Universal Studios Hollywood sets opening date for Super Nintendo World

America’s first Super Nintendo World themed land will let Universal Studios Hollywood visitors climb behind the wheel of a life-size Mario Kart race car and step inside a real-world version of a video game filled with interactive piranha plants, thwomps and question mark boxes.

Super Nintendo World will debut Feb. 17 at Universal Studios Hollywood, the movie theme park announced on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

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Super Nintendo World will feature the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge augmented reality racing car ride, Toadstool Cafe restaurant and 1Up Factory retail shop.

Visitors will enter Super Nintendo World through a green warp tunnel that takes them into a compact and colorful landscape alive with animatronic scenery. Spinning gold coins, question mark boxes and other video game booty frame life-size versions of Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Castle. Throughout the land, visitors wearing Power-Up Bands can take part in game play inspired by Nintendo video games.

The big idea behind Super Nintendo World is that you become one of the characters in a living video game. You’re no longer just playing the video game. You’re living the game.

The Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge augmented reality racing car ride will be housed inside Bowser’s Castle. Riders will steer through familiar race courses and Mushroom Kingdom worlds while slinging Koopa shells at their opponents or objects along the route. AR headsets with visor screens designed to look like Mario’s distinctive cap will allow riders to see the video game-style action playing out against physical sets along with projection mapping technology.

The entire land becomes a living video game with the help of Power-Up Bands — wearable tech devices embedded with radio-frequency identification tags. Visitors-turned-players can jump and “punch” question mark blocks throughout the land with their Power-Up wristbands to collect virtual coins.

The separately purchased Power-Up Bands sync to a smartphone app, allowing visitors to track their scores and compete with other players.

Universal announced plans to build lands based on Nintendo video games and characters in 2016.

The world’s first Super Nintendo World opened at Universal Studios Japan in March 2021 after a series of COVID-19 pandemic-related delays. The $580 million Nintendo land in Japan is larger than the Hollywood version.

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