The Mushroom Kingdom comes to life at Super Nintendo World, the highly anticipated new addition to Universal Studios Hollywood.
As park guests walk through the green warp pipe entrance to the land, they are greeted by sights and sounds from the Super Mario gaming franchise. Visitors can meet characters, punch “?” blocks to collect digital coins, enjoy a meal prepared by Toad, and much more.
“When you come into (Super Nintendo World), you are coming into the (Super Mario game), and you are immersed,” Jon Corfino, the vice president of Universal Creative, told KTLA. “It’s so kinetic, energized, and the area has all the things you recognize from the game.”
After entering through the green warp pipe, guests walk through Princess Peach’s castle, where they learn that Bowser Jr. has stolen her golden mushroom and it’s their job to help her get it back.
Guests are encouraged to explore the land; there isn’t a set of rules anyone has to follow, but parkgoers can participate in four challenges to collect digital keys throughout their visit. Collecting two of the four keys will lead guests to the boss battle against Bowser Jr., where they can try and get the golden mushroom back for Princess Peach.
The land’s main attraction, “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge,” lets visitors enjoy a real-life game of Mario Kart. Riders will compete on Team Mario to defeat Bowser and his companions in an epic race across multiple fan-favorite tracks.
Riders will be able to collect coins and throw items throughout the race. The ride uses augmented reality technology and actual set pieces to imitate a race car driving along the track.
While the ride is the main attraction, guests will also be impressed by the ride’s queue. The attraction’s line takes park visitors on a journey through Bowser’s castle, which features a massive statute of the famed Super Mario villain, lessons on how the mechanical “Bob-ombs” are made, and Bowser’s shrine to Princess Peach.
Interactive gameplay is also heavily featured throughout the land and comes to life with the help of “Power-Up” bands. The bands, which can be synced with the Universal Studios Hollywood app, have multiple uses, including the ability to collect and store digital coins and keys, prompt unique interactions with characters and more.
The bands come in six designs and can be purchased within the land, at Super Nintendo World retail shops throughout the park, and on City Walk.
However, purchasing a Power-Up band isn’t essential, Corfino says.
“If you come in and don’t have a power band, and you don’t really understand it, you can still engage with the interactives, ride on the Mario Kart ride and understand what your score is,” Corfino said.
The immersive gaming-inspired attraction is the first Super Nintendo World to debut in the United States.
Universal Studios Orlando is expected to have its own Super Nintendo World, which will be a part of the new Epic Universe area in 2025, theme park blogs have reported.
Universal Studios Japan was the first theme park to have a Super Nintendo World, which debuted in 2021.
While Super Nintendo World doesn’t officially open until Feb. 17, guests can visit the land during technical rehearsals, or a soft opening, at the theme park. There is no schedule as to when technical rehearsals will be held, according to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Guests who visit during the technical rehearsals aren’t promised that the land will be fully operational before the opening date.
The new land is a result of a partnership between Universal and Nintendo, the video game company that created the Super Mario franchise.
During their visit, parkgoers can also dine at the sit-down restaurant Toadstool Café. Daily menu items will include Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Mario Bacon Cheeseburger, Luigi Pesto Chicken Burger, “?” Block Tiramisu and Princess Peach Cupcake.