Sure, we're just into March and the start of the 2022 season, but as a theme park fan living in Southern California, I cannot help but look forward what awaits us in 2023.
That's when we will be getting the long-awaited Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. And arch-rival Disneyland is taking that challenge without response, as it will reopen its reimagined and expanded Mickey's Toontown next year, as well.
The addition of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway and a refreshed Toontown to the recent Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and the rest of Disneyland's classic line-up should help Walt's original park stake a strong claim for retaking the crown as the world's best theme park. Meanwhile, Universal will be adding Super Nintendo World to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Studio Tour, Waterworld, and a sneaky-good The Secret Life of Pets dark ride to move USH into the top tier of parks worldwide.
So local fans are getting two world-class dark rides (Mario Kart from Japan and Runaway Railway from Orlando), each surrounded by immersive themed lands with interactive elements. That's a big step forward for these parks and their fans.
But which one gets you more excited for next year? I understand that this might be a bit of a lopsided question for Theme Park Insider readers who have been able to visit Orlando in the past year or two but not been able to get into Japan. For them, Universal Studios Hollywood's Super Nintendo World will be their first opportunity to experience Mario Kart in person, while they might already have been on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway in Orlando.
However, Mickey's Toontown will offer a compelling line-up of supporting attractions, including the return of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, Gadget's Go-Coaster, meet and greets in Mickey and Minnie's homes, and several play areas, including interactive elements in the new CenTOONial Park zone. That might make Toontown a more compelling overall package for some families. Still, almost no one in Southern California will have seen what Super Nintendo World has to offer when it opens here, so that surely adds to its appeal.
Mario and Mickey together might be the two biggest names in themed entertainment worldwide, so this truly is a clash of giants. Of course, many of us will plan to visit both, but if I were to push you on this - who ya got?
If you are thinking about a visit to any of these California theme parks, our travel partner has discounted tickets to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Universal Studios Hollywood - including packages deals for all - on their Disneyland tickets and Universal Studios Hollywood tickets pages.
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