Super Nintendo World will be opening mid-2020 at Universal Studios Japan, just about a half year from now, and we still haven’t gotten any new official information about the new land’s flagship attraction since the groundbreaking ceremony a few years back.
The Mario Kart ride will be the only attraction that will be found at every version of Super Nintendo World, including Japan, Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore. Let’s go over the rumored ride track layout and scene descriptions for this new state-of-the-art attraction. Plus, we’ll discuss some of the rumored technology behind Mario Kart. Check out the the video version of this article below for additional visuals.
Opening by the summer of 2020 in Japan, and already under construction in Hollywood, the Mario Kart ride is being touted as “the most immersive and cutting edge technological attraction” Universal has ever created.
This ride will feature two tracks that run side by side, so it’ll feel like you’re racing the other car. It is said to be a bus bar dark ride, meaning the ride vehicle cars will get their power from the track itself. A bus bar ride system is one of the most popular types of indoor ride systems. Classic Fantasyland-style dark rides like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride utilize variations of a bus bar system. The version for Mario Kart may be a more robust variation, but it is expected to still utilize a track, so this is not expected to be a trackless ride.
Riders will pass through several different settings during the ride, all based on racetracks from the video game series, including popular or recurring tracks like Rainbow Road. Along the way it is rumored that Nintendo characters in other cars will drive up beside you. The ride will focus heavily on real sets and physical characters to tell the story, only utilizing screen-type elements for backgrounds, effects, or transitional tunnels between scenes.
Mario Kart Show Building and Queue
The exterior facade for the Mario Kart ride will be themed like Bowser’s Castle. The entrance to the ride will be located on the second level of the two-level land. A gift shop will be located to the right of the main entrance, themed like a mechanic’s shop, featuring Mario carrying a tire on the sign in the concept art. This will likely also be the exit for the attraction.
Once you enter the queue, you will be inside a large castle hall with a stairwell that branches in a few directions. There will be the main standby line, an Express line, and (hopefully) a single rider line. All of the queue is located on the second level of the building, leaving the entire lower level for the ride. As we walk through the queue, we’ll pass through different areas of Bowser’s Castle, including a portrait gallery, library, courtyard, and more.
Later in the queue we will encounter a training area with trophy displays. This colorful area will likely be set apart from the darker Bowser Castle zones and will give us a chance to learn the various skills we will need for the ride, including how to put on and use the rumored augmented reality goggles.
As we near the end of the queue, we start to make our way downstairs, into the dungeon of Bowser’s Castle. The load area is split into two sides. The setup here will be similar to coming down the stairs at Men in Black: Alien Attack at Universal Studios Florida. Each of the two sides will have space for 4 karts to be parked and ready to load. And each car will hold 4 passengers, two in the front and two in the back. Once we’re loaded into our kart, it’s time to start the race!
Mario Kart — Scene by Scene
The following is a scene by scene breakdown of the ride, and while this is based on early rumors, there may be spoilers for the attraction itself. (Images in this section are taken from the video games series, but are approximate visual representations for the scenes on the ride.)
Scene 1: Dungeon Pit
After loading into our kart, we turn away from load, and then straighten out, right next to our competitor on the other track.
Scene 2: Start Line
Now we are side by side with the other car on the opposite track. Ahead of us is the drawbridge to leave the castle grounds. The lights light up, the buzzer sounds, and we’re off!
Scene 3: Canyon
As we leave the castle grounds we see turrets and mechanical gears while we make our way out, towards a pipe entry.
Scene 4: Piranha Plant Pipeline
We enter the pipe into an area filled with piranha plants and green pipes. Some of the pipes have water pouring out of them, like in a sewer. We exit the scene through another pipe tunnel.
Scene 5: Dolphin Shoals
We have found our way underwater, with coral and undersea life all around us.
Scene 6: Whirlpool
Looks like we’re caught in a whirlpool that takes us out of the water.
Scene 7: Twisted Mansion
The whirlpool spit us out into a strange mansion filled with chandeliers, spooky antiques, and some shady characters.
Scene 8: Cloudtop
A transitional tunnel sweeps us up into the sky where we travel through clouds, and pass by rotating propellers.
Scene 9: Grumble Volcano
Just as we reach the ground we’re surrounded by a series of volcanoes, and we’re heading towards a massive one up ahead.
Scene 10: Lava
Projection mapped lava can be seen flowing down the giant volcano as we enter below it, passing through the liquid hot magma inside.
Scene 11: Rainbow Road
It appears that the volcano has spit us out into outer space!? We see an archway to enter the Rainbow Road up ahead, which twists and turns and swirls in every direction all around us.
Scene 12: Finish Line
We’re almost to the finish line!
Scene 13: Victory Lane
Compare your scores against the other car to see who came in first!
Interactivity, Augmented Reality, & More
One of the most talked about technologies that may be present on the Mario Kart ride is Augmented Reality, or AR for short. It is rumored that AR goggles will be worn by riders to add additional elements on top of what you’re really seeing. AR could be used to add item blocks onto the track that you could “collect,” and then use against the car beside you. Special items from the games like red shells, banana peels, etc., could be utilized to help stall the other riders and ensure your victory.
In addition to appearing on the ride itself, Augmented Reality technology is expected to show up in other ways around Super Nintendo World. Special AR viewer binoculars will be set up around the land. These will allow visitors to look closer at some of the real places in the land, but with additional characters and elements overlaid onto reality.
Other patented technologies are expected to be used on the Mario Kart ride to create the effect of traveling faster than you really are. To accomplish this, moving backgrounds and LED tunnels may be utilized between some of the scenes. With the backgrounds moving quickly past you, along with some well placed fans, it could feel like you’re going faster.
Another way to make it appear that your car is moving faster than it actually is, is by having moving objects fly overhead, or beside you. With objects coming towards you quickly it will appear as if you’re moving much faster than you are, especially if coupled with moving backgrounds. Several scenes may also feature projection mapping effects to create additional movement or background scenery.
A patent for drifting may be incorporated into the ride as well, for when the vehicle makes tight turns—or maybe when the kart wipes out from being hit by a shell or running over a banana peel. The ride vehicle may also spin in a couple sections of the ride, most notably the whirlpool scene and the transition from the clouds to the volcano.
Mario Kart’s Upcoming Debut
The Mario Kart ride should be a fun, good old-fashioned dark ride, but with a technological twist! Of course, some of these details are based on early information and rumors, and things could change by the time the ride opens next year in Japan, and then Hollywood the following year, and in Orlando at Universal’s Epic Universe by 2023. Plans were just recently filed for the land in Orlando, so construction should start soon on the new park.
Hopefully we’ll get more official details on Super Nintendo World as we get closer to the grand opening in Japan. Check out our recent article about the site plans for Nintendo at Epic Universe, and don’t miss our previous story all about the Yoshi family ride for the land. Check out the video version of this article for even more visuals! Be sure to subscribe to the news feed so you never miss an update on Super Nintendo World and Universal’s Epic Universe.
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Stay tuned for continuing updates on Super Nintendo World. Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email below to never miss an update. Layout Graphics: Alicia Stella | Official Images: Universal | Screenshots: Nintendo | Patent Images: U.S. Patent & Trademark Office