Universal Japan is kicking off their 20th Anniversary Celebration with the opening of a brand new theme park, and if you’re a fan of Nintendo, it may very well be right up your alley. That’s right – after a long wait and plenty of preparation, Super Nintendo World will finally open to the public on March 18, offering enthusiasts their very first tour of a nostalgic wonderland filled to the brim with beloved characters and locations from the Mario universe.
Mushrooms Not Required
Super Nintendo World is a magical and visually stimulating place full of everything Mario and friends, from the gorgeous recreation of Princess Peach’s castle to high-reaching clifftops rife with question mark blocks, twirling coins, and animatronic koopas floating about. A quick glimpse at the park is enough to understand that this is obviously to Nintendo what Disney World is to Disney, as there’s truly not a spot in the park that isn’t teeming with bright and colorful references to Nintendo’s most precious and popular franchise. This is undoubtedly the Mushroom Kingdom the way we’ve all always imagined.
Super Nintendo World’s biggest attraction is its unique “Asobi” feature, which will allow people to explore the park virtually collecting stamps, keys, coins, and more by punching question mark blocks scattered around the various locations throughout. This is achieved by the use of either a smartphone or a special wrist band, and it will give visitors an incentive to collect as much as possible during each visit in hopes of beating the high scores set by friends and others who have come before them.
Super Nintendo World will also feature two rides on opening day, both of which promise to let players live out video game fantasies. Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge will pit two groups of visitors against one another in an on-rails kart ride that incorporates AR headsets for an immersive experience. With underwater areas, lava segments, and even a visit to the infamous Rainbow Road, there’s no doubt that Koopa’s Challenge will trigger plenty of memories for long-time Nintendo devotees.
Secondly, visitors can relax on a very calm and slow ride through Yoshi’s Adventure, which will take them through a variety of locations from Mario and Yoshi’s past adventures while riding on the lovable dinosaur’s back. Adorable baby versions of classic characters can be found throughout, as well as notable baddies like Shy Guys, Pokeys, and Magikoopas. There’s even a glimpse at everyone’s favorite pup, Poochy, along the way.
Once you’ve punched enough blocks and rode enough rides, Super Nintendo World will even offer some pretty nifty restaurants. Kinopio’s Cafe and Yoshi’s Snack Stand provide two different options for those with a rumbling belly, but the most surprising aspect of it all is just how much detail has gone into crafting the food. From star-shaped scoops of rice to question mark block desserts, it’s actually staggering just how much attention has been paid to even making the eating experience feel unequivocally Nintendo – and it even still manages to look extremely tasty to boot!
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Of course, things haven’t always been so magical for Super Nintendo World. The park has suffered delays as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, having originally been set for launch in February, but Nintendo states they will be opening this month with strict safety measures in place to help combat the virus. These include mandatory mask requirements, lowered total capacity, and intense attention to hygiene. It’s still probably not the greatest idea to visit a park of this nature during a pandemic, but at least Nintendo is doing their best to make it a safer environment for those brave enough to give it a go.
Nintendo has plans to open a Super Nintendo World park at Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood, but the timeline for these expansions haven’t been publicly discussed yet. In the meantime, if you want to see what’s going on with Mario and his many pals, you’ll have to fly to Osaka, Japan to have a look starting March 18.