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Wahoo! Your Guide to Super Nintendo World Hollywood

by Tad on February 16, 2024 33 Los Angeles   Video

Inside This Post Inside This Post

'Sup gamers? It's a-me, Tad, the gamer and Super Mario fan of the Frog Fam. I'm sharing everything I've learned about the newest land and its toadally immersive ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. And of course, I'll be making repeat visits to play this real-life video game over and over again! It's been busy since it opened, so we have hoppin' tips to help you make the most of your visit. Can you believe it's been one year since Super Nintendo World debuted at Universal? We'll also cover the anniversary celebration and some new offerings!

Super Nintendo World - Entrance with Power-Up Band

Overview of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

We've had a chance to visit Super Nintendo World a few times with and without Early Access. We know you have concerns about getting into the land, avoiding a line at Mario Kart and getting into Toadstool Café. We have all the secrets for doing it all. Consider them your "cheat codes" for navigating Super Nintendo World. Be sure to keep hopping back, as I'll be "leveling up" all the deets as I go back for repeat visits in the Mushroom Kingdom. As Luigi would say, "Let's a-go!"

When did Super Nintendo World Hollywood open?

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood officially opened Feb. 17, 2023.

What is happening for the one-year anniversary?

For the one-year anniversary, you can get a free limited anniversary button, buy a special-release Power-Up Band and enjoy new themed snacks at the Power Up Café.

Where is Super Nintendo World?

The land is small, and strollers are not allowed inside. You can park them to the right of Transformers.

Super Nintendo World California is located in the Lower Lot. You can see the entrance to the left of Transformers: The Ride-3D. And get this: You enter this colorful and interactive new land via a warp pipe. Super frogciting!

How can I access Super Nintendo World in California?

There are several ways to access Super Nintendo World. Although you can just walk into the land on many days, a Virtual Line may be needed if the land gets full.

Wahoo! Your Guide to Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Early Access sign

When the Virtual Line is not in place, guests can walk into the land reservation-free. At times there may be a short wait outside the land. You can use special tickets, such as the Early Access ticket or Express Pass (among other options, such as the VIP Experience) to enter the land. Hop over to our post on how you can access Super Nintendo World Hollywood. If you have a dining reservation at Toadstool Café, you can use that to access the land as well. If you miss your Early Access window, you can use that to access the land later.

Is Super Nintendo World coming to Florida? 

Yes! Super Nintendo World will open with Universal Epic Universe in 2025.

Rides at Super Nintendo World Hollywood

Super Nintendo World California - Queue for ride

Let's speed right to my favorite part! The large (and only) ride in Super Nintendo World in California is based on my favorite video game, Mario Kart! Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge is located inside Bowser's Castle. The interactive, moving track ride combines augmented reality (assistance from head-mounted goggles) with projection mapping technology and set pieces. It's said to be one of the most complex rides ever made! You are given a visor to wear right before you board the ride, and then you'll magnetically attach a pair of goggles to the area under the visor.

The 4D ride has a height requirement of 40 inches (102 cm). Riders 40-48 inches (122 cm) tall require a supervising companion aged 14 or older. Luckily, a Single Riders line and a Child Swap option are available for this ride.

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood - Ride vehicle

Riders climb aboard Mario Kart vehicles from the dungeons of Bowser's Castle. Then it's time to attach the goggles, tap your Power-Up Band to the "M" on the steering wheel in front of you, and wait for the "3-2-1-Go!" signal from Lakitu. In the quest to win the Golden Cup, riders steer through courses in the clouds and underwater! They can battle Team Bowser alongside Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach, throwing shells and collecting coins along the way.

The goggles on this ride allow you to see graphics and characters. If you feel motion sick from wearing them, simply take them off during the ride. When you shoot, you will shoot where your head is pointed. So look at your targets when shooting for better accuracy.

When is the best time to ride?

You will find the shortest waits during Early Access and right when the park opens if you head straight there. You can also try to ride close to the end of the night. (Keep in mind that if the ride breaks down at the end of the night, you might not get to ride.) The longest wait times seem to be between 10 a.m. and noon (we've seen the wait reach four hours during peak crowds!), so it's best to avoid the ride then. We had good luck with the Single Riders line early in the day the last time we visited. You must be over 48 inches to ride alone.

If you want to skip the line, the only way is to book a VIP Experience or upgrade to the VIP Theme Park Experience. For a more budget-friendly option, the Single Riders line is free! But at peak times, even that can back up.

We visited on a sold-out day. At 9 a.m. (official park opening), we saw the shortest wait of the day listed at 50 minutes. We waited 7 minutes as Single Riders. It jumped to 90 minutes after that and sat at 240 minutes between 10 a.m. and noon. Near the end of the night, it was listed as a 70-minute wait.

Advice for Timing Your Visit

We have a full post on Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. Ride Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge during the Early Access hour or as soon as the park opens. In the first few minutes after the park, the land and the ride are both flooded with crowds so your best bet is to make it the main priority on your list.

You can also maximize your time by making your Toadstool Café reservation for the afternoon. Leave the land during the peak of the morning, after you ride Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge and go ride the other Lower Lot rides while you wait for your dining time. The wait times for the other Lower Lot lines were each only 5 minutes in the first hour of park opening the mornings we visited. After that, you can do the Studio Tour and Upper Lot. In fact, if you have Early Access, you get Express access to the Studio Tour until 11 a.m. Come back to Super Nintendo World later to dine in Toadstool Café and do the challenges. The lines are long for the challenges all day but at least you skipped the lines for other attractions in the park while you could. Lines for the challenges tend to die down at the end of the night.

If you have Early Access, complete the ride and as many challenges as you can before the land officially opens to everyone else. You can get a lot done in that hour!

Interactive Features in Super Nintendo World Hollywood

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Mount Beanpole/Mario Kart entranceImagine you have been transported into a Super Mario Bros. video game, with the ability to bump into Goombas and dodge Venus Fire Traps as you collect coins in the Mushroom Kingdom. In Super Nintendo World, you can do all of that and more! In fact, you can become one of the characters in the game (with some assistance from Power-Up Bands). You are not simply playing the game on a screen. You are living it! You can expect colorful animatronic scenery with spinning gold coins, boxes with question marks and more within the interactive games and quests scattered throughout the land. There are so many cool details — it is a feast for the eyes!

Mount Beanpole

This towering landmark sits at the heart of the land and serves as the entry queue for Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge.

Bowser's Castle

Complete with a sculpture of its powerful namesake, Bowser's Castle is the key centerpiece of Super Nintendo World Hollywood. Guests navigate the winding corridors and pass through the hall of medallions and trophies to board Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, while learning more about Bowser's plans to defeat Team Mario for the Golden Cup. The queue is extremely detailed and a must-see for Nintendo fans! But it does have a lot of steps, so talk to a team member about taking the elevator if you need it.

Power-Up Band

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - band and question boxesThis wearable wristband syncs with Universal Studios Hollywood's official app to unlock many interactive elements within the land. These include but are not limited to, keeping individual and team scores, collecting digital coins and obtaining special keys after winning challenges, allowing you to level up your game. Wahoo!

The band also allows guests to have star-worthy interactions with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach!

Power-Up Bands come in six different character designs and are available for purchase within the land, at Super Nintendo World retail shops in the theme park and in CityWalk (at the Super Nintendo Store). There is also a seventh special-release Golden Power-Up Band available as of Feb. 17, 2024.

The band is a rubber slap band. It tends to curl up on your wrist and fall off, so keep a close eye on it. You may ask for a free lock at shops that sell the bands. The bands run about $40 with tax. No discounts apply.

Interactive Gameplay

With a Power-Up Band, the possibilities for engaging in real-life gameplay within the land are endless! Many of these activities include punching question blocks to collect digital coins. Discover a new dimension of the land via interactive binoculars that use AR technology. Players can beat the four Key Challenges and collect keys from activities hosted by Goomba, Koopa Troopa, Piranha Plant and Thwomp. Succeeding in all of these mini-games leads to a boss battle with Bowser Jr. Collect three keys in the app by completing challenges before heading to Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown. Don't froget — you can only access Shadow Showdown if you have a Power-Up Band account with at least three keys. Otherwise, you will not be able to participate in this challenge or enter its queue.

Use Sun Protection

Most of the challenges are outside, and the lines are out in the sun. Wear hats and sunscreen, and stay hydrated when waiting and playing. Character meet-and-greets are also outside.

Character Interactions in Super Nintendo World Hollywood

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Mario and Luigi

You can meet Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach in Super Nintendo World in California! The characters can talk and move their eyes! It's recommended to hop in line about 30 minutes before their scheduled appearance. Upcoming greeting times are indicated on a sign near their meeting area. Sadly, Mario and his pals do not come out in the rain.

Wahoo! Your Guide to Super Nintendo World Hollywood-Meet Toad

As the queues to meet these toadally awesome characters are usually very long, pay close attention to the signage, as some character queues are next to lines for the game challenges. (You don't want to get in the wrong one!) Signs near their meet-and-greet areas tell you when they will next appear. Get in place early to get to the front of the line.

Merchandise at Super Nintendo World Hollywood

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Merchandise in stores.

Get your Super Nintendo and Mario gear now! To begin the countdown, Universal revamped the Feature Presentation store into a Super Nintendo-themed setting. Mario and Luigi apparel, iconic character hats, plush characters (including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Bowser) and more, are available for purchase there. You can also find more Super Nintendo World items in the character shop in the Lower Lot and the Super Nintendo World Store in CityWalk.

Wahoo! Super Nintendo World Hollywood Is Now Open - mario kart popcorn bucket

1-UP Factory

When you exit Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, you'll pass through the 1-UP Factory to purchase a souvenir! The retail shop offers an extensive collection of merchandise, including Nintendo character apparel, iconic hats and headwear, plush characters, bands and more. The Power-Up Bands can be found behind the counter.

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Plush items

Food in Super Nintendo World Hollywood

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Exterior of Toadstool Cafe

Some of your favorite Nintendo characters are serving up delicious dishes inside the new land, too! Hop over to our full post on Super Nintendo World food for more delectable deets.

Toadstool Cafe

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Toad greeting guests

The land's signature restaurant serves a gourmet menu full of fresh food prepared daily. As Chef Toad has perfected his mushroom-esque menu, this restaurant gets crowded very quickly and is accessible via same-day reservations. You can use a link or a QR code to reserve even before you arrive at Universal.

You will see QR codes outside the land and in front of the café until reservations are full for the day. Here's the link to reserve. (You do not have to be on-site to reserve.) You can reserve starting around between 7 and 8 a.m. for the same day only. We recommend reserving for the early afternoon because mid-morning is the busiest in the land. Go enjoy the short lines elsewhere in the park in the morning. Keep in mind that you will still have to wait in line to order food when you arrive. And then you may wait a while for the food to arrive. Allow an hour and a half from restaurant arrival to when you exit.

Wahoo! Your Guide to Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Mushroom soup

Menu items include Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Super Mushroom Soup, Tomato Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Mario Bacon Cheeseburger (also available in a vegetarian option), Fire Flower Spaghetti and Meatballs, Bowser's Fireball Challenge, Short Rib Special, ? Block Tiramisu, Princess Peach Cupcake and more. The kids' meals include a burger and spaghetti. The full menu, with descriptions and prices, is accessible on the Universal Studios Hollywood app (and be sure to visit our food post for more photos and descriptions!).

Super Nintendo World Hollywood - all dishes

We tried every dish! Our frog squad's favorite is the Luigi Pesto Chicken Burger. The pasta was pretty good too (but a bit spicy), and we loved the seasoned fries. The short rib is tasty! Out of the soups, we prefer the mushroom soup. The kids' meals come with a ? mark box, containing a coin cookie inside. It is an Oreo-like cookie dipped in yellow chocolate.

Wahoo! Your Guide to Super Nintendo World Hollywood - Short rib and fireball meatball

Fun beverage items include the Super Star Lemon Squash and all of the collectible drink sippers. You can also find more fruity cream sodas, popcorn and sippers just outside the land. The stand offers Princess Peach's Peach Soda, Mario's Strawberry Soda and Luigi's Green Apple Soda.

Power Up Café

A new Power Up Café is open in the Upper Lot (not in the land) as of Feb. 15, 2024. It has some themed snacks not available at Toadstool Café. Get a calzone, Fire Flower Pretzel, Super Star popcorn and fun fizzy drinks with popping pearls and Power Up sugar shapes that change the color and flavor of the drink.

Here we goooooo! What are you most looking forward to at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood? What do you most want to know? Let us know in the comments below. 

Related: How to Navigate Virtual Queues at Universal Studios Hollywood

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

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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Oct 1, 2023 at 5:46 p.m. Janet Josselyn Says...

Thank you for your information. I will be there October 17-20 so I’m just a couple weeks. The power up bands-how do you have them in time to use during early access if you can only buy them inside. We arrive after park closes the night before. Thank you so much!

Reply
Oct 2, 2023 at 8:40 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Janet!

Depending on how late you arrive the night before, there is a Super Nintendo World gift shop in CityWalk, which stays open a little bit later than the park (if you're arriving Oct. 16, then it appears that CityWalk closes at 9 p.m. that night). You can find the Power Up Bands there too. Otherwise, you'd have to purchase in the morning — the gift shop in Super Nintendo World would be open, and there are also self-service, vending machine kiosks for Power Up Bands inside the land.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Sep 27, 2023 at 6:27 p.m. Elisabet Rodriguez Says...

I am going Feb 2024 will it still be open? Or will nintendo world be closed and to be replaced?

Reply
Sep 29, 2023 at 9:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Elisabet!

Don't worry! Super Nintendo World isn't going anywhere anytime soon :) Have fun!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Sep 19, 2023 at 11:30 a.m. Elisabet Rodriguez Says...

Im planning to visit feb 2024 noticed the schedule isn’t up yet will it be available in the next month or so? First time trying to figure out how to purchase tickets and make reservations for park entrance

Reply
Sep 29, 2023 at 10:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Elisabet!

General admission tickets for February 2024 are available for purchase here (Early Access tickets for Super Nintendo World are also available directly through Universal). Universal does not require any reservations for entry, so need to worry about that! The park hours schedule, however, still only goes out to the end of October. Usually, that calendar is updated a couple months at a time, but generally during that time, you can expect the park to open at 10 a.m. (or 9 a.m.) and close at 6 p.m. (or 7 p.m.).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Sep 13, 2023 at 2:38 p.m. Tiffany Says...

We are going on October 18th and noticed prices for admission and early access were a bit higher than average for the month even though it's a Wednesday. Any ideas why that might be? I

Reply
Sep 15, 2023 at 3:25 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tiffany!

We don't know if this is the actual reason, but it might contribute a little bit — the Nintendo Entertainment System first made its way to the U.S. on October 18, 1985, so perhaps Universal could be expecting more people to visit and celebrate this anniversary. We have not heard of any official sort of celebration planned by Universal, however. It might also be due to school fall breaks (common for schools in Utah and Arizona, usually from early to mid-October).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jun 20, 2023 at 3:17 p.m. Jody Says...

Tried to use the Toad Cafe link day of before entry and it didn’t work. The same page on the universal app doesn’t have the same option as shown in your blog. Is this link still valid?

Reply
Jul 5, 2023 at 3:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jody!

The trickiest part is that we’ve seen this reservation link open earlier than 7 a.m. and as late as 9 a.m. and varies day to day. You can't join from the Universal app — it has to be through this link or scan the QR code on the signage inside the park (it should go to the same link).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jun 19, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. Anna Says...

We will be going to the Universal Hollywood on Wed 13th September -crowd calendar says it might be a less busy day. Do you think we would require early access or express admission? if so would one be more useful than the other? I know express costs lots more. Thanks

Reply
Jun 21, 2023 at 3:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anna!

Yes, usually that's a less crowded time so we think Express is not as necessary, but we do recommend Early Access if Super Nintendo World is a top priority, especially if you're interested in playing the interactive games with Power-Up Bands.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Apr 6, 2023 at 9:15 p.m. Galatea Says...

If I have an express ticket, should I join the virtual line right after I enter the park? Or should I head straight to the ride (since the express ticket already grants me access to the ride), and join the virtual line there so that I get to take the rides later with a shorter wait time? Thanks.

Reply
Apr 7, 2023 at 9:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Galatea!

So with an Express ticket, you can enter Super Nintendo World without needing to make a virtual line reservation. However, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge does not have Express access yet (unless you have VIP access), so you would still wait in either the traditional standby line or the single rider line. For more info on accessing the land (and the ride), hop over to our post that goes more in depth about the details. We still recommend arriving early so that you can secure a Toadstool Cafe reservation (they fill up very quickly in the morning!).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 22, 2023 at 4:22 a.m. Iris Tran Says...

How many Power-Up Bands can you link on a single phone?

Reply
Jul 27, 2023 at 9:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Iris!

As far as we know, there is no set maximum amount — we know that you can add several to one phone.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 29, 2023 at 2:36 p.m. Cicely Says...

How early do they let you into the park with an early access ticket? If our Nintendo World entrance time is 7am should we arrive at the gate by 6:30am? That's a long walk to the lower lot and I don't want to miss any time in the land. Thanks!

Reply
Mar 30, 2023 at 9:11 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cicely!

Yes, we arrived at 6:30 a.m. and were able to walk down quickly after getting in, so we'd recommend arriving at the gate about a half hour before Early Entry is supposed to start.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Mar 11, 2023 at 3:12 a.m. Jocelyn Says...

We see thinking of going next week but all the early access passes are sold out. Would it be worth it to buy the Express passes and then try to rope drop super mario world since we wouldn't need reservations?

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 2:56 p.m. Becky Says...

Is the Orlando FL park open yet?

If so where is tickets sold. Thanks

Reply
Mar 9, 2023 at 8:37 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Becky!

Super Nintendo World will be coming to Universal's Epic Universe, which is expected to open in 2025.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 22, 2023 at 6 a.m. Andrew Says...

It is possible to buy the Super Nintendo World early access pass through Universal but buy my Universal Ticket through Undercover Tourist? I want to buy my ticket through Undercover Tourist because it will then code as travel and I can get reimbursed through my credit card.

Reply
Feb 22, 2023 at 2:49 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrew!

Yes, it's toadally fine to purchase separately!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 21, 2023 at 7:47 p.m. Nick Says...

Hi if we get an early access ticket do you think it would be worth doing Super Nintendo world for an hour and then going to do the rides in the lower lot and coming back later. Just worried the queues on the other main rides will be huge by the time we’ve done all of this.

Reply
Feb 22, 2023 at 11:14 a.m. Nick Says...

How long do you think it would take to do this World if you arrived at rope drop on early entry? Thanks again.

Reply
Feb 22, 2023 at 7:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nick!

We had access to Super Nintendo World with an Early Access ticket recently, and in our personal experience, we were able to ride Mario Kart, play an interactive key game, hit some blocks, explore the land a bit and enter Toadstool Cafe within the first hour. We weren't able to get everything done, but definitely a good chunk. You can enter Toadstool Cafe without a reservation during this early period, if that's something you'd want to prioritize.

Overall, we'd prioritize staying in the land a bit longer (if you don't get everything done that you want to do) rather than trying to get a Virtual Line reservation (which can run out of slots quickly) as there isn't a guarantee you'll get a Virtual Line spot later.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 21, 2023 at 2:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nick!

It would be toadally fine to go and come back — however, keep in mind that if it's busy enough for Universal to utilize a Virtual Line, you would need to join the Virtual Line to re-enter the land at a later time.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jun 4, 2023 at 11:53 p.m. shannon Says...

Could you get a reservation for Toadstool Cafe for later in the day and come back in that way?

Reply
Jun 5, 2023 at 8:41 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shannon!

If you have a Toadstool Cafe reservation, they will let you into the land.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 17, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Colleen Says...

Thanks for the great post! We will be there in 2 weeks! I am wondering about the early access ticket through universal. It says it gives you early access to the land, does that include the Mario ride? Or do you just get to explore the land and then ride the ride once the park opens? Do you think this would be worth it for a family of 4?

Thanks!!

Reply
Feb 21, 2023 at 12:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Collen!

Thanks for hopping by! The Early Access ticket does include access to the land and Mario Kart (as well as Express access to the Studio Tour until 11 a.m.!).

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 16, 2023 at 5:05 p.m. Heather Says...

Is it possible to use a power up band without a phone, or link multiple bands to one phone?

Reply
Feb 21, 2023 at noon FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heather!

You can link multiple Power-Up Bands to one phone, but you will need at least one phone!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
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