17 Must-Read Super Nintendo World Tips: Universal Studios Hollywood

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You love Super Mario, so you plan a trip to the new “Mario Land” during your Southern California vacation. But it isn’t as simple as buying a ticket and showing up. From virtual queues to Power Up Bands, there are some big things to know for your visit. Super Nintendo World is open at Universal Studios Hollywood and we went to check it out and get all the insider tips.

After you read this article, you will be all set for your visit… including being all set to be one of the first people in the land that day.

Super Nintendo World in Hollywood studios is Now Open

Super Nintendo World is a “land” in Universal Studios Hollywood. Universal is one of several theme parks in Southern California. It is quickly becoming a top rival for Disneyland.

Hand holding a Universal Studios Ticket with Super Mario on it, in front of the actual entrance to Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood

With the opening of Super Nintendo World, I feel like Universal is breaking out of its reputation for not being kid friendly. Between this, The Secret Life of Pets, and the Despicable Me area, there is plenty to do at Universal Studios Hollywood for younger kids.

But today we are only going to focus on Super Nintendo World. This land can be a bit overwhelming. Between virtual queues, dining return times, and more, you need to do a bit of planning for your visit.

Don’t worry!

Our tips will make your visit, as Mario would say, “Fantastico!”

Find Universal Area Hotels at Low Rates On The Map Below

Things To Do When Planning Your Trip

Some of the most important tips to make sure your Super Nintendo World visit isn’t a “Bob-Omb” are about the initial planning of your trip. Here are five tips you will want to follow when planning your trip.

1. Buying Discount Tickets

You will want to spend a lot of money in Super Nintendo World. Your bank account may say you can’t. But, we can help you save some money on your admission to Universal Studios so that you have a little extra for a Mario hat.

My preferred travel partners at Get Away Today offer discounted tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood. The best deal is the 2-day ticket. Before, I used to believe that Universal is a one-day park, but with the addition of Super Nintendo World, I think you could easily go for two days.

Plus, if you also book 2 or more nights at a Southern California Hotel, you can use my code CrazyAdventure to save even more.

Ad - click to book discounted Universal Tickets

2. Do This To Get In Super Nintendo World Before Anybody Else – Yes, While Planning Your Visit

Super Nintendo World is the new, hip land to be in at Universal Studios Hollywood. That means the small “world” gets super crowded.

BUT – You can beat the crowds and get into the land before everyone else.

Picture of crowds in Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood around 11:30 am
Crowds in Super Nintendo World around 11:30 am on a weekday.

Here is how:

After you purchase your discounted Universal Tickets from Get Away Today, head to the Universal Studios Website to purchase a Super Nintendo World Early Access Ticket. These start at $20/person and get you into Super Nintendo World an hour before the official park opening. (This is amazing as Disneyland Hotel Guests only get 30 minutes Early Entry at Disneyland.)

This gives you a chance to meet characters, ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, and start playing the games before the land officially opens.

This is a great way to beat the crowds, and avoid super long waits for the ride.

3. You Will Want To Download The Universal Studios App

Everything seems to have an app these days, and while the Universal Studios Hollywood App is not a must for more of the park (in my opinion) you will want it for your time in Super Nintendo World.

This is where you will be able to keep track of the games and coins you earn, as well as preview the Toadstool Cafe Menu.

4. Plan Out Transportation

If you are adding Universal to a Disneyland area vacation, you may need to figure out transportation to get up to the LA theme park. Especially if you don’t have a car.

While Uber or Lyft is always an option, my preferred option, as a family of 5, is to book private transport through Karmel Shuttle. You can purchase your transportation at a discount through Get Away Today when you buy your Universal Tickets, and then call Karmel to schedule your ride.

5. Measure Your Kiddos

Be sure to measure your kiddos before your visit. Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge has a minimum height requirement of 40″. Guests over 40″ but under 48″ must ride with an adult. That means for every child under 48″ that is able to ride, you need an adult to sit next to them.

Height Requirement markers for Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge in Super Nintendo World

Tips For During Your Visit To Super Nintendo World

You have booked your vacation, and bought tickets and early access.

Now what?

Well, your trip prep is reading the tips below so you can put them to practice during your trip.

1. Purchase Your Power-Up Band ASAP & Link To The App

If you are wanting to play the games and do the challenges in Super Nintendo World, you will want to purchase a Power-Up Band. The bands feature symbols representing some of your favorite Mario characters and let you earn coins and stamps throughout the land.

You can pick up a Power-Up Band for $40/each (at the time of this post) inside Super Nintendo World or at various locations inside Universal Studios Theme Park or the Universal City Walk.

A shrub in Super Nintendo World in Universal studios Hollywood. shaped like a cube with a question mark on each side

Once you purchase your band(s) you will use the Universal Studios Hollywood App to link your bands.

You will be able to check your progress and follow the challenges in the app.

INSIDER TIP: Behind the plastic with the Power-Up Band is a map of the land, with information and tips. Don’t throw these away.

2. Arrive Early

Whether you are using the Early Access or just visiting during normal park hours, you will want to arrive early. I suggest arriving at least 30 minutes before the park opening or your Early Access time.

This will give you time to get through security and to the land. It is located on the Lower Lot so it is a bit away from the park entrance.

3. Super Nintendo World May Utilize A Virtual Queue

With the land being in high demand, Universal may utilize a virtual line for entering Super Nintendo World.

You can join the Virtual Line through the Universal App once it is activated for the day. When it is your turn, you will be able to enter the land, but once you leave, you will not be able to rejoin the virtual queue, so be sure to do it all!

INSIDER TIP: Guests who purchase Universal’s Express Pass receive one entry without needing the Virtual Line when it is in place. This is also true for the VIP Guided Tours/Experiences.

4. Use Early Access Wisely

If you took my advice and purchased the Early Access, be sure to use that time wisely. You will want to use that time to meet characters and ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. The ride itself is not eligible for Express Pass, so if you wait, you may end up with a 120-180 minute wait as we saw on the app.

Universal App showing a wait time of 120 minutes for the Mario Kart ride

The only way to get express access to the ride is by doing the VIP Experience, which is a pretty penny, but may be worth it. You can also book the VIP experiences through Get Away Today.

5. What To Know About Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the only ride in Super Nintendo World. This means it can be quite popular, as mentioned above.

This ride is a dark ride mixed with a Virtual Reality version of a Super Mario Kart video game.

A few things to know about this ride:

The Ride is Not Super Plus-Size Friendly

The ride may not accommodate larger guests. Before you get in line, if you enter the tunnel for the attraction, directly to the right, there is a test seat. This seat is semi-blocked to make it more private.

Test seat for Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge ride

If you have big hips or a waist circumference over 40″, I highly suggest testing the seat out.

You will need the light to turn green when you pull the lap bar down (it doesn’t lock in place on the test seat) to know that you will fit in the ride vehicles. (PS- I was able to fit as a plus-sized, large-hipped woman.

The Ride is Fairly Slow

I think a lot of guests expected a ride that was fast-paced, seeing as it is Mario Kart. However, the ride moves pretty slowly, and the action takes place inside the VR shields.

Watch the Instruction Video

One thing that was a bit confusing about the ride, during the Queue, you end up in a room with all the racer outfits. Also in this room… they will show cartoon videos of how to put on your cap, and VR visor, and do the ride. This does not have spoken instructions, so many in our group missed the instructions because there was so much to look at.

You Will Earn Coins During The Ride

Remember those Power-Up Bands and how you linked them to the app? You will earn coins while riding and playing the VR game during Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.

6. Super Nintendo World Is Like Being In The Video Game

Yes, the ride is like being in a video game, but really, so is the entire land. All throughout the land, you will find Punch Blocks, challenges, and more.

Family playing one of the challenges in Super Nintendo World to earn coins

While the lines for the challenges can seem super long, they move really fast. These are a great way to pass the time while waiting for your return time at Toadstool Cafe.

7. How To Eat At Toadstool Cafe

Toadstool Cafe is a unique (and fun) dining experience in Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. But being the only dining option in the land, it is also quite busy.

The Luigi Burger at Toadstool Face is actually a Pesto Grilled Chicken Sandwich
The Luigi Burger at Toadstool Face is actually a Pesto Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Once the line gets long for the cafe, they will begin issuing return times for the cafe, so be sure to grab yours a good hour or more before you plan to eat.

TIP: If you enter the land after 10 am, grab your return time for Toadstool Cafe FIRST, before doing other activties.

Team Member hand holding out the Toadstool Cafe Waitlist return slips.

The downside to the return times is that they only give you a 15 minute window, so timing the return with the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride is tricky. (Another reason I suggest Early Access OR the VIP Experience.)

Inside Toadstool Cafe

Inside the cafe, you will get to order your food and drinks at the counter and then find a seat in the dining area.

You will get a number that you place on your table for when your order is ready.

The meals were really good. Between our group we ordered all of the adult entrees and most of the starters and sides. The desserts were overly sweet and I could only eat a few bites of mine.

8. Meeting Characters at super Nintendo World: Universal Studios Hollywood

One of the draws of the land is that guests can meet Super Mario Characters… and they talk! You can meet Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach in the land.

These lines can be quite long (I saw them at 30 minutes) but this may be good to fill time while waiting to go to the cafe.

9. Using the App To Maximize Your Super Nintendo World Experience

You can use the Universal App to maximize your experience in Super Nintendo World. The App will guide you through challenges, has a map of the land, and will let you check your character scores and achievements.

When you put a name to your band in the app, it will be visible to others in the land, so be sure not too put too much personal info in the name. Because of this, two players (bands) cannot have the same name. So you may find even your first name and last inital are taken.

In addition to the app, you can scan your Power-Up Band near the restrooms to check your status and your standing compared to other players (aka guests). (They don’t photograph well so no picture.)

10. Tips for Doing Punch Blocks in Super Nintendo World

Punch Blocks are located through out the land. But don’t just start punch blocks willy-nilly.

Using the app, you can learn the different punch block combo’s, etc to score the most points and collect stamps to complete challenges.

Granted, most kids will want to just punch the blocks, and that is always an option, but just be aware that there is a more advanced use for the punch blocks.

INSIDER TIP: Do not try and use the band itself to punch the blocks. You will need to use your fist. The Power-Up Band sensors break easily when slammed against the blocks, and there are no returns on the bands once purchased.

11. Stay In The Land Until You Are Done

Once you leave Super Nintendo World, you will not be able to re-enter the land. The only possible loophole is if you are able to enter the land without using the Virtual Queue/Line.

Since you most likely cannot tell the future, I defnitely suggest staying in the land until you have experienced everything you want to do.

12. Tips For Enjoying The Rest Of Your Time at Universal Studios Hollywood After Exiting Super Nintendo World

Once you have finished your time in Super Nintendo World, you will want to enjoy the rest of Universal Studios Hollywood. In order to get the most out of the park, I personally suggest making sure you have the Express Pass. This will allow you quicker access to most rides, one time, during the day.

Ad for Universal Studios Discounted Tickets

If you prefer, you can also buy discounted 2-day tickets from my partners at Get Away Today. This will give you an extra day to experience all of the fun in Universal Studios.

I had a blast at Super Nintendo World, and cannot wait to return with my entire family. While the land is small, there is a lot of fun to be had and I can’t wait to get back. Which of these tips did you find the most useful?

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