When it comes to world-immersive theme park experiences, there's no shortage of fictional worlds companies can use to draw in crowds. But the idea of a fully-immersive, in-real-life fictional vacation destination didn't come to fruition until 2010 when Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Free Report company Universal Studios brought The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Universal Orlando.
The new park sensation wasn't just a ride or an event, but a chunk of the park dedicated to recreating a fictional magical world where guests could try foods, buy merchandise, and enjoy activities themed after one of the biggest breakout fiction series of the 20th century.
The idea of themed worlds spread to Universal's major competitor Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report. And why wouldn't it? When it comes to major fictional worlds, Walt Disney has park ideas in spades. Soon after the Harry Potter-themed park came onto the scene, Disney parks in California and Orlando opened Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, plus an Avatar-themed park in Orlando and Toy Story Land at Disney Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World in Florida.
Recently, Universal struck a deal with Nintendo (NTDOF) to create a park experience themed after arguably the most recognizable video game property of all time: Super Mario Bros. In 2021, the first Super Nintendo World opened in Japan, followed by the news that Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood is scheduled to open this February 17.
Closer to Opening, Reviewers Reveal Park Details
Thanks to the opening of Super Nintendo World Japan, fans of video game nostalgia have had some inkling of what awaits them at the new Universal Studios Hollywood version of the park. At both parks, guests can interact with settings that look as if they're pulled straight from the video game.
Guests will step into a green pipe to enter the Mushroom Kingdom, with the aim of getting to a boss battle with Bowser Jr. at the end of the park. To do that, guests have to play games that, like the video game, might take a few tries to beat. Games like Sleeping Piranha and Goomba Gimme will send guests running around tagging objects or knocking things over -- for points, of course.
All of this is done with the help of augmented reality technology. Augmented reality is a service that uses a mobile device, goggles, or other display technology to add interactive graphics to whatever the user is viewing through their device. One of the park's biggest draws is the ability to play Mario Kart using AR, mapping technology, and moving ride tracks.
Super Nintendo World Sounds Delicious
In the last few weeks, reviewers have started posting sneak peeks of the upcoming vacation destination, including a look at the tasty food options. Toadstool Cafe, a Mario Bros.-themed restaurant, will be serving up menu items like the Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Mario Bacon Cheeseburgers, Luigi Pesto Chicken Burgers, and Princess Peach Cupcakes.
There are future plans to open Super Nintendo Worlds in Florida and Singapore. Access to the park is included with a Universal Studios Hollywood admission. Reservations are required to enter the park, but Universal Studios Hollywood Platinum Passholders can use a one-time reservation-free entry privilege for Super Nintendo World after 3 p.m.