Ultimate Guide to Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Hollywood (2024)

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Universal Studios Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World is like a real-life Super Mario game! The vibrant and immersive land, with its incredible landscape and theming, is an absolute must-see in the park.

Having spent many fun days exploring and enjoying all it has to offer, we wanted to share our guide to Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood. We’ve included everything from how to access Super Nintendo World, tips and tricks for making the most of the Power-Up bands and all our favorite dishes at Toadstool Cafe so you can plan your time at one of Universal Studio Hollywood’s hottest attractions!

Mario and Luigi at Super Nintendo World


Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Alongside the likes of Jurassic World, Springfield and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Super Nintendo World is one of the themed lands at Universal Studios Hollywood. The colorful and interactive Super Nintendo World immerses guests in the world of Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom.

Super Nintendo World has 1 ride, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, as its centrepiece and also features interactive challenges, a themed cafe and incredible theming throughout.

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Super Nintendo World

How to Visit Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios

Depending on when you visit, visiting Super Nintendo World might be a little more complicated than just walking into the land!

Regular Park ticket: first of all, you need a regular park ticket to enter Universal Studios Hollywood.

Entry to Super Nintendo World is included in the regular park ticket and, depending on when you visit, it can be accessed through one of the following ways:

Walk-in: on quieter park days you can enter Super Nintendo World as you please. We’ve had this on a few of our visits when crowds were lower.

Virtual Queue Reservations: Universal Studios Hollywood operates a Virtual Queue for Super Nintendo World on busier days. This means that you need to use the app to reserve a timed entry to the land and will be allowed to enter during this time. The virtual queue can only be reserved and used on that day and is in conjunction with your standard Universal Studios Hollywood ticket. The virtual queue slots are free to all park guests and are available via the Universal Studios Hollywood app. The virtual queue slots can go quite quickly during busy periods so register as soon as you enter the park.

Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Hollywood
Super Nintendo World

Universal Express Pass: The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass allows each holder a one-time anytime entry to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios – this means you can enter Super Nintendo World once, at any time you please. It’s an excellent perk of the Universal Express Pass and avoids having to register for the virtual queue. Note the Express Pass does not include express entry to ride Bowsers Castle.

Super Nintendo World Early Access Ticket: a limited number of Early Access tickets are available daily at Universal Studios Hollywood. These tickets grant guests access to Super Nintendo World for one hour before the park opens. The tickets are sold separately (and are in addition to the regular park ticket) via the Universal Studios website and must be purchased in advance of your visit. These tickets usually sell out at least a few days ahead of time (or weeks in holiday periods) so we recommend buying them as soon as they become available. We paid $30 per person for an early entry ticket in the week between Christmas and New Year (January 2024) and $20 on regular days.

Read our full guide to Super Nintendo Early Access here.

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Princess Peach’s Castle during Early Access

Toadstool Cafe Reservation: if you are lucky enough to grab a reservation to Toadstool Cafe (you will need to scan the QR code outside Super Nintendo World on the day of your visit to reserve) you can enter Super Nintendo World in time for the reservation. You will need to show your reservation to the Universal Team Member to gain entry.

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Toadstool Cafe

VIP Experiences: guests with VIP privileges (such as through the group or private VIP tours) can access Super Nintendo World as they wish and enter the VIP line at Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. They are also provided with an Unlimited Express Pass which includes Express Access to the ride (unlike the standalone Express Pass which excludes Mario Kart).

Rope Drop Super Nintendo World

If you plan to enter Super Nintendo World first thing there are two options:

  • Super Nintendo World Early Access tickets: early access tickets allow ticket holders to enter Super Mario World one hour before the park opens. You need to arrive at the entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood around 30 minutes before your early access time to allow time to go through security, enter the park and get down to the Lower Lot where Super Nintendo World is located.
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Early Access hour is our favorite time at Super Nintendo World
  • Rope Drop Super Nintendo World: depending on the crowd levels, guests may be able to walk into Super Nintendo World as they please or a Virtual Queue may be implemented, either upon park opening or when the land reaches capacity. You can rope drop Super Nintendo World if a Virtual Line is not in place – if this is your plan, you should aim to arrive at the entrance at least 30 minutes prior to park opening (make sure to allow extra time for parking and/or security) and make your way straight to the Lower Lot to Super Nintendo World. Head straight for Mario Kart to take advantage of the lower wait times before more crowds arrive.
  • Rope Drop with Express Pass: if you have an Express Pass you can rope drop Super Nintendo World even if a Virtual Line is in operation. Express Pass holders can enter once in the day at any time they please.
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Rope Drop crowds waiting for Super Nintendo World

Where is Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood

Super Nintendo World is located at the back of the Lower Lot in Universal Studios Hollywood. This is as far away from the entrance as you can get so it can take around 30 minutes to get there from the main entrance in the Upper Lot.

How to get to Super Nintendo World

Guest enter Universal Studio Hollywood through the front of the Upper Lot.

Once you enter the park, walk straight ahead until you reach Springfield, the home of the Simpsons. Take a left and you will see the escalators which lead down to the Lower Lot.

Take the 4 sets of escalators down to the Lower Lot and walk past The Revenge of the Mummy and continue towards the Transformers Ride. Super Nintendo World is off to the left of Transformers.

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Our first glimpse at Super Nintendo World from the Upper Lot

Rides in Super Nintendo World

There is one ride, Bowser’s Challenge, in Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Mario Kart ride vehicles

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge

Height requirement: Minimum Height 40” (102 cm). Riders under 48” (122 cm) require a supervising companion

Experience Mario Kart like never before in the augmented reality of Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. Riders board a Mario Kart vehicle and join Team Mario in a battle against Team Bowser while collecting coins and throwing shells to win the Golden Cup.

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Mario Kart

The ride follows a moving track and guests use an augmented-reality visor clipped to a helmet to experience a fully immersive version of Mario Kart.

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AR visors are clipped to this helmet on Mario Kart

You can steer to collect coins, use a combination of looking in the direction of targets and push your steering wheel to throw shells (the basic concept is to look and fire) and use the buttons above the steering wheel to fire the items you’ve earned along the way. Part of the course ventures along Rainbow Road which is a real highlight.

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Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge Rainbow Road

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge can have waits of over 2 hours so make sure to factor this in to your plans.

Super Nintendo World Univesal Studios Hollywood tip: make sure to tap your Power-Up band (see below for all the details on Power-Up Bands) on the steering wheel when you board the ride.

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A winning ride on Mario Kart!

Riding Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge with kids

The Mario Kart vehicle configuration is 2 rows of 2 guests in each vehicle. Guests under 48″ must sit next to a supervising companion. Our 4 and 6-year-olds are still under 48″ so we can only ride with one kid at a time. Child Switch is offered at Universal Studios Hollywood so make sure to utilise it if you have kids who don’t meet the ride requirements.

Child Switch/Rider Swap

If you have younger kids who don’t meet the height requirement then you can use Rider Swap to avoid waiting in line twice – we usually visit with our 1, 4 and 6 year old so Dave and I take turns at riding with one of the older kids while the other stays with our 1-year-old and whichever child is not riding at that time.

The rider swap process is not really set out anywhere for Mario Kart. Rides eligible for rider swap at Universal Studios Hollywood typically have a Child Switch Room close to where the ride boards where all non-riders wait to swap. Mario Kart doesn’t have a rider swap room.

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Bowser towers over the Mario Kart line

We’ve only used rider switch during Early Access and this is how we’ve worked it:

  • walk through the line as a family
  • non-riders don’t collect a ride helmet as they walk through the line
  • speak to staff in the ride-boarding area. They will issue a ticket which allows you to return through the VIP line when the other riders return from their challenge
  • Non-riders wait outside the ride in Super Nintendo World – we use the time to do some challenges and enjoy the land
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Using rider swap on Mario Kart

Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Hollywood tip: you can check with a Universal Team Member at the entrance on the best way to do Child Switch – since we’ve always done it during Early Access when most guests are making a beeline for Mario Kart we’ve always just gone with the crowd and walked through as a family. It can be kind of hetic at this time and any stops can result in losing a decent chunk of time in the line!

Is there any way to skip the line on Mario Kart Bowers Challenge?

Mario Kart is not included in the standalone Express Pass which allows guests to use Express Lines in Universal Studios Hollywood. However, we have a few strategies to save time:

Save on wait time with the Single Rider Line: the single-rider line is typically significantly quicker than the regular line – eligible riders (48″ and above) can wait in a separate line for a spare seat in one of the ride vehicles (the vehicles are configured in 2 rows of 2 guests). It is a great option if you are happy to ride alone/without your group.

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The Mario Kart line has incredibly theming

As you enter the ride you will pass through a warp tunnel where the regular line funnels straight ahead. Single riders should turn to the right immediately at the entrance to the tunnel – it’s not really identifiable as the Single Rider line but you will see a sign above a doorway as you proceed this way.

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The entrance to Mario Kart

Ride during Early Access: Early Access tickets grant guests access to Super Nintendo World for one hour before the park opens. They cost between $20 and $30 and are sold in very limited quantities. We always purchase Early Access tickets when we want to spend time in Super Nintendo World – we arrive well in advance of Early Access (around 30 minutes) and have always managed to walk on to Mario Kart with less than 5 or 10 minutes wait.

VIP Experiences: guests with VIP experiences can use the Express Line during their tour and are issued with an Express Pass allowing unlimited rides on the day of their tour.

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Princess Peache’s Mario Kart costume

Are there any other rides planned for Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood?

Not that we’re aware of.

Universal Studios Japan currently has 2 rides (Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and Yoshi’s Adventure) with a Donkey Kong rollercoaster scheduled to open later in 2024. These same 3 rides are also touted for Universal Orlando when Super Nintendo World opens in its new Orlando park, Epic Adventure, in 2025.

Toadstool Cafe

The fantastically themed Toadstool Cafe is the only sit-down dining option in Super Nintendo World. With the decor and food inspired by Super Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom and the dishes perfected by Chef Toad, Toadstool Cafe is a treat for Mario fans – it’s such a fun experience and we enjoy the food.

Read our full guide to Toadstool Cafe in Super Nintendo World here!

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Toadstool Cafe

How to Reserve Toadstool Cafe

Most days, you will need a reservation to enter Toadstool Cafe. To reserve a spot, you will need to scan the cafe’s QR code on the day of your visit and reserve through the link – the QR code is displayed at the entrance to Super Nintendo World and Toadstool Cafe. Reservations typically open around park opening (although they can open at any time from the beginning of Early Access) and tend to go quickly on busy days so reserve a spot as soon as you can.

Super Nintendo World Universal Hollywood Tip: a reservation for Toadstool Cafe means you can enter Super Nintendo World at that time so you can reserve for any time throughout the day – for example, if you have early entry, you can reserve for later in the day and will be allowed to access Super Nintendo World again by showing your Toadstool Cafe Reservation.

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Guests use a QR code to reserve a table at Toadstool Cafe

Food at Toadstool Cafe

We’ve tried almost every dish on the menu during our visits to Universal Hollywood! All the dishes are beautifully themed to Mushroom Kingdom with some awesome finishing touches.

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? Block Tiramisu

Starters include garlic knots, mushroom and tomato soup, a fruit and veggie and a chicken salad and Caprese.

Mains include burgers, spaghetti, short rib and a giant meatball.

The wonderfully themed desserts consist of a ? Block Tiramisu, a Princess Peach Cupcake and a Mount Beanpole cake.

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Princess Peach Cupcake

Some dishes, such as the soups and Bowser’s Fireball, are served in collective souvenir bowls which you can take home – these dishes are served in a disposable dish so you don’t have to worry about mess! There is also a 1-Up Mushroom collective drinks bottle ($20) and a collectable plateware set available to purchase ($20).

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Collectible dish from Toadstool Cafe

Are there any other food options in Super Nintendo World?

There is a small Super Nintendo World Food Kart which sells popcorn and sodas located within the land. Otherwise, you will have to wait until you exit Super Nintendo World – you can check out our guide to the best snacks at Universal Studios Hollywood for inspiration!

Alcohol is not available within Super Nintendo World.

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Super Nintendo World Food Cart in the Lower Lot

Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands

Power-Up Bands are interactive wristbands that can be used in Super Nintendo World to collect coins, keys and stamps that you can earn through challenges, hitting ? blocks, finding hidden ‘M’s that unveil 8-bit images of the characters, meeting characters and tapping in on Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.

There are 6 Power-Up bands available in Universal Studios Hollywood: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi and Princess Daisy.

Super Nintendo World Early Access Universal Studios Hollywood

Power-Up bands link up with the Universal Studios Hollywood app and players can track their scores, progress and positions on the leaderboard.

How do the Power-Up Bands Work?

The story goes that Bowser Junior has stolen Princess Peach’s golden mushroom and hidden it in his dungeon. He’s given the keys to his five minions: Bob-Omb, Piranha Plant, Koopa Troopa, Thwomp and Goomba. Guests can use Power-Up Bands to take part in interactive challenges and defeat Bower Jr’s minions throughout the land. If you manage to win 3 of the challenges, you can unlock the entrance to Bowser Jr’s Lair and battle with him in the Bowser Junior Shadow Showdown.

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Tap the ? block with your Power Up Band

Power-Up Band Challenges and Games

There are 4 challenges which reward with keys:

Koopa Troopa POWer Punch: the aim is to hit the POW block at the right moment so the spinning shell goes up through the pipe and hits the blue POW block to collect the coin.

Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Hollywood
Koopa Troopa POWer Punch

PIrahana Plant Nap Mishap: teams of players have to turn off ringing alarm clocks and avoid waking Petey Pirhana. The clocks light up and ring and players hit the top of the clock to switch off.

Thwomp Power Panel Panic: players choose if they want to turn all the blocks on the screen blue or yellow and they then have to hit the other colored blocks as they appear. It’s a fun reaction test style challenge.

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Thwomp Power Panel Panic

Goomba Crazy Crank: players have to spin the crank as fast as they can in order to knock off the Goomba and win a key.

When you have collected 3 keys, you can then proceed to battle with Bowser Jr in a Shadow Showdown. Power-up bands are scanned at the entrance and guests are only allowed to enter when they have the required number of keys.

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Goomba Crazy Crank

Bowser Jr Shadow Showdown

Bowser Jr Shadow Showdown: player’s shadows are projected onto a game wall and they swipe Bob-Ombs, duck Bullet Bills and toss Fireballs in the battle against Bowser Jr.

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Unlocking Bowser Jr Shadow Showdown

How much do Power-Up Bands cost at Universal Hollywood?

Power-Up bands currently cost $40 (+ tax).

Where can I purchase Power-Up bands?

Power-up bands can be purchased both inside the park and at Universal Studios CityWalk.

CityWalk: Super Nintendo World Store

Universal Studios Upper Lot: Feature Presentation, Universal Studio Store

Universal Studios Lower Lot: Character Shop

Universal Studios Super Nintendo World (Lower Lot): 1-Up Factory, Mountain Wall Kiosks

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Power Up Bands are available in the wall kiosks

Super Ninteno World Universal Studios Hollywood tip: we recommend purchasing your Power-Up bands at CityWalk if you are there before your park visit and especially if you have Early Access to Super Nintendo World the next morning. That way, you can focus on making your way to Super Nintendo World and can connect the Power-Up bands to your Universal Studios Hollywood App. If you can’t make it to CityWalk the evening before, the Universal Studio Store (the first store on the left after you enter the park) is usually open during Early Access as are the Wall Kiosks in Super Nintendo World.

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Super Nintendo World in City Walk

Can Power-Up Bands be used at other Super Nintendo World locations?

Yes, the Power-Up Bands can be used in Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan and, presumably, in Super Nintendo World in Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe which is scheduled to open in 2025.

Using Power-Up Bands with a Nintendo Switch

The Power-Up bands can also be used as an amiibo for their character on Nintendo Switch games including Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

Are Power-Up Bands Worth it?

Absolutely! The interactiveness of the bands adds an entirely new dimension to a visit to Super Nintendo World – they make the challenges meaningful, unlock the otherwise inaccessible Bowser Jr Dunegon and add a fun competitive element if you’re playing with others. At $40 + tax each, they are not inexpensive and we share them with our kids (meaning we buy them and they wear them!).

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Tap the Power Up Band on Mario Kart

Meet and Greets

Mario and Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad meet with guests in Super Nintendo World.

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Princess Peach

Princess Peach meets in a Gazebo next to the Goomba Crazy Crank challenge in front of the entrance to Super Nintendo World with Toad greeting guests next to her.

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Yoad

Mario and Luigi meet together in the center of the land.

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Mario and Luigi

There are signs at the start of the lines indicating the time of the next meet and greet. Meet and greets at Universal Studios Hollywood are really quick and efficient so the lines move really quickly – it’s basically just a photo and hello with Universal Team Members keeping things moving.

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Meet and greet times are displayed at the start of the lines

Super Nintendo World Universal Hollywood tip: the Super Nintendo World Meet and Greets are postponed and/or canceled when it rains. On our most recent visit it rained before Early Access and the meet and greets were postponed to after 11am. We found the whole land really slippery after the rain so presumably this contributes to the decision.

Augmented Reality Bincholaurs

This one can be easy to miss! Above Bowser Jr’s Castle, there is a small area upstairs with wonderful views. This hidden gem has a couple of Augmented Reality Binoculars which you can use to get a birdseye view of Super Nintendo World with characters from Super Nintendo World overlaid onto the real-world screen.

AR Binochulars and Power-Up Bands

The AR binoculars interact with Power-Up bands and you can collect some stamps up here. The stamp allocation seems to be random but there are potential interactions with Bower Jr’s airship, Pikmin and Rosalina (or you may get nothing at all). If you see a glow or a sparkle in your view, zoom in and you will be rewarded with a full view of the character and a stamp in the app!

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The AR binoculars in Super Nintendo World

There are also some blocks to hit and a hidden tap point – remember to look for an M on the wall to find the hidden points throughout Super Nintendo World.

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Tap the M and an 8-bit character will appear on the wall

Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Hollywood tip: you don’t need to scan your Power-Up band for this interaction. From what we’ve experienced, the AR binochulars assign the session to the nearest Power-Up Band (so likely the person using the binochoulars at that time). If there is a session already open when you step up to the binochulars you have to wait for the screen to turn black.

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A hidden 8-bit Luigi

Strollers in Super Nintendo World

Strollers are not permitted in Super Nintendo. There is stroller parking to the right (as you’re facing the entrance of) the nearby Transformers ride. We always bring a carrier for our 1-year-old as it can get really crowded (and the ground is really slippery on the occasions there is rain).

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Stroller Parking for Super Nintendo World

Merchandise

There is one store, the 1-Up Factory in Super Nintendo World where you can purchase everything Super Mario. There are Power-Up bands, clothing, lanyards, souvenirs, popcorn bucks and merchandise. There is nothing exclusively sold in super Nintendo World and the stock is similar to the Super Nintendo World store on CityWalk.

Super Nintendo World Early Access Universal Studios Hollywood
1UP Factory in Super Nintendo World

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