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Super Nintendo World Opens in Universal Studios Hollywood

Super Nintendo World opens

Wahoo! If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Mushroom Kingdom, now’s your chance. Super Nintendo World, a theme park land dedicated to Mario and all his friends, will officially open in Universal Studios Hollywood on February 17, 2023.

Universal Parks & Resorts has been hard at work on Super Nintendo World since 2015, and they’re putting all their hopes on Mario. The first iteration of Super Nintendo World opened in Japan in 2021, and two additional Super Nintendo Worlds will open in Orlando and Singapore in 2025. The highly anticipated opening of the land in Universal Studios Hollywood marks the first time the Mushroom Kingdom can be visited in America.

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Super Nintendo World

What to Expect

Visitors will enter Super Nintendo World through a giant, iconic green warp pipe into Princess Peach’s castle, which will be instantly recognizable to anyone who played “Super Mario 64.” The other end of the castle is opened wide to reveal the Mushroom Kingdom, where Princess Peach and all her subjects live. It’s as though you’re jumping through one of her paintings and into another world.

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The theming in Super Nintendo World is cartoony, colorful and kinetic, and the whole land is crammed between Princess Peach’s idyllic castle and Bowser’s looming, menacing castle. Mount Beanpole (familiar to players of “Super Mario 3D World”) towers above as the land’s icon. In between, you’ll run into larger-than-life mushrooms, snapping piranha plants, spinning coins, “?” blocks, angry thwomps, waddling goombas and more.

Want to level up your trip? You can purchase a Power-Up Band, a wristband that lets you access all the minigames, interactive elements and hidden effects the land has to offer. Who knows? You might even make it to a boss battle with Bowser Jr. While the Power-Up Band is an extra cost, it allows you to experience the whole land. If you’re going to buy one piece of merchandise, it should be a Power-Up Band.

Super Nintendo World

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge

What’s a theme park land without a ride? Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge takes visitors inside Bowser’s Castle to play a real life round of “Mario Kart.” Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge and its counterpart in Japan are the first major theme park rides to utilize augmented reality headsets. The headsets are visors (they look like Mario hats, naturally) which clip onto screens that display the AR elements during the ride.

As you speed through levels from the “Mario Kart” series, you’ll collect coins, blast through item boxes, fire off shells and compete against Team Bowser. You might even find yourself driving down the infamous Rainbow Road. Don’t forget to tap your Power-Up Band to the ride’s sensor so you can keep track of your high score. It’s definitely an attraction people will want to ride again and again, so keep the single rider line in mind if you want a shorter wait.

Super Nintendo World opens

Toadstool Cafe

If you’re hungrier than a chain chomp and thirstier than a dry bones, you’ll love the whimsical offerings that Chef Toad has whipped up at the Toadstool Cafe. After Chef Toad greets you himself, you’ll be seated near the many “windows” that show what’s going on in the Mushroom Kingdom and even in the kitchen (where many other toads are working to complete your meal).

All the meals at the cafe are heavily themed, from a Mario burger that bears a red hat and moustache to a “?” block tiramisu featuring a randomized, white chocolate power-up inside. The piranha plant caprese features a piranha plant made from tomato, asparagus and fresh mozzarella, and the toadstool-shaped cheesy garlic knots are not to be missed.

The Mushroom Kingdom of the East Coast

East coasters, do not despair! Universal Orlando Resort is expected to open its own version of Super Nintendo World in 2025 – as part of an entirely new theme park called Epic Universe.

Not much is known about Epic Universe, as its development has been kept tightly under wraps. Situated about two miles from the other two Universal Orlando Resort parks, Epic Universe has a lot of real estate to play with. At time of writing, Super Nintendo World is the only land that has been confirmed to be featured in Epic Universe. There have been rumors that other lands might draw inspiration from the Universal Monsters, the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise and more, but no one knows for sure.

Since it has a lot more room to stretch out, Super Nintendo World Orlando will be a lot bigger than its Hollywood counterpart. It will be able to include the Yoshi’s Adventure ride, previously seen in Japan, the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride and even a roller coaster based on Donkey Kong.

The name “Super Nintendo World” instead of “Super Mario World” suggests that they might eventually include franchises that don’t fall under the Mario umbrella. It’s easy to imagine a future in which Universal Orlando Resort has room to include areas themed after Pokemon or The Legend of Zelda. Both are massive franchises in their own right and would be big draws to Universal’s new park. But based on what we know now, those franchises probably won’t be there on opening day.

Ultra-immersion has been the name of the game in the theme park industry recently, and Super Nintendo World completely envelops you in its universe and characters. It feels like walking right into the middle of a video game.

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