According to Universal Parks and Resorts Chairman, Tom Williams—speaking at last week’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference on September 11—the new Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan is on track to open in early 2021.
The product of a partnership formed between Universal and Nintendo back in 2015, the imaginative three-level land will deliver full-size realizations of fans’ long-time favorite video games and characters come-to-life. During its first phase, the two major rides that will open are a Super Mario Kart ride and ‘Yoshi’s Adventures’.
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Theme Park Insider reported on Williams’ remarks at the Conference: “The whole land is interactive,” he said. “And, you are going to have a wristband that’s got the big, red Mario symbol on it…You slap it at your wrist, and it just snaps on and it won’t come off.”
Williams stated that the Super Nintendo World wristbands function on a magnetic attaching system, as opposed to the “teeth”-based design used for Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay wristbands or Disney’s MagicBand system.
Other unique features of the technologically-advanced wristbands include recording of guests’ scores as they play the real-life versions of Nintendo games. “It actually interfaces back with your game console,” Williams disclosed. “So you can build on it and come back again.”
Besides recording riders’ scores, the wristbands will enable guests to engage with other game elements interspersed throughout other types of park attractions, such as Bowser’s and Princess Peach’s Castles, tracking scores attained there, as well.
Williams declined to disclose any timeline for the openings of Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood, where it is currently under construction; Universal Studios Singapore, where Universal has confirmed that it will also build the video-game-inspired park; or for bringing the concept to Universal Orlando.
His rationale was that he’d rather not encourage folks to delay their potential visits to any of the parks by announcing upcoming attractions before they have confirmed opening dates that fall within a natural advance-booking window.
Williams went on to discuss the opening of Universal Studios Beijing, slated to become Universal’s largest theme-park property to date. It will feature familiar attractions devoted to Harry Potter, Minions, Kung Fu Panda, Transformers and Jurassic Park, as well as include, “new rides that we have never done before,” according to Williams.
The new, accompanying Beijing resort complex will open with a signature Universal CityWalk dining and shopping destination, and two on-site hotels, offering a total of 1,200 rooms. “It’s on schedule, on budget. The ops teams are progressing nicely against the timelines,” Williams remarked.
However, Universal does not plan to bring Super Nintendo World to Beijing, given the overall animosity of China’s residents to Japanese products, said Williams. Still, he’s optimistic about the property’s future potential for expansion: “We have so much land that we will be able to—in due course, if business warrants the investment—we have enough room to build more hotels and another park, a water park. There is a lot of upside there.”