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Fantasy Island: Sentosa’s OG Adventure Cove In The 90s That Most Singaporeans Forgot Existed

Fantasy Island – Former water theme park in Sentosa

Singapore’s got its own share of water parks today, with Adventure Cove, Wild Wild Wet, and Aqua Adventure being some of them. But in ye old days of 1994, there was once a massive water park located where today’s USS is. Called Fantasy Island, it was quite the extreme park with 16 different slides including an 8-lane, high-speed monster of a slide.

Take a slippery slide down memory lane to what used to be Singapore’s largest water park. Although for most of us youngins, this will be more of a Today I Learned moment.

The extreme sports of water parks

fantasy island - wild wild wet vs fantasy island
Wild Wild Wet vs. Fantasy Island – you vs. the guy she told you not to worry about.
Image credit: Downtown East via Facebook & National Archives of Singapore

Safety regulations at old theme parks must’ve been a lot less lax compared to today since the ones at Fantasy Island look rather scary, even in photos. 

Most of the 16 slides here had intimidating names too, like Medusa, Double Trouble, Gang of Four, and Black Hole, much to the liking of adrenaline junkies back then. We heard Medusa was an enclosed water slide where you’d zoom down at the speed of light – kinda like the slides you can find now at Waterbom Bali

Fantasy Island was also a whopping 7.1 hectares and till today, still holds the title as the biggest waterpark ever to have existed in Singapore – at almost double the size of Wild Wild Wet. $54 million dollars was poured into the park in hopes of attracting more tourists and increasing local expenditure on leisure activities. 

High injury rate & unfortunate incidents

overview and crowd
Image credit: National Archives of Singapore

While the rides were extremely popular and got the heart racing, perhaps management had overlooked some safety concerns in exchange for the thrill of the attractions. There were several reports of people getting injured over the course of Fantasy Island’s operations, and the waterpark soon started getting a bad rep.
Fantasy Island seems to be known for more than just water slides during its time.

reminiscing on social media
Image credit: All Singapore Stuff via Facebook

Unfortunately, the fatalities that occurred here rocked the nation. 2 cases of drowning occurred in 1998 and 2000, increasing Singaporeans’ paranoia and resulting in them questioning the management’s capabilities. Since then, the Amusement Rides Safety Act has been introduced – which dictates several safety measures for waterparks, theme parks, and even cable car rides.

The eventual downfall of Fantasy Island

fantasy island - pool
Image credit: National Archives of Singapore

The accidents that happened weren’t the only cause of Fantasy Island’s closure in 2001, there were a variety of factors that contributed to it. For one, Sentosa then wasn’t as accessible as it is now. Back then, there were limited bus routes that took visitors to the Island. Now, you can choose to drive in, take a leisurely stroll along the Sentosa Boardwalk, or get on a monorail. 

The inaccessibility then, coupled with both the $5 entrance fee for Sentosa and $10/child and $16/adult admission for Fantasy Island, were major deterrents for visits after the initial novelty of the waterpark wore off. Due to financial constraints, Fantasy Island eventually closed down on 2nd November 2001. 

From Fantasy Island to Memory Island

Long after its closure, those who have visited Fantasy Island still have fond memories of going down its iconic fast slides. While the mention of it may have older folks saying “aiyo, the one with many accidents ah?” it might be a blessing in disguise that ensured today’s waterparks now have proper safety regulations. 

For more theme parks, fun activities and nostalgia trips check out:

Cover image adapted from: National Archives of Singapore
Originally published on 12th May 2023.