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Pasta thief on the loose

Universal Studios Singapore gets an exclusive new character for its Sesame Street ride. -ST
Cheryl Faith Wee

Sun, Feb 24, 2013
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Hold onto your spaghetti because an extra-terrestrial villain, Macaroni the Merciless, is out to steal it.

He is a new character created exclusively for the world's first Sesame Street indoor theme park ride that opens in Universal Studios Singapore on March 1.

The villain, who has squiggly eyebrows and a moustache as well as a pasta ribbon for a bowtie, is accompanied by two sidekicks: Zester and Shredder, who both look like their kitchen aid namesakes.

Universal Studios Singapore and the Sesame Workshop, which is the non-profit educational organisation behind the Sesame Street children's television programmes, spent two years creating the ride, which is available only in Singapore.

They declined to reveal how much it cost.

The attraction, called Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase, caters to families with young children.

Children have to be at least 85cm tall to go on it.

The theme park's executive design director Kevin Barbee, 50, says the ride might be built in other countries, but there are no plans to do so right now.

He also revealed that an ET-themed ride, based on the 1982 Steven Spielberg sci-fi film, was actually slated for the site of the Sesame Street ride.

He says: "The decision was made to do something more current instead. ET is very beloved but we have to stay up-to-date - there haven't been any new ET movies produced recently."

In Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase, Super Grover and Elmo follow a trail of spaghetti into space and thwart the villain's plan to steal the earth's spaghetti.

Other characters from the long-running American children's television show lend them a hand.

In the three-minute ride, visitors sit in blue "space craft" which hold four each. In a space scene, the craft zoom towards LED light fixtures. The ride is currently undergoing technical rehearsals and opens to the public at irregular intervals.

Some Universal Studios Singapore annual pass holders have already previewed the ride. One of them, student Nicholas Yau, 24, felt that the animatronic characters in the ride did not remind him of the iconic puppets of Sesame Street.

"They are famous for looking furry and plush-like. These ones looked like plastic," he says.

However, he still found the ride entertaining, with the right amount of silliness that children can relate to.

Ms Jacinta Kong, 41, an application support analyst, also took the ride last Saturday. She says: "It was not very thrilling. But it was quite colourful and I think it will appeal to children. I might come back with my friend's kids to try it out."

Other Sesame Street attractions in Universal Studios Singapore include daily live shows and a Sesame Street character breakfast in the theme park's Loui's NY Pizza Parlor. Both were launched last year.

Mr Peter van Roden, 56, vice-president of Sesame Workshop's themed entertainment, says: "The reaction to the shows at Universal Studios Singapore has been positive. We are confident that the new attraction will bring joy and laughter to children and adults alike."

A Sesame Street carnival, with games and carts selling merchandise, will be held from March 1 to 3 in the New York Street of the theme park.

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