Thursday, August 18, 2022

Super Nintendo World to Open in 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood

Theme ParksTheme Park NewsSuper Nintendo World to Open in 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood

by Joe Tracy, editor of Theme Park Magazine

Super Nintendo World, a colorful and immersive land themed to Nintendo intellectual properties like Mario, will be opening at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023. The new land has been under construction since 2019 on the lower lot of Universal Studios Hollywood. The entrance to Super Nintendo World will be to the left of the Transformers 3D ride. The land is being built where sound stages used to be, effectively expanding the in-park experience for guests.

This will be the second Super Mario World to open worldwide. The first opened at Universal Studios Japan on March 18, 2021. Two more are planned for Universal Studios Singapore and Universal’s Epic Universe in Florida.

Super Nintendo World Under Construction
Super Nintendo World under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood (picture by Jeremy Thompson).

Universal Creative and Shigeru Miyamoto Team Up for Super Mario World

Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the popular Mario character in the early 1980s, worked with Universal Creative to design Super Nintendo World with an eye towards recreating the popular video-game feel of the original Mario Bros. games. When Super Nintendo World opened in Japan, Miyamoto gave a personal preview. Here’s the video:

Universal Creative, formed from MCA Planning and Development in 1997, has an impressive track record. Made up of writers, designers, artists, architects, builders, engineers, and others, Universal Creative has delivered amazing lands like Wizarding World of Harry Potter and impressive experiences like Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash. Universal Creative created Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan and is working that same magic in Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore. These experiences aren’t cheap. Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan cost nearly $600 million.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter has interactive elements for people who buy a magic wand. Likewise, Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan has “Power-Up Bands” guests can buy for interactive experiences and challenges. A similar experience is expected at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Here’s how Universal Studios Japan describes the Power-Up Bands:

“Enjoy more adventures of the multilevel Super Nintendo World with a Power-Up Band! With a Power-Up Band, you can experience key challenges, collect virtual coins and items, and more to bring the experience of playing Super Mario games to the real world.”

What Will Be in Super Nintendo World?

When it opens in 2023, Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood is expected to feature:

  • A colorful new land that puts you into a Nintendo world of the past
  • A Mario Kart ride with a themed queue (confirmed)
  • Possibly a second ride
  • Themed dining
  • Themed shopping
  • Interactive areas and attractions

It is confirmed that Universal Studios Hollywood Super Nintendo World will open with a Mario Kart ride, possibly like Universal Studio Japan’s “Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge.” The unique ride, designed by Universal Creative, features many technologies like augmented reality, projection mapping, and screen projections combined with guest interactivity. Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge has been open a year and may be a good indication of what the Universal Studios Hollywood version might be like.

The Orlando Informer published an article in 2021 titled, “Super Nintendo World – overview and history.” Here’s what the article says about the Mario Kart ride in Japan:

“Universal employs a whole swath of technologies: physical sets, projection-mapping, video projections, and a pair of augmented-reality goggles, which is how riders are able to collect – and use – the turtle shells during the race. Each ride vehicle sports four seats, and each of those seats comes equipped with a pair of the AR glasses and a steering wheel – meaning that every passenger gets a turn at driving. The race track stretches through several different sections from the games, including going underwater, past lava, and through a “spooky” environment (not to mention the legendary Rainbow Road, naturally) – all of which is to say that Koopa’s Challenge delivers on Universal’s promise to be an attraction ‘unlike any the world has ever seen.’”

If the Universal Studios Hollywood version of Mario Kart is the same as Japan then it will feature 4-person cars (2 rows with 2 people in each row) and a five-minute ride time. Guests will wear goggles (attached to a headband). Each rider will have a steering wheel and guests with the Power-Up band can scan it for additional ride gameplay enhancements. While the ride is in motion guests can earn coins by all drivers being in synch with driving directions and firing shells at Team Koopa and enemies.

You can see a ride and queue video of Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge in the Explore More (Videos) section below.

Merchandise Arriving Before Super Nintendo World Opens

The Feature Presentation store, just inside the Universal Studios Hollywood entrance, is being rethemed to Super Nintendo World. Expected to open in time for summer crowds, the store will showcase apparel, character hats, and plush characters featuring Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Mario Bowser, and other popular Nintendo characters.

Explore More (Videos)

Theme Park Shark explores Super Nintendo World the day of the opening announcement

Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge – Queue Tour and Full Ride

Just the Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride (great quality)

How the Mario Kart ride works

Explore More (Resources)

Article: Super Nintendo World – overview and history (Orlando Informer)
Website: Universal Studio Japan Super Nintendo World Website

Super Mario World Under Construction image by Jeremy Thompson (license)

About Joe Tracy

Joe Tracy is the founder and editor of Theme Park Magazine, launched on June 1, 2021. Like many others, his passion for theme parks and themed experiences started in childhood and never faded. Joe has over two decades of experience in the print and online publishing industry.

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