Back on January 14, Universal in Japan had some disappointing news for all of its fans (even the overseas ones who merely wished to live vicariously through their Japanese counterparts): Super Nintendo World was being delayed from its February 4, 2021 opening date to some unknown point in the future. The development, of course, was an unwelcome one, but not at all an unsurprising one – with a state of emergency having been declared in Osaka Prefecture shortly before thanks to a surge in COVID-19 cases, and with further restrictions being placed on such public institutions as theme parks, it was only natural for such an anticipated, popular event to get pushed back.
The irony, of course, is that Universal was, right when the emergency declaration dropped, starting to ramp up the word of mouth for Nintendo World’s grand debut; technical rehearsals began on December 20, 2020, and a small-but-growing number of guests and team members were able to experience it. Even with the grand opening delay, however, Universal still allowed everyone to officially share their thoughts, feelings, and photographs on February 4 – something which we participated in, as well, giving our official reviews of the land’s three main attractions of Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, Yoshi’s Adventure, and Bowser, Jr.: Shadow Showdown.
But, now, we’ll have a lot more to go on than limited impressions from limited access to the immersive land. With Osaka’s coronavirus numbers having improved dramatically, the prefecture’s state of emergency was lifted early (by nearly a full week, back on March 1), and that, in turn, has caused Universal to announce a brand-new opening day for its version of the Mushroom Kingdom: Thursday, March 18.
At this point, it’s only natural to ask whether this date will be the final one for Universal Studios Japan’s newest addition; this is, after all, the third attempt at a debut, and COVID still continues to rage around the globe. But vaccinations continue to tick upward, including in Japan – healthcare workers are already receiving their injections, and they will be joined by the elderly beginning on April 12 – which means that this newest date is the one likeliest to stick. (All of which isn’t to mention the Tokyo Olympics, which were originally supposed to have been held in the summer of ’20 but which now will run from July 23 to August 8, 2021. Universal always wanted to capitalize on all the attention – and what was supposed to have been the tourism – of that international event, and that plan seems to still [mostly] be in effect now, as well.)
Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Japan on March 18 (that’s next week!), kicking off the park’s year-long 20th Anniversary Celebration.
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