Nintendo and Universal have been working on a brand new theme park extension to Universal Studios Japan. Named Super Nintendo World, this new expansion will cost over $350 million (close to $545 million) to complete.
Announced in 2015, construction for Super Nintendo World began in 2017. Based on a very slow trickle of information, the plans seem to be complete in Japan by 2020 supposedly in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics. It will stay Mario-focused although there are rumors it may expand the themes covered in future projects. The biggest thing in any theme park are the rides. So far, plans for Universal Studios Japan include a Mario Kart inspired ride as well as a Yoshi ride that’s more family oriented. The Mario Kart ride will be their biggest focus as this will probably be the best part of the expansion. There also has been information leaked that another plot of land is being restored for future projects.
Once construction ends in Japan, Universal Studios intends to get the expansion added to the rest of their theme parks. The first one after Japan hoping to get the expansion will be Universal Studios Hollywood with an intended finish date of sometime in 2021 or 2022. The Mario Kart ride should be in Hollywood too, but they don’t look like they’re going to bring Yoshi to the states as well. There are rumors of a potential Donkey Kong inspired ride that puts you in mine carts like in Donkey Kong Country.
Plans for Universal Studios Orlando were expected to finish by 2021, but the plans were originally to replace the KidsZone. That idea was scrapped in favor of an entirely new expansion with plans to finish by 2023 or even later. This park is intended to have all three rides rumored among the Japan and Hollywood parks.
These parks are just the starting point for Nintendo as future projects may still be planned based on the success or failure of Super Nintendo World. Personally, I believe the parks will be a huge success, but only if they can eliminate the age gap between kids and adults. The park can’t just be a kid park as many adults will want to actually enjoy the park, but you can’t make it too extreme so that kids can’t enjoy it either. There’s a fine line between those two, and Super Nintendo World’s success will be based on that. An excellent example was the recent Toy Story Land expansion to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida that gave the kids the fun friendly environment and gave adults the happy feeling of being in a nostalgic world with rides fun for them too.
Super Nintendo World should be a smash hit, and I intend to go to one of the parks in the future. I’m hoping Orlando’s construction doesn’t take too long as it’s the closest one to me. Nintendo is putting a lot of hard work and money into these parks, and I hope their investments pay off.