Inside the brand new Super Nintendo World theme park attraction – and it's coming to Florida | The Sun

AMERICA’S major theme parks are known for bringing the magic of movies alive, but Super Nintendo World is the first to bring a video game to life.

The new themed land at Universal Studios Hollywood, in Los Angeles, opened this month with snapping piranha flowers, magic cubes and a mean turtle-like nemesis based on game villain Bowser.

As a child of the Eighties, hopping on toadstools, punching blocks and collecting coins on a TV in my living room was a mind-blowing new world of entertainment.

But little did I know that, 30 or so years later I’d be stepping quite literally into the game, fully immersed in a world of Mario and friends.

Universal Studios Hollywood, which still operates as a working movie studio, has an A-list location right in the middle of celebrity hotspot Hollywood.

While blockbuster films like The Grinch and Spider-Man are being created in enormous studios next-door, holidaymakers are riding rollercoasters, hugging Minions and splashing down water rides yards from the action.


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The entirely Nintendo-themed land is a major play for Universal, which confirmed it would be bringing the enterprise to Orlando as part of a brand new theme park called Epic Universe, set to open in 2025.

The Florida park is also rumoured to include the DreamWorks franchise How To Train Your Dragon, and an extension to wildly popular The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter.

But for now, people wanting to experience Super Nintendo World in the US will have to visit the West Coast version.

Entering through an oversized plumbing pipe, I emerge inside a chaotic, colourful computer world, where everything, including the walls, windows and other guests, is interactive.

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The gamification is everything you would expect from the collaboration of a major theme park with a cutting-edge gaming brand.

From hidden features to food and drink menus as wacky as the world around them, no brick has been left unturned.

Hopping and jumping

The main attraction is Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, where you whizz around in a Mario “Kart”, just like the one in the games.

I delight in lobbing turtle shells at the bad guys and navigating the psychedelic Rainbow Road.

A mix of augmented reality (courtesy of a jaunty Mario visor) and real background props do a great job of dropping you right into the game. It’s quite incredible.

As well as the racing ride, there are a series of games to play that let you collect points and coins around the land via a “power up” snap band you wear around your wrist.

Priced separately at $40 (£33) from kitsch vending machines, the bands connect to the free Universal Studios app and you can use them to create a team and play against your own group, as well as others in the park.

Some games are only available once you’ve collected enough points, adding a real competitive element to the experience.

After all that hopping and jumping around, I was more than ready for a Luigi Burger at Toadstool Cafe washed down with the signature drink, a Peach Cream Soda.

Once you’ve explored the new land, it’s game on back in the “real” world too. Another exciting area that isn’t offered in Orlando is the brilliant Backlot Tram Tour.

A guide takes us through movie sets from famous films such as Jaws and TV series such as The Good Place.

Excitingly, we also pass through some active sets and I scan the cast and crew, hoping to spot someone famous.

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I’m out of luck, but I’m told guests recently were stunned by the sight of Brad Pitt waving at passing tours.

Universal has certainly gone one level up with Super Nintendo World and with the first few days already sold out, it’s definitely a winner with fans.

GO: Super Nintendo World

GETTING/STAYING THERE: Five nights at Sheraton Universal Hotel is from £1,499pp, including flights from Heathrow to Los Angeles on April 17 and the Universal Studios Hollywood buy a day, get a second free special ticket offer.

See or call 0344 557 3859.

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