On February 4th I had the opportunity to go to Universal Studios and get a sneak peek of the new Super Nintendo World. When I went, this addition to the park was not yet open to the general public. Instead, it was filled with pass holders who had reserved a time slot to experience the place. Modeled after the Super Mario games, this section of the park is a detailed, fun, and overall visually stunning experience. Super Nintendo World may not be as big as Harry Potter World, but there is so much to do, and many hidden activities to find! There is a new thing to see at every corner.
Now, my description sounds exciting, but is it actually worth going?
Ditching the commonplace door, you enter Super Nintendo World through a pipe, just like in the games. Once you emerge, you arrive in a land full of color and animatronics, resembling the many maps and characters of Super Mario. You could say this place is like a massive-scale Disneyland ride; I hate to compare Universal Studios to Disneyland, it’s like wearing a Disneyland shirt to Universal Studios. Don’t be one of those people!
Something new that this part of the park brings with it is interactiveness, and a wristband. For the low price of $40, you could bump question blocks and bricks to collect coins and stamps, marking different goals you can accomplish throughout your Mario experience. Not only that, but the park features different mini-games which you can play to earn a virtual key; once you collect three keys from the three different mini-games, you unlock another attraction called Bowser Jr’s challenge. Now, I’m not entirely sure what it is, as I didn’t do it, but I’m guessing it’s a larger-scale “mini-game”.
Throughout the park, you will see little characters moving around, power-ups floating about, and hear the repetitive dings caused by the question blocks. Honestly, the sound got quite annoying. Overall though, the design is awesome and it truly gives justice to the games. It’s like you’re in a real-life Mario level! And, as I said earlier, there is a new thing to see anywhere you look.
The ride at Super Nintendo World, Bowser’s challenge, is really cool. It’s like you’re playing Mario Kart in real life! First of all, the line queue is decorated to resemble different Mario worlds and it features many life-size items found in the games. This includes shells, Mario Kart trophies, and even tires! For anyone who loves Mario Kart, this place is basically heaven. After the line, which will be extremely long if you’re going right after it opens, you enter an instruction room, as this ride is more of a game than a real roller coaster; almost like a Toy-story mania (sorry for the Disney comparison again). Having these more “game-like” rides is newer to Universal, as all the other ones are a “sit back and relax” type of thing. The object of the game is to collect coins as you speed through the Mario Kart maps.
When you get to the actual ride, you enter a real-life Mariokart that seats 4 people. There are 3D goggles you receive so you can keep track of the coins you earn and also the shells you accumulate. Now, shells are very important as you use them to topple your enemies and earn more coins! When the ride starts, you are refreshed with the instructions so you can play the game to the best of your abilities. Then, you take a tour through the Mario Kart universe passing through Cloudtop Castle, Dry Bowser Ruins, and even the famous Rainbow Road.
The ride is awesome, and you can keep track of your scores with your wristband! All in all, this is the ultimate experience for any Mario lover. As a frequent Mario Kart player, I can assure you, it’s just like the game!
Super Nintendo World is home to Toadstool Cafe, a cute restaurant run by head chef Toad. Quite frankly, this was my favorite part of the place. When I visited the park for a member’s sneak peek, I had to make a reservation to dine there. Now, I’m not sure how it will work once it’s open to the public, but I can say now, it will be busy. The member’s sneak peek was organized through time slots, and arriving at the park, I was provided with a QR code to reserve a spot at the restaurant along with a warning that the dining experience was not a guaranteed part of my visit. At the get-go, it was fully booked. Now, I waited until new time slots opened for the next set of visitors, so I was lucky enough to eat there, but it was definitely a hassle, and many others left the park without going. Was it worth it?
After waiting an hour for my reservation, I waited about another thirty minutes in line to order. While in line, there was a screen representing a window to the kitchen, and head chef Toad spoke to his customers. Finally, It was my turn to order. Keep in mind, most of the food items contain mushrooms, sticking with the “Toadstool” theme. I got a Fire Flower Spaghetti and Meatballs while the rest of my family ordered the Mario Burger along with two out of the three desserts on the menu: The Princess Peach cupcake and the Question Block Tiramisu. Then, we were seated. The actual dining area is decorated with Mario elements and has little “windows” (screens) that show toads living life.
Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for… the actual food! Every food item has a small Mario element. The Spaghetti had a little Fire Flower cracker and the burger bun had a Mario mustache. In all honesty… I LOVED IT! I would definitely rate the presentation a 100/10 and the taste a solid 9/10. Some aspects could definitely be improved, but I really enjoyed my meal. Although, I was surprised that the spaghetti I ordered was spicy, so proceed with caution. The desserts were lovely and the fries were amazing; I couldn’t stop stealing some from my siblings. (Yes, I’m that person).
Sounds amazing? Well, tomorrow, February 17th, Super Nintendo World will be open to everyone! Be warned though, it will be PACKED. I don’t know how Universal Studios will handle this, but it will be crazy, and you may not get to experience everything I mentioned. Overall, my visit was about a four-hour ordeal. Now, even if you cannot dine at Toadstool Cafe or play all the minigames, you’ll still have a great time, only giving you another reason to return. Enjoy Super Nintendo World, it’s toad-ally worth it!