Universal's Super Nintendo World set to open next spring

September 12, 2019, 3:21 PM · 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.

Replies (6)

September 12, 2019 at 4:02 PM

Aw man, I was really hoping for that rumored Donkey Kong Country mine cart ride that was floating around in the rumor mill. It seems Japan and stateside parks will get Mario Kart and Yoshi which are fantastic properties that I enjoy immensely. So I'm excited for those but still holding out hope for that Donkey Kong ride. Wizarding World, especially at Orlando, has taught me that a land doesn't stop growing until Universal deems it. So there is still hope for my favorite tie-wearing ape.

September 12, 2019 at 4:28 PM

Donkey Kong is expected to be included in the Orlando version along with Mario and Yoshi at Universal’s new 2023 gate!

September 12, 2019 at 5:09 PM

Note that Williams said "phase one" for SNW, so I'd expect Donkey Kong is the phase two.

September 12, 2019 at 5:15 PM

>>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.

Is this the first time a Theme Park executive has acknwoledged the Osbourne Effect applies to them too?

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect for those who don't know what I'm talking about)

September 13, 2019 at 10:05 AM

Disney’s Bob Iger earlier cited delayed vacations for people awaiting Galaxy’s Edge as part of the reason for Disney’s attendance slump, so this wasn’t the first.

September 13, 2019 at 12:51 PM

It just occurred to me that you don't usually hear about Universal cutting costs the way you hear Disney doing it. You always hear about the Disney 'sharp pencil boys', but Universal always seems to go all out on their attractions.

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