Today it was announced that Super Nintendo World, the highly anticipated, intricately themed land devoted to all things Nintendo, wouldn’t be opening at Universal Japan until spring 2021. But if you’re hankering for some Mario-related magic before that, you can stop by Mario Café & Store, a themed retail and dining area, which will open on October 16.
Mario Café & Store seems to be taking over a couple of spaces in the old Hollywood section of the park – the Café is taking over a space that was themed to Schwab’s Pharmacy and the Store is taking over one themed to an old Dark Room). Both are now highly themed and will give you a taste of what you can expect when the land actually opens next spring (so close and yet so far away!)
In the café you can order things like “pancake sandwiches” (not sure what those are, exactly, but they look delicious and are incredibly cute — see below), custom “fruit cream sodas” (themed to either Mario or Luigi, complete with straws affixed with mustaches) and a Super Mushroom Drink Bottle, which you can most likely fill with a drink of your choice (soda most likely).
Next door in the store, the release says that you’ll be able to buy hats themed to Mario and Luigi or Princess Peach’s crown, and a line of collectibles centered around the phrase “Whose hat?” which is pretty fun and cute. Again, we imagine this is but a sample of the delights that you’ll be able to purchase in the actual land.
Super Nintendo World is the product of a partnership that was announced way back in 2015, between Universal Parks and Resorts and Nintendo. At the time Nintendo sales were down and they were looking to fortify their brand with an exciting collaboration; now Nintendo is on top of the world, with the runaway success of the Nintendo Switch, a line of super cool merchandise and partnerships tied to Mario’s 35th anniversary, making Super Nintendo World even more anticipated by theme park and videogame fans from around the world.
Groundbreaking on the project commenced at Universal Japan in Osaka in 2017 and over the past few months we’ve gotten to see the scale and the complexity of the land start to mature and develop. The land will include two rides – one based on the Mario Kart videogame franchise, and another centered around Mario’s cute dinosaur sidekick Yoshi. Over the past couple of years, work has been underway on a Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood (although nothing has officially been announced), seemingly with only the Mario Kart attraction, and future versions of the land have been tentatively earmarked for Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Orlando, for the new Epic Universe park that has been temporarily paused due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic impacted Universal Japan, as well, since they were planning to have the land open in time for the Summer Olympics in 2020, which ended up not happening, along with most major theme parks around the world being closed for months on end.
But if there’s one thing that can get people out of their funk and into a theme park, it’s Super Mario and his pals.