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Nintendo theme park expansion details revealed by Universal Studios Japan

in Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan

If you’re anything like us, you freaked out (maybe even screamed a little) when Universal Parks & Resorts announced plans to bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks, both in Orlando and Japan.

According to initial plans, Nintendo’s popular games, characters and worlds will be featured in new attractions, and it will be the very first time Nintendo characters and games will be featured in major theme park attractions.

Now we’re finally getting new information on what’s in store for Universal Studios Japan — although this particular expansion is set to only include Mario. You heard that right: no Pokemon. No Zelda. No Metroid. Only Mario.

Sankei News reports that forty billion yen (US$351 million) is being invested in the project, and it’s apparently very similar to the massive investment Universal Studios made in the Harry Potter franchise with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas in California, Japan, and Florida. If the quality of those areas are any indication, guests should be in for a real treat.

Kotaku reports that (via Sankei News) the upcoming Nintendo-themed area will be a nice little chunk of the Japan park — you can see it marked in red on the map below. The current Universal Studios Japan attractions areas are in green.

An official release stated last year: “The immersive experiences will include major attractions at Universal’s theme parks and will feature Nintendo’s most famous characters and games,” and that the Universal theme parks will create “spectacular, dedicated experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters and worlds.”

As of now, the big goal is to have the Nintendo section completed by the year 2020. This is conveniently timed with the Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo. Tourists are sure to have an absolute blast with the new expansion.

What kind of attractions do you hope to see in the expansion? Let us know in the comments below!

14 Comments

  1. JackAce

    where are you getting the info that this will only include Mario? I’ve seen several write ups today and none of them mentioned this, and I don’t see anything official from Nintendo or universal on the subject either.

  2. Chadbag

    Until USJ can get a handle on its attendance, and stop overfilling the park with visitors, who cares what they put in. You won’t get a chance to actually ride any of the rides. We were at USJ in December and the park was so crowded that things like Harry Potter rides had 250+ minute wait times (yes, over 4 hours) and even simple rides like Snoopy (think Dumbo the elephant at Disneyland) had 120-150 minute wait times listed. In the two days we were there (and we got there pretty early and stayed until closing the second day), I rode maybe four or five rides, and most of those were the less popular side rides. You have to get an entry ticket to even get in to the Harry Potter world for a specific time slot. Then you have to stand in line again for 4+ hours to ride the main attraction. My kids were able to squeeze in the Haryy Potter based roller coaster the second day, right before closing, with only a 60 minute wait. They need to raise prices at USJ, and then limit the number of people they let in on popular days by about 50%. I’ve been to USJ twice. Once last year and once around 2008. In 2008 it was not so bad as we were there off season and Harry Potter did not yet exist. For the bother, I’d much rather spend the time at Tokyo Disney Resort (Disneyland and Disney Sea). We were there 2 years ago right after New Years (still high season) and while very busy, it was no where near as hard to ride the rides as at USJ. The longest wait was 2.5-3 hours for Toy Story Mania and most others were 1.5-2.5 hours for even popular stuff. Disney knows how to run their parks. Something USJ should study and emulate. I’ve not been to a Universal Studios park in the US but while get a chance in April when we go to Orlando for 9 days to do WDW (again) and 2 days at the two US-parks. We’ll see how they compare.

    1. Hansun

      Can’t agree more!

  3. I wiiiiiish they bring a ride based on Banjo Kazooie!

    1. Benjamin

      no longer Nintendo’s franchise. Bought out by Microsoft.

    2. Benjamin

      no longer Nintendo’s franchise. Bought out by Microsoft, so no way that’s ever going to happen.

  4. Benjamin

    The idea that it’s only Mario is absolute bulls***. as Jack said up in the comments, there’s been zero confirmation on that subject so in terms of article writing that was wrong on Adam’s part to say that. That being said, you really can’t have Mario without everything else. After all, the only thing Mario did was bring Nintendo into existence while the other games kept the company going. Having just that one character is bland if you don’t add in the other true icons of the company (e.g. Zelda, DK, Metroid, Pokemon, Kirby, etc.). So that being said, it’ll be interesting to see what they do, but I would be sorely disappointed if they only use one game, especially when that said game isn’t even the popular game anymore nowadays when compared to the other franchises.

  5. Marissa

    I hope the theme park includes princess peach things like rides and accessories! #PrincessPeachfan4ever!!!

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