The Super Nintendo World Theme Park Just Got an Opening Date & It's Soon

Mario is about to make his US amusement park debut at Universal Studios Hollywood.

when does super nintendo world open
Courtesy of Universal Studios
Courtesy of Universal Studios

Super Nintendo World is likely the most anticipated theme park opening of 2023, but it hasn't been clear when it would arrive. There haven't even been many teases about how early in the year it might arrive. 

Well, Mario fans won't have to wait long. Universal Studios Hollywood announced on December 14 that the new theme land will open on February 17, 2023. It will be the first Super Nintendo Land theme area to hit the US, following the March 2021 opening of Super Nintendo Land at Universal Studios Japan

Expectations are high with Universal promising that Super Nintendo World will be unlike anything else it has opened in the US. It will feature Mario-themed rides, themed restaurants and stores, and interactive activities. 

As guests arrive, they will pass through the game series' iconic green pipe and into the Mushroom Kingdom, complete with Bowser's Castle, the architectural centerpiece of the theme area. 

Guests can then head to Mount Beanpole, which is where the queue starts for Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. Universal Studios calls it a technologically-advanced ride inspired by Mario Kart. It features "cutting-edge augmented reality" with projection mapping and set pieces on a moving ride track.

The four-seat car navigates through familiar courses from the game with "head-mounted AR goggles." That last bit is what makes it unique. The park touts that it has "a variety of outcomes" for each ride, making it something that can be ridden repeatedly without having the exact same experience. 

Like the Japanese version of the park, thrill-seekers can buy a Power-Up Band--a wristband--that opens up interactive experiences throughout Super Nintendo World. The bands sync with Universal Studios Hollywood's free app. They'll keep individual and team scores throughout challenges. They also allow for "extra-special interactions with Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach."
The interactive gameplay includes the ability to punch? Blocks to collect coins and use interactive binoculars with augmented reality throughout the land. There are also four Key Challenges to collect keys from Goomba, Koopa Troopa, Piranha Plant, and Thwomp. Those "interactive activities ... ultimately allow access to the culminating boss battle with Bowser Jr."
Additionally, as you might expect, theme areas demand themed eats. The Toadstool Cafe is the signature restaurant of Super Nintendo World with a menu that includes Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Mario Bacon Cheeseburger (which does sound like you're eating Mario), Luigi Pesto Chicken Burger, ? Black Tiramisu, and the Princess Peach Cupcake.

More details and images are sure to come over the next two months as we inch toward Mario's amusement park debut in the US.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin on Twitter.