If there are two things I love in life, it's amusement parks and Nintendo. We will actually see a mashup of these two ideas in the near future. Universal Studios has paired up with Nintendo to bring three distinct Nintendo themed parks around the globe (Japan, California, and Florida) by the mid-2020s and I can't be more excited.
Nintendo has always been a company that has tried to push the boundaries of gaming, one might call them innovative. Through the course of my life, I've seen Nintendo get gamers off the couch with the Wii, in the streets with Pokémon Go, and playing with cardboard with Nintendo Labo. Nintendo fan or not, it's hard not to praise the company for always pushing the envelope, as we're once again seeing here.
And now Nintendo is onto arguably one of their biggest ventures in the company's history—an amusement park. You'd have to search long and hard to find a gamer who isn't the least bit excited by the project, and rightfully so. The only enemy Nintendo and Universal have to face now is Nintendo's suborned ambition.
Nintendo has a track record of being overly-ambitious, as we've seen with projects like the Virtual Boy or even the Wii U (which looks more like a Switch prototype at this point). Hopefully Universal and Nintendo can land on the "crazy ideas" they have planned and deliver a theme park that will blow our minds and even the money from our wallets. So to cement the hype for this project, we're gonna talk about 25 sure-things we know about this highly anticipated amusement park. Hold your arms up for this one.
25 Entering The Park Through A Warp Pipe
Well, there’s nothing more Nintendo than the iconic green warp pipe that made its debut on the iconic Super Mario Bros. And it looks like that warp pipe was so meaningful to Nintendo that they are actually going to make it the way you have to enter the park.
I’m over here crossing my fingers that when you exit the pipe, it makes that iconic “blorp, blorp, blorp!”
But with so many guests entering and exiting it might sound more like music at a rave. The pipes are also going to be littered all throughout the park.
24 The Park Will Be Cut Into Three Major Sections
Boy oh boy is there a lot to talk about here with this one, so we’ll jump into more finer details with later entries. For now, all you gotta know is that Nintendo’s theme park is going to split into the three aforementioned sections.
Super Mario Land will be located adjacent to the entrance, Mario Kart World will be located towards the back corner of the park, and Donkey Kong Country will be located opposite to Super Mario Land (We’ll leave a map just in case that’s confusing). Like most amusement park sections, these three locations will have their own scenery and distinct rides that make up their individual personalities.
23 Bowser’s Castle Will Be The Entrance To Mario Kart World
Any good hero needs a good villain, and Bowser is as villainous as it gets. He may be one of the most recognizable video game villains of all time, battling against Mario for a little over three decades now—and almost always dueling our favorite plumber in his iconic castle.
It’s imperative that Nintendo gets this part right, as Bowser’s Castle could easily steal the show and deliver a location that is feared but loved by every visitor to the park. Hopefully, we see a Bowser Castle that looks a lot less like the SNES version and more like the current one we see in Mario Kart 8.
22 Let’s Talk About Mario Kart World, Because It’s Going To Be Crazy
Let us preface this saying that Universal has touted the Mario Kart attraction as being “one that the world has never seen,” and if you know anything about Universal’s highly acclaimed rides, you’d know that this is a bold statement.
The ride is promised to be the most immersive experience using cutting-edge technology to deliver an adventure that you will never forget.
The ride will blend screens and simulators with physical sets making it seem like you’re actually in a game. The ride almost seems to transcend VR.
21 Let’s Talk About Mario Kart World, Part 2
There’s just too much to say about this hopefully groundbreaking park that we’re going to have to split this up. The ride will take you through ten of your favorite Mario Kart maps (hopefully Baby Park and Maple Treeway) and will supposedly end with Rainbow Road.
You’ll also be racing next to your favorite Mario Kart characters and you’ll even be able to interact with them by using items that you pick up.
The ride will seat up to four people and it truly looks to deliver on that promise of giving the world and attraction that we’ve never seen.
20 Three Parks Are Planned To Be Opened
Right now there are three parks that are being constructed, and each of them looks to be featured in a main Universal theme park. The first is being constructed in Japan as we speak and the others are being created in Florida and California.
The parks being constructed in the U.S. are slated to come out in the mid-2020s, so don’t expect them too soon.
Hopefully, we don’t see any delays in any of the parks that are being constructed so that we can go out there and feast our eyes on this place.
19 Japan Is Getting Their Park First, In Time For The Olympics
With the 2020 Olympic games set off a little under two years from now, it looks like Universal wants to capitalize on the spotlight Japan is receiving and have the country’s Super Mario World Park done by that time.
While the parks in Florida and California are set in the far future, to hopefully be done around the mid-2020s. Japan is looking to double down on the workload and get their park done ASAP. If the park does get completed by 2020 it would be a huge success, as it looks like Japan is looking to incorporate some sort of video game component with this Olympics.
18 Look Forward To Character Meet And Greets
Love them or hate them, mascots are what makes amusement parks, well, amusement parks I guess. You might be that person who walks the other way when Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse is strolling your way, but it’s still one of the best parts of going to an amusement park.
And now you’ll get a chance to meet your favorite Mario characters. Seeing a life-size Mario or Bowser is not really something I ever planned to put on my bucket list, but it still looks like a heck of a fun time.
17 There will Be A Yoshi-Themed Ride Near The Entrance
The sheer amount of rides isn’t clear yet as we can only decipher so much from what Universal and Nintendo have released, but what is clear is that there will be a Yoshi themed ride.
Everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic dinosaur is getting his very own ride in Super Mario Land!
The ride will be similar to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World, as you’ll be sitting down (apparently on the back of Yoshi) and will slowly make your way up the hills of the Mushroom Kingdom. The cool part is that you’ll be able to collect coins along the way.
16 Mario Kart World Will Be Using AR Technology
To be honest, we could probably talk about Mario Kart World all day as it just has too many cool features. But undoubtedly one of the most exciting is that the ride is looking to use AR technology, and becomes the first ride to ever do so.
In case you're not familiar with AR, the technology is used to add more layers on top of reality. Whether that means adding a whack-a-mole game to your desk or allowing you to feel like your actually playing a game of real-life Mario Kart. The AR glasses for the ride will apparently let you use items and even see other racers that you're up against.
15 Peach's Castle Is Also Going To Be A Part Of The Entrance
Just like Bowser’s Castle, Peach’s Castle is just one of those locations that are a staple of the Mario franchise. I can’t even remember a game where the spot wasn’t a part of the game, and that gives it more than enough merit to feature it in Super Mario World.
It seems as though the warp pipe entrance will also be connected to Peach’s Castle, so make sure to turn around after you make it out of the pipe.
Hopefully, the Castle comes off as grandiose and spectacular as it’s always been portrayed since the days of Mario 64. Also, it’d be really cool if there’s some type of interior, like the castle in the Magic Kingdom.
14 Originally Supposed To Replace Woody Woodpecker Section
A problem that most theme parks usually come across is space, or should we say the lack of said space. Being someone who lives next to Six Flags Great Adventures, I’ve seen the problem firsthand as the theme park continues to jam more and more rides into the already cramped space.
Looks like Universal has also run into a similar problem, as they initially planned on tearing down their popular children’s theme park to build up Super Mario World. Now it looks like their plans have changed as they now aren’t looking to tear down the park. Obviously, Universal must’ve acquired more space.
13 There’s A Video Up Right Now Showcasing The Park’s Vision
We’ve talked about this park for a while now, but if you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself to check out the video of the Park’s vision brought to us by Nintendo and Universal. The video might feature more talking than showcasing, but it still gives you a great idea of the relationship that Nintendo has with Universal.
The video features Universal creative Mark Woodbury and Nintendo creator, and video game legend Shigeru Miyamoto discussing and bragging about the future park. It’s nice to see that Universal realized how great of an idea a fully-fleshed out Nintendo theme park would be and it’s awesome to see the two men behind all this.
12 The Park Is Being Made To Celebrate The Upcoming Mario Movie
Not gonna lie to you, I kind of forgot that a Mario movie was even coming out. Like, when was this a thing? Probably not a good look as a video game journalist, but I guess you live and you learn.
Either way, there is an upcoming Mario movie being made by the people that are behind the Despicable Me movies.
Illumination has a decent track record but also gave us critical flops like Hop and The Lorax. But it shouldn’t be too hard to top the last Mario movie, so they got that going for them.
11 The Scenery Is Looking To Be Next Level
When you have tools like the entire universe of Mario at your disposal, you start to get excited at all the possible ideas that Universal could come up with. Thankfully, it looks like Universal knows exactly what they’re doing with the rides, and it looks like the scenery will follow-suit.
Just imagine coin blocks that pop out digital coins when you punch them, or menacing piranha plants that look to take a bite out of your cotton candy. All these ideas are shaping Super Mario World to be the most technologically advanced theme park in the world.
10 Let’s Talk About Donkey Kong Country
We haven’t even scratched the surface of what Nintendo and Universal are bringing to the table—so let’s introduce you to Donkey Kong Country. This world is looking to be much different than the other two sections, as this part of the park will be jungle themed.
This section will be located in the top right corner of the park and Donkey Country will be themed with palm trees and even a ginormous temple. They’ll be some gift shops, a meet and greet section, oh, and this part of the park will feature the only confirmed rollercoaster throughout Super Mario World.
9 The DKC Rollercoaster Will Feel Exactly Like The Games
Universal truly wasn’t lying when they said they were trying to push the bar with Super Mario World—and we’re glad that they teamed up with another company that can match their ambitions. If you thought Mario Kart World was cool, then get this: the Donkey Kong roller coaster will be a minecart coaster that actually jumps gaps.
On the ride, it will certainly look like you are jumping gaps, making you feel like you’re actually in a Donkey Kong Country game. The way Universal will pull this off is by attaching the kart to a second, unseen track so that it looks like you actually jump parts of the coaster—pretty cool, if you ask me.
8 There Could Be A Snow-Themed World
Like we said, a lot of the exact details of the park are still up for speculation, but some strongly believe that there could be a section of the park dedicated to all those fun, yet annoying ice worlds we’ve seen in Mario games. While ice worlds can prove to be grueling in some Mario games, any gamer would have to admit that these levels are staples of Mario games.
Personally, I think there might just be a small section that resembles an ice world, but if they did add it in I’d still be excited to see it.
7 Attractions Are Promised To Be Enjoyed By All Age Groups
If there’s one thing I love more than an amusement park, it’s an amusement park that is fun for all ages. Even being a diehard coaster fan, I still find more enjoyment when I go to a park that delivers a great experience for any age.
It’s why I’d still pick places like Universal, or even Busch Gardens any day over a park like Six Flags. It’s more fun when you know your entire family will have a good time, and it also gives you a chance to chop up the aggressive rides with a good show, or immersive attraction. Thankfully, it looks like Super Mario World looks to fit the bill perfectly here.
6 The Park Is Looking To Blend Video Games And Rides Together
While technology is present at almost any theme park with the integration of virtual reality headsets and simulation technology, this is more of an effort to bridge together amusement parks and video games.
They're doing this with rides like the Mario Kart ride, and if this all goes well then we might see parks for other Nintendo characters or maybe even parks brought by Sony or Microsoft. It’s obviously too early to tell if the park will be a success, but we’re crossing our fingers, hoping.
5 Concerns That Guests Might Be Too “Satisfied” With The Park
Now this one’s gonna sound weird; like, why would people, specifically stockholders, be concerned with guests being too satisfied after visiting the park? Like, isn’t being too satisfied a good thing?
Well, stockholders had other ideas, that people will be so satisfied with this experience that they won’t even have a need to play Nintendo games after…
It’s truly a weird idea to have this early into the park’s development, but to me, it sounds like the stockholders have been watching too much Westworld. Sure this park looks to be game-changing and deliver something any gamers always wanted, but it can’t be that great, can it?
4 The Toadstool Restaurant
You know we haven’t really talked food at all in this list, and that’s because there’s one confirmed restaurant in Super Mario World. Sure, there’s going to be more, but we only know about one, and it’s located in Super Mario Land. And it’s shaped like a Toadstool.
Generally, I don’t like to talk about amusement park food. So let’s hope that Super Mario World breaks this god-awful trend at theme parks. I’m curious as to what they might serve in a park like this.
3 Construction Is Underway Already
Unless you live in or plan to visit Japan, you won't be trying out Super Mario World anytime soon, as construction is literally just beginning. And it looks like Universal is planning to finish the North American theme parks around the mid-2020s.
Japan's park is looking to be done in time for the Olympics, and if they get it done in time, it'll be finished in 2020.
Nintendo being a Japanese-based company, it only makes sense that their country is the first to get the highly-anticipated park. Hopefully, through Japan's park, we can get a better understanding of the parks coming to the west.
2 Original Park Contained Ideas For Zelda, Pokémon And Kirby
Nintendo has too many valuable properties, and some that could probably compete with the popularity of Mario such as Pokémon or Zelda. So it baffled me as to why they wouldn’t just make a Nintendo themed park.
Well, the original idea was to have any and all Nintendo characters involved, but that idea was scrapped for just the singular Mario themed park.
That’s because those other games might be getting theme parks of their own. It seems that two more parks are being built for Nintendo, and while the theme is unknown, the two games leading the race have to be Pokémon and Zelda.
1 Encouraging Guests To Bring Their Nintendo Devices
In an age when you can play a full-fledged Zelda game on your toilet, then play Pokémon in the streets, and wrap it all up with Mario Kart with a buddy in the middle of a lecture, this comes as no surprise. Sony made a promise of being able to play games anywhere, but it was Nintendo who delivered on that promise.
Nintendo has ushered us into a world where we can truly never stop playing great games, and it makes sense that they expand upon that with their theme park. You better believe there'll be people there playing on their Switches or playing Pokémon Go.