Wah-hoo! The first-ever Super Mario Bros. inspired theme park, Super Nintendo World, has officially opened at Universal Studios Japan.
After months of pandemic delays, the gigantic Nintendo-themed area, which features popular video game characters Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, and more, opened its doors on Thursday (Mar. 18) to eager fans.
The attraction, whose bright, block-like surroundings look like they were taken straight out of the classic "Super Mario" games, is part of the existing Universal Studios Japan amusement park in the western city of Osaka.
The themed area was originally set to welcome guests on Feb. 4 before being postponed and rescheduled due to COVID-19. Admission numbers have reportedly been limited to prevent the spread of the virus.
Japanese news sites report that USJ is currently operating at reduced capacity and that guests will need timed tickets to enter the area.
The theme park's official Twitter account shared an image of Nintendo's CEO and "Mario" creator Shigeru Miyamoto posing with Mario, Luigi, along with park officials and the crew wearing facemasks to welcome guests to the park. The Japanese video game designer previously shared an inside look at Super Nintendo World with a special live video tour last December 2020.
The immersive new land features a real-life “Mario Kart” ride, Yoshi’s Adventure, and numerous interactive elements and games you can experience with a Power-Up Band, character encounters, a themed restaurant named Kinopio’s Cafe (Kinopio is Toad’s name in Japan), retail shops, food kiosks, and more—all set in the world of Super Mario Bros.
Last October, Universal Studios Japan opened the “Mario Cafe & Store,” two immersive and colorful areas within the park where guests can enjoy exclusive park-limited food and goods.
"We perfectly recreated the world of the game... You'll find life-sized piranha plants and Bowser, and you'll see what it is like to be Mario," said Ayumu Yamamoto, USJ's marketing communication manager.
"It took almost a year longer than we had expected to open this place, and we are really glad," Yamamoto told reporters at a preview on Wednesday.
Similar Super Nintendo World Theme Parks in other Universal Studio Park locations around the world including Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida in the United States, and Singapore in Asia are also in the works.
Finally, we have something to look forward to! Here's to hoping for more effective vaccine rollouts in the country take place and that international travel resumes soon.
(Images via Universal Studios Japan)