Super Nintendo World lands at Universal Studios Hollywood (PHOTOS)

Mar 21 2023, 5:58 pm

The Mushroom Kingdom has arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The famed theme park added its latest expansion, the highly anticipated Super Nintendo World. Naturally, the land features all the icons of the Mario Bros. universe, including Mario himself, his brother, Luigi, his longtime love, Princess Peach, and his notorious nemesis, Bowser.

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

At the centre of the land is the “Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge” ride, which combines classic dark ride elements with an innovative augmented reality experience. Riders make their way through a full-scale Bowser’s Castle which also helps detail the plot inspired by the iconic Mario Kart game. In this take, the Italian plumber, Luigi, and pals Peach, Daisy, Toad, and Yoshi are set to take on the evil Bowser and Koopalings to try and win the “Universal Cup.”

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the main ride in the land, and involves an interactive AR experience.

Riders wear a hardtop version of Mario’s red visors complete with a pair of goggles that help amplify the AR portion of the ride experience, which takes place in four-person “karts” as each person attempts to shoot their Koopa Shells! After racing (and, at times, drifting) through various scenes from Mario Kart 8, points are tallied up to see who came in first place.

The gaming element continues throughout the park thanks to Power-Up bands ($4o) worn by attendees, allowing visitors to collect points through a series of challenges. There are six bands available representing characters Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad, and Princess Daisy — and you’ll definitely want to make the investment in one of these to enjoy the rest of the park.

Park attendees can earn points by wearing Power Up bands and hitting question mark cubes around the park.

The elements of Super Mario World are life-size throughout the new land, including the Piranha Plants and Question Blocks (which you can quite literally bonk for points). There’s a storyline players are following, too: the goal is to gain back the three stolen golden keys for the Mushroom Kingdom swiped by Bowser Jr.

One of the in-park mini challenges

After playing and winning at least three of the four mini challenges to try and find the keys — Goomba Crazy Crank, Piranha Plant Nap Mishap, Thwomp Panel Panic, and Koopa Troopa POWer Punch — players can earn their real to a final battle with Bowser Jr. in a brilliant interactive room which features a motion tracking wall. Get ready to throw fireballs!

After earning enough points, guests can take on the next challenge in this interactive room that involves throwing fireballs and more.

After working up a sweat, chow down at the whimsical Toadstool Cafe, featuring an array of Mario-inspired food, desserts, and drinks all whipped by “Chef Toad” himself.

The Piranha Caprese is available at the in-park Toadstool Cafe.

The Super Mushroom Soup comes in a mushroom-shaped cup styled like Toad, while Pirhana Caprese looks straight out of the game.

The Super Mushroom soup is another signature menu item.

Other early Instagram faves include the Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs and themed-out Mario Burger, along with desserts like the Question Block Tiramisu and Princess Peach Cupcake.

Other menu items at the Toadstool Cafe.

Finally, merch is abound in the 1Up Factory with t-shirts, plush dolls, games, and more.

The Question Block Tiramisu.

The studio has also announced they will be bringing a third to Universal Studios Orlando at some point in 2025 (the original iteration of the land exists at Universal Studios Japan). A film based on the game, starring Chris Pratt and Vancouver’s Seth Rogen, is also set for release on April 5.

Super Nintendo World is open now at Universal Studio Hollywood, from 8 am to 10 pm on Friday through to Monday, and from 9 am to 9 pm midweek Tuesday to Thursday. Guests can also pay an additional $20 for an early access pass during regular operating hours from Friday through Monday from 8 am to 10 pm and Tuesday through Thursday from 9 am to 9 pm.

Access to the area is included with admission to Universal Studios (which will set visitors back $109). An early access pass is also available for an additional $20, allowing entry to the park one hour ahead of general opening time.

Cassandra GillCassandra Gill

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