Super Nintendo World Now Delayed Indefinitely

June 27, 2020, 12:45 PM · Japan's largest financial newspaper is reporting that Universal Studios Japan has decided to postpone the opening of Super Nintendo World indefinitely. Park management had warned in May that a delay was possible, and now the newspaper says that it is confirmed. (Note that Universal Studios Japan has yet to post a notice on its own websites.)

Super Nintendo World was slated to open this summer in advance of the Tokyo Olympics. But those games have been delayed now until 2021, so I suppose that Universal has an extra year to meet that deadline. Construction seems to be moving along well for the new land, but the bigger issue forcing a delay is Covid-19, which has forced Japan to restrict or prohibit entry by international visitors as well as forced businesses, including theme parks, to sharply limit capacity to support safe social distancing.

It's hard to imagine that Universal would debut a project as important to the entire company as Super Nintendo World while Universal officials in the United States cannot travel to Japan. Or to debut when the project would have to open in some modified form, due to the high level of touch-based interactivity that Universal Creative has designed into the land.

If archrival Disney created projects such as Cars Land, Pandora - The World of Avatar, and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to show that it could design works equal to or better than Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands, then Super Nintendo World is Universal's counter to that response — the latest escalation pushing standards higher in themed entertainment design. After all the work that Universal has done to create the new standard for "world's greatest theme park land," it's not about to half-ass its opening.

Nikkei reported that the land could open as early as this fall, but might be pushed into 2021. But, as with pretty much everything affected by this pandemic, there's little use in trying to guess a date at this point. As always, stay tuned.

Replies (13)

June 27, 2020 at 12:54 PM

Makes me wonder about Disney as well. I’m sure Splash Mountain is safe due to how recent the announcement is and the problems it has, but I wouldn’t be surprised if everything else that hasn’t gotten to the construction phase is also postponed.

June 27, 2020 at 12:58 PM

Japan has been having a rougher time because A) it's an island where the majority of the populace is packed into major urban centers (Tokyo has more foot traffic in a day than NYC in a week) and B)their culture revolves a lot more on working in very tight spaces. That's not a good combination for a pandemic.

June 27, 2020 at 1:04 PM

Theme parks across the industry are gutting their capital budgets due to the loss of income during this pandemic. But not everything is going away. At Disney, Avengers Campus, Ratatouille, Tron, the Guardians coaster, and the Star Wars hotel are all still a go - though, as Randy said, all will be delayed from their planned opening dates.

Super Nintendo World is going to happen in Japan, and will happen at Hollywood as well... though I would guess 2021 in Japan and the year following in California, but I wouldn't back that guess up with any real-world wager.

Epic Universe is the project I'm most worried about right now. That's the most amazing thing on design tables in this business right now, but the longer it takes income to come back in Orlando, the harder it's going to be for Comcast to justify investing that kind of money.

Florida reported another daily-record number of cases today and seems completely clueless about managing this disaster. That doesn't help me feel better about anything, including ever getting to see Epic Universe and its super-sized Super Nintendo World.

June 27, 2020 at 1:38 PM

Makes sense. As for Florida, if the rumoured content on the new EU travel rules comes to pass the economy there will suffer even longer.

June 27, 2020 at 2:56 PM

"Japan has been having a rougher time because A) it's an island where the majority of the populace is packed into major urban centers (Tokyo has more foot traffic in a day than NYC in a week) and B)their culture revolves a lot more on working in very tight spaces. That's not a good combination for a pandemic. "

What are you drinking? Is that USA NO 1 cool aid? How are 400000 new infections a day having less of a hard time than freaking 50, which they even achieved with the softest lockdown imaginable. For gods sake the ignorance. To be clear: Japan is pretty much one of the gold standards overall in terms of covid response, not just compared to the US. And curiously most other nations that did somewhat similar were also Islands, how is that supposed to be a bad for a covid response?

Oh, regarding Florida they pretty much commited both literal suicide through unecessary covid death aswell as economic one at this point. I´ll eat my words a couple of weaks ago that governments will always require more stringent measures than the ones a theme park would implement voluntarily to make guests feal save. Not true for every government it seems.

June 27, 2020 at 3:21 PM

Both Florida and and the whole country is experiencing a large increase of positive cases over the last three weeks. However, over the same time the total deaths in this country per day is declining, and Florida’s death count per day has been steady at around 35 per day. The argument has been made that the deaths will increase as it would lag behind number of positive cases, but that simply isn’t happening.

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

Quit focusing on total positive cases alone for the sake of grabbing big headlines. Yeah, it sucks we still have people getting sick and really sucks that people are still dying. But the only time you hear about the death count is when it reaches a milestone or there is a supposed spike (and sometimes that spike is just a few extra cases per day).

June 27, 2020 at 4:20 PM

@TwoBits: Today's spike in Florida was nearly 10,000 cases. That's hardly "a few extra." And that's with how it's known the governor was trying to hush up real data on the numbers. The VP just canceled a planned trip to Florida to show how dangerous it all is.

And remember, even if you recover from Covid, the long-term health effects can be devastating so don't think "oh, you're fine afterward" like it's a flu. And I'd say 125,000 Americans dead in three months is more than enough to get folks upset without reacting to more coming.

June 27, 2020 at 4:23 PM

@Hans Meiser: They were taking it slow at first as the culture pushes closeness (Wall Street Journal did have a tale on that) and a too soon reopening led to a spike so they took stronger measures. They have recovered nicely but it's also a blow with Olympics delayed and still the worries of a flare-up.

It did help that in Japan, masks are already common so they didn't have the issues we do in the States. Yet still a challenge for them.

June 27, 2020 at 4:59 PM

"If international visitors stop traveling to the USA for a while the economy of the USA will completely collapse" - every European on these boards the past few weeks

June 27, 2020 at 5:03 PM

The US economy will be fine without international tourism.

Central Florida's, on the other hand? Ehh....

June 27, 2020 at 6:18 PM

I think folks in other nations tend to overestimate the importance of international tourism on the nation. Yes, it's big for Florida, California, New York and a few spots...

But I don't see people in Europe and Asia clamoring to visit the Dakotas, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming or most of the other states and they do okay.

June 27, 2020 at 7:35 PM

Was more thinking about other Americans. They are and will be also scared off for much longer than would have been the case with a normal covid response aswell. The way things are going, it looks like Lombardia or New York all over again. Don´t see how those kind of catastrophes with very real risks for tourists and even more so for their homeregions on return can be PR managed away in public perception. Italy has a good chance of an almost normal tourism season the same time next year. Depends on how carefull they are manageing this year to avoid becomeing a contagion hot spot. So far it looks good. Florida? Doubt it.

June 29, 2020 at 12:08 PM

@MikeW I’m not sure if the quotes around “a few extra” were directed at me because I never used that term. I acknowledged there is “a large increase”. Were you quoting someone else?

And I agree that there could be long-term effects after recovery., but thus far I have only read about isolated accounts of that happening. This virus effects people in different ways. We have young people who have died from it and we have 100-year olds survive it. Both of those situations are far from the norm.

I do believe this winter we are heading for another shutdown despite what orders occur now. The winter months are going to bring more severe symptoms. Couple this with the yearly flu season, and hospitals may fill to capacity. That’s why I contend that the increase in positive cases is not all bad. We can get a jump on herd immunity while keeping the death count relatively low to what it was this past spring. Yes, I have read of people contracting the virus twice, but again, that has been isolated accounts.

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