The device, which Universal plans to sell in a variety of designs inspired by the Super Mario franchise’s most beloved characters, will turn a visit to Super Nintendo World into a real-life video game, keeping track of guests’ activity throughout the park. Wearing the Power Up Band will enable attendees to collect digital coins, earn points, and compete against other visitors in a series of mini-challenges that Universal executive Thierry Coup called the “perfect fusion of the physical world with the world of video games.” At a recent promotional event for the park, executives demonstrated how guests can earn coins with the Power Up Band by jumping up to “smash” oversized versions of the Super Mario games’ iconic Question Mark Blocks—and, in doing so, triggering the famous coin sound effect Nintendo fans know and love.
There’s one other Super Nintendo World feature that has would-be visitors especially excited: the Mario Kart ride.
A new trailer has dropped for the ride, which will be named Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, with sneak peeks at the loading platform, the four-rider vehicle, and a large statue of Bowser. An augmented-reality headset will provide a visual experience that feels like you’re competing in a race. Other details still unclear, but considering Nintendo and Universal’s commitment to translating popular in-game attractions from the Super Mario franchise into real-world features, the possibility of being able to launch red shells and banana peels at opponents while racing along the Rainbow Road doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Leaked concept art for Super Nintendo Land suggests the ride will be located inside a replica of Bowser’s Castle and could feature augmented reality goggles to enhance the ride experience.
A kid-friendly Yoshi-themed ride was also unveiled, which is in the format of a treasure hunt where riders find eggs. Dining facilities and gift shops will round out the attraction.
How much will it cost to get in?
Admission to Super Nintendo World is included in the cost of Universal Studio Japan tickets, called Studio Passes, which are sold as either one-day or two-day tickets and start at ￥7800 (about $75) for adults and ￥5400 ($45) for children ages four through 11. However, guests hoping to take advantage of Super Nintendo World’s unique interactive features should include the cost of a Power Up Band (sold at the park) in their vacation budget.
Universal has not revealed how much the devices will cost. While it does seem possible for guests to explore this real-life Mushroom Kingdom without purchasing of a Power Up Band, the symbiotic relationship between physical and virtual activities spread throughout the park suggests the device is a key component to fully enjoying everything Super Nintendo World has to offer.
Universal Studios Japan also sells a ticket add-on called an Express Pass, which allows park guests to skip lines and receive timed admission windows to specific areas or rides. The current Express Pass system can be overwhelming to first-time Universal visitors—and prices vary based on estimated crowd sizes. Much like the cost of the Power Up Band, the prices for Express Passes that include Super Nintendo World have not been released.
Can’t make it to Japan? Don’t worry. Universal plans to open additional iterations of Super Nintendo World in its Los Angeles, Orlando, and Singapore theme parks in the coming years, giving fans plenty of time to brush up on their coin-collecting skills and princess-rescuing techniques.
This story was last published in June 2020. It has been updated with new information.