It's (Nintendo) game on at Universal, and SeaWorld takes a stand with new coaster
Also in this edition (at the bottom): “Nemo” show now has an opening date. And I am a guest on The Disney Dish podcast.
We now know that Super Nintendo World, the land themed to the legendary video game brand, will be opening in “early” 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood, according to the park. It also revealed that the signature attraction, which will feature augmented reality (AR), will be known as Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge.
Shoehorned into an area on the land-starved park’s lower lot, the California version of Super Nintendo World will be smaller than its counterpart at Universal Studios Japan and will be missing that park’s dark ride, Yoshi’s Adventure.
The Mario Kart attraction, however, promises to be a super-duper E-Ticket ride, complete with digital projection mapping, physical sets, and head-mounted AR goggles onto which video game-like graphics will be superimposed. Passengers, who will make their way through Bowser’s Castle to board the attraction, will feel as if they have entered one of the classic video games. Grabbing the vehicle’s wheel, they will be collecting coins and throwing shells as they race through fanciful scenes.
The highly stylized Super Nintendo World will include the game maker’s quirky design, including bright, primary colors, punchable Hatena boxes, and synthesized musical scores.
Despite the pandemic, the Japan park opened the first of the Nintendo lands last year. It will be expanding in 2024 with a Donkey Kong-themed area that will include a roller coaster. Universal has acknowledged that Super Nintendo World will be part of Epic Universe, the otherwise mostly under wraps, massive theme park now under construction near the current Universal Orlando campus. The announced opening date for the new park is 2025. Universal Studios Singapore will also be getting a Nintendo land at an undisclosed date in the future.
How excited are you to visit Super Nintendo World and experience Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge? Do you think AR will be a better choice for immersive attractions than VR?
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Coming on the heels of this year’s Ice Breaker (which was ready to roll in early 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic), SeaWorld Orlando just announced that it will be opening yet another roller coaster in 2023. To be located near the front of the park, the confirmed details are sparse for the unnamed ride.
However, SeaWorld did release a teaser video and announced that the coaster would let “waves launch you on a one-of-a-kind ocean adventure.” Doing some forensic investigation of the video animation and piecing together other evidence, it would seem that this will likely be a launched stand-up coaster with a surfing theme.
The purported manufacturer is Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), which built three of the Orlando park’s other coasters, Manta, Mako, and Kraken. From 1990 through 2012, the Swiss company produced stand-up coasters (on which passengers literally stand up rather than sit for the ride) that are notorious for inflicting pain. Due to their design, which can sometimes cause jostling in riders’, er, nether regions, males especially bear the brunt of the discomfort. Many of the coasters have been converted to sit-down models.
B&M is reportedly developing the “Surf Coaster,” its next generation of stand-up coasters. It would stand to reason that the company has engineered a solution to its, um, crotchety problem. The SeaWorld ride would be the first Surf Coaster model.
Have you been on a stand-up coaster? Care to share your experiences? Do you think B&M has solved its design issues?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the return of the “Finding Nemo” musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which The Mouse indicated would reopen in “early summer.” Make that very late spring. Disney World just confirmed that the revamped show, which will be known as “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” will reopen next Monday, June 13.
Here is a peek at the production.
My Arthur‘s About Theme Parks Substack promotional tour keeps rolling on. This week, I joined Len Testa and Jim Hill on the Disney Dish. There is a reason why the podcast is enormously popular. The two hosts bring extensive experience to their highly entertaining and informative show: Len heads up TouringPlans, the Disney and Universal trip planning site and service, as well as Unofficial Guides, the series of travel guides for Disney World, Disneyland, and other parks, while Jim is a well-respected, veteran journalist who is on a first-name basis with virtually all the honchos and creative folks at the Disney company and all of the brands under its vast umbrella. Check out the latest Disney Dish episode online or wherever you get your podcast fix.
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