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How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands at Universal Studios Hollywood

by Tad on March 7, 2023 9 Los Angeles

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Summary

When you walk through the warp pipe and enter Super Nintendo World, you're basically entering a real-life video game. You can collect coins and stamps, earn keys and compete against other players and teams. But how can you keep score? Well, enter the Power-Up Band — a wearable technology that you link to your account in the Universal Studios Hollywood app to keep track of your coins, keys and stamps. It's an optional purchase item that's intended to enhance your experience in the land. We'll go over whether the Super Nintendo World Power-Up Band may be worth it to you and how to use it.

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Band at land entrance

Overview of the Super Nintendo World Power-Up Band

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Band choices and the kiosks to purchase

A Super Nintendo World Power-Up Band is an RFID silicone slap bracelet that you link to your Universal Studios Hollywood app. It allows you to punch ? boxes and bricks, uncover secret items and fully compete in challenges and games. The app virtually keeps track of keys, coins, stamps and other awards you collect. You even earn coins when riding Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. It also has an at-home function when playing select Super Mario Bros. games.

@undercovertourist Time to tunnel warp to Super Nintendo World! 🍄🌟These new power-up bands are so fun and interactive! Have questions about them? We have answers! Here’s everything you need to know about this fun way to immerse yourself into the world of Super Nintendo World. #supernintendoworld #supermarioworld #supernintendomariokart #supermario #supermariobros #mariokart #marioworld #marioandluigi #princesspeach #universalstudioshollywood #ush #unistudios #princessdaisy #mushroomkingdom #bowser #bowserjr #nintendo #nintendoworld #howto #koopatroopa #goomba ♬ original sound - undercovertourist

There are six designs available:

  • Mario
  • Luigi
  • Princess Peach
  • Princess Daisy
  • Toad
  • Yoshi

The band that you buy puts you on that character’s team. The Power-Up Bands cost $40 plus tax, and no discounts apply. You can purchase them at stores around Universal Studios Hollywood and in Super Nintendo World at the 1-UP Store (behind the counter) or at a kiosk in the land. You do not have to charge them at all. If you want to purchase before you enter the park, the Super Nintendo Store in CityWalk opens at 7 a.m., or an hour before Early Access. The bands come with a paper guide to the land. Keep that as it may be hopful to you.

Linking the Super Nintendo World Power-Up Band

How do you link the band? There is a QR code on the back of the band. Open the Universal Studios Hollywood app. Tap the Super Nintendo World white box on the home screen of the app. (You’ll need to log into your Universal Studios Hollywood account or create one.) You can link the band and then name it. Have a couple of name choices in mind in case your first choice is taken. I’m "Froggy" on Team Toad, BTW! But you can use your real name. Under Options, you can add or remove multiple Power-Up Bands to and from your app, edit players and follow other players.

Using the Power-Up Band to Play Games and Collect Coins

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands at Universal Studios Hollywood - Band lock

You attach your band to your wrist, kind of like a slap bracelet. It can fall off easily, especially when playing games vigorously. It has a tendency to curl up on itself. You can ask for a free lock in shops that sell Power-Up Bands. But they may ask to see your band and look at how it fits you before handing it over. The Super Nintendo World shop just outside the land is less busy than the 1-Up store. The lock works really well. Mommy Frog also has a hack to keep it on if you cannot get a lock.

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Band loose at ? boxesMommy Frog uses a hair tie to hold the ends together and that keeps it secure. Just wrap the tie around one side of the band twice and slip the other side of the band under it when you put it on. It works in a pinch at the park if your band keeps flying off and you cannot get a lock.

You can use your band to punch blocks and bricks and unlock hidden images in the land. You can collect virtual coins and compete in games and challenges. Check your status in the app or on checkpoint screens in Super Nintendo World for that day and overall.

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Luigi tap pointWhat if you don’t have a band? You can still play most of the games and ride Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. You just won’t collect points or hear coin sounds when you punch. You'll be excluded from entering Bowser Jr.'s dungeon.

Touch Tap Points

Touch hidden M tap points that will reveal pictures on the wall. We found Luigi, Princess Peach and Bowser. The tap points blend into their surroundings, so they are a little trickier to find.

Punch Boxes and Bricks

Earn coins by punching underneath ? boxes and bricks. Some only have one coin, while others have multiple coins so keep going as long as you hear the coin sound. Some are located in plain sight, while others are located inside buildings and along staircases. The indoor locations can be found at Princess Peach's castle, to the left of Mario Kart and up the stairs and to the left, and one to the left of Toadstool Cafe.

Collect Gifts

When you first enter Toadstool Cafe, there is a place to collect a gift on the left-hand side.

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Collect gift at Toadstool Cafe

Collect Stamps

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Screenshot of appAs you play and explore the land, you can collect stamps. There are three stamp books:

  • Super Mario Land
  • Mario Kart
  • Super Nintendo Land

Looking at these stamps ahead of time can give you clues about things you can find and do. There are 128 stamps. For some of them, you can collect more than once. This gives repeat visitors new missions every time they visit to try to collect all the stamps. When you tap each stamp book, it shows you the ones you've collected and the ones you can add to your goal list.

Collect Coins on Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge

When you ride Mario Kart, you’ll touch your band to the “M” on the steering wheel in order to link the band to the ride so you can collect coins. Hint: You'll shoot where you look, so turn your head and look right at your targets when throwing. The "throw" buttons are on top of the steering wheel.

Games and Challenges to Collect Keys 

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Person hitting alarm clocks at Piranha game

You can collect keys at four challenges. You’ll generally tap your Power-Up Band to the key before and after playing. Team members are there to help. You can play solo or as a team on some of them. The challenges are harder to do solo but not impossible. Once you've collected at least three keys, then you can access the fifth and biggest group challenge of them all — Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown! You can see how many keys you've earned in the upper right corner of the app.

Bowser's minions guard the keys. You need to win to take the keys from them. Here are the four challenges leading up to the Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown:

Piranha Plant Nap Mishap: 1 to 4 players

You might want to assemble a team for this. Can you punch all the red alarm clocks to turn them off in time? You can use both hands for this, and I highly recommend that you do. It's located on the left when you enter the land.

Goomba Crazy Crank: 1 player

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Person playing Goomba game

Located just behind Princess Peach's gazebo is this challenge. You tap your band and spin the crank as fast as you can to knock off the Goomba.

Koopa Troopa POWer Punch: 1 player

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - People lined up for turtle game

This is a game all about timing. The turtle shell is moving back and forth through the horizontal pipe. Can you punch the box at the correct point in its path to get it to light up the other Pow boxes and go up through the vertical pipe? The game is located to the left of Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown.

Thwomp Panel Panic: 1 to 3 players

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Entrance to Thwomp panel

In this indoor game, you need to change all the blocks to one color. Watch out! Some of the boxes with arrows also change a nearby box. You can use that to your advantage in this timed game. It's in a dungeon between Mario Kart and Toadstool Cafe. Can you see the steam coming out as Thwomp crashes down above the entrance? There are so many toadally cool details and moving parts in this land!

Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown: up to 12 players

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Entrance to Bowser Jr.Once you collect three keys, you can compete in Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown. Guests with three keys can scan their wristbands at the entrance to unlock the door and collect coins from the challenge. Unfortunately you must have a Power-Up Band and the virtual keys to enter.

Bowser Jr. stole Princess Peach’s golden mushroom. Can you win it back? Pay attention to the instructional video. It’s a full-body game:

  • Swap. Use your arms to swap Bob-ombs away.
  • Duck. Watch out for things coming from the side. When Bullet Bills fly toward you, duck to avoid them … or they’ll shrink you down, which makes it harder to play.
  • Jump. Jump up and punch ? boxes to get a power up to size up. (These are hopful if the Bullet Bills got you.)
  • Swing. When you get a Fire Flower, swing your arms to throw fireballs.

Each player with a band gets a coin total at the end of the game.

Is a Power-Up Band Necessary?

At $40 a piece, it’s a hard call. It’s a lot of allowance money for a band. But if you are a huge Super Mario fan and want to fully play the games and compete, you’ll need a Power-Up Band. If you are just a casual visitor and don’t care about virtual coins, you can still participate in the most games, ride Mario Kart and get by without a Power-Up Band. If you want to compete in the Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown, you'll need a Power-Up Band.

A Power-Up Band is more worth it for frequent visitors and super fans. The bands work at all Super Nintendo Worlds, including Japan and Orlando once Universal's Epic Universe opens in 2025. At home, you can use a Power-Up Band as an amiibo when playing select Mario games (but it's not compatible with Wii U or Nintendo 3DS).

The Power-Up Band is most useful during Early Access. That's when people can enter Super Nintendo World an hour before park opening. The lines for challenges are short then.

If you walk into the land late morning and it's an hour to wait for each challenge, a Power-Up Band may not be worth it unless you are patient enough to wait in lines all day. Hopfully, as time goes on the land will be less crowded. Try hopping by at night for much shorter lines.

Managing Crowds

Super Nintendo Land is small and popular. That means that it can get incredibly crowded. Lines can get long for each of the challenges. The best way to beat the crowds is to be an early bird or a night owl. The shortest lines at during Early Access or in the last hour of park opening.

Purchase Early Access a few weeks ahead of your visit. That will allow you to enter the land one hour before the park (and land) opens to everyone else. You can experience the ride, grab a reservation for Toadstool Café and complete all the challenges without having to wait forever. Once the crowds enter, the land will quickly become packed — especially the interactive games.

If you cannot purchase Early Access — it sells out early — then you can try to be at the front of the crowd coming in at park opening. Be at the park gates an hour early. You may get to enter 30 minutes early and be let into Super Nintendo Land right at park opening. Complete a challenge or two and come back later. The crowds are the worst in the morning from about 10 a.m. to noon. The rest of the Lower Lot has short lines in the morning. Don't waste the shortest lines of the day in the rest of the park to wait in long lines inside Super Nintendo World. Those lines will still be the same later when the other ride wait times climb.

Go enjoy the park and come back later to complete your challenges. If you have Express, you can use it to enter the land. If the Virtual Line is operating, be sure to get a reservation. Or if you have a Toadstool Café reservation, you can return later with that and compete your challenges. The lines will still be long, but so will the ride wait times in the park at that point. You will feel less frustrated if you at least got to experience several attractions with short waits before waiting in challenge lines.

Be a night owl. Visit at the end of the night for much shorter lines. If you want to ride Mario Kart, keep in mind that if the ride breaks down late you might miss your only chance to ride. So don't save your only ride for the end.

Power-Up Band Tips

How to Use Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands - Girl checks status

Here are a few tips for using a Super Nintendo World Power-Up Band:

  • Choose a band based on the team you want to join.
  • Find a way to secure the band. (Ask for a free lock from shops that sell the bands.)
  • Use the Universal Studios Hollywood app to find challenges and boxes in the land.
  • Make sure to tap your band on the steering wheel on Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. Also, no matter which direction your car is facing, you'll shoot where you are looking.
  • Check your status in the app or at checkpoint screens in the land.
  • Allow plenty of time to compete and play. Lines can vary and can get long on busy days. Arrive as early as possible for the shortest wait times.
  • Purchase Early Access online several weeks ahead of your visit to enjoy low capacity and short lines for an hour before the park opens to the public.
  • Come back at the end of the night to play challenges.
  • Sometimes Super Nintendo World operates with a virtual line. Arrive early to get a reservation (in the app or at a kiosk in the Lower Lot) to enter the land.
  • If you want to purchase early before entering the theme park, the Super Nintendo World shop in CityWalk opens at 7 a.m.!

Are you getting a Super Nintendo World Power-Up Band? Which team do you want to join? Share with us in the comments section below. If you need any Universal Studios Hollywood tickets, save some green on discount tickets with Undercover Tourist and use your savings to get a Power-Up Band. You can save up to $50 on a 1-day ticket and even more on Universal Express tickets or the VIP Experience. The VIP Experience gets you access to the land and lets you skip the line for Mario Kart! 

Related: Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
View Comments
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Mar 20, 2023 at 7:53 p.m. SuperC142 Says...

Thanks for the helpful article! I have a question: is it possible to buy a band for each member of my family (four bands total) and then connect them all to the same phone? Or does each band need to be connected to a different phone, each with a separate Universal Studios account? One of my kids doesn't have a mobile account yet so if he needs his own phone with mobile internet access I'm not sure how it would work. Maybe I could give him hotspot access though my phone if that's needed.

Reply
Mar 21, 2023 at 2:25 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi SuperC142!

Yes, you can scan multiple bands into the same phone. Have fun!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 3, 2023 at 6:43 a.m. Quincy Harter Says...

Hi Mario Fans!

I bought a wrist band, went on Mario Kart and tried collecting everything but I have a question. For as fun as it is collecting coins do they actually do anything like can you spend them on anything? Even if you can’t and they’re just for show they’re still fun to collect but it would be really cool if you can use them on something.

#TeamMario

Reply
Mar 16, 2023 at 2:09 a.m. Big Ed Says...

Yeah like front of the line pass if you get 10000. My son and daughter got about 7500 each in the first day we were there

Reply
Mar 6, 2023 at 4:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Quincy!

It would be toadally awesome if we could actually spend our coins in real life, but collecting coins is just part of the interactive real-life gaming experience and that's all!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 22, 2023 at 9:33 p.m. Darci Says...

We have 4 kids. Could we purchase 1 band and have them share it? Take turns wearing it?

Reply
Feb 22, 2023 at 9:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Darci!

You could just purchase one and share, but the main issue is you would not be able to easily keep track of individual scores. You'll have reframe it as a "team score" with the kids. Also currently, in order to complete the Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown in the dungeon, you need to collect at least three keys and they're not letting anyone in without a band that has three keys, so you may not be able to enter all together.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 21, 2023 at 6:43 a.m. Team Yoshi Says...

Thank you for this super helpful post. We tried to do the Bowser Jr activity per your suggestion that “If you don’t have keys or if you don’t even have a band, you can still go into the dungeon and compete”. The Universal employees said it’s their policy to only let people compete if they have a band and have received all the keys. Not all guests can afford a second purchase like the band, so I’m curious how they will enforce that which does not support all demographics visiting the park.

Reply
Feb 21, 2023 at 12:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Team Yoshi!

Thanks for hopping by and sharing! Most likely, some things may have operated a little differently during the previews with fewer crowds. But you're right! We've been back since then and only those with a band and who have received all the keys can compete in the dungeon. We have removed our previous suggestion from the post.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
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