Previously, I shared with you what you can expect at Hello Kitty Go Around Singapore. Since then, I have had the opportunity to visit the actual venue of the event twice: Once during the media preview and once on the opening day with tickets I had bought during the early bird promotion. The photos you see on this post were taken over 2 days, but the review is based on my experience as a paying ticket holder on the opening day.
Photo opportunities were the main reasons I was here. I didn’t care much for carnival games and merchandise (okay, maybe just a little, considering I had the whole set of McDonald’s Millennium Hello Kitty). And I found plenty of photo opportunities, right from the entrance!
Even my 4 year old BOY couldn’t resist the photo opportunities once we arrived and insisted on taking photos with everything.
Hello Kitty Party Hall
The moment we entered the venue, the first thing we were greeted with was the party hall. There were photographers who asked if we would like to have our photos taken. You can purchase the souvenir photos at $12 for 1 or $20 for 2, and the photos came in super KAWAII pop-up frames!
The frames were so cute that I was extremely tempted to get one. I thought $12 was reasonable. I have paid much more for souvenir photos in less attractive frames on my travels. But my uncooperative son refused to pose for a photo with me. He just wanted me to take photos of him alone. So I checked with the staff if we were allowed to take photos with our own camera and they said we could!
I have been to several Hello Kitty themed parks / events and I remembered sometimes being asked to pay a bomb (figures that I conveniently chose to forget) for a photo because we weren’t allowed to use our own cameras. So I was thrilled that they allowed us to take our own photos. So photos we took.
After passing through the party hall, we reached the next photo stop, the Ferris Wheel. We weren’t allowed to step on the grass, so note that you can only take photos standing in front, or sitting on the grass like what MF did above.
Bad Batz Maru Wall
This turned out to be my favourite photo spot in the carnival. I did my first ever OOTD shot above, because the ‘brick wall’ with graffiti just made it too tempting to do so! And MF decided to do his own OOTD shot too:
Kid is an aspiring model I tell you. But after he stood up, I realised he was sitting on a ‘NO SITTING’ sign. My bad.
Next to the wall was a cute My Melody and a coupon booth where you can purchase coupons for the carnival games.
We moved on to the other main photo spot: The Sanrio Express. There were two carriages, so you could take photos sitting next to Hello Kitty or Keroppi.
And under the Sanrio Express (yes, under), there is a photo spot for kids. Well, adults can go in too, just that you need to crawl in. Not particularly glam.
Beside the Sanrio Express, you will see some gigantic UFO catcher machines. They are NOT for you to catch Hello Kitty plushies – they are actually photo spots for snapping some hilarious photos!
Hello Kitty Memory Garden
Opposite the Fashion Catchers, you can enter Hello Kitty Memory Garden. Inside, you will find some old-school Hello Kitty items that you may have owned when you were a child (if you are as old as me).
MF seemed to have no qualms about carrying a gigantic Hello Kitty school bag.
And don’t we LOVE these pencil cases that have pop-out compartments when you press some buttons? (That’s Ashlyn Thia btw. With me trying to act young and pretty like her. Forget it, I feel like her mother.)
And I think I should be comforted that MF was extremely enthusiastic about the calculator. At least he inherited some of my Mathematics-genius genes. (Oh, you didn’t know I am a sort-of Mathematics genius? Now you know.)
Mimmy Toy Shop
We headed to Mimmy Toy Shop. Which was NOT a real toy shop – you can’t buy anything here (though you may wish you could). It displayed origami figures of Sanrio characters, specially designed and made for Hello Kitty Go Around carnival.
And of course, there was a photo opportunity inside – a similar box for you to jump in.
Moving on, we visited the Apple Temple to pray for good luck. NOT. We were there for the wooden Hello Kitty ema (traditional Japanese wishing plates).
You will need a game coupon for this. The staff would give you a coin for you to toss into the box, and after that you will receive the ema.
MF clearly visited Japan WAY too many times. Once he got his ema, he decided to hang it on the wall like what you would do at Japanese shrines.
But after he was done, I secretly took the ema off the wall and kept it in my bag as a souvenir. I paid $100 for us to be here, I was going home with as many memorabilia as possible! Too bad, Hello Kitty goddess ain’t going to grant MF his wishes because of his evil Hello Kitty obsessed mummy.
Hello Kitty Post Office
Before MF went around wasting all our game coupons on carnival games, I dragged him to the post office to send a postcard first. You can use a game coupon to trade for a postcard. There were two designs to choose from and frankly, if MF wasn’t around, I would have gotten both. But kid wanted to play carnival games and I couldn’t bear to spoil the fun for him, so we compromised and got one postcard.
We could add a nice Hello Kitty stamp on our postcard before mailing it off. Local stamps were provided with the postcard. If you are from overseas, you may have to bring your own stamps or just bring the postcard away with you instead of mailing it.
And there was a mailbox outside the post office to drop off your postcard.
Kitty Totes by Dear Daniel
Here, you can make your customised Hello Kitty tote bag for additional fees. The bag cost $20 with 5 stamps. If you want to chop more than 5 stamps, the price is as follows:
I did not pay for this activity during the actual event but got to try it out during the media preview. I thought that it was extremely difficult to get the large stamps to come out nicely. I consider myself a pro at stamping because we do this all the time in Japan – and to get a nice stamp, you need to have just the right amount of ink on the stamp pad. Too much and the ink smears. Too little and the picture will not show properly, like what happened to many of us as you can see on Towkay New’s video. The first ink pad I used initially did not have enough ink, but when I switched to another ink pad, the stamp came out nicely. Imo, if they want to charge for this activity, they should have used self-inking stamps (like the ones used for the postcards) to minimise the chances of error.
Sanrio Baby Race
The aim of the game was to roll the balls into the holes on the board.
Getting the balls in was easy peasy, you can see above that even MF could do it. It was the point-system that made it difficult to win. Each hole had a point assigned to it and we needed to get EXACTLY 100 points – no more no less – to win the plush. It was not impossible, I have a friend who did it after many tries. So this one can be won with some practice.
Save the Goldfish
Again, another game that required skill. You had to hook up the plush from the rotating tray using the rod provided within 25 seconds. My friend did it (also after a few attempts). I read online that when the carnival first opened, the time given was 30 seconds. But apparently they changed it to 25 seconds later on – maybe they realized it was too easy to win? Well, my friend did win within the 25 seconds time frame.
Tiny Chum’s Ring Toss
The point of this game is obvious. But I’m not sure if you had to get all 3 rings through the bears or just 1 ring would do. I never paid attention to any of the instructions since I figured MF wasn’t going to win anything.
This is a game of pure luck imo. You toss a coin and the coin needed to land exactly on a coloured region of the rainbow. It cannot even touch the black border a teeny bit. I heard some complaints that it was too difficult and the rule to not even touch the line being ridiculous.
Hey, I played this EXACT same game at an Uncle Ringo carnival during River Hongbao before. The disc we had to throw had a diameter almost exactly the same width as the rainbow strip and we though it was impossible. But my friend threw the disc and it really stopped right on the strip. We were all in SHOCK (and so was the guy manning the store). So I vouch it is possible. You just need insanely good luck.
Papa’s Reading Room
We didn’t play this game because we were out of coupons. (We used our 6 coupons at the temple, the post office and the above 4 games.) The above photo was taken during the media preview. But when we were there for the actual event, the catapult and hammer were gone and you had to just toss the newspaper by hand. The newspaper had to land exactly ON the window sill (not through the window okay – that would be too easy) before you can win.
In this game, you had to throw 3 items into the over, the beaker and onto the weighing scale. All 3 items had to go exactly into their allocated positions in order to win.
After going through all the things you can find at Hello Kitty Go Around Singapore, let’s look at what people are complaining about.
SG50 Pack Fiasco
When I saw the above sign at the carnival, I knew it was UH-OH for the organisers. Not because of the ugly handwriting. I have NO idea how they came up with the magic number ‘$20’ for refund. I was thinking why didn’t they just give full refund – $20 was totally asking for it. As expected, their facebook page flooded with complaints, mostly valid.
Just to entertain you, here are some examples of totally valid complaints:
- How about refund for GST and SISTIC fees?
- I bought the SG50 pack for the paper figurines! I don’t want the pack if it doesn’t have the figurines. (Valid – I agree the paper figurines were very attractive.)
And personally, I find it hard to believe that those paper figurines were only worth $20. I would have complained too if I had pre-ordered the SG50 pack.
Anyway, after 3 days, they released a new statement on the refund of the SG50 pack which you can read on details on this facebook post. It’s a total fiasco. Now they need to go and track who has collected already and chase after them if they want the refund etc etc. And really?? They are going to send a courier to get back the SG50 pack that was already collected if the person wants a full refund?? I would love to hear of a tourist who has flown back to his / her country with the SG50 pack and now wants a full refund.
Props were damaged
To be fair, I am not going to pin this on the organisers. It could have been an accident during transport. But it could also have been someone’s bag knocked into it during photo-taking. And they weren’t obvious in the photos. If I didn’t tell you, would you have spotted that the prop above was damaged? Here’s a zoom-in on the damage:
So yes, while it was true that there were some damages to the props, I think I would rather live with tiny damages than to have the organisers decide to set up barricades to forbid all visitors from getting within 1 metre of all the props. After all, I paid to be here for some nice photo opportunities. I am not sure the photos would be as nice if we couldn’t be close to the props.
Merchandise was sold to public
The merchandise booths were situated outside the carnival. Which means you do not need to be a ticket holder to purchase the merchandise. So some ticket holders complained that the merchandise should only be sold to ticket holders.
I am on the side of the organisers on this one. To me, the carnival was the carnival. Merchandise store was merchandise store. Just like Disneyland and Universal Studio have souvenir stores outside the parks. It was made known before the event that the merchandise store was going to be outside the event venue. I have no complaints against this.
Early Bird Price was more expensive than buying at the door
As an early bird ticket holder, I noticed this as well and was somewhat perturbed too. But I reckoned we were paying not just for the tickets, but also the goodie bag.
I think the items in the goodie bag were worth more than the extra in price for early bird tickets. And if I’m not mistaken, early bird tickets came with 3 game coupons and walk-in tickets only came with 2. So I wasn’t all that unhappy. But if I had known that tickets at the door was going to be cheaper, I would only have bought 1 early bird ticket for myself and bought the ticket for my kid at the door. I didn’t really need 2 of the exact same goodie bags. So yeah, I am slightly on the side of the complainers on this one. (Edit: A reader alerted me that the price for early bird ticket is actually the same as walk-in, we paid more as early birds because of $4 SISTIC fees.)
Games too difficult to win
It’s a carnival! I’ve never been to a carnival where games were easy to win! And since my friends did manage to win something, I thought it was fine. But maybe they should have some consolation prizes. E.g. the kitchen game, if you get 2 out of 3 items in the correct places, give a consolation prize? Then everyone would be happier and be more tempted to spend money on more game coupons.
Too expensive / venue too small
By now I am really starting to think we are a nation of complainers – period. The price is made public. The venue is made public. Sanrio licensing is unlikely to be cheap. Rental of space in Singapore is probably exorbitant. This is Singapore, one of the world’s most expensive, if not THE most expensive, cities. It is time-limited event. It is EXPECTED to be expensive! We hard-core Hello Kitty fans are suckers: Admit it, pay for it, don’t complain and just have fun!
My own complaints
Okay, so I just said don’t complain. But I need to give a fair review. So I’m going to share things, albeit pretty minor and can be easily fixed by the organisers as long as they bother, that I personally was not happy over. (If you know me, I don’t complain much on my blog. I call it constructive feedback okay? Wahaha…)
Early Check-out Figurines
If you leave the event within 120 minutes, you would be given an early check-out figurine. There were 3 designs and you would receive in a blind box (a.k.a. tikam). I was there with my friend and we left together. We had 6 figurines in total, but after opening 4 boxes, they were ALL THE SAME. I am placing my bets that the last 2 were also orange.
As I mentioned, I know my Mathematics and probability. They obviously did not jumble up the designs. Which I was totally unhappy about because that defeats the point of tikam. How would you feel if you paid $200+ for a family for 4 and went home with 4 of the same figurines from tikam? Totally cheated. So they really should consider jumbling up the early check-out figurines.
The lack of atmosphere
I thought the staff could have been a bit more enthusiastic and made the event chirpier. During the media preview. we had a lot of fun because Michelle Chia’s liveliness cheered up the whole place. “A warm welcome to Hello Kitty Go Around Singapore! It is indeed very warm *laughing*” was what she said (or something like that – I didn’t remember the exact words). But it made you feel happy and laugh along in spite of the the sweltering heat.
However, during the actual event, the crew frankly all looked overworked and highly stressed. I was there in the evening and I suspect they have been scolded all morning for the above complaints. But still… It would have been great if the crew had bothered greeting us with smiles and actually look like we were welcomed at the game booths. Some of them did, but not all. And the black-faced ones really killed our mood. SMILE people! Crew, ticket holders, everyone.. Just smile!
So was it worth it?
After all I have said, the big question is, now that I have the hindsight, would I still pay to go for the event?
Honestly, very very honestly, YES. Simply because I’m a Hello Kitty fan. If you are not a fan, there’s really no point in going. Like I said, I was there for the photo opportunities. If you are hoping to have a lot of fun stuff to play, or you are there for merchandise, then you will be sorely disappointed. But if like me, you just like the idea of posing around cute Sanrio stuff, I thought the photos I took at the events turned out very nice.
So if you minus away the price of S.E.A. Aquarium admission, you are essentially paying only $20+ for the Hello Kitty carnival. Now you won’t feel so bad. And you get a mineral water bottle, a lanyard and two cards!
But because of this, I would advise against purchasing tickets for children below 4 years old. Because children below 4 can enter S.E.A. Aquarium for free. OMG, I’m so calculative! Math genius.
Tips for Visiting
Collecting tickets pre-booked on SISTIC
If you have SISTIC tickets, you need to go to the TICKET EXCHANGE counter near Starbucks to change your SISTIC tickets for the actual admission tickets. DO NOT go to the ticketing counters. Those are for purchase of walk-in tickets. DO NOT go to the booth that says Redemption – that is for redeeming goodie bags, not tickets. DO NOT head to The Coliseum until you have the actual admission tickets that look like this:
Redemption of goodie bags
Just beside the above Ticket Exchange booth is the REDEMPTION booth for redeeming goodie bags. My advise is to redeem the goodie bags AFTER you exit the event, otherwise you got to lug them around. Unless you are very thirsty and need the mineral water.
When to Go
Unfortunately there was no perfect time to go. Since the ticket comes with aquarium entry from 2 to 7 pm, I am guessing people are going to go for the carnival in the morning, have lunch, then go for the aquarium in the afternoon. If you follow the flow, it will probably be crowded.
You can go during lunch time to avoid the crowd, but the venue iss not air-conditioned, so it is going to be sweltering hot in the afternoon.
I went in the evening and it was very cooling. But if you go in the evening, your photos may not look as nice due to low lighting. I would say go in between 4 to 5pm when the sun is starting to go down and there is still sufficient lighting to take nice photos. And bear in mind this would mean less time for the aquarium.
Like I said, no perfect timing. You just need to decide which is most important to you: Having ample time for aquarium? Having nice brightly lit photos without the crowd? Or having cool weather?
There are no toilets within the event venue. You’ve got 120 precious minutes if you want the check-out figurines. Make sure the kids empty their bladder before going in!
Bringing a Stroller
I would advise you not to bring a stroller if possible, because stroller are NOT allowed inside the event. But if you have one, here is how you can avoid climbing the stairs up to The Coliseum:
Walk around Coca Restaurant, past those potted plants, to the back of the building
Turn into the first corridor on your left and look for the service lift. Use the service lifts to go up to Level 2.
After you come out of the lift, U-turn to the right and you should see the event venue. You will have to leave your stroller outside the event venue.
Information on Hello Kitty Go Around Singapore
Date: 16 October to 10 November 2015
Time: 10am to 8pm daily (last entry at 7pm)
* except 1 November during Hello Kitty Birthday Celebration (details below)
Venue: The Coliseum, Resorts World Sentosa
Detailed information on getting to The Coliseum and Ticketing information can be found on my earlier post.
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[Blogged] The kid and I went for Hello Kitty Go Around Singapore on opening day! Read our review of the actual event as ticket holders: http://bumblebeemum.net/2015/10/19/hello-kitty-go-around-singapore-review/ @hellokittygoaroundsg @rwsentosa #bumblebeemumblog #bumblebeemumplays #hellokittygoaroundsg #hellokittysg #hellokittysg50 #hellokitty #sanrio #resortsworldsentosa #rwsentosa #sentosa #singaporetravel #sgtravel #singaporetrip #singaporefun #singaporewithkids #sgkids #sgparentblogger #sgparentbloggers #sgmombloggers #sgmumbloggers #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #wednesdaywanderlust #travelthursday #familyfunfriday #airhead #airheadsflock
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