Where is Super Mario World?
Super Mario World was a fantastic game and still is to this day. That is why Universal has started taking characters from the Nintendo video games and transforming them into theme park rides, attractions, character meet n greets and dining experiences. Universal has even create complete theme park lands like the game Super Mario World.
I can see where some confusion comes into play. Super Mario World is a perfect name for a theme park land, but Universal wanted to add even more Nintendo rides and attractions to their parks so they named these new lands, Super Nintendo World. Super Nintendo World houses Mario as well as loads of other Nintendo games you enjoy and love.
Super Nintendo World is located in Universal Japan in Osaka, Universal Hollywood in California, and Universal Orlando in Florida. Universal Destinations and Experiences and Nintendo first announced their partnership in 2015. This short, yet strong, history brought a breath of fresh air into the world of Universal theme parks. In 2016, it was announced that Nintendo-themed lands would be brought to Asia and the United States.
First, Super Nintendo World is a highly themed land within multiple Universal theme parks. Visiting these lands transport you into the Super Mario World and will make you feel like you are in the classic video game. Explore the mushroom kingdom, play mini-games, and race within Mario Kart. There is even a Toad restaurant with highly themed food and beverage selections! This land is perfect for young fans of Nintendo, as well as those that grew up playing the classic video game.
Both Universal Japan and Universal Hollywood opened their own versions of Super Nintendo World. On the other hand, the land is not expected to open in Orlando until Summer 2025 at Universal’s Epic Universe. Universal Hollywood’s version is much smaller than the Japan and Orlando iterations and does not feature all of the same offerings.
First, Super Nintendo World at Universal Japan opened on March 18th, 2021. Upon opening, the land had two rides: an augmented reality dark ride called Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and an indoor/outdoor omnimover attraction called Yoshi Adventure. Next, Super Nintendo World at Universal Hollywood opened on February 17th, 2023. This version of the land only opened with one attraction, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. Both Universal Japan and Universal Orlando will debut a Donkey Kong Country themed land. This land is expected to open in Japan later this year and at Universal’s Epic Universe in Orlando during Summer 2025.
Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
This attraction will exist at all three iterations of Super Nintendo World, and every iteration is nearly identical. With the use of augmented reality, riders are virtually transported into the middle of a Mario Kart race. Drive alongside Mario and friends against Bowser and his minions. Riders get to steer their own steering wheel and drift along the course as well as use mystery items to help propel themselves towards victory. Every ride follows the same course, but all of the riders’ skills will determine whether or not you win the race.
Currently only at Universal Japan, this omnimover attraction lets you board your very own Yoshi. Ride along in search of Captain Toad and collect eggs to win a digital stamp within the Universal app. This is a great slow-paced attraction for families and kids. It provides a few indoor and outdoor scenes with animatronics as well as sweeping views of the Mario-themed land. This attraction is also under construction for Universal’s Epic Universe and is anticipated to open alongside the park.
Mine Cart Madness
Opening later this year at Universal Japan, this family coaster attraction is the flagship attraction of the new Donkey Kong Country mini-land. Board a mine cart and ride along with Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong around an old temple and its ruins. New ride technology will make it look like your mine cart is flying through the air and jumping tracks. Similarly, this attraction is also under construction for Universal’s Epic Universe and is anticipated to open alongside the park.
The land contains one dining location – Toadstool Cafe. Upon entering, you wait to order at a register, collect your drinks from the cashier, and then get seated at a table where you will receive your food. This table delivery concept is a popular choice for newer restaurants within Universal and allows for a more efficient flow of guests.
The restaurant boasts one giant dining room with digital windows flanking three walls of the room. You can see into the kitchen where animated toads are cooking the food you ordered as well as outside into a colorful Mario World. Sit in the dining room long enough and you may get to see Bowser’s minions terrorize the toads as the lighting in the dining room dims.
The food here is very well themed and features many options including salads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, pastas, beverages, and desserts. Every dish pops of color and some type of garnish to really characterize it. Some examples include mustaches and hats on the burger bunds, a salad shaped as a piranha plant, and a ? block themed tiramisu. Just looking at images of the dishes will make your mouth water. You can truly tell so much time and thought went into crafting this menu.
At Super Nintendo World in Hollywood and Japan you can meet Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad. What is amazing about these meet and greets is that the characters are able to blink their eyes and speak with you! They will ask you how your are, compliment your outfit, laugh along with you, and much more. These touches make these interactions much more personable and memorable. All characters are typically available to meet throughout park operating hours at their respective meeting spots. Mario and Luigi are seen near some warp pipes at the center of the land, Princess Peach meets at a gazebo near the entrance of the land, and Toad meets near the exit of Peach’s castle.
The same characters are expected for Universal Orlando’s Super Nintendo World. Additionally, there are rumors of a Donkey Kong meet and great when the land opens in both Japan and Orlando.
Next, the land contains one shopping location called the 1-Up Factory. This is where you can find all things Super Mario including T-Shirts, jackets, hats, headbands, backpacks, keychains, magnets, plushies, and so much more.
The merchandise sold within the land covers multiple characters including favorites like Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Toad, and Bowser. Overall, there are so many clothing items and souvenirs to choose from that there is something for every Nintendo fan.
Most importantly, the Power-Up Band was introduced. This wearable, snap-on bracelet allows you to complete challenges and interact with the land in a fun and self-paced adventure. More on this later.
Upon the opening of the Donkey Kong expansion in Japan, it is expected for Donkey and Diddy Kong merchandise to debut at all of the Super Nintendo World lands globally.
Universal App Compatibility
Lastly, let’s discuss the synergy of Super Nintendo World and the Universal App. Upon purchasing a Power-Up Band, you can link it within the Universal Japan and Hollywood apps. After linking, you can collect coins, complete challenges, and earn stamps. You can link multiple Power-Up Bands to the same account and track everyone’s progress. Additionally, there are leaderboards posted throughout the land for you to check on your progress and even compare to the highest scores of the day. These in-app experiences really elevate the land could easily make you spend your entire day within only Super Nintendo World.
The Future of Universal Destinations and Experiences and Nintendo
Ultimately, Nintendo and Universal have big aspirations on the horizon. There is the upcoming Donkey Kong Country expansion in Japan that will open later this year. Additionally, the brand new Super Nintendo World at Universal’s Epic Universe in Orlando is scheduled to open next summer. Recently, there are also rumors of both Pokemon and Legend of Zelda expansions coming to Universal Orlando. The partnership of the Nintendo with Universal continues to produce great themed lands and attractions for theme park visitors for many years to come.