Super Nintendo World: A Real-Life Gaming Adventure
I step onto Super Star Plaza at exactly 8:03 am. In front of me, big, colorful letters invite me into the real-world version of a scenery and gameplay I know all too well: SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. I’m here and I can’t believe it.
As I walk through the life-sized green pipe, with sparkling rainbow colors all around me and a familiar soundtrack playing in the background, it’s pure deja vu — time travel, if you will. I’m suddenly that little gamer girl all over again. “This is the magic of Universal,” says Abbye Finnan, show producer for SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood. “We’ve been putting guests inside their favorite movies and stories for so long, and now we’re inviting them inside a game.”
I’m in awe — and I’m not alone. Around me, I see people of all ages from all around the world. I see them walking into the land and getting on their knees, bawling. I spot them on video calls with friends who couldn’t be there. I watch entire families dressed up as their favorite characters walking around with Yoshi headbands and Bowser backpacks. I witness yet another person getting on their knees, only this time they’ve got an engagement ring inside a Super Star Popcorn Bucket and are proposing to their partner in front of Peach’s Castle. Folks, it’s a big deal.
Welcome to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD! An entirely themed, immersive land that brings to life the characters and colorful thematic spaces many of us have interacted with for the past 20+ years.
BEFORE YOU GO
Turns out you’re not merely visiting SUPER NINTENDO WORLD — you’re here on a mission (as one always is when in the company of Mario and friends). As soon as you enter the land through the pipe and into Peach’s Castle, the portraits on the two side walls set up your quest: Bowser Jr. has stolen the Golden Mushroom from Peach’s Castle and Princess Peach is counting on you to retrieve it. To do that, you need to collect three keys within the land — whether it’s by facing the Key Challenges, collecting all 8-bit characters, or by getting them from Mario and Princess Peach. Once you collect the keys, you can now unlock the final battle between you and Bowser Jr.
Getting inside the Land
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD is located on the Lower Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood — you’ll know you’ve made it when you see Bowser’s Castle from the Starway, the escalators that take you from the Upper Lot to the lower portion of the theme park.
Depending on the day, you’ll need to make a reservation to enter the land by joining the Virtual Line. It’s pretty straightforward: once you’ve entered the theme park, open up the Official Universal Studios Hollywood app, select the number of people in your party (up to 10) and join the virtual queue for that same day. Keep in mind that this reservation does not include the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge attraction, it’s solely for the land — you won’t want to skip the queue for the attraction anyway cause it’s awesome.
And although the Virtual Line gives you the flexibility of enjoying the rest of the theme park while you wait for your turn to experience the land, I personally recommend getting SUPER NINTENDO WORLD Early Access Ticket. Walking into the land before everyone else? Yes, please! It’s a great opportunity to explore every inch of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, take awesome photos of the Mushroom Kingdom, get extra practice on the Key Challenges, snag your favorite Nintendo souvenirs (wanted: the reversible Super Star pillow that turns into a ? Block), and experience Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge before it gets busy.
Level Up with Power-Up Bands
Whose team are you on? I’m Team Peach til the end and I’ve got a Power-Up Band to prove it! The bands are themed to one of six characters — Mario, Luigi, Toad, Yoshi, Princess Peach and Princess Daisy — and by picking your favorite one, you’re also picking the team you’re competing with throughout the land. Big commitment, huh? Having a Power-Up Band truly elevates your experience inside SUPER NINTENDO WORLD and takes the gameplay to a whole other level (pun intended).
WHAT TO DO
Play Around the Land
One thing you have to know about me is that I’m not a competitive person. I’m just not. Well, until I stepped foot into SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. I made it my mission in life to rank as high as possible on the Daily Ranking board — which you can see on your Universal Studios Hollywood app and on the big screens at Checkpoint, right by 1-UP Factory store. And you’ve got tons of opportunities to outscore your friends. Just like in the games, the more coins you collect from around the land and from the ride, the more points you get.
There are four main Key Challenges around SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, a great way to collect the three keys you’ll need to unlock the final challenge against Bowser Jr. and retrieve the Golden Mushroom
Piranha Plant Nap Mishap
As soon as you start, several alarm clocks start ringing and wake up the giant Piranha Plant. The goal is for the players to turn off all the alarm clocks so the Piranha Plant goes back to sleep. It’s much easier to play as a team, but I’m living proof that you can tackle the challenge solo — you just might need to practice a bit.
Koopa Troopa POWer Punch
This one is all about timing: you have to punch the red POW Block at just the right moment so a spinning green shell bursts though the upper pipe exit, hitting the POW Block. Definitely one of the most challenging of the four, and when you finally get that key, you’ll feel extra proud.
Goomba Crazy Crank
You’re up against a Goomba! This challenge is pretty straightforward, but takes arm power — turn the crank fast enough to knock down a running Goomba from the spinning wheel.
Thwomp Panel Panic
This challenge requires coordination and teamwork. Players have to tap the blocks on the screen to change from either blue to all yellow or yellow to all blue before the Thwomp strikes down and mixes everything up again. Be sure to decide which color you want to make the board BEFORE you start the challenge.
Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown
Congratulations! You’ve won at least three of the four challenges and have collected enough keys to unlock the final challenge. You’re about to enter Bowser Jr.’s hideout to finally retrieve the Golden Mushroom. To face the ultimate showdown, you’ll position yourself in front of a large screen alongside other players. Once the game starts, your shadow will be projected on that screen in front of you. Be prepared to move your whole body to hit Bob-ombs, dodge Bullet Bills, swing your arms to throw Fireballs, punch the ? Blocks, and jump to get a Power-Up. See who scores the highest among your group and celebrate having defeated Bowser Jr. and reuniting Princess Peach with her Golden Mushroom.
Meet and Greet Friends
As if all of this wasn’t already cool enough, you can meet and actually talk to Mario and Luigi, right in the center of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. A few steps away, go and say hi to Princess Peach in the Gazebo by her Castle. Make sure you find Toad, too!
Experience Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for — I know I have. It’s time to put on the visor and battle Team Bowser alongside Mario, Luigi and friends on Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. This groundbreaking ride has cutting-edge technology that makes you feel like you’re actually steering through different levels and versions of the Mario Kart game. You drive on different tracks, go up in the clouds, and drift through underwater courses, all while collecting coins and throwing shells to win the Golden Cup. Who knows, you might even make it to Rainbow Road… “People from all over the world have some sort of memory tied to Mario Kart,” Finnan says. “I used to play it with my brothers and cousins growing up. So, when coming to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, guests want to be able to experience the game with Mario riding alongside of you. They want to feel part of the competition.”
Where Is Mario Land Universal
The Mario Land Universal is located on the Lower Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood. It is a themed, immersive land that brings to life the characters and colorful thematic spaces many of us have interacted with for the past 20+ years. To enter the land, visitors need to make a reservation by joining the Virtual Line through the Official Universal Studios Hollywood app. Additionally, the SUPER NINTENDO WORLD Early Access Ticket allows visitors to explore the land before everyone else, providing a great opportunity to take photos, practice on the Key Challenges, and experience Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge before it gets busy.
Level Up with Power-Up Bands
Visitors can enhance their experience inside SUPER NINTENDO WORLD by obtaining a Power-Up Band themed to one of six characters — Mario, Luigi, Toad, Yoshi, Princess Peach, and Princess Daisy. The band not only elevates the gameplay but also allows visitors to track their score, compete with friends and family, and collect digital coins and stamps. The Power-Up Band is a key element in fully immersing visitors in the land and its attractions.
Play Around the Land
Visitors have the opportunity to explore the land and take on different activities such as the Key Challenges, meeting and greeting favorite characters like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad, and experiencing the groundbreaking ride, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. The land offers an immersive and experiential adventure, allowing visitors to collect coins, punch ? Blocks, and engage in various challenges to unlock the final battle against Bowser Jr. and retrieve the Golden Mushroom.
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD offers four main Key Challenges, providing visitors with the opportunity to collect the three keys needed to unlock the final challenge against Bowser Jr. and retrieve the Golden Mushroom. These challenges include Piranha Plant Nap Mishap, Koopa Troopa POWer Punch, Goomba Crazy Crank, and Thwomp Panel Panic, each requiring different skills and coordination to complete.
Meet and Greet Friends
In addition to the thrilling activities, visitors can meet and interact with beloved characters such as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad, adding to the immersive experience of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD.
Experience Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
The highlight of the adventure is the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, where visitors can put on a visor and join Mario, Luigi, and friends in a thrilling ride through different levels and versions of the Mario Kart game. The ride offers cutting-edge technology, allowing visitors to feel like they are actually steering through various tracks and collecting coins to win the Golden Cup.
FAQs About SUPER NINTENDO WORLD
Q: Where is SUPER NINTENDO WORLD located?
A: SUPER NINTENDO WORLD is located on the Lower Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood.
Q: How can I enter SUPER NINTENDO WORLD?
A: Visitors can enter the land by making a reservation through the Official Universal Studios Hollywood app and joining the Virtual Line.
Q: What are Power-Up Bands?
A: Power-Up Bands are themed to one of six characters and enhance the visitor’s experience inside SUPER NINTENDO WORLD by allowing them to track their score, compete with friends and family, and collect digital coins and stamps.
Q: What activities can I enjoy in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD?
A: Visitors can take on activities such as the Key Challenges, meet and greet favorite characters, and experience the thrilling ride, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.
Q: What are the main Key Challenges in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD?
A: The main Key Challenges include Piranha Plant Nap Mishap, Koopa Troopa POWer Punch, Goomba Crazy Crank, and Thwomp Panel Panic, each offering a unique experience for visitors.
Q: What is the highlight of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD?
A: The highlight of the adventure is the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, where visitors can join Mario, Luigi, and friends in a thrilling ride through different levels and versions of the Mario Kart game.