July 21, 2024

New Details for Super Nintendo World in Epic Universe at Universal Orlando

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Universal Orlando has shared a deep look into the newest and biggest 'Super Nintendo World' coming to Epic Universe, their third theme park in Florida that opens in 2025. This sneak peek shares concept art




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Universal Orlando has shared a deep look into the newest and biggest ‘Super Nintendo World’ coming to Epic Universe, their third theme park in Florida that opens in 2025. This sneak peek shares concept art and info about the rides, shows, interactive experiences, restaurants, and everything else in the upcoming area of the park.

An expansion of 750 acres, Epic Universe is Universal Orlando Resort’s third theme park, just down the road from Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as Volcano Bay Water Park. Once fully built out, the new theme park campus would essentially double Universal Orlando Resort’s existing footprint. It won’t be that big in 2025–that build out is years, if not decades, down the road.

Epic Universe will transport guests to expansive worlds featuring more than 50 experiences that include attractions, entertainment, dining and shopping to create an unforgettable adventure located at Universal Orlando Resort. For a big picture overview of the entire park, see our Universal’s Epic Universe Preview, which unveiled all of the lands and much more.

Next year, guests can jump into the action of their favorite video games when Super Nintendo World makes its debut at Universal’s Epic Universe. Developed in partnership between Universal Creative and Nintendo, the vibrant land combines iconic Nintendo characters and a multi-sensory environment where guests can experience the fun and adventure of Nintendo games in a whole new way.

The fun all begins the moment guests enter the portal to Super Nintendo World, which will transport them through the iconic green pipe into the immersive land. As guests emerge from the pipe, vibrant scenery and exciting kinetic energy surround them as they are greeted by the familiar sights and sounds that they’ve experienced on their Nintendo game consoles. Iconic visuals in Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe will include the towering Mt. Beanpole, majestic Peach’s Castle, swaying Piranha Plants, pacing Goombas, spinning coins, ? Blocks, and more.

Inside Super Nintendo World, guests will be able to explore Super Mario Land – where they’ll enjoy adventures alongside Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and other characters. And for the first time in the United States, guests will also be able to drop into Donkey Kong Country – where they’ll encounter thrills featuring Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and other members of the Kong family.

Here’s a video from Universal Orlando Resort revealing Super Nintendo World:

The colorful landscapes of the Mushroom Kingdom come to life in Super Mario Land, where guests can experience:

•  Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge: Guests are invited to join Team Mario and battle Team Bowser for the Golden Cup in this groundbreaking attraction that fuses augmented reality, projection mapping technology and elaborate environments to bring the fun of the Mario Kart video game series to life in a compelling ride-through experience.

Guests up for the challenge will enter through Bowser’s Castle – where they’ll wind its corridors and get a glimpse of Bowser’s deceptive plans to stack the odds in his favor – before boarding their kart and heading to the starting line. Then, guests steer through a variety of Mario Kart courses – collecting coins, tossing shells at Team Bowser, dodging obstacles, and more – as they join their favorite characters and compete to help Team Mario win the race.

• Yoshi’s Adventure: The delightful Yoshi’s Adventure attraction will make its U.S. debut when Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Epic Universe. On this family-friendly ride, guests of all ages will enjoy breathtaking views of Super Mario Land as they join Yoshis and travel through Mushroom Kingdom landscapes in search of glowing eggs, encountering familiar characters along the way.

• Toadstool Cafe: At this counter service restaurant, guests can enjoy a variety of tasty dishes inspired by the world of Super Mario and its characters, including Mario and Luigi-themed burgers, Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Fire Flower Spaghetti and Meatballs and so much more. Guests will also get glimpses of several Toads cooking up culinary creations through various virtual windows as they dine inside the restaurant.

• Yoshi’s Snack Island and Turbo Boost Treats: Guests can also pick up delicious treats, snacks and beverages at these walk-up dining locations.

• 1-UP Factory and Mario Motors: Guests can shop for souvenirs, apparel, toys and more inspired by their favorite Super Mario characters and adventures within these retail locations

• Meet and Greets: Guests can meet, greet and interact with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad throughout various areas in Super Mario Land.

At the edge of Super Mario Land, guests will discover an entrance that leads them to Donkey Kong Country, where they’ll explore the lush, tropical landscape from the video game series, complete with tall trees, waterfalls, landmarks such as The Golden Temple and more. In Donkey Kong Country, guests can enjoy:

• Mine-Cart Madness: Guests will hop into a mine cart and careen through the jungle to help Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong protect the coveted golden banana on this first-of-its-kind family coaster. Mine-Cart Madness will utilize an unprecedented ride system, innovative technology and a unique coaster design.

Mine-Cart Madness will send riders on a thrilling adventure where they will experience the jaw-dropping maneuvers that they’ve seen Donkey Kong and the mine carts perform in the video games – including getting blasted out of a barrel, seemingly jumping over gaps as they speed along a rickety track, and so much more.

• A selection of tropical menu and merchandise offerings in the middle of the jungle – all inspired by the Donkey Kong Country video game franchise and its characters. More details will be shared in the coming months.

That’s not all – guests will find even more exciting experiences and adventures while exploring Super Nintendo World.

Guests can level up their fun in Super Nintendo World with the purchase of a Power-Up Band, a wearable for their wrist that allows them to enhance their play throughout Super Mario Land and Donkey Kong Country.

With the Power-Up Band, guests can collect digital coins by punching ? Blocks and playing interactive activities; collect digital stamps on attractions; earn digital keys to unlock an exclusive showdown against Bowser Jr.; and discover other hidden surprises. Guests can also access Leaderboard screens to see where they rank amongst fellow guests.

Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe will be Universal Destinations and Experiences’ third installment of the immersive land. Right now, guests can enjoy Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan.

Turning to commentary, Super Nintendo World is interesting because it’s likely to be the big draw to Universal’s Epic Universe, but it’s also mostly a known quantity. The first version opened at Universal Studios Japan a few years ago, and the first domestic incarnation debuted at Universal Studios Hollywood last year. What’s coming to Epic Universe should be very similar to the version at USJ–the layout looks almost identical to me.

There is one big unknown, though, and that’s Donkey Kong Country. This land was slated to debut in Osaka this spring, but has been delayed until the second half of the year. Donkey Kong Country looks amazing–like the best part of Super Nintendo World (but that could be bias talking, as I like Donkey Kong a bit more than Mario).

I’m especially excited for Mine-Cart Madness, and the innovative ride system using elevated ride vehicles to create the illusion of jumping the track. If that’s executed well, it’s going to be mind-blowing. I’m a little worried that it’ll be like the swaying carts on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which are virtually unnoticeable–but at the very least, it’ll look cool. It’s also nice to hear Universal Creative confirm that Mine-Cart Madness will have no screens.

We’ve had a chance to experience both the USJ and USH versions of Super Nintendo World several times and are fairly big fans. We would’ve been experiencing Donkey Kong Country in a few weeks, but alas. The lands are not perfect, but they’re big time wish fulfillment experiences and are going to be huge hits those who grew up on Nintendo games.

Although it’s garnered mixed reviews, I think Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is an excellent attraction. It’s great even as a dark ride, but even better with the interactivity layered on top. There’s a bit of a learning curve and some fans have complained that it’s slow-moving, but I think that’s unfairly harsh–it can’t be both fast and interactive.

Then there’s Yoshi’s Adventure, which…exists. I would recommend lowering your expectations for this ride. Beyond that, the interactivity is ton of fun (better than anything in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or even the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter), which makes the Power-Up Bands a must buy. Seriously, you will miss a lot of the experience without those–at the very least, every kid in your party should have one.

If you’re not a lifelong Nintendo gamer but would like to get the most out of the land, I’d recommend picking up a Nintendo Switch along with Mario Kart 8 plus Super Mario Bros. Wonder and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. That will pretty much cover your bases–those games are approachable and an absolute joy to play. Seriously–we’re talking classic Disney levels of creativity and family-friendly fun!

If you want a deep dive into Super Nintendo World, check out our thoughts in Super Nintendo World Review: Good, Bad & Ugly. If you’re looking for more Mario Kart info, see our Ride Review: Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge. Both of those reviews are based on the USJ version of Super Nintendo World, which means they’re more accurate for Epic Universe than USH reviews would be.

There’s also our Review of Toadstool Cafe in Super Nintendo World, which is based on the California version of that restaurant. I would expect that to be more comparable to the Epic Universe version of the restaurant than its counterpart in Osaka, as it’s safe to assume they’ll serve American cuisine in America. (The food isn’t all that different, just more ‘kawaii’ at USJ.)

If you’re already thinking ahead and want tips & tricks (that’ll almost certainly change at least in part for the Epic Universe version), see our Strategy Guide for Super Nintendo World.

Strategy will absolutely be necessary, as we cannot talk about Super Nintendo World without discussing crowds. They’re bad. Really, really bad most days in both California and Osaka. Any theme park fans who have complained about virtual queues, upcharges, or convoluted access when it comes to Walt Disney World might be in for a rude awakening with Super Nintendo World.

We absolutely adore the land when it’s not packed with people, which is rare. The land is a nightmare when it’s busy, which is most of the time. The experience is very different and not nearly as enjoyable. Since so much of Super Nintendo World is predicated upon interactivity and play, the land loses a lot of its luster and is crippled by crowds.

Super Nintendo World in Epic Universe is going to be the largest version of the land in the world…but that’s not necessarily saying much. Even with Donkey Kong Country and Mine Cart Madness, this land is likely very undersized relative to demand. I would imagine that Universal could double or triple the size of Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe and it would still be “too small” given its popularity.

The problem with doing that is that a big part of Super Nintendo World’s appeal is its level design–make it too big and it feels empty and impersonal, like some of the complaints with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

How Universal will manage that supply vs. demand capacity imbalance and capitalize on it is the big unanswered question. Both of the currently existing versions of Super Nintendo World use virtual queues when attendance is high just to enter the land.

If those parks aren’t busy, the virtual queue is not needed. I’m reluctant to extrapolate much from that–the Epic Universe version will be larger, but it’ll also have a steady stream of tourists, whereas the California and Osaka parks have huge local fanbases.

Universal Studios Hollywood also sells Early Access Tickets for one-hour head-start in Super Nintendo World before the land opens to the general public. Universal Studios Japan sells Express Pass ‘bundles’ that are valid for one-time use at a selection of attractions, including Mario Kart and Yoshi’s Adventure.

Given that Epic Universe is a brand-new theme park that will draw in free-spending tourists, my expectation is that Universal pushes the upcharges as far as it believes is possible. I have no clue if that means paid Early Access or a unique type of Express Pass–or different upcharges entirely–but my guess is that this Super Nintendo World will have some combination of the above.

And it’ll be worth every penny to purchase those offerings, as Super Nintendo World is at its best when you’re not fighting the crowds and are able to roam the land and play freely. I can’t wait for Super Nintendo World to be a huge hit–the defining land of Epic Universe–prompting the company to greenlight additional Nintendo areas at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida!

Need trip planning tips and comprehensive advice for your visit to Central Florida? Make sure to read our Universal Orlando Planning Guide for everything about Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Also check out our Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Guide for everything about those parks, resorts, restaurants, and so much more. For regular updates, news & rumors, a heads up when discounts are released, and much more, sign up for our FREE email newsletter!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of Super Nintendo World? Impressed by the rides, restaurants, interactivity, etc. in this Epic Universe land reveal? Thoughts on the look and atmosphere of the Donkey Kong and Mario areas? Excited for Super Nintendo World, Harry Potter’s Ministry of Magic, Dark Universe/Classic Monsters, or the How to Train Your Dragon lands and/or attractions? Think Epic Universe will be a third gate that’s a worthy addition to Universal Orlando Resort…and potentially on par with Disney’s best lands? Expect Disney to “respond” with a big announcement of its own at the 2024 D23 Expo? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!




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