If you want to explore Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood, Early Access is one of the best ways to enjoy the land. During Early Access, a limited number of guests are granted entry to Super Nintendo World a full hour before Universal Studios Hollywood opens. It is an amazing opportunity to experience Super Nintendo World in lower crowds. Having recently enjoyed our second early morning in the Mushroom Kingdom, we wanted to share our guide to Early Access at Super Nintendo World!
Super Nintendo World Early Access
Universal Studios Hollywood offers a limited number of Early Access tickets to Super Nintendo World daily. This ticket, which is a separate add-on to a regular Universal Studios Hollywood ticket, allows guests a head start on exploring Super Nintendo World with access to the land one hour before Universal Studios Hollywood opens.
A limited number of Early Access tickets are sold each day and guests pay between $20 and $30 per person, depending on the day of visit, for the privilege of early entry
During this time, most of the land is open to explore: you can ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, enjoy the interactive challenges on your Power-Up Band, meet the characters and enjoy Super Nintendo World with lower crowds!
Is Early Access worth it at Super Nintendo World?
Yes! There are a few reasons we love Early Access:
Guaranteed Entry to Super Nintendo World: Early Access provides guaranteed entry to Super Nintendo World – you don’t need to stress about rushing down at rope drop or securing a place in a Virtual Line (Super Nintendo World is extremely popular and the land reaches capacity frequently – at these times guests must join a Virtual Line and, if successful, are granted a timed entry to Super Nintendo Land).
Experience is much more enjoyable and immersive: The land is relatively small so it can feel extremely crowded during busy times. We find it a much nicer experience when crowds are lower. It’s lovely being able to enjoy the theming and wander around freely during Early Access.
Low wait times: Wait times for Mario Kart (Super Nintendo World’s only ride) and the interactive Power-Up band challenges are high during the day (wait times for Mario Kart can reach two hours). During Early Access, you can usually ride Mario Kart with only a short wait, often twice, and the interactive challenges are also less crowded.
How to reserve Early Entry at Super Nintendo World
Early Entry Access tickets are currently available to purchase up to September 2024 and are available exclusively through the official Universal Studios Hollywood site.
You can purchase Early Access as a standalone add-on and you are not required to hold or purchase a ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood at the time you purchase Early Access (although you will require this to enter the park on the day!) – for example, we usually purchase our Universal Studios Hollywood ticket through Undercover Tourist and buy the add on later as an entirely separate purchase – check prices now!
You need to choose your date of Early Access at the time of purchasing the add-on.
Super Nintendo World Early Access tip: Early Access tickets sell out at least days in advance (and weeks/months in advance during peak times) so make sure to purchase your Early Access add on well in advance.
What do Early Access Tickets Include?
Early Access Tickets include reservation-free early access admission to Super Nintendo World for up to one hour before the scheduled Park opening.
One-time express access to the Studio Tour (valid until 11 a.m.) is also included – this means you can skip the line for the Studio Tour by using the Express Line. The Studio Tour takes guests on a tram tour which passes through a working studio and showcases movie sets from King Kong, War of the Worlds and Jaws.
Early Access Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Hollywood tip: we tend not to use the Express Pass for the Studio Tour as, on both occassions, we’ve still been in Super Nintendo World at 11am! If you do decide to use the Express Access for the Studio Tour we’d recommend waiting to closer to 11 a.m. to take the tour. The park gets busier as the day goes on so we like to take advantage of the lower wait times for rides in the morning and then do the Studio Tour.
How much are Early Access Tickets for Super Nintendo World?
The Early Access ticket price depends on the predicted crowd levels on the day you visit. At the moment, Early Access is running at $20/$25/$30 per person – lower crowd days are priced at $20 whereas high demand times like the Christmas holidays are priced at $30 per person.
Early Access Super Nintendo World tip: remember, Early Access is just an add on standalone ticket. You will still need to purchase a regular park ticket to access Universal Studios Hollywood.
How does Early Access work for Super Nintendo World?
Early Access to Super Nintendo World is one hour before the listed park opening time. However, as Super Nintendo World is located in the Lower Lot of Universal Studios, you must enter the main park entrance and proceed to the Lower Lot as directed before the land opens.
Early Access Super Nintendo World tip: We recommend adding all your tickets and Power-Up bands to the Universal Studios Hollywood app before you get to the park. It makes it a lot easier to get through the ticket and Early Access checks. Make sure to keep a copy outside the app or to still carry a paper copy just in case there are any issues accessing the tickets on the mornign of Early Access!
Early Access to Super Nintendo World typically happens as follows:
1 | Security
Aim to pass through the security checkpoint at least 30 minutes prior to the Early Access opening time.
1 | Enter Universal Studios Hollywood
Early Access guests usually enter to the left of the main gates and this is signposted at the entrance. A Universal Team Member will visually check your Early Access tickets to make sure you are eligible for Early Access before you are permitted to join the Early Access line.
You should aim to be here at least 30 minutes prior to the Early Access time so you are one of the first guests admitted to the park – if the general park opening is at 9am, you’ll need to be in line at the entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood between 7 and 7.30 am. On our most recent visit, we arrived at the entrance around 45 minutes before early access (1 hour 45 minutes before regular park opening) and there were less than 100 people ahead of us.
Guests are usually permitted to enter the park around 15 minutes before Early Access starts. At this point, your park entry ticket will be scanned.
2 | First Holding Point
After entering the park, Universal Team Members hold the Early Access crowd halfway down the main street. This is to avoid any rush or running for the escalators to the Lower Lot where Super Nintendo World is located.
After a few minutes, the crowd is moved forward towards the escalators where your Early Access Tickets will be checked.
3 | Escalators
Early Access tickets are checked before guests are allowed to descend on the escalators that link the Upper and Lower lots of Universal Studios Hollywood.
On days we’ve visited, the lines has moved quickly and we have made it to the Lower Lot and the entrance to Super Nintendo World just as Early Access started.
4 | Enter Super Nintendo World
It’s finally time to enter Super Nintendo World!
Make sure to grab some awesome photos of the entrance and with the Super Nintendo World sign on your way into Super Nintendo Land as you will not exit via this entrance!
Early Access Strategy at Super Nintendo World
Now you know all the ins and outs of Early Access it’s time to consider what is the best use of time during your extra hour in Super Nintendo World.
We’ve tried a few different strategies during Early Access and have two favorites that work great every time.
Early Access Super Nintendo World tip: Keep in mind that, due to the limited numbers of Early Access tickets sold on any given day, Super Nintendo World is amazing whichever way you choose to explore it during Early Access!
1 | Ride Mario Kart: Bowsers Challenge first
With wait times for Mario Kart: Bowsers Challenge reaching over 2 hours, Super Nintendo World’s only ride is a must during Early Access and is often walk-on for at least the first 5/10 minutes. Riding Mario Kart first is a great strategy and will likely still leave you with 30 minutes of Early Access to enjoy the interactive challenges and general Super Nintendo World experience. If you really love Mario Kart, you can even join the line for a second ride!
Early Access Super Nintendo World tip: Universal and Nintendo have done an amazing job on the theming and detail in the line for Mario Kart. If you rush through the line first thing, make sure to walk through a second time especially if you are a fan.
Our experience with this Early Access Strategy: we tried this strategy during our first visit in February 2023. We rode Mario Kart first and we were finished about 25 minutes into Early Entry. After this, we had to wait in line for over 10 minutes for the Pirahana Plant Nap Mishap, one of the interactive Power-Up Band Challenges but managed to fit in 3 challenges and a meet with Princess Peach. We were also able to explore the upper level with the Augmented Reality Binoculars and join the line for Mario Kart again just before the regular opening.
2 | Explore Super Nintendo World first, then join the Line for Mario Kart a few minutes before the regular opening
Mario Kart has a long line that snakes through Bowser’s Castle and, by the time you walk through the line and ride, it takes at least 20 minutes even with no wait time. So by the time you exit the ride, there can be longer waits for the interactive challenges across Super Nintendo World.
This leads to another of our favorite strategies for Early Access at Super Nintendo World: explore the land for almost the entirety of the Early Access Hour and then join the line for Mario Kart shortly before the park opens.
This allows you to take advantage of minimal wait times for the Power-Up band interactive challenges and explore and soak up Super Nintendo Land while still benefitting from a low wait time.
Our experience with this Early Access Strategy: on our most recent visit (January 2024) we went with this strategy. There were no lines for the interactive games at the start of Early Access so we were able to enjoy those without waits. We were able to complete all the challenges and battle with Bowser Jr in his Shadow Showdown as well as walk around and enjoy Super Nintendo World. We got in line for Mario Kart about 5 minutes before the park opened and waited just under 20 minutes to ride.
Serving a range of dishes with special Super Mario Brothers touches, the fantastically themed Toadstool Cafe is a must-visit in Super Nintendo World. Due to high demand, a reservation is required to enter Toadstool Cafe on most days.
Early Access and Toadstool Cafe
Toadstool Cafe is not open during Eary Access. However, reservations tend to open at some point during Early Access so make sure you are fully prepared if you want to secure one – the reservations typically open around the Early Access Start Time but they can remain closed until closer to regular park opening. Sometimes the evening reservations are released later in the day, at around 1pm so do keep checking if you miss out on the initial drop.
To reserve a spot, you will need to take a copy of the QR code for Toadstool Cafe – it’s displayed at the entrance to Super Nintendo World and at the entrance to the cafe itself.
On our most recent visit (January 2024) reservations opened towards the end of Early Access and we were able to reserve our preferred spot. If reservations don’t open at the start of Early Access you will need to keep checking throughout the first hour.
Early Access Super Nintendo World tip: a reservation for Toadsool Cafe will allow you access to Super Nintendo World. If you prefer a later reservation (burgers and spaghetti might not appeal to everyone before 9am!) this means that you can reneter the land – you won’t need a spot in the Virtual Line or any other means of entering, the reservation itself is enough to present for readmittance to Super Nintendo World.
Meet and Greets during Early Access
Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad meet daily with guests in Super Nintendo World. During Early Access, one of the characters often comes out for a meet and greet halfway through the Early Access hour – we’ve met Princess Peach and Mario and Luigi (jointly) on separate days during Early Access.
To check if any characters are coming out during Early Entry you need to look for the display board at the end of the meet and greet lines. This is where the times of the next meet and greet for each character are displayed.
Princess Peach meets at the Pagoda close to the entrance of Super Nintendo World and Toad is next to her.
Mario and Luigi meet in the middle of the land near the entrance to Bowser’s Castle and typically appear together.
Early Access Super Nintendo World tip: character meet and greets are weather permitting in Super Nintendo World. So if it rains the meet and greets will be postponed or even canceled for the day. On our most recent visit in January 2024, it rained prior to Early Access and the first meet and greet, Mario and Luigi, only took place at 11:30am with Toad and Princess Peach appearing in the next hour. It’s worth asking any of the park staff about the meet and greets to check when the next confirmed meet is.
Power-Up Bands During Early Access
All the Power-Up band challenges and minigames are open during Early Access and it’s the best time to experience them with lower wait times as the lines can really build up during the day. For detailed information on how the Power-Up bands work, check out our full guide to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Where to Purchase Power-Up Bands
We highly recommend purchasing a Power-Up band for your visit to Super Nintendo World. The interactive games are really fun and they really add to the entire Super Nintendo World Experience.
If you are staying close to Universal Studios Hollywood the evening before your Early Access, we highly recommend popping over to CityWalk and purchasing the Power-Up Band at the Super Nintendo Store. This way, you can link them up to the Universal Hollywood App and have the bands ready to wear for Early Access.
Alternatively, you will need to stop at the Universal Studio Store (the first store on the left after you enter the park) after you enter the park during Early Access or pick them up at the Wall Kiosks in Super Nintendo World – it is completely fine to pick them up on the day, it’s just nice to have them sorted in advance so you can focus on Early Access fun!
Stroller Parking at Super Nintendo World
Strollers are not permitted in Super Nintendo World so make sure to park them to the right of Transformers, which is located beside the entrance to Super Nintendo World.
For more on Universal Studios Hollywood
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Express Passes: is the Universal Express Pass at Universal Studios Hollywood worth the cost?