I went to Super Nintendo World earlier this week for the soft opening, and I loved it. Let me tell you about it.
The Soft Opening
First of all, this is a soft opening, so while mostly anyone can attend (more on that in a minute), they are still working out some of the kinks so to speak. This means that technical issues are common. The ride broke down more than once while I was there.
How to Visit
There are three ways you can visit, depending on how busy the park is. On the busiest days, you must have a timed reservation, and you may have to pay extra for it. There are options to go before the park opens ($20 extra), and current season pass holders can schedule a time to visit when available.
On less busy days, there is a virtual queue. You sign up using the app and then head over when you’re scheduled for.
Finally, on the slowest days, like the day that I went, anyone can just walk in. A crowd calendar can be very valuable if you want to utilize this option. I was personally not able to sign up for a time because I was starting a new pass, making me ineligible to schedule in advance. Now, I would have attempted the virtual line queue if it had been necessary, however, I tend to go on the slowest days.
The Wrist Bands
Let me just start off by saying that I do not like the wristbands. They are set up like the old 90’s slap bracelets, and they do not fit most people well. I found that they fall off regularly, which is kind of a problem when you’re running around playing the games. They couldn’t have added some sort of clasp or made them more like watches?
Now that my dislike of them is out of the way, you do kind of need to get one. Why? Because aside from Mario Kart (the ride), you cannot do anything in this section of the park without a wristband. And, Mario Kart really is more fun if you have a wristband.
You can also track your scores on the Universal Studios app, but it is not necessary to do so to enjoy the games.
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart is the one and only ride in Super Nintendo World, and I absolutely loved it! It’s a lot like the Men in Black Ride in Universal Orlando. But, instead of going after aliens, you are facing off against Bowser in a Go-Kart race, putting your right into the video game Mario Kart.
While you can ride the ride without a wristband, there is no way to determine your score without it. You activate your wristband on the ride by pounding the character symbol against the wheel. When you do this, you will see your coin total and the number of shells you have. The coins will start at 0, and the shells will have a dash, because you will have an unlimited number at the beginning to practice.
To obtain coins and throw shells, you’ll press the buttons on the top of the controls in front of you. And, you use the steering wheel to steer.
On your way up to the ride, you will be given (or you grab yourself if you’re in the single rider line-yes, there is one!) a visor. I recommend putting it on and adjusting it before getting on the ride, because you will need to attach the second part of the visor once you sit down in the car. The second piece attaches right to the first, sort of like a magnet.
Once you have that on, you have any bags at your feet and the lap bar down, you’ll want to activate your wristband.
From there, you’ll do the practice round, and then it’s off into the race.
There are several games available to play, and of these, I played three of them. One where you crank a wheel, one where you match the colors, and one where you run around turning off alarm clocks. I highly recommend having at least three people in your group for the last one.
There are two other games, not including Bowser’s castle. The overall point of the games is to earn a key and three keys get you into Bowser’s castle. A quick note: There is a line outside the castle, but you do not have to wait in it if you have at least three keys on your wristband.
I don’t know if you can get into Bowser’s Castle without three keys, but I would assume that you can as there was a line outside. I do know that you can skip that line if you have your keys.
Bowser’s castle is hard.
You are essentially in a video game facing enemies coming at you, and it can be hard to focus on everything. I lost spectacularly, but as a group, we did win. You will be joined with other parties where you will stand in one spot. You can move a little side to side, duck and push away items with your hands, as well as jump to hit question boxes to get coins, mushrooms or fire flowers. If you’re lucky enough to get a fire flower, you can throw fire balls with your hands.
I don’t want to give away much more about it, although I attempted to take some video of it that I will share if it came out.
Conclusions and Recommendations.
Super Nintendo World is very immersive, and I actually got a bit lost. There is also so much to do that I spent half my day there. I ultimately stayed at the park from the time it opened (10 am) to about 4 PM, and I didn’t do anything on the upper lot other than the studio tour.
If you are able to make advanced reservations that is probably best, although on slower days, this will not be necessary. You also have the option of using the virtual queue.
I also highly recommend getting a wristband, but not worrying about the app if your phone is not working properly as mine has a tendency to do.
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