Everything You Need to Know Before Going to Super Nintendo Worldby Jacki Jing,
Let's-a-go to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios! Regrettably, though, the lines will surely have you screaming "Mamma Mia!", but don't you worry, we made you a walkthrough, breaking down everything you need to know and how to get through Super Nintendo World as quickly as possible (call it a Super Nintendo World Cheat Code, of sorts), here we go!
Let's talk about how Super Nintendo World is actually set up. There's a line to get into the area, so brace for that. Fortunately, we had Universal Express Passes ($199+ per day per person), so we were able to zoom in, but the perks of Express Passes literally end there, so get ready for big crowds and loonnnggg lines, unless you have a VIP ticket ($369+). If you don't want to splurge for the Express or VIP pass, the first thing you'll want to do on the day you enter Universal Studios is get "in line" via the reservation system in the app to guarantee you can get into this area of the park. All visitors need to do this to begin their journey unless they have an Express or VIP ticket. Express Pass ticket holders can enter Super Nintendo World without a reservation time, but this is only good for one visit per day. If you are a VIP ticket holder and leave this area of the park, you will not be able to walk right back in.
There's also the option to add an Early Access Ticket to Super Nintendo World with a General Admission Ticket if you're specifically looking to cut costs. This will guarantee you get into the area of the park an hour earlier than everyone else. There are a limited number of these tickets per day and they can only be purchased two months in advance. A General Admission ticket (US$150+) and Early Access Ticket (US$20) are the least expensive way to guarantee you get into Super Nintendo World, but expect those prices to increase as we head into summer and depending on the day you're at the park, i.e. weekdays versus weekends.
Your Super Nintendo World adventure begins with a line to take a photo with the pipes that Mario pops out of. Then, you progress through a larger walkable pipe that leads you to Princess Peach's Castle. When you exit her castle, VOILA! It's uuuuhhh – SUPER NINTENDO WORLD – and it is truly a sight to be seen. It immediately took my breath away and the nostalgia overload genuinely got me a little teary-eyed.
Goombas, Pow Boxes, and Coins– OH MY! Super Nintendo World literally finds ways to pay homage to some of the greatest parts of the franchise, which we will dive into later. But there are basically three main spots.
- Bowser's Castle, which houses the Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge ride, which has roughly a 200-minute line, 120 minutes if you take Single Rider, which we highly advise. Those previously mentioned Universal Express Passes get you on a fast track to most all rides in Universal Studios but does not apply to the Mario Kart ride. Families, unless you've got one of those Early Access Tickets, be prepared for this.
- Toadstool Café - Wait till you see the deliciousness toad is serving up, but you better be ready to wait for it. More on that is below.
- Bowser Junior's Castle – Junior has stolen the golden mushroom and you gotta get it back! There's a catch though, you got to pay about 45 dollars to get a “power band” that gives you access to four “mini-games” that each will reward you with a key – you need three keys to enter Junior's Castle. The line at Junior's Castle is not bad at all, BUT that's because everyone was trapped in the mini-game lines – and, you guessed it: they're LONGGGGG.
- You can go to the Winter/Snow/Ice area of Super Nintendo World and look at the park from up high and use the telescopes.
- While waiting for the Mario Kart Ride, if you're in the Single Rider line there are epic views of the entire Super Nintendo World and you get a sneak peek of the Desert area.
- The bathroom has a Water World Theme which is really fun. Expect lines here, too.
- The merch store is packed with fun Super Nintendo World items, the headbands are THE CUTEST and about 20 dollars.
Okay so now that you got the layout, what's the plan of attack? CHEAT CODE ALERT: As soon as you know you're going, book a reservation for the Toadstool Café. You can do that online using this link. It will be about a 30-minute to hour-long wait in the line before you actually get seated, so check in with the dining staff a little bit before your reservation and prepare to wait – and hopefully, you had a big breakfast. The food is yummy, adorable, and it definitely fits the theme. It's also a nice rest from the madness, so I would recommend it!
If you're vegan, the perfect meal is the Super Mushroom Soup, Piranha Plant Caprese, and Yoshi's Favorite Fruit and Veggie Salad. If you want something meatier and heartier, you can't go wrong with the burger options and Chef Toad's Short Rib Special was filling! You can check out the full menu here.
Go to the park area a few hours before your reservation and go right to the Mario Kart Ride! Get that wait out of the way because you'll be so exhausted after. Just a warning, the ride has incredible sets and is really fun, but it's a 10-minute experience. Is it worth it? Depends on the person.
CHARACTER PHOTO OPS
If you want to snap a photo with Mario and Luigi (they take photo ops in the center of Super Nintendo World) or Princess Toadstool (she takes photo ops at her gazebo near her castle), you need to get in that line 15 minutes before the posted photo op time and those lines close when they're filled to capacity so prepare for that. My interaction with Princess Toadstool was super fun, she's super bubbly and talkative, so I thought it was worth it – if it made this mid-30s woman's day, your kid will probably love it.
CHEAT CODE ALERT: You might want to have one person in your party wait in the café reservation line and another wait in the line for Mario and Luigi. Not everyone is afforded that luxury though.
MINI-GAMES AND POWERBANDSNow to the Mini-Games. They are fun, but as we mentioned earlier, you have to buy a Power Band for 45 dollars, and then you need to wait in lines that are 15-30 minutes long. It was cute for the first key, but by the time I got to the fourth, I was a little exhausted.
The trick here – if you just want to get to Bowser Junior's Castle (which I did think was very entertaining – it has great visuals and an incredibly fun VR adventure inside), just go to the shortest mini-game line and play it three times in a row. You need three keys and it can be the same mini-game. CHEAT CODE ALERT: The shortest line is the one in the cavern where you have to tap blocks on the wall. It's super easy and fast. So here's a little cheat – but your kiddos might not be too happy with that, wanting to do the other three mini-games.
It's hard to say if the Power Band is worth it. Bowser Junior's Castle is so fun, but the mini-games' lines are really taxing and I don't know if they're worth the wait even if they're fun– again depends on the person. However, I do think most kids are going to be pretty pissed at their parents if they don't get to try out the mini-games and the completionists out there aren't going to be able to resist them. So prepare to pay up and wait! CHEAT CODE ALERT: Some of the park workers let me and my friend both play the mini-games even though she didn't have a band. They weren't terribly strict. And when we went into Bowser Junior's Castle they said that I could have a plus one, so she got into there too!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
This depends on the type of tickets, which days you go, how large your party is, and if you're local or coming in from outside the Los Angeles area. ANN's Lynzee Loveridge is taking her family of four to the park for two days at the end of June. She's let me use her as an example of projected expenses.
- Four economy round-trip airfare tickets from PDX to LAX at US$338 (per person): US$1,352
- One hotel room with two queen-size beds for four days and three nights, four Universal Express tickets for a single day, and four General Admission tickets for a single day [purchased together as a package via Universal Studios]: US$2,755
TOTAL for an out-of-state family of four to go to Universal Studios for two days and have one guaranteed day in Super Nintendo World: US$1,026.75 per person or US$4,107 total.
On a positive note, the other attractions at Universal Studios definitely have smaller lines because of Super Nintendo World, so go check those out. Also going at night is a great way to avoid the rush.
In conclusion, I would say definitely go into Super Nintendo World if you can make the costs work for you. Walk around and grab a bite at the Toadstool Café. If your kiddos are determined and/or you're a completionist, the Power Band, mini-games, and Bowser Junior's Castle are calling your name. Enjoy!!
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