In a recent talk with investors, Tom Williams, Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts, spoke with analysts about the future of the parks division and how it has managed to become one of the fastest growing segments of the Comcast company.
During the talk, Williams discussed a variety of topics, including Super Nintendo World, which he confirmed is opening next spring at Universal Studios Japan, before opening at other Universal parks in the years following. He also described some of the strategy behind the properties being used at Universal’s Epic Universe here in Orlando. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about Super Nintendo World, and discuss some of the rumors that are now confirmed.
The first time Tom Williams brought up Super Nintendo World during the talk, he confirmed a Spring 2020 opening for the first of these lands in Japan. He brought it up while talking about popular intellectual properties, and how they’re using them at Universal parks around the world. See this quote below:
…the data on Nintendo is insane in terms of number of gamers and how deep the emotional connection runs with them. And we have a deal to substantial Nintendo Park experiences at all of our parks around the world. And so we are hard at work at doing that. The first of which will be in a park in Osaka, Japan, Universal Studios Japan. It will open up. It will be open in less than a year from now. It will be opened up next spring. And it’s just going to be fantastic.
Williams briefly touched on the Mario Kart ride specifically while discussing how long research and development can take for new attractions:
And so that takes a lot of research and development. Especially on the engineering side, because a lot of times it involves technologies that have yet to be invented. That’s definitely the case with our Mario, Super Mario Kart ride. We had to invent and then you have to find a way to fabricate and meet all quality standards and so forth. And sometimes, like in that case, you have to do it yourself because no one, you can’t find anybody that wants to do what you want to do.
Later in the interview Williams summarized the entire first phase for Super Nintendo World in Japan. He also described a special wristband that guests will be given to be able to interact within the land. We have talked about possible interactive elements that will be located throughout the land before in articles, and on the ParkStop Podcast, over the last couple years, but this is the first time it has been confirmed by anyone from the company.
We are going to open up next spring. It’s a whole new separate area of the park. It’s got food. It’s got merchandise. The first phase will have two rides, Super Mario Kart Ride and as well as Yoshi’s Adventures. Yoshi is one of the other Nintendo characters. There will be two rides. The whole land is interactive. And you are going to have a wristband that’s got the big red Mario symbol on it.
By the way, the wristband is super cool. It’s all magnetic. You slap it at your wrist and it just snaps on and it won’t come off. And that allows you to, on an interactive basis throughout the entire land which is built on three different levels. It’s got all the popular Bowser’s deal and Princess Peach’s Castle and all the different key elements. And you will be able to go up and keep score and play with the various games and that also translates to a score keeping capability, if you choose to do so within the rides and it actually interfaces back with your game console. So you can build on it and come back again and really got everything going for it.
Some of the rumored ways that guests would be able to interact throughout the land may include question mark and brick blocks that you can hit to reveal secrets, coins that can be collected, and mini game stations found in various spots. There was even some talk of VR game stations and interactive areas that would be located near the kids play zones. That way there would not only be fun things for kids to climb and play on, but guests of all ages would have more challenging tasks to interact with.
While none of those rumored interactive elements were addressed directly, Williams did confirm that the wristbands will be able to keep your score from the rides themselves, as well as interact with your home gaming console in some way. Of course, this part of the discussion was strictly about the version of the land opening in Universal Studios Japan next year, but it can be assumed that something similar will be utilized in the versions of Super Nintendo World coming to Orlando, Hollywood and Singapore in the coming years.
When asked if Super Nintendo World would make its way to the new theme park being built in Beijing, Williams said “Any place we are not going to start round one is in Beijing. There is a tension between the Japanese products in China.” And when asked when Super Nintendo World would be making its way stateside, he unfortunately said he could not say as he doesn’t want to cause guests to defer their vacations in the meantime.
This was also the first time the company had officially acknowledged that a Yoshi ride will be featured at Super Nintendo World. Tom Williams even said the name of the attraction, which we only knew was going to be “Yoshi’s Adventure” from seeing those leaked model images that displayed the name above the ride entrance. For more details on the Yoshi ride, including a scene breakdown and layout, see our recent story here.
During the discussion, Williams also brought up Universal Orlando’s upcoming theme park, Epic Universe. He talked briefly about how all of the IPs that will be utilized at the park will be “killers”, and how the new park is “going to redefine what a park experience is like.” He also said that after acquiring the land, which they have done already, it’s a five to six year process to build and open a new theme park. (Luckily, we’re already more than a year into that process at this point.)
We will discuss more of these quotes, along with additional Epic Universe rumors soon. For now, be sure to check out our two-part article all about the rumored attractions for the new park as well as our recent aerial photo update of the land where it’s being built.
You can find a transcript for the entire interview here. Be sure to subscribe to our news feed or enter your email address below to stay informed with all the news about Super Nintendo World and Epic Universe, as it happens!
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