By Fowl Owlerson
Disclaimer: Unless where otherwise noted, the following is rumor and speculation, and should not be regarded as fact unless confirmed by the companies mentioned.
So this is weird. We were all fairly confident Super Nintendo World construction at Universal Studios Florida was going to begin before the end of 2017 in KidZone, weren’t we? What happened?
In May, June and July of 2017, permits were filed for construction of Project 487 (the codename for Super Nintendo World). The entrances and queues for the Halloween Horror Nights 27’s haunted mazes in KidZone were designed specifically for the Super Nintendo World construction.
To recap, the Super Nintendo World construction was going to include the Mushroom Kingdom as a central hub with a recreation of Princess Peach’s Castle, a Mario Kart AR attraction, a Yoshi unimover experience, various dining spots and shops and a Donkey Kong Tropical Island themed space complete with a Donkey Kong indoor-outdoor coaster.
There has been no activity since the permits were filed. This is unusual and likely indicative that the plan for Super Nintendo World at Universal Orlando Resort has changed. Credit where credit is due, the folks over at Theme Park University were the first to pick up on this, as well as publicly state that the Nintendo plans that leaked that included Kirby and The Legend of Zelda were outdated by the time they had been uncovered. That’s right, the permits filed in May, June and July of 2017 did not include Zelda or Kirby.
So what’s the plan for Super Nintendo World at Universal Orlando? It’s still being developed, but the intent is rumored to be to transition Super Nintendo World over to Universal Orlando’s rumored third theme park (or fourth, if you include Volcano Bay). A source has disclosed that the Mushroom Kingdom will still serve as the central hub for this third park.
From what I’ve heard, Kirby and Zelda may be reincorporated into the plans, as well as new experiences based on Pokémon. Other potential Nintendo properties include Metroid, Star Fox, Animal Crossing, Pikmin and F-Zero. Moving the project over to Universal Orlando’s third park gives Universal Creative more space for expansion and allows Nintendo to be the anchor for this new park.
This however, doesn’t mean Nintendo couldn’t be placed in Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. Placing Nintendo attractions in all three major parks would give guests incentive to visit all the parks, as well as allow Universal Creative to construct Super Nintendo World in phases.
The relationship between Universal and Nintendo isn’t in jeopardy. Nintendo is very much still a part of the process with the development of Super Nintendo World. I suspect Universal Pictures and Illumination teaming up with Nintendo to create an animated Super Mario movie was in part thanks to this established dynamic.
For now, the Super Nintendo World project is being reconfigured for Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Hollywood. It won’t match Universal Japan’s Super Nintendo World. Construction has yet to commence in Orlando or Hollywood, but it will. That you can be sure of. It’s only a matter of time.
• Fowl Owlerson has been attending theme parks since he was a little owlet. When he’s not filtering through the latest murmurings around the industry, he can be found writing, reading and snacking on the occasional rodent. Follow him on Twitter @fowlowlerson for the latest rumors, or drop an anonymous letter to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via direct message on Twitter.