The Mushroom Kingdom has finally hit Los Angeles, as Universal Studios Hollywood prepares to welcome visitors to Super Nintendo World, opening Feb. 17.
Universal took Variety through the warp pipe for a sneak peek at the Mario land, featuring a restaurant, souvenir shop, meet-and-greet characters, interactive games and a signature ride: “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.”
When parkgoers arrive at Super Nintendo World, located next to the “Transformers” ride, they’ll enter through a giant green warp pipe that leads inside Peach’s Castle. Just outside the castle doors is a 360-degree, fully immersive Mushroom Kingdom, complete with POW blocks, Pokeys and power-ups. There’s nods to the different biomes present in a typical “Mario” game, as well as the franchise’s colorful array of villains, from Thwomps to Goombas. There’s small details for avid Nintendo gamers, too, like “Super Mario Sunshine” music playing in a seating area beneath giant mushrooms, or a distinct Yoshi animation style in the queue for “Bowser’s Challenge.”
The world has four interactive games that lead up to a boss fight against Bowser Jr. In one game, the player must hit a POW block, causing a spinning Koopa shell to fly up a warp pipe at the right time. In another, they must disable a bunch of alarms before they go off, waking a snoozing Piranha Plant.
In the boss battle, the player’s silhouette will be projected on an LED screen as they try to dodge Bob-ombs and throw fireballs. If you win, you’ll reclaim a golden mushroom that Bowser Jr. stole from Princess Peach.
By purchasing a Power-Up Band, visitors can sync up to the Universal Studios Hollywood app and keep track of points earned at the park, which can be transferred onto Nintendo gaming consoles via Amiibo. Points can be earned by playing the games, riding “Bowser’s Challenge” and tapping the Power-Up Band on various markers hidden around Nintendo World.
While waiting in line for “Bowser’s Challenge,” visitors will walk through Bowser’s Castle, decorated with a giant Bowser statue, trophies and books with cheeky titles like “The Art of Balloon Battle” and “Bowser on Bowser.”
When riding “Bowser’s Challenge” (which, unlike some rides at Universal, does actually move on a track), guests will be immersed into the world of “Mario Kart” with augmented reality goggles. Steering through cloudtop and underwater courses, riders will compete on Team Mario to beat Bowser and win the Golden Cup.
Upon exiting the ride, guests will enter the 1-Up Factory, which will sell “Mario” merchandise and plush toys. And if you’re in the mood for some local cuisine, the Toadstool Cafe will offer a menu featuring Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Mario Bacon Cheeseburger, Luigi Pesto Chicken Burger, ?-Block Tiramisu and Princess Peach Cupcake.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” from Universal and Illumination Studios, opens April 7, 2023.
Watch a preview video of Super Nintendo World from Universal Studios Hollywood below.