Universal Studios Japan announced today that it will officially open its Super Nintendo World land on March 18.
The immersive video game-themed land was supposed to open earlier this year, but Universal delayed the opening due to stricter pandemic rules in Japan. The March 18 grand opening also will kick off Universal Studios Japan's 20th anniversary celebration.
Japan's Super Nintendo World is the first installation of the land which is planned for three other Universal theme parks: Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Singapore, and the just-restarted Epic Universe, now again under construction at the Universal Orlando Resort. No opening dates for those installations have been announced yet by Universal.
This installation includes the Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge augmented reality dark ride and Yoshi Adventure track ride, the Kinopio's Cafe restaurant, shops, and multiple interactive play experiences, where visitors can jump to punch ? Blocks and collect virtual coins, which can be tracked with an upcharge Power-Up Band.
* * *
We wanted you to read this article before we make our newsletter pitch, unlike so many other websites. If you appreciate that - and our approach to covering theme park news - please sign up for our free, twice-a-week email newsletter. Thank you.
@stevenz - I think the Mario Kart attraction is similar to alot of other Universal screen based attractions in that experience can't be gauged appropriately over an online video.
I mean, could it ever have been an actual racing attraction and fulfilled the requirements of having a lower height requirement for the KidZone it was originally intended to replace and have a high hourly throughput (4 players could never reasonably control 1 kart)?
Have you ever played Mario Kart arcade GP? If you play Mario Kart on a home console you inevitably feel disappointed as the mechanics are stripped down for casual players. Anything dumped in a theme park is never going to give you a real Mario Kart feel and have deep mechanics. I shared your disappointment, but I think it's best to think of it as a Mario-Kart themed attraction and appreciate it on it's own merits. It is neither a race nor do you target the other vehicles nor can you actively control the path of your kart.
Can't wait to check this out for myself one day! I wonder what the Japanese travel restrictions are like now for out of country visitors? This, plus definitely the olympics in July are big international draws.
Mario Kart was never going to be a go kart attraction. Nintendo’s primary audience are kids and kids aren’t tall enough to ride go karts due to safety reasons. Plus, the land it occupies is too small for it. Also, Nintendo is the one who decided to end up the way it did, not Universal. Just like how JK Rowling has final say on the Potter lands, Nintendo has final say on their lands.
I never expected the Mario Kart ride to be a free-for-all go kart attraction like you see at every vacation hotspot in the country, but I thought it would utilize some sort of rollercoaster aspect, or at the very least, something that would make the riders feel like they were moving at a high speed. I don't see that from the videos online. Of course, I haven't ridden it, and the AR aspect of it may make it great. Anyone who tried to view Flight of Passage from a youtube video may say it's nothing special, but everyone who has ridden it know how awesome it really is. So I think we should reserve judgment until we have actually ridden it.
It’s called ‘Super Nintendo World’, but there’s a complete lack of representation of any Nintendo character, outside of Mario and Mario related games. May as well have called it ‘Mario World’.
Donkey Kong Country is coming, isn't it? There have been Internet rumors of Pokemon and Zelda in parks with enough space as well. I have to think if this land is a hit, they'd move forward on something for those franchises as well.
@NCPete, I’m not sure if DK has been confirmed for Japan. I might be wrong, but I thought that only Orlando was getting an expanded land, with Hollywood receiving the smallest. Regardless of a possible future DK expansion in Japan though, I thought there’d have, at least, been a wider range of Nintendo merch to buy. But that’s all Mario related, as well.
I'm glad to see Nintendo has an official opening date as it's probably the most anticipated project in the industry right now. While international visitors will likely have to wait until late spring or summer, it will be great to start hearing more and more reviews out of the land. While the attractions themselves look a little underwhelming, the whole land nails the video game aspect and may even be more immersive than wizarding world for those who fully engage with it. I'm hoping California's is only a year or so behind so I can check it out myself...if not, there's a fair chance I'll see the Japan version first based on tentative travel plans for the next couple years.
As for Donkey Kong, my understanding is that it will be an opening day attraction in Florida and a phase two in Japan and California, with all three likely opening around the same time. That is also the only additional Nintendo property currently under development...the other rumors were blue sky ideas that got cancelled due to the pandemic.
Japan is currently closed to non-essential travel, has indefinite entry bans for 152 countries including the U.S., and requires 14-day quarantine if you *do* qualify for an exception. Months ago, the ambition was that tourism would reopen in April, but there's been no official update in a while, vaccination has only just started, and there are now rumors that foreign spectators will be disallowed at the Olympics in July.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
I was excited for this land but the POV videos of the Mario Kart and Yoshi attractions circulating on YouTube look like a massive disappointment. I don’t know how Universal took Mario Kart - a RACING game - and made... that. Ugh.