I was able to visit Universal Studios Hollywood this Fall and it was my first time getting to experience Super Nintendo World, which opened at the beginning of the year.
I’ve loved Nintendo since I was a kid so I was super excited to see the new area at the park and have fun in the world of Nintendo!
Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
The main attraction of the new land is the Mario Kart ride, called Bowser’s Challenge. It’s a spin on the Mario Kart games, with the rider in a kart vehicle which goes through a track of themed rooms, while you collect coins and throw shells to defeat Team Bowser and win the Cup. The ride utilizes innovative technology with augmented reality through the use of special goggles.
The queue for this ride is an experience in and of itself, as it takes you through Bowser’s castle, complete with a hall of medallions and trophies, while allowing you to spy on Bowser’s evil plans to, as always, defeat Team Mario!
This was my first stop in the land, I wanted to make sure to get in line before the wait got too long. I only rode it once, and it went by in a blur. I was trying to concentrate on the gaming part of the ride while trying to take in the practical sets at the same time, and it was a bit overwhelming, but so much fun!
The area has one food location, Toadstool Cafe, a quick service restaurant themed after the character Toad. Inside is fashioned like a Toad’s house and through “windows” you can watch scenes of the Mushroom Kingdom and Chef Toads preparing your meal.
When I was there you needed a reservation to get into the cafe. I’m not sure if this is always the case; the Universal Studios website says a reservation *may* be required to join the wait list to dine at Toadstool Cafe due to limited capacity and high demand. When I arrived there was a sign outside the cafe with a QR code that stated all reservations were full, but when I got off the ride I checked again and there were more available, so don’t lose hope if they are initially booked.
The cafe serves lunch and dinner, with starters and salads, a main menu, beverages, and desserts. The menu is viewable online and posted inside the restaurant. After ordering you are seated at a reserved spot, which is a really nice convenience, instead of having to stake out your own table, and your order is brought to you.
I got the Chef Toad Short Rib Special, the Super Star Lemon Squash special drink, and the Mt. Beanpole cake. The short ribs were super tender and they came with goat cheese polenta and a red wine sauce. This dish is a little pricey ($24.99 USD), but I thought it was really good and very filling.
The exclusive drink is a honey lemon soda with mango jelly stars and assorted tropical popping bobas. I loved it! The presentation was cute and the jelly and boba flavors were really yummy.
The cake also had a fun presentation and has chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry layers with a matcha mousse. The flavors were good on their own, but I feel like the combination of them didn’t quite work. I ended up just enjoying all the layers separately.
The merchandise store is called 1-Up Factory. There’s an assortment of souvenirs including plushes, clothes, toys, and collectibles.
I picked up a Boo Katakana (Japanese alphabet) baseball cap, a cute reusable bag, and a plushie Yoshi keychain.
Power Up Bands
The other activities in the world are interactive mini games utilized with a Power Up Band. It keeps your score on the Universal Studios mobile app as you complete challenges and collect digital coins and keys. I didn’t want to spend the $40 USD to get one, but I had fun watching other people experiencing the activities.
They include Goomba Crazy Crank, Koopa Troopa POWer Punch, Piranha Plant Nap Mishap, and Thwomp Panel Panic. There’s then a final challenge: Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown.
Mario & Friends Character Encounters
You can meet Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad in Super Nintendo World. The Power-Up Band can also provide an enhanced experience with the character meets.
Hollywood vs Japan
Though I haven’t been to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, a Youtube channel that I follow, TDR Explorer, follows an American living in Japan. He has been to both parks and does great videos of his first visit to each and compares the US version to the Japanese one, which is the original that debuted in 2021. The main difference is that Japan has an additional ride – Yoshi’s Adventure.
There are future Super Nintendo World areas planned for Universal Studios Singapore and Orlando so if those are closer to you hopefully you have the chance to visit!
Allison is from the Pacific coast of the US. She takes care of animals by day and fully introverts by night with two adorable Jack Russell Chihuahuas and a tortie cat named Marnie. She particularly likes llamas, tea, reading fantasy, and Nintendo. Her favorite movies are Coraline, Labyrinth, and Howl’s Moving Castle.