When AN last reported on Super Nintendo World, the Universal Studios Japan offshoot in Osaka was gearing up for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and promised Olympic tourists the chance to roam a park modeled after an open-world Mario game. Obviously, that didn’t happen; not only did the COVID-19 pandemic force the Olympic organizing committee to reschedule the games to July 2021 (and they may not allow any foreign visitors), but Japan’s Super Nintendo World still hasn’t fully opened to the public.
The bad news has now spread stateside. Today, as first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced that the Super Nintendo World slated for Orlando, Florida, would open in 2025 instead of the originally planned date of 2023. Construction of Universal Orlando Resort’s Epic Universe—which will include Super Nintendo World, hotels, shops, and entertainment district, and more amenities spread across a 750-acre campus—had been put on pause in July of 2020 due to economic uncertainty generated by the coronavirus pandemic, but Demings indicated that work would soon start up again.
Universal followed up Demings’s comments with a blog post that promised construction would resume “immediately, but is expected to take several months before reaching full-speed as Universal restaffs for the project and reassembles its vendor and contractor teams.” The company touted that once complete, the multibillion-dollar project would bring 14,000 new permanent jobs to central Florida, as well as the thousands of construction jobs required to realize Epic Universe.
Universal Parks & Resorts is also building a third Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood, which is still under construction; although the colorful skin of the Mushroom Kingdom is being applied over steel scaffolding, no opening date has been made public yet.
Super Nintendo World in Osaka is still in “soft launch” mode until the city’s emergency lockdown is lifted (which won’t be until COVID rates fall), but for stateside parkgoers currently unable to travel abroad, a December 2020 Nintendo Direct broadcast provided a full walkthrough of the park led by “Mario’s dad” himself, Shigeru Miyamoto. Once the U.S. locations are open, they should hew closely to their Japanese counterparts, and visitors will be able to enjoy Mushroom Kingdom–themed food and beverages (served up by a chef Toad), rollercoasters, a Mario Kart ride, and a Yoshi-themed adventure, all within a park environment that will integrate augmented reality throughout.