Epic Universe News Update: Super Nintendo World Details, Dragons Arrive, and New Construction

Universal has released new official details and concept renderings for Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe, the new theme park in Orlando set to open in 2025. Plus, new dragons have arrived on site, new themed elements have been added to Universal Monsters, and a circus tent is growing in the Wizarding World.

Let’s explore all of the new official details, as well as check in on construction happening in all of the worlds of Epic Universe, in today’s news update. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.

Super Nintendo World Revealed

Universal Orlando has revealed official details for Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe. This is the third world for the park to receive an announcement like this, after Celestial Park and How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk.

After entering the iconic green warp pipe (and riding the now confirmed escalator up to the land’s entrance,) we will enter the Super Mario Land section of Super Nintendo World, featuring the towering Mt. Beanpole, majestic Peach’s Castle, and looming Bowser’s Fortress.

Donkey Kong Country concept art

At the edge of Super Mario Land, guests will discover an entrance that leads them to Donkey Kong Country, home to the Mine-Cart Madness roller coaster attraction.

Super Nintendo World Rides

The official information for Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, the indoor interactive dual-track dark ride for Super Nintendo World seems to be the same as the ride in Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan, the other two Super Nintendo World lands in the world.

Universal reminds us that the Mario Kart ride “fuses augmented reality, projection mapping technology and elaborate environments to bring the fun of the Mario Kart video game series to life in a compelling ride-through experience.”

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge will have a minimum height requirement of 42” with supervising adult, or 48” to ride by yourself.

The family-friendly Yoshi’s Adventure ride—which is currently only located in Universal Japan and does not appear in Hollywood—will offer breathtaking views of Super Mario Land. Universal says you’ll “join Yoshis and travel through Mushroom Kingdom landscapes in search of glowing eggs – encountering many familiar characters along the way.”

Yoshi’s Adventure will have a minimum height requirement of only 36” with a companion, or 48” when riding by yourself.

Over in the Donkey Kong Country area, Mine-Cart Madness will use what Universal calls “an unprecedented ride system, innovative technology and a unique coaster design” to create real-life versions of maneuvers seen in the video games. On the ride we’ll be “blasted out of a barrel, seemingly jump over gaps as we speed along a rickety track, and so much more.”

Universal confirmed in today’s announcement that Mine-Cart Madness will not include any screens. Surprisingly, this roller coaster attraction has a minimum height requirement of only 36″, or at least 48″ when riding alone.

Power-Up Band Experiences

As with the other two Super Nintendo World lands, you will be able to purchase a Power-Up Band to unlock additional experiences throughout the area. This includes collecting digital coins by punching ? Blocks, collecting hidden stamps, tracking your scores on a leaderboard, playing key challenges, and unlocking a boss battle experience.

It looks like Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe will debut with all 8 Power-Up band designs, including the Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong designs.

Power-Up Band designs as seen on official website

According to Universal Orlando’s website, there will be the same 5 key challenges at Epic Universe that can be found at Universal Studios Japan: Goomba Crazy Crank, Piranha Plant Nap Mishap, Koopa Troopa POWer Punch, Bob-omb Kaboom Room, and Thwomp Panel Panic. Once you collect at least 3 keys you can experience the Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown, located within Bowser Jr.s lair.

Super Nintendo World Dining & Shopping

Like the two existing Super Nintendo World locations, Epic Universe will have the Toadstool Cafe quick service restaurant. Universal says we can “watch Chef Toad cooking up some of his favorite recipes and see playful scenes of the Mushroom Kingdom through the windows.”

The menu at Toadstool Cafe will include a variety of items inspired by the world of Super Mario, including Mario and Luigi-themed burgers, Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, Fire Flower Spaghetti and Meatballs and much more.

Today’s announcement confirms Orlando will be getting Yoshi’s Snack Island, located on the lower level near the Yoshi ride, and another snack window named “Turbo Boost Treats,” likely located near the Mario Kart ride on the upper level. This is possibly the same location as Universal Japan’s Pitstop Popcorn, but with a new name.

Just like Universal Japan, Epic Universe’s shopping options within Super Nintendo World include 1-UP Factory on the lower level—which will have the largest selection—and Mario Motors, located upstairs, which is the Mario Kart ride’s exit gift shop.

While not announced by name today, we can see the official fly-through video that the name for the retail location in the Donkey Kong Country area will in fact be Funky’s Fly ‘n Buy, and the name for the snack stand will be The Bubbly Barrel.

Super Nintendo World Characters

So far Universal says we can only meet and interact with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad throughout various areas in Super Mario Land. As today’s official press release says more details will be revealed for Donkey Kong Country later, we can expect a Donkey Kong meet and greet to be announced later as well.

Recent construction progress, All aerial photos by @bioreconstruct

Super Nintendo World Construction

Looking at construction around the Super Nintendo World area, the portal ring has been installed at the entrance to the world.

Scaffolding has come down around the front of Bowser Jr’s lair.

Claws can be seen installed at the base of Bowser’s Fortress, the entrance to the Mario Kart ride.

Below are some great views of the Conkdor figure on the Yoshi ride, which has once again had its ride vehicles uncovered.

In the Donkey Kong Country area, scaffolding has been erected around where the face will be installed for the golden temple’s waterfall.

As we’ve seen in today’s official concept art for the ride, Epic Universe’s version of Mine-Cart Madness will include a real waterfall, and not just the mist effect that will be utilized on Japan’s version of the ride.

It looks as though reflective gold paint has been added to the front section of the temple facade.

The base structure for spikes that we will pass over when jumping a gap in the track has been installed, seen in the next photo.

Work is starting on the pavement for the covered exterior queue areas for Mine-Cart Madness, which is located to left of the ride’s entrance, seen in yellow below.

What looks to be the foundation for Funky’s Fly ‘n Buy retail location has been poured near the Donkey Kong Country’s courtyard entrance.

Dark Universe

Checking in on construction around the rest of Epic Universe, new themed elements have arrived to Dark Universe, the land based on Universal Monsters.

Moving to the other side of the entry portal, this entry area is being paved now.

A coffin can now be seen here amongst the tombstones that line the pathway.

Heading into the village, rumored to be named Darkmoor, there has been progress on the well or fountain in the center of the square.

These completed pathways are now all covered in protective plywood.

On the other side of the village, scaffolding has returned to the manor facade for the land’s main attraction, expected to be named Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment.

A new gothic-style roof lip has been installed along the back corner of the building. This will help block the view of air conditioning ducts, and other equipment on the roof.

Moving to the land’s other attraction, a spinning roller coaster we expect to be named Curse of the Werewolf, a new wagon has appeared.

It looks like it has not yet been installed in its final place, which will likely be on the right side of the ride’s main entrance path, opposite the existing wagon on the left.

Two coaster trains are visible on the track in these photos. The one on the left in the next photo is sitting on the final brake run, and the other is on the right is on the track spur leading to maintenance behind the station.

One of the cars on this train appears to have its plastic removed along its base. Plastic still covers the sides though.

At the back of the land, the windmill blades have been installed on the front of the windmill for the dining location we believe will be named The Burning Blade Tavern.

According to rumors and gas permits, along with the trademarked name, we believe these windmill blades will be on fire periodically, inspired by the original Frankenstein film.

How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk

Heading into How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk, the two sheep near the front of the land are covered in plastic, while the dragon sheep is not.

This sheep is dressed as a dragon to keep him safe.

Additional sheep are now installed near the entrance to Dragon Racer’s Rally. These sheep are also wrapped in protective plastic.

Behind the two Sky Fly flat rides of Dragon Racer’s Rally, several dragon figures have been installed.

At least three dragon heads can now be seen, each sticking out the dragon houses as part of the Dragon Racing grandstands.

Two of the visible dragons are facing the riders on the ride.

But one of the dragons has its head sticking out facing the roller coaster attraction, which passes through these stands near the end of the ride.

At the start of the roller coaster attraction, which is named Hiccup’s Wing Gliders, we can see two figures installed along a show scene before the first launch.

Hiccup can be seen on the right, cranking this large gear, which could be what powers the coaster’s launch in the story.

Further up the track is what appears to be a Toothless figure. Unlike Hiccup though, Toothless is wrapped in plastic so it is hard to see his shape.

This alternate angle gives us a better view, with just a tiny glimpse of one of his feet outside of the yellow tarps.

Later on the ride, along the coaster’s second launch, it appears that many of the Gronckle eggs have been added.

Gronckle eggs can be seen installed on both sides of the track within this section.

Below is what these Gronckle eggs look like in official concept art for this part of the ride.

Scaffolding continues to come down around the mountain atop the Mead Hall dining location, revealing its newly painted rockwork.

Looking very closely at the top of this mountain, we can catch a glimpse of the house that sits up here.

Modeled to look just like hut seen in the films, this small house is well detailed for something that’ll be hardly visible by the naked eye as seen from the ground.

Multiple boats can now be seen in the maintenance canal for the Fyre Drill boat ride.

It appears that each boat is split into two teams, with blue on one side and green on the other.

Official concept art for this attraction shows how signage will tell the boats which side has earned the most points and won as they conclude the ride.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic

Over at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic, we can see progress on the courtyard pavement design in front of the portal.

The design in the pavement appears somewhat reminiscent of the official Wizarding World logo.

Official Wizarding World company logo

New trees have been added, blocking the health services building that butts up against this land’s entry and exit area.

Moving into the land, past the now completed perfume advert-themed mural, a new structure has taken shape in the center of the land.

The framing for the circus tent-themed entry to the land’s stage show has been erected, inspired by the circus seen in the second Fantastic Beasts film.

The entrance to the tent will be on the side facing the land’s entry arch, as seen in the next photo.

After entering the tent we will then make our way into the building behind it for the actual show.

In multiple locations around the land we can see trays of chimney pots in various stages if being installed atop the Parisian building facades, like at number 3 in the photo below.

In what is essentially a chimney pot factory on site, the area in the next photo has been set up for assembling these trays of chimneys for the rooftops in the Wizarding World.

Celestial Park

The final world of Epic Universe, is Celestial Park, which encompasses all of the central areas of the park.

On the north side of Celestial Park, the rockwork leading into the park’s large fountain display is receiving coats of paint.

This rockwork surrounds a cascading water feature that leads down into the fountain basin.

In the center of Celestial Park, the dome supports around Constellation Carousel are being painted gold.

The roof is being installed for the outdoor bar we believe will be named CelesTiki, seen at the arrow in the next photo.

What is thought to be two additional dining locations for the middle of the park are making quick progress, with prep for the foundation of one of two large round dining rooms laid out now.

This “phase two” split dining location is expected to house an Italian restaurant and Mexican restaurant within the same structure.

The basins in front of the Atlantic seafood restaurant have received some display fountains.

These fountains, which will be visible through the dining locations large picture windows, each appear to have their own pumps.

Two tall frames for lanterns have appeared just inside of the park’s main entrance.

These two lanterns are located at what Universal is calling “Luna Overlook,” where the cascading waterfalls start near the front of the park.

Official concept art for Luna Overlook gardens area

We can compare the official concept art, above, for this area to the current construction progress, below.

The first footings for the ironwork arches on the sides of the Chronos tower can be spotted to the right of the start of this future portal into the park.

Chronos Tower official concept art

Before we wrap up, Universal has filed for a trademark for something curious. There’s a new trademark application for the term “Stardust Racers,” which is listed for use specifically for a roller coaster ride.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Now, Universal has already officially announced an attraction for the park named Starfall Racers, the large two-track launched dueling coaster within Celestial Park, so it doesn’t seem likely that they would change the name to Stardust.

Some folks are theorizing that the the tracks could be named Starfall and Stardust, but that again seems like something that may have been announced when the coaster was first announced.

It’s of course possible that this new Stardust Racers trademark could be for a different Universal Resort somewhere else in the world, and may not even be related to Epic Universe. Perhaps we could see this roller coaster cloned for a different park, but with a new name.

Official concept art for Starfall Racers

One last theory, is that Stardust Racers could be the name for a phase 2 kiddie coaster addition, which could be built nearby the existing Starfall Racers. That way there’s something for younger kids to do while their older siblings ride the big coaster. There’s even a small pad across the path from the entrance to Starfall Racers now big enough for a kiddie coaster, but so far no permits seem to back up this theory. We’ll just have to wait and see.

That’s all for this update, but be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals. A huge thank you to Bioreconstruct for the amazing aerial and on the ground photographs. You can follow him on X (formerly Twitter), Bluesky, or Mastodon for more incredible theme park photos.

Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email address below to never miss an update. Official Art: Universal Destinations & Experiences | Aerial Photos: Bioreconstruct | Permit Documents: fasttrack.ocfl.net | Graphics and Overlays: Alicia Stella | Other Images as Captioned

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