Super Nintendo World will open at Universal Studios Japan next spring. Universal Studios Beijing is on track for an early 2021 opening. And the Universal Orlando Resort will add another 2,000 hotel rooms - beyond those already announced - within the next five years.
Universal Parks and Resort Chairman Tom Williams revealed all that and more while speaking to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference yesterday. In addition to narrowing the opening windows for Nintendo and Universal's first park in China, Williams also provided more detail about interactivity in the Nintendo-themed land.
Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan will include two rides in its first phase, Williams said: Super Mario Kart Ride and Yoshi's Adventures. As expected, those rides will give fans the opportunity to play in video games come to life.
"The whole land is interactive," Williams said. "And you are going to have a wristband that's got the big red Mario symbol on it."
The wristband will allow visitors not just to record their scores on the two rides, but also to engage with game elements throughout the three-level land, including Bowser's and Princess Peach's Castle, tracking your scores on those elements.
"It actually interfaces back with your game console," Williams said. "So you can build on it and come back again."
Williams said that the wristband uses a magnetic attaching system, rather than the "teeth" used on Disney's MagicBands and Volcano Bay's TapuTapu.
"You slap it at your wrist, and it just snaps on and it won't come off."
(That's a huge plus for me, as I've lost more MagicBands than I've kept over the years, as they routinely fall off my wrist in the parks.)
Williams would not disclose a timeline to bring Super Nintendo World to Universal Studios Hollywood (where it is now under construction), Universal Orlando, or Universal Studios Singapore, where Universal has announced it will build the land. Williams said that he did not wish to encourage people to delay their visits by announcing attractions until their opening dates fall into a natural advance-booking window.
As for China, Williams said that "about a year-and-a-half from now, we will be open in Beijing, China with a fabulous resort."
Universal Studios Beijing will be Universal's largest theme park, with attractions devoted to Harry Potter, Transformers, Minions, as well as "Jurassic Park with new rides that we have never done before," Williams said. Two-thirds of the park's attractions will be located indoors, accommodating the colder winter weather in Beijing. Among those will be the attractions in the park's Kung Fu Panda Land, which will be located entirely inside.
The new resort will open with a CityWalk and two on-site hotels, including the Universal Grand Hotel, for a total of 1,200 rooms.
"It's on schedule, on budget," Williams said. "The ops teams are progressing nicely against the timelines."
"We have so much land that we will be able to — in due course, if business warrants the investment — we have enough room to build more hotels and another park, a water park. There is a lot of upside there."
The one thing that Universal is not planning to bring to China is Super Nintendo World, given Chinese animosity toward Japanese products, Williams said.
As for Universal Orlando, in response to a question asking him to speculate about the next five years at the resort, Williams said that he expects Universal to have at least 11,000 hotel rooms at the resort, which would be an increase of 2,000 over the 9,000-plus rooms that Universal has or is opening with the debut of its two Endless Summer resorts.Tweet