Here's something fun to look forward to amid all the doom and gloom. A gigantic Nintendo-themed area at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka featuring popular video game characters like Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach is set to open to the public early 2021.
The park’s operator shared the news on their website Wednesday that the Super Nintendo World expansion, the world’s first-ever theme park based on Nintendo characters and worlds, will finally open by spring next year, typically the months of March to May in Japan.
The park was initially slated to open in time for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, but the launch was delayed indefnitely due to pandemic-related reasons.
Theme park guests will be able to visit areas featured in various games including the Mushroom Kingdom, Peach’s Castle, Bowser’s Fortress, hop on “Mario Kart” and Yohsi-themed rides, dine in Nintendo-themed restaurants, shops, and more.
One of the most interesting aspects of the the long-awaited theme park is the interactive wearable “Power Up Band,” connected to a Smartphone app which guests can use to jump, hit question mark blocks, and collect virtual coins and items while going around the park, bringing the feeling of playing video games to the real world.
Details on the park's different features were presented to the public during the global kick-off event last January 2020, before the pandemic threw a wrench in everyone’s plans.
For those who want a sneak peek ahead of the area’s grand opening, the world’s first Mario-themed café and store is expected to open within the pre-existing Hollywood Boulevard area of USJ by next week, just in time for the Halloween season.
Universal Studios Japan shared some photos on Twitter of the “Mario Cafe & Store,” two immersive and colorful areas where guests can enjoy exclusive park-limited food and goods starting October 16.
／— ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン公式 (@USJ_Official) October 7, 2020
『SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™』
待望の #SUPERNINTENDOWORLD 開業に先駆け、マリオの世界が散りばめられた、パーク限定グッズやフードが楽しめる『マリオ・カフェ&ストア』が10月16日オープン‼ #USJhttps://t.co/zw3cMFH3jW pic.twitter.com/t7YlCGtnyd
Based on photos of the design concepts, the store has checkered floors based on the Mario Kart racing flags, LED signs, and a “sky” ceiling, while the cafe's interior's resembles a diner with literal toadstool chairs over a grassland floor and iconic brick and pipe graphics on the walls.
Guests will be able to order cute themed food such as pancake sandwiches that resemble the caps worn by Mario and Luigi, with flavors Strawberry Shortcake, Rare Grape, and Cheesecake matching their signature colors. For drinks, the cafe serves fruit cream sodas, in fun flavors like strawberry for Mario, green apple for Luigi, and peach (of course!) for Princess Peach, served with straws decorated with mustaches and crown motifs. There’s even a souvenir cup and straw that looks like a Super Mushroom! Shut up and take my money!
The exterior of the café and shop will feature oversized Mario and Luigi hat sculptures in the iconic red and green color scheme from the Mushroom Kingdom. Meanwhile, the store will sell original merchandise and souvenir items like key chains, coin purses, cushions, and even Mario-themed boxes filled with fruit cake.
Universal Studios Japan, which reopened to the public on June 19, will be the first of Universal’s parks to open Super Nintendo World. Similar areas will be launched in Hollywood and Singapore theme parks.
(Images from Nintendo/Universal Studios Japan)