Two years after Super Nintendo World’s opening in Osaka, Japan, its first American counterpart will arrive at Universal Studios Hollywood. Like the Japanese version, Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World is less of a self-contained theme park and more of a new area at Universal Studios. Roughly coinciding with the release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the California “theme land” will open on February 17th, 2023.
Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the centerpiece attraction, an augmented reality-powered go-kart simulator inspired by Nintendo’s racing franchise. Attendees wear AR visors displaying an alternate digital world with fantastical racetracks, Koopa shells and familiar competitors, who you blast using your steering wheel trigger. Unfortunately, although Nintendo and Universal believe the attraction includes enough variety to invite repeat visits, it’s Super Nintendo World’s only proper ride at launch. (The Japan park only has one other ride, a slower-paced Yoshi adventure, which hasn’t been announced for the US.)
Beyond AR Mario Kart, the park invites you stimulate your senses and spend money. You can buy a Power-Up Band, which helps families keep score and unlock “extra-special interactions” with question-mark blocks and costumed characters. Additionally, if the ride’s AR visor wasn’t enough, you can pick up a pair of interactive binoculars to “discover a new dimension of Super Nintendo World.” You can buy lunch at Toadstool Cafe, where Chef Toad serves delicacies like Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Piranha Plant Caprese and the Mario Bacon Cheeseburger. And, of course, there’s the 1-Up Factory, a retail shop selling character hats and plush dolls.
Super Nintendo World is a collaboration between Nintendo and Universal Creative. Mario creator and Nintendo visionary Shigeru Miyamoto was instrumental in designing and constructing the original Japan park, which its Hollywood sibling largely mirrors. A second US park is in the works for Universal Studios Florida, which will open sometime down the road.