Super Nintendo World just opened at Universal Studios Hollywood: Here’s everything to see, eat and do

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When Mario Bros. made its arcade debut in 1983, an 8-bit star was born. Though Mario had made appearances in a handful of Nintendo games before getting his very own video game he – along with his brother Luigi – stole the hearts of video game fans everywhere and the release kickstarted one of the most iconic gaming franchises ever created.

In the four decades since, kids of all ages have interacted with Mario’s world on two-dimensional screens. Now, you can step through the screen and into a living, breathing, four-dimensional world with Mario, Luigi and the whole gang at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World.


As of Feb. 17, 2023, the land is officially open to the public and welcoming guests into the Mushroom Kingdom.

Ready to play? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Super Nintendo World?

Super Nintendo World is Universal Studios Hollywood’s newest land. As the name suggests, the land is themed around popular Nintendo games and characters — most notably Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Of course, no video game would be complete without a big, bad villain and you’ll find Bowser’s evil presence looming in the land, as well.


Upon walking through the warp pipe into Super Nintendo World. The land’s immersive theming effectively makes you a video game character. There are points to score, achievements to unlock and bad guys to overcome, spanning a multitude of games from the Super Mario multiverse.

Whether you want to race to victory in a real-life Mario Kart game, visit Bowser’s Castle or dine at Toadstool Cafe, there are plenty of ways to interact with the various elements of the land during your visit.

Getting into Super Nintendo World

Entry to Super Nintendo World is included with your regular admission to Universal Studios Hollywood. During the busy weeks (and maybe months) after the land’s Feb. 17, 2023 opening, you may need to make a virtual line reservation to enter.

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If the land is at capacity during your visit, a virtual line system will be in place. After you enter the park, you can check the Universal Studios Hollywood app to find out if you need a spot in the virtual line to enter the land. If a virtual line is in place, you’ll be able to choose a time to return to the land and you can enjoy the rest of the park until it’s time to “warp” over to Super Nintendo World.

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Ticketholders and annual passholders with Universal Express skip-the-line access or guests on a VIP tour can use their Universal Express benefits to enter Super Nintendo World once per day if the land is using the reservation system. If the land isn’t at capacity, you can enter the land without a reservation and press start on your day of fun.

You can also buy your way into Super Nintendo World an hour before it opens to other guests by adding a Super Nintendo World Early Access Ticket to your regular admission. The prices vary per day but should generally be between $20 and $25 and allow entry to the land one hour before park opening. You’ll also get Universal Express access to the Studio Tour before 11 a.m. on the day of your visit.

Rides at Super Nintendo World

The only ride at Super Nintendo World is Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. To get to the ride, you must pass through the imposing Bowser’s Castle. The queue winds through the corridors of his castle, showcasing Mario Kart trophies, memorabilia and evidence of Bowser’s plan to defeat Team Mario along the way.


This interactive, multisensory ride puts you behind the wheel in a high-stakes Mario Kart race. Just like in the Mario Kart game you’ve played at home, you can race through familiar courses, throw turtle shells and fight to beat Team Bowser.

The real-life version relies on a mix of projection mapping technology, colorful physical set pieces and augmented reality goggles to bring the popular racing game to life. The ride doesn’t move fast like a roller coaster. It is relatively slow in speed compared to many theme park thrill rides, but the technology makes the ride feel like a high-speed race.


Each car holds four riders and to beat Bowser, everyone in your car has to earn at least 100 coins. How do you earn coins? By successfully ‘steering’ your car in the right direction and throwing turtle shells at the bad guys. It can be a little tricky at first using the steering wheel to maneuver the car, but to throw turtle shells you simply look at the bad guy you are going for and hit the trigger on your steering wheel. Because Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge puts you in the driver’s seat, the outcome changes every time you race.

Related: How Universal is stepping out of the mouse’s shadow to become the hottest theme park

Just because Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the only ride in Super Nintendo World right now doesn’t necessarily mean that will always be the case. Universal Studios Japan’s version of the land has a second ride called Yoshi’s Adventure and a Donkey Kong-themed roller coaster is scheduled to open in 2024. It is expected that Super Nintendo World at Universal’s Epic Universe in Orlando will also have all three of these rides when it opens in 2025.

Activities at Super Nintendo World

Like any good video game, Super Nintendo World follows a storyline. As soon as you walk through the warp pipe and step into the land, it is your mission to retrieve the golden mushroom that Bowser Jr. has stolen from Princess Peach’s castle. To complete your mission, you’ll need to collect keys from around the land, which you can earn by playing a series of interactive games.


There are four games to choose from, and you need to beat three of them in order to enter Bowser Jr.’s lair for the final boss battle. If you can beat Bowser Jr. the golden mushroom will be restored to its rightful owner, and you’ll emerge from his lair victorious.

Each game will have you facing off against various Nintendo baddies like Goomba, Koopa Troopa, Piranha Plant and Thwomp. Some can be done on your own and others are easier to complete with a team.


Completing these “key challenges” isn’t the only way to interact with Super Nintendo World. Almost everything you see is meant to be explored or played with…and all of these things can help you earn stamps that will boost your score. Meet Mario and Luigi? You earn a stamp. Punch a Pow block? You earn a stamp. Earn a top score on Mario Kart? You earn a stamp.

To earn coins and stamps, compete in key challenges and keep score within the land, you’ll need to purchase a Power-Up Band. Power-Up Bands are available at kiosks inside the land or at Super Nintendo World retail locations inside the park and at CityWalk.


There are six character designs to choose from and each band costs $40. The character you choose determines your “team” in the land. Anyone playing that day with the same Power-Up Band design as yours is now your teammate. You can see how your team stacks up against other teams on the scoreboards or in the app.

You don’t need a Power-Up Band to enjoy the land, but it is well worth the money if you want to fully experience the land and compete with your friends and family to see who can get the highest score.

Dining at Super Nintendo World

Toadstool Cafe is Super Nintendo World’s signature restaurant and each item on the menu is almost as adorable as Chef Toad himself. Housed within a giant red-and-white mushroom, you can watch Chef Toad preparing dishes like a Piranha Plant Caprese Salad, Mario Burger and Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs on video screens around the restaurant.


Keep your eyes on the screens while you dine, because Bowser may make a surprise appearance during your visit.


For dessert, you can have Question Block Tiramisu, Mt. Beanpole Cake or a Princess Peach Cupcake and there is also a specialty Super Star Lemon Squash boba drink available, as well as water and soft drinks. There are even specialty souvenir cups you can bring home with you.

Shopping at Super Nintendo World

You can find Super Nintendo World merchandise at the 1-UP Factory inside the land or at the Super Nintendo World store at CityWalk or inside the park at the Character Shop and the Feature Presentation Shop. You’ll find everything from plush toy versions of the characters in the land to apparel, mugs, home decor and more.

Super Nintendo World tips & secrets

  • There is no “right way” to experience Super Nintendo World. The land is meant to be explored. If you find a doorway, staircase or anything else that looks as if it’s meant to be discovered, give it a try. You never know what surprises you may find.
  • You can use the Super Nintendo World map in the Universal Studios Hollywood app to find the interactive elements, key challenges, and character meet-and-greets within the land.
  • When you get into your Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride vehicle, remember to tap your Power-Up Band on the steering wheel. This will sync up the points you score on the ride with your daily total so you can see how you rank against your friends and family.
  • If you have a Nintendo Switch, you can tap your Power-Up Band to your Switch to unlock exclusive content.
  • There are four “M” symbols on walls throughout the land. Tap your Power-Up Band over the symbol to discover hidden 8-bit characters from the original Super Mario Bros.
  • If you follow the staircase to the left of the entrance to Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, you’ll find binoculars that look out over the land. They show a real-time feed of the land with a few surprises sprinkled in. Zoom in on the characters and objects you see to reveal Easter eggs and earn stamps.
  • Plan to spend at least two to three hours exploring Super Nintendo World. You can always stay longer, but that is the minimum amount of time you need to experience all the land has to offer.

Bottom line

Super Nintendo World is colorful, vibrant and just plain joyful. All around you, people are having fun and the feeling is infectious. You’ll find that you can’t walk past a question block without punching it and that you want to ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge over and over again to see if you can beat your previous score.

Once you start playing a video game, it’s hard to stop. At Super Nintendo World, you don’t have to. The land is the game and you are the player and it’s not “game over” until you say so.

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