respective airlines

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

I went skydiving for SGD22!

Well, not exactly, but the SkyVenture at Genting Highlands Resort is the closest thing to skydiving that I have done. It basically consists of a vertical wind tunnel that a person can literally float inside. The experience at Genting, at RM38 (SGD15) is way, way cheaper than the $79 price-tag for Singapore's I-Fly. I visited on 16 December 2013 as part of my family's annual retreat to Malaysia to visit relatives.

The entrance to this attraction is beside the fake Petronas Twin Towers

After payment, I was ushered into a room upstairs where I kit up for the flight. This included an outer jacket like flightsuit, helmet and goggles. I was actually quite surprised that I did not have to change shoes. The flightsuit is a full body suit so it was quite awkward trying to put it on. We were also taught some of the basic hand signals.

I am suited up and ready to go!

The moment before the flight was the most tense. As the propeller started up, the whole sitting area started to vibrate really violently. It was like as though the whole structure would be torn apart. The noise level was also quite intimidating. For me, the anticipation was worse as I was the last person of my group to participate, so I had to see everyone else struggle before me.

Pictures can't show how nervous I actually was

Just seconds before my turn, I could feel my heart beat faster. Something at the back of my mind tells me it may not be a good idea to go for it. However, I came so far and already paid for it, so there was no turning back. The instructor shouted at me (the propeller is that loud) to lean forward as I stepped at the edge of the wind tunnel. As my face was exposed to the column of rising air, it felt like as though I hit a brick wall; I mean, the wind was really that powerful. In fact, without any effort, my feet came up and I was flying.

I honestly regretted getting distracted during the briefing. During the flight, the instructor gave me a few signals that I could only guess what he meant. I also had quite a lot of difficulty maintaining steady as the tunnel is quite small and I constantly hit against the wall. Being clumsy did not improve the situation a bit, for even the slightest movement in my body resulted in a dramatic movement.

.I am somewhere. Look for me!

Each participant is entitled to 2 flights, but I did not think I fared any much better in the second. The whole activity was over long before I knew it. As I awaited the debrief, I really could not believe what I have just completed. The whole experience was completely surreal, as I was floating and not supported by any visible medium.



A participant can also choose to pay RM18 (SGD7) for a video recording of his flight, and this is exactly what I did. Also, at the end of the flight, all participants are awarded a certificate. This really gave me a sense of accomplishment.

A personalised certificate for all participants

I will recommend this attraction to anyone seeking a unique and exciting thrill. This is definitely a step above conventional roller coasters and the sensation of freedom one can get makes it absolutely worth the cost. You will not want to visit Genting just for this attraction, but if you are going there, it is worth it to have a go. Maybe I might go for a longer flight next time.

However, if you want to take part, I strongly recommend you to head straight there to reserve a slot even before checking into the hotel or entering the casino. The slots are taken up quite quickly. I went on a weekday but even so there was only 1 slot left when my family arrived at 3pm. If you are coming on a weekend, you better reserve beforehand.

Note: SkyVenture is now closed to make way for new developments
http://www.rwgenting.com/en/themepark/images/firstworld.pdf

Sunday, 11 May 2014

NEW way to travel between Underwater World and Merlion!

Sentosa Island in Singapore already has 1 Cable Car and 1 Chair Lift. Guess What? They are now building yet another Cable Car system! Many visitors will agree that it is quite inconvenient to reach the area near to Underwater World. It involves multiple transfers and many times the buses/trams are full. This new system is a timely solution that connects Imbiah monorail station with the Imbiah summit area and Underwater World area.

The sun shines down on a newly erected tower. Taken on 10 May 2014

 Design of Merlion Plaza Station, just beside Imbiah Monorail Station

This cable car will fly above the sensitive Secondary Forests of the Imbiah Reserve. However, fret not. The builders pledged that any trees removed during the construction process will be replanted back! I am also quite impressed by the green roof concept at Merlion Plaza station. It is sure to make the building a lot cooler. In fact, from what I see, the builders are so confident of the cooling effect that the building is open air - NO NEED AIR CON!

 Proposed map of new cable car system

Notice that the cable car will open by January next year 

Merlion Plaza Station under construction

Imbiah Lookout station under construction. It is just beside the Sentosa Luge entrance

A new cable car tower. Note that the cables are still absent

The current Sentosa Cable Car ticket is astronomically expensive at SGD 26.00. I hope that the new system will not charge so exorbitant prices. For me, I think the ideal ticketing is a SGD10-15 unlimited cable car package that allows Passholders to travel on the 2 cable car systems for the entire day. There can also be an upgraded Sentosa Islander Membership at say, SGD40 that allows cable car admission into Sentosa.

How do think Sentosa should price for people to use its much vaunted Cable Car system? Please post on the comments.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Universal Studios Singapore NEW RIDE 2014

It is no secret that Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is now building a new ride. It is to be located at the far-far-away area, on the North East corner of the park. There are many rumours about what this new ride will be, including Despicable Me, Kung Fu Panda and even Star Trek! I am going to explore these possibilities and its relation to the tiny plot of land available for this expansion.

Map of USS with location of new ride


Our Universe is EXPANDING!


The land plot, according to GoogleMaps is a quadrilateral with a length of about 50m and average width of perhaps 30m. This is just slight smaller than the plot size for Transformers: The Ride (about 40m x 70m on GoogleMaps). This means that the ride is at most a medium sized one, perhaps on the $5mil - $15mil range. I think it will definitely not be a roller coaster as USS already has the highest concentration of coasters at any Universal Studios Park (if we include Battlestar Galactica).

GoogleMaps screenshot of site


Construction site shows limited work, only a concrete trench

Luke and the Temple of Fun (http://lukeandthetempleoffun.blogspot.sg/) hypothesize that the ride as Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Well, as a motion simulator, this ride surely occupies less space than tracked rides so it should fit well space wise. In fact, if we look at the map of Universal Studios Florida, the Despicable Me building is only about 40m x 30m so it can actually fit quite well. It is also an excellent addition to the park and follows the resorts vision of more family friendly attractions. it also makes sense as the ride is a duplicate and will be cheaper, and Minions are wildly popular

Long queue to take photo with Minion

Disney and More (http://disneyandmore.blogspot.sg/) has an even more audacious claim that the new ride is Kung Fu Panda. Well, it makes sense as Kung Fu Panda is under Dreamworks and Far Far Away is dedicated to Dreamworks cartoons. If so, I am hoping that the new ride will be a robocoaster like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.The dynamic motion of robotic arm can simulate high speed Kung Fu fighting and acrobatics very well. The park may also fit the ride onto 2 stories like Transformers to save space.

My idea of Kung Fu Panda Expansion

I am not so sure about Star Trek and World War Z as proposed by Dejiki (http://dejiki.com/2014/03/uss-update-2014mar/). It just does not fit well with the Far Far Away area and the transition is too drastic to do in such a small space. Besides, we already have sci-fi which is similar enough to star trek. If you say remodelling Battlestar Galactica to Star Trek, I may still believe.

Kuka Robotic Arm ride, similar to the one used in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

I personally hope that a Robocoaster type ride (either Harry Potter or my version of Kung Fu Panda) will be coming to USS. It also makes sense as USS is the only Universal park that does not have a robocoaster built or planned. Despicable Me can then open in 2015 in the New York area, in line with the screening of the 3rd despicable me movie

So that's my analysis. What do you think the new ride will be?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

My First Roller Coaster ride

We all have to start somewhere. I must admit, I started late. Very late. Actually, I visited theme parks since I was really young (I can't remember how young). I enjoyed the atmosphere, the food, the landscaping, everything. Everything except the big thrill rides. I don't know why, but just looking at them makes me really petrified. Perhaps it was the rumbling and the noise, even when I am on other rides, I will look at these thrill rides in fear...

This...cowardice...actually dealt a major blow to my self-esteem, none more so than during a class outing to a local theme park. This park no longer exists today, but back then I remembered there was a tall log flume, a few flat and kiddy rides. In hindsight, even the flat-rides seem quite kiddy. In spite of all the peer pressure, the only ride I psyched myself to get on is the Go-Kart. Honestly, I did not even dare to go fast, and I emerged last place in practically every run.

4 years will pass before I face this fear once again. In 2010, my home city opened the much anticipated Universal Studios Singapore theme park, and I was really keen to visit for the landscaping and the not-so-intense rides. However, it was only a year later when my Community Club organised an event that I really got the visit the park for myself.

No doubt I was excited. I was reading about it (and other Universal Studios Parks) since the outing was announced in December. Particularly, I spent a lot of time reviewing people's experiences first time riding roller coasters, and watching POVs till I no longer get disoriented. There was even some advice I found online that the first roller coaster for chickens is one that is launched (to reduce the anticipation of lift hill) and dark (so I will not be terrified of the drops). Nonetheless, I was really uncertain if I could do it. The online reviews did not help much, for the recounting of stomach in the throat and flying out of the seat was almost too extreme to comprehend.

22 February 2011 arrived almost before I knew it. The morning went by with a shuttle bus to the theme park and some community activities at the Waterworks Theater. However, even with a trip to Japan as the first prize, I could not focus on the lucky draw. There was only one thing bothering my mind - my first roller coaster could well be today. I am honestly not ready.

Once we were dismissed from the theater, my family proceeded straight out to our first ride - Revenge of the Mummy (Actually, I requested it because it was a launched and indoor coaster). I tried to calm myself that everything will be alright. We deposited our bags into the lockers and I stepped through the attraction entrance, hesitant in the mind but insistent in the body. The attendant assured me that it is not really scary, only to turn around to another group of tourists and say it was a HIGH SPEED roller coaster. What a LIAR!

The initial walk through the queue actually distracted me from the fear, as I was drawn to the detailed hieroglyphic  drawings and unique architecture. Then, the queue takes a right turn and plunged into a dark tunnel. I stood a the boundary of the light, unsure of whether to keep going. It was surely an ominous sign that the ride is indeed very scary. Worse still, the lights inside were flickering on and off, as if reminding me that something nasty was going to happen. The only thing that nudged me inwards was the surge of other riders coming in.

The queue got from bad to worse. My heart-beat accelerated to that of a Gatling gun. I could not even focus on the route ahead and nearly tripped over a step. There was no way for me to even pay attention to any theming around me. I just wanted this whole ordeal to end.

I really wanted some time to think again when I approached the queue's end, but there was almost no queue. Basically, the moment I walked before the loading platform, before I could even say no, the attendant ushered me onto one of the seats. At this point, an inner voice in my heart tells me to get out, yet I somehow I could not muster the strength to sound off. I reach my hand onto the lap-bar. It was shaking like in the middle of winter (the aircon was quite cold as far as I remembered), and I pulled it down slowly. Every click sounded to me like the gates of hell was closing in on me. I really wanted to just stand up and step out, but before I could do it, the attendance took over the lap-bar and forced it shut. That's it. there was no way out.

A launched coaster was supposed to be an ideal first coaster because of reduced anticipation, but the dark-ride portion seemed to go on forever and ever. Then, all I could remember was that the ride accelerated and turned sharply as a door was about to slam shut on top of us. Oh gosh, even though this looked really slow on youtube POVs, it already felt quite violent, and there is still a 72kph launch up ahead

After the backwards part, the ride stopped onto a turntable. The moment I dreaded has finally, or so quickly arrived. I did not sign up for this. I either wanted time to stop right then and there or to instantly teleport me to when the ride is over. I could hear people screaming "no" with a wavering, helpless voice. I tried to keep within myself, as the vehicle nudged forward slightly. I leaned my head back, gripped the lap bar like the jaws of a great shark and closed my eyes. This is not happening. This is not happening.

YOUR SOULS ARE MINE!

In an instant, the entire world becomes a blur. The forward push was not quite as forceful as I imagined, but an instant later I felt I was thrown out of my seat. After a couple of turns, the ride seems to drop at a beyond vertical angle. I cannot describe that feeling. It is just like what I imagined when a person attempts to commit suicide. I did not know how long that sensation actually lasted, but it was long enough to make me think I have turned all the way inverted via an outside loop. This ride is meant to have no inversions. What is going on? I only know that things are a lot worse than I expected, and the ride still shows no signs of ending.

The ride stopped halfway at another tomb. I eyes were still sealed shut till the vehicle went to a complete stop. The fire effect was spectacular, but it was no where warm enough to comfort my body. It was simply frozen in fear. I cannot even look up. All that I could see was another void up ahead, and all I knew was that the ride was far from over. I starred straight ahead, not knowing what to expect. For all I knew, the second part could be far worse. My eyes sealed shut as the vehicle nudged forward for a second time.

Thankfully, the second half was not as intense as the first. But when the ride came to a stop at the unload, platform, my whole body was just frozen. My muscles have all tensed up that they nearly gave way the moment I tried to stand up. I looked around, seeing the smiles of most of the other riders. I do not understand. Why is it that they enjoy this devil of a machine? Are they crazy? For me, reality took a while to sink in. I was just trying to combat disorientation and fear from my first real thrill ride. The magnitude of my accomplishment will not hit me until several days later.

When I exit the ride building, I only had 1 thing in mind: "I am not getting on Battlestar Galactica"