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Super Nintendo World Preview: A Visit to the New Land

A new part of Universal Studios Hollywood is now open, and I recently got a chance to pay it a visit. The new attraction is Super Nintendo World, and friends, if you are a fan of the little plumber Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, and Yoshi, you are going to be out of your mind. Plus, the timing is perfect with the imminent release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

I absolutely love the franchise, and I’ve been playing since I was little, so this was right up my alley. That said, I was not prepared for my own reaction. This part of the park isn’t huge, but as part of a larger whole, it’s exactly the right size. You walk in through a lit-up tunnel, through Princess Peach’s castle, and oh my freaking gosh, you are in the video game!

Super Nintendo World Preview
Me, at the entrance to Super Nintendo World | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

Like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the theme park offers a purchasable item that allows you to interact with the environment. While the Wizarding World has a wand, Super Nintendo World has a power-up bracelet. They’re sort of like giant slap bracelets with a symbol from the games that you can choose from. (Mine was a Yoshi egg.)

They allow you to do things like touch underneath a giant question mark cube and have it light up with sound, or a brick wall, which reveals a classic Mario above your head. They can be purchased from a vending machine for $40. They sync with a free app that you can download, though we didn’t have time to do that.

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Super Nintendo World Preview
My power-up bracelet | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

Not everything was open when my fiancé Jeff and I got there at our allotted time. We didn’t get to ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, but this is an augmented reality game that has a moving track with sound, color and movement, as was announced previously.

This just means I’m going back again. There are even electronic leaderboards outside of the ride that change depending on how you do. It’s right by Mount Beanpole, the landmark center of the place.

Super Nintendo World Preview
Notice the little 1-up mushroom | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

You can win digital coins with some of the offerings here. In one, you tap your band (and the app keeps track of your coins) in front of a giant Piranha Plant and then race around trying to turn off all the giant alarm clocks. There is a Goomba Crazy Crank, Koopa Troopa POWer Punch, the Piranha Plant Nap Mishap with the alarm clocks, and Thowmp Panel Panic. If you collect three keys from these games, you can access the final boss battle with Bowser Jr.

Though we only saw Princess Peach at the preview, she, Mario, and Luigi all appear at different times for an interactive experience. I have to say, watching adult people line up and almost burst into tears when they met her was so lovely!

Super Nintendo World Preview
The lovely Princess Peach | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

The surroundings at Super Nintendo World are absolutely phenomenal. Koopas wander back and forth on some of the walls, and Yoshi is easy to find. Coins spin everywhere, and Goombas appear in video windows inside the castle. The world is so fully-realized that you absolutely feel like you’re inside the game.

If you’re hungry, and oh my gosh, please don’t eat anywhere else, the food at Toadstool Cafe is some of the best I’ve ever had at a theme park.

Super Nintendo World Preview
The cutest restaurant | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

We were given comped food by Super Nintendo World, and the prices are high, but what isn’t right now? I had a Piranha Plant Caprese, which was adorable and really tasty, and Jeff had Fire Flower Spaghetti, which he said was really spicy and delicious.

I got a Super Star Lemon Squeeze drink which was sort of a boba-style lemonade, and it was amazing. We split the ? Block Tiramisu and the Princess Peach Cupcake. I may die of sugar shock, but I’ll be happy before I go.

Super Nintendo World Preview
The food is mind-blowing here! Look at the tomatoes! | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

They also offer Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Super Mushroom Soup, a Mario Bacon Cheeseburger, Luigi Pesto Chicken Burger, and there was a short rib dish that they were out of. All the menu items in Super Nintendo World are marked as to whether they’re suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or those with a gluten intolerance. Since I’m two of those three things, I really appreciated that (not that I stuck to the gluten thing).

The restaurant itself is incredibly scenic. You walk in and watch Chef Toad tell you all about the food as you wait in line. You order at the register, and get your drinks and a number. They give you a designated seat and bring your food out to you.

Super Nintendo World Preview
Dark lighting for the appearance of Bowser | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

While you wait, the “windows” of the place show scenes from games as though you’re watching them from inside a Mushroom Kingdom building. When Bowser’s ship comes in, the place darkens and flashes, and the music changes. It’s adorable.

Everything in the place is branded just like the game. There is even a mini-game for your power-up bracelet as you wait to get inside.

Super Nintendo World Preview
Chef Toad giving you the snack info | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

You know you’re going to want to take home Super Nintendo World souvenirs, and of course, there is a gift shop. The 1-UP Factory at Super Nintendo World is full of every conceivable item you could want from a Nintendo purse to kid pajamas, to statues and stuffies.

Of course, I bought a Yoshi and a Toad because I endlessly do the voices in my house. Poor Jeff, because I’m pretty much already a video game character.

Super Nintendo World Preview
1-UP Factory, you may have all my dollars | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

Don’t limit yourself to this store, though. There are Super Nintendo World items all over the park, and yes, I absolutely did wander into every one of them to check. They actually have different items in other places, just like the Wizarding World does, so plan accordingly.

This was such a wonderful experience. I don’t think any theme park world has so captured the joy I have in these games. I am already dying to go back. You hear that, Bowser? It’s-a me! Jenna!

Super Nintendo World Preview
It’s-a me! | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

If you want to see a few videos, feel free to check out my Instagram @jennabusch. Let us know what you think about Super Nintendo World by tagging us on Twitter @vitalthrillscom or leaving a comment on our Facebook. I’m leaving you a few more pictures below.

Decoration at Toadstool Cafe | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Everyone is here other than Donkey Kong! | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
The entrance is through the castle | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
The paintings move just like they do in Super Mario 64 | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
One of the power-up band challenges | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Nintendo goodies that I found in other parts of the park | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Jeff and I at the castle gazebo | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Jeff stuck in a tube | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
I lit up a block! | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
The view from here | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Princess Peach’s castle | Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC
Photo Credit: Jenna Busch/Vital Thrills LLC

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