Everything We Know so Far About Universal Studios' Nintendo Theme Park
The new Orlando theme park will be a gamers' paradise.
Did you spent your childhood battling friends in Super Smash Brothers or perfecting your driving skills in Mario Kart Double Dash? Good news: The latest from Universal Studios is about to make you feel like a kid again.
A new immersive, ride-filled, character-packed themed land is coming to Universal Studios Florida, and it revolves completely around the Nintendo franchises. The news, which has been floating through the theme park rumor mill for months (or even years), was finally confirmed just a few weeks ago when Universal received the necessary building permits to begin construction on Nintendo World.
Although the opening of this video game wonderland is bound to be a few years away, here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming addition to the Orlando park. If the early plans are any indication, Nintendo fans will not be disappointed with this gamer’s paradise.
Where will the park be located?
As was correctly guessed by fans when the rumors first started, the new Nintendo World will take the place of Universal Studios’ current Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, an area of the Florida park that currently houses attractions aimed at younger visitors. According to building permits released in November, an 8.8-acre Nintendo area will replace attractions like Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, the Animal Actors show stage, and a number of kids’ play areas.
Fortunately, early plans indicate that Universal’s classic and beloved E.T. Adventure ride will remain, making it the longest-running ride in the park’s history.
What kind of rides will the park have?
Based on what we know so far, Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Zelda, and Kirby are just a few of the characters who might make an appearance in the park. The recently released building permits confirm that Donkey Kong and Mario Kart sections will definitely be part of the final land.
Additionally, according to a report on WFTV, “Sources have said the idea is to expand on a possible film project with Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind ‘Despicable Me,’ to eventually make a Super Mario Brothers CG movie.”
This idea fits well into Universal’s current landscape, which relies heavily on the “Despicable Me” and Minions franchises, with the corresponding ride being one of the most popular in the park.
While our certainty ends there, a bit of speculation might give us a better idea of what Nintendo World will look like. Back in June, the site Theme Park University shared a possibly “leaked” map of the new park which shows some of the rides, areas and restaurants in detail. The site, however, admits the possibility that these maps could be fan concepts, or at the very least do not show Universal’s finalized plans. However, the footprint and layout of the park do seem to match what fans have predicted the park will look like, as well as correspond to the filed building permits.
The leaked map includes areas called Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach’s Castle, Kirby’s Kid’s Playland, Zelda’s Kingdom and Donkey Kong Island. Additionally, this proposed plan houses a massive Super Mario World Ride that would put guests in the middle of a Mario Kart race.
Again, these plans have not been confirmed by Universal Creative and could be merely the detailed work of an avid fan. Still, one can dream.
When will the park open?
An official opening date has not yet been confirmed. Currently, Universal is also working on opening another Nintendo park at Universal Studios Japan, which is scheduled to open in 2020, in time for the Tokyo Olympics. The Florida version is expected to open shortly after that.
While the Japan version of the park only broke ground a few months ago, the plans for this park may give us a few ideas about what’s to come for Florida in the future. So far, Japan’s Super Nintendo World will definitely include a Mario Kart attraction, giving American fans more hope that Orlando might receive the same.