Guests at Universal Hollywood will soon be able to ride rides that aren’t just based on movies. After only saying 2023, the long-awaited Super Nintendo World expansion is now confirmed to open at the California theme park in early 2023, marking the first time that the video game giant has had a large presence inside a theme park. The mock-up of the Mushroom Kingdom will bring the world of Mario and friends stateside following a Japanese debut in March 2021.
The park will be a close copy of the existing land in Japan, which includes a 3D-enhanced dark ride through Bowser’s castle based on Super Mario Kart and a kid-friendly people mover attraction where guests ride multicolored Yoshis around the land. Dining options include a café run by Toads that serves unique cuisine and various shopping destinations to pick up exclusive Mario merch.
There are also interactive video game elements throughout the land that take advantage of “Power-Up Bands.” Anyone who’s willing to shell out some real-world gold coins can punch a question mark block in real life and battle Bowser Jr. in a scavenger hunt. There’s also Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, which Universal released a trailer of. The game has users put on special goggles as they race alongside Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach and throw shells.
After seeing a delay, Super Nintendo World is also set to debut at the Universal Orlando Resort in the future, likely as part of the larger Epic Universe theme park. It’s rumored that the park will open alongside a Donkey Kong-themed land that is already hinted at in Japan and Hollywood through a Donkey Kong-esque wooden gate and Donkey Kong files in the park’s app. There were also murmurings about attractions based on The Legend of Zelda in the land’s initial planning stages, but nothing came of those once construction began.
Universal and Nintendo have a strong partnership at the moment, with the two companies partnering on both theme park attractions and the upcoming (and recently delayed) Super Mario movie in production at Illumination. The film, which stars Chris Pratt as the famous Italian plumber, is also set for a debut in 2023.