Hey! Hallie here!
Now that it’s the beginning of January, I’m really starting to feel the anticipation building towards the opening of ‘Super Nintendo World’. ‘Super Nintendo World’ is set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood sometime this year, though Universal Studios is always pretty secretive about exact opening dates. The land opened early last year at Universal Studios Japan to some pretty glowing reviews, meaning Hollywood’s won’t be the first of its kind but will be something to look forward to. Given that the amount of space Universal Studios Hollywood has access to isn’t as large as the space ‘Super Nintendo World’ inhabits in Japan, it’s safe to say that we won’t see everything that Japan included in their land. But we’ve still been promised major attractions and scenery, plus some new characters to interact with. There’s so much we might get, so while you should be sure to keep your expectations in check, here’s what we might see when ‘Super Nintendo World’ opens later this year.
Of the attractions available to experience at ‘Super Nintendo World’ in Japan, we know for certain that Hollywood will be getting a ‘Mario Kart’ attraction. This attraction is groundbreaking in that it marries practical animatronics and sets with Augmented Reality technology. Each rider is given a headset that provides the Augmented Reality experience, including virtual interactions with characters and obstacles, while they sit in a kart and race through multiple areas. This attraction is really the centerpiece of the land and it’s very clear a lot of work and care was put into it. Reviews for the ride have been mostly positive but not entirely so. Many have complained about the speed of the ride, which moves too slow for those expecting a racing ride similar to Disney’s ‘Radiator Springs Racers’. Apparently the ride is slower in order to give guests time to fully comprehend all of the physical and virtual events happening around them. However, given that the ride is partially delivered via headset, it’s really hard to tell what the experience will be like if you haven’t ridden the ride. So for now, we’ll just have to see what we think once the ride opens in Hollywood. The other major attraction in ‘Super Nintendo World’ is ‘Yoshi’s Adventure’. This ride is a slow ride that occurs around, and sometimes in, the major scenery surrounding the land. While there are some cute animatronics and sets made specifically for the attraction, the main purpose of it is letting guests get up close and personal with all the details put into the general scenery, as well as allowing guests an overhead view of the area. This ride would be nice to have, but there’s no word on whether or not it will be brought over to Hollywood. Though we might not have the room for it over here, I still have my fingers crossed!
Almost as anticipated as the rides are the Power-Up Band interactive experiences. Much like ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ has its wands, ‘Super Nintendo World’ has Power-Up Bands guests can purchase in stores around the park. These wristbands are themed after various ‘Super Mario’ characters and allow the guest to interact with multiple set pieces around ‘Super Nintendo World’. You can activate certain animatronics, enter into games, and hit blocks to gain points. All of it sounds like a ton of Mario nostalgic fun, but I would be somewhat cautious if the videos in Japan are getting you hyped up. If I were to guess, I’d say that good chunks of the areas Japan has dedicated to these Power-Up Bands will not be present in Hollywood. Similar to the way that Orlando has an entire underbelly in Diagon Alley that has more interactive sets for guest to use their wands in (Knockturn Alley), ‘Super Nintendo World’ in Japan has a whole underground area dedicated to the Power-Up Band experience. But frankly, similar to the way we don’t have room for Wizarding World extras, I don’t think we’ll have the room for some of it over in Hollywood. While I do think that there will be plenty of Power-Band experiences in Hollywood, I get the feeling that we’re going to have less areas to use them in. Still, based on what Japan has demonstrated, the Power-Up Bands look even more interactive than the wands are. I’m excited to see just how interactive all of it really is.
There are plenty of other things to see and do throughout the park that we may or may not see. First let’s talk about characters. I can’t see a reason why there wouldn’t be characters given the fact that Universal tends to love their character meet and greets, so I am expecting to see Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad in the park. In Japan all of these characters have designated areas, including an entire gazebo for Peach. Some of those areas likely won’t be present in Hollywood, but I think the characters are enough. They’re cute, they speak, and their eyes and mouths move. Yeah. I can only hope they actually let us go up to meet them considering the pandemic precautions. As for the other places to visit in the park, I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ll get the 1-Up Factory as well as Kinopio’s Cafe. The 1-Up Factory is the major gift shop in ‘Super Nintendo World’. There isn’t much to talk about here since Universal Studios Hollywood is already getting merchandise for ‘Super Nintendo World’ and the main theming of this shop is just pipes, but I’m still excited for more Luigi merch. Kinopio’s Cafe is another story. The cafe is located in a giant mushroom and hosts cute mushroom decor, digital windows where Toads will stop to say hi, and animatronic power ups. Once again, we might see a downsize here, but I don’t think they’ll skip out entirely on this restaurant. As for the menu, I really can’t say. There are some pretty delicious looking burgers, cakes, pastas, and adorably themed drinks on the menu in Japan, but usually theme park menus change drastically from country to country. Lastly, we have no idea what major scenery pieces will be present in Hollywood. Bowser’s Castle is guaranteed given that it’s the facade for the ‘Mario Kart’ ride, and I will say that it’s already looking like a pipe will be the entry to the park, but Peach’s Castle might be too much to hope for. Either way, I’m sure they’ll make the most of the space they have.
That’s it! I stressed pretty often throughout this post that we will be seeing a much smaller ‘Super Nintendo World’ over here in California, but don’t let that dampen your excitement! Universal Studios has proven time and time again that they’re at the top of the theme park game when it comes to immersive lands. Their ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ lands have been some of the biggest successes in theme park history and fans from Japan have already said ‘Super Nintendo World’ is on par with them all. I’m not at all expecting Universal to skip out on that quality when it comes to the Hollywood park. If anything, I hope this post gave you some idea on what to expect while we anticipate the inevitable surprises in store for all of us!
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!