The theme park rivalry between Walt Disney Co. (THIS) and Comcast’s (CMCSA) Universal Studios has been heated since Universal Orlando Resort opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park land at Islands of Adventure in 2010 and subsequently expanded it to other Universal Studios parks in Orlando and in California.
Disney countered with its own new theme park lands with Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando in 2017 and Toy Story Land at its Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando in 2018.
The following year, the Mouse House followed with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., in May 2019, and at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in August 2019.
With all the pressure applied by Disney, Universal Studios Hollywood CA is quickly moving closer to opening a much-anticipated new theme park area that is sure to increase the rivalry between Universal’s California park and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., which are only about 35 miles apart.
Super Plans Developing at Universal
Universal Studios Hollywood plans to open a new theme park area, Super Nintendo World, in early 2023. The new addition is more than just a ride and it is more than just an interactive experience as well. It’s the closest thing to jumping right into a Nintendo game as one can get.
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While this new attraction is not the first of its kind, it is the first in the US The first Super Nintendo World opened in Japan last year at Universal Studios Japan after being delayed due to the covid-19 pandemic. The Universal Studios Japan land features two rides, one being modeled after the Mario Kart game called Mario Kart Koopa’s Challenge and another one based on Yoshi called Yoshi’s Adventure.
The Super Nintendo World at the California park features Bowser’s Castle, and it looks like you would imagine it would if the video game was brought right before you. The vibrant colors and atmosphere around the park will create a completely immersive feeling of being part of the video game series itself.
Universal Introducing a New Interactive Feature
One such feature that makes this theme park addition next level is the Power Up bands. The bands will be sold separately and should cost about $30. Super Nintendo World Power Up Bands will enable customers to take part in adventures and collect coins throughout the park. Power Up Bands will also enable guests to interact with animations throughout the world. The bands are reminiscent of the slap bracelets from the 90’s. The bands come in different Nintendo characters like Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Toad and Yoshi.
Guests will get a map of the theme park that shows them where they can use the Power Up Bands to follow an adventure. Guests can pair their Power Up Bands with an app on their smart phones to see their score and compete during their adventures around the park. It is best to download the app before coming to the park, rather than stressing about the download right before embarking on the Mario Brothers themed adventure.
As if the Super Mario Brothers immersive adventure isn’t enough, there is also a ride. Imagine marrying Mario Kart with a go kart attraction that will be great for the whole family. The ride is called Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge. The new animatronics around the ride and park are already being tested in anticipation of opening in the next few months. Riders are expected to see Mario, Luigi, Toad, Yoshi among all the other characters, but they must be at least 42 inches tall to ride. Guests should plan on the ride taking about 5 minutes, Universal says.
A Mario Brothers themed restaurant will also open within Super Nintendo World. The restaurant will have menu items around the much-loved characters from the franchise, like a Mario Burger and a Super Mushroom Pizza Bowl. To top it all off, guests can enjoy a Question Box dessert or tiramisu.
Universal and Nintendo have been keeping much of what’s to come within the attraction a secret and there are sure to be more surprises to come.