Super Nintendo World named the world's best new attraction

January 1, 2024, 9:37 AM · Theme Park Insider readers have voted Super Nintendo World as the Best New Attraction of 2023. Universal Studios Hollywood's installation of this video game-inspired land led the 2024 Theme Park Insider Awards, announced this morning.

Super Nintendo World opened officially to American theme park fans on February 17, 2023, following a month-long soft opening on Universal Studios Hollywood's Lower Lot. The Universal's first installation of Super Nintendo World debuted at Universal Studios Japan on March 18, 2021, while Japan's borders were closed to almost all tourists, making the Hollywood opening the first opportunity for most Theme Park Insider readers to experience the attraction.

Anchored by Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge - an augmented reality dark ride that brings a Mario Kart video game to life - Super Nintendo World has drawn large crowds to Universal's California theme park since its opening. In addition to the Mario Kart ride, Super Nintendo World features several "Key Challenges." These are practical, physical games that individuals or small groups can play at several locations across the land. When visitors complete each task, they win a virtual key that can help unlock the final challenge against Bowser Jr. for control of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Visitors must purchase a $40 Power-Up Band to play the Key Challenges. The wristband also connects with Universal's theme park app to track visitors' scores on the Mario Kart game and several other scoring opportunities throughout the land. All together, Super Nintendo World replicates the joy of playing Nintendo games, but in practical environments that no video production can match.

Other new attractions in 2023 that earned high marks from Theme Park Insider readers included Wildcat's Revenge at Hersheypark, Batman Gotham City Escape at Parque Warner Madrid and Toutatis at Parc Astérix, as well as SeaWorld Abu Dhabi.

More 2024 Theme Park Insider Award winners:

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Replies (2)

January 1, 2024 at 10:10 AM

I’m excited to see what the Donkey Kong coaster has in store. I’m also excited to try the Mario Kart ride, though admittedly the videos I’ve seen of it have seemed a wee underwhelming considering the possibilities inherent for an attraction based on this IP. But considering the bar that Universal has set for itself with the Harry Potter lands, I’ve no doubt this will be a hit when Epic Universe opens.

January 2, 2024 at 9:46 AM

@fattyackin - The theming, design, and construction of the land are top notch in Hollywood. I found the ride, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, left me a little underwhelmed. Although, they deserve credit for how they were able to incorporate VR technology into a seamless load/unload process. The ride isn't F&F or Jimmy Fallon, but it definitely isn't on par with any of the Harry Potter offerings. It's a solid double, and not a Harry Potter level homerun.

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