Universal Studios Japan just announced that the Super Nintendo World theme park will finally open on March 18, 2021. The Osaka-based theme park was initially scheduled to open in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics, but its opening had to be pushed back several times because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to building the theme park, Nintendo had been experiencing a decline in revenue and a loss of market share for its gaming consoles—it had yet to launch the Switch at that point. Because of this, Nintendo decided to enter into a partnership with theme park giant Universal Parks & Resorts, the group responsible for the world-acclaimed Universal Studios theme parks, to develop a park showcasing the beloved Nintendo world and its characters. They announced the partnership back in May 2015, and the first concept image of the theme park was released on December 12, 2016. (Read: Nintendo “Switch Pro” reportedly launching before Christmas)
Construction for the park began in June 2017, with Nintendo releasing a teaser for the park to entice fans and enthusiasts across the globe. The area is intended to showcase primarily the Super Mario, Mario Kart, and Yoshi’s Island franchises. Apart from creating your standard theme park rides, the developers reportedly focused on building “interactive experiences” that will allow visitors to further immerse themselves in the Nintendo world. Visitors will receive a wristband upon entry which, when combined with the park’s mobile app, will allow them to collect coins and stamps, and engage in battles and special activities throughout the park.
Ever since its announcement, fans of the Nintendo world have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the park. As of February 4, 2021, holders of the Universal Studios Japan annual pass have been permitted to visit the Super Nintendo World theme park to get an exclusive preview of the land. Late in November last year, Universal had announced that February 4, 2021, was supposed to be the land’s new opening date, but it had to be pushed back because of the sudden surge in COVID-19 infections across Osaka during the start of the year. Hopefully, March 18 will be the final opening date of the Super Nintendo World theme park. After all, we’re only a few days away from it.
The Super Nintendo World experience will also be brought to the United States, and it is set to be a part of Universal’s Epic Universe park in Orlando, Florida. The park is currently still in construction, and its opening has been bumped down to 2025 as opposed to the original opening schedule in 2023. Construction and development for the park came to a screeching halt when the pandemic broke out, and it has recently just resumed. A Super Nintendo World theme park is also slated to be a part of the Universal Studios theme park in Singapore, but a timeline for its launch has not yet been established.
Since travel restrictions across the globe are still pretty tight, it looks like we’ll have to live vicariously through our Japanese friends who will get to explore the park in just a few days. Perhaps someday when the world has gone back to normal, and it’s safer to travel, we’ll be able to see the Super Nintendo World theme park ourselves.
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