Category Archives: Universal News

Zelda, Donkey Kong And Mario NOT Coming To Universal Studios Florida?

A few months back I wrote an article which seemed to show Universal Studios plans for the eagerly awaited Nintendo Land. But the thing about plans is that they can and often do change. Recent rumours are suggesting that the Zelda live show, Donkey Kong mine ride and the (possible) Mario Kart augmented reality ride are not going to be built at Universal Studios Orlando anymore.

Super Nintendo World Map

As recent Twitter post from Chip S (who found other reports and plans for Universal Studios) suggests that the Nintendo Land at Universal Studios will be made smaller as the original plans involved demolishing some of the back-lot along with major work at the current Kids-Zone. For those that do not know, Universal Studios is not just a theme park, but an actual working film studio where TV shows and movies are made. And demolishing some of the back-lot would affect productions.

Making the area smaller means they can no longer fit in everything from the original plans and the biggest attractions (Zelda, Donkey Kong and Mario) are not longer to be built at Universal Studios anymore. The new plans now involve re-branding the current Kids-Zone at the park to a Pokemon kids area and there will no longer be a whole Nintendo Land area. More details on exactly what the plans entail are said to be released over the next few weeks.

Pokemon.jpg

Instead of one dedicated Nintendo Land area – the recent plans and rumours are now suggesting that the whole Nintendo theme will be spread out over three Universal parks instead of just containing it in one. Kind of like what they have done with the Harry Potter license, which is now in both the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks. Islands of Adventure is set to have a Hyrule area built with the Zelda live show and other related themed shops and attractions. But what of the Donkey Kong and Mario rides?

Wet n Wild.jpg

Back in 2013, Universal Studios brought the Wet n’ Wild water park on International Drive – which is just down the road from Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Wet n’ Wild was closed and demolished earlier this year and it is now being suggested that Universal plan on turning the whole area into a completely new theme park with the Nintendo theme continuing there as well as at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. This new park will now house the Donkey Kong and Mario rides and much more besides.

What exactly is going to be built at this new theme park is still under wraps right now – but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more news as and when it comes.

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Sneak Peak At Halloween Horror Nights 2017’s Mazes

No one does Halloween celebrations better than the Americans, and no one in America does them better than Universal Studios.

I love me some of Universal Studios: Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) – they know how to put on a show. Just walking around the park itself is a terrifying experience as you could be accosted by chainsaw maniacs, zombies and all sorts of gruesome and weird abominations. Scary music fills the air and fog bellows through the streets – the atmosphere is amazing and something any horror fan should experience at least once.

HHN Text

I’ve been lucky enough to go to three HHN over the last few years and always enjoy every second of it too. This year is the 27th year that Universal have been throwing their love letter to horror and the Halloween season. Often using famous horror icons and intellectual properties to scare the pants off anyone who dares to enter, they have also used completely original material thought up via the twisted minds at Universal Studios themselves. Plus the fact that Universal Studios is an actual, real working film studio where numerous films and TV shows are made – this means they can use props, make-up and even actors to add to the authenticity. This all makes up for one hell of a night.

As if just walking around the park itself was not scary enough – they also include interactive haunted houses or mazes based on famous movies and TV shows and thanks to the guys at ThemeparkHD.com we have footage of some of the mazes at this years HHN and I’m going to feature some of the better ones right here…

Titans of Terror

What do you get when you put  Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface all in one place? You get Titans of Terror. Walk around Elm Street, Crystal Lake and the home of one of the most twisted families of Texas.

American Horror Story: Roanoke

Based on the successful TV show, American Horror Story: Roanoke takes you on a journey trough a mysterious farmhouse owned by The Butcher who likes to sacrifice humans during the blood moon.

The Horrors of Blumhouse

Taking three films from the production studio Blumhouse – Sinister, Happy Death Day and The Purge all feature in this trifecta of terror.

Ash vs. Evil Dead

Things get groovy as you walk through Ash’s trailer, his home town of Elk Grove and even the infamous cabin fending off Deadites from The Evil Dead movies with this maze inspired by the OTT and kick-ass TV show.

The Shining

Based on one of my all time favourite movies, Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of the Stephen King novel, The Shining. Walk around the terrifying Overlook Hotel being haunted by ghosts and descend into madness along with Jack Torrance himself, walk through room 237 and even the iconic hedge-maze from the finale. “Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”

Those were just a taste of what this year’s HHN has to offer and a few of the mazes you can expect to scare the brown stuff out of you if you are lucky enough to go. Again, massive thanks to ThemeparkHD.com for the videos and please check out their YouTube channel for more HHN maze and attraction videos.

Is This How The Mario Kart Ride Will Work?

Last week – I wrote an article featuring some leaked images of what to expect when Super Nintendo World comes to Universal Studios in 2020. The biggest set-piece is set to be the Mario Kart ride, but just how it will work is still unknown… or is it?.

Just how can Nintendo and Universal turn the wacky world of Mario Kart into a believable ride. The race tracks, the various weapons, the characters and everything else – how do you turn that into a ride? I suggested a possible melding of VR and physical ride or augmented reality, seems I may have been right.

Augment Reality Patent

The above image is said to be a patent for a special type of 3D glasses to be used on the Mario Kart Ride. The glasses will not block out real images like VR does, but will in fact use the real world as a canvas to enhance what riders will see in real time.

So numbers 40 and 42 in the image will be cameras that will render the POV of the rider. Then numbers 37 and 38 are lenses that will project images in real time for the rider to see.

Super Nintendo World Mario Kart 5

This is another piece of concept at of how the ride may look – now imagine wearing those glasses. The kart you sit in is real as is the scenery you will see, but what you see projected will be completely GCI, so you will be able to see and interact with characters such as Mario, Luigi, etc. Maybe you can reach up and hit those blocks to get power-up and weapons to use against fellow riders both real and CGI all rendered using augmented reality?

Given the fact that what will be rendered onto the real scenery would be CGI and the possible interaction between the riders and the CGI world and characters, that could mean each ride experience would be unique each time you ride.

Augment Reality Patent 2

If you have ever experienced The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man or Transformers: The Ride at Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure then you should be familiar with the type of ride to except – only with interactivity. Where as those rides are very passive experiences with you just sitting there watching static 3D screens at set places as you move around a track – The Mario Kart Ride will be similar but much less passive. The 3D images will be projected no matter where you look or where the track takes you so the action will always be different each time you ride. Scenery/tracks/characters could change depending on the CGI projected through the glasses. You won’t be able to tell what is real and what is CG… unless you take the glasses off.

If this is all true… you’d better get those blue shells ready.

Mario Kart Blue Shell.gif

Concept Art And Nintendo World Florida?

Well – now that work had finally begun on Super Nintendo World in Japan – news on when the American parks will be getting started is scarce. But recently some images have been leaked that may (or may not) be genuine – some concept art of what to expect in the up and coming Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios. I must point out that these images are not confirmed as being authentic.

Lets take a look…

Super Nintendo World Entrance

Quite possibly the main entrance to the Super Nintendo World area? It looks like guests will walk in via Princes Peach’s castle.

Super Nintendo World Kong

This one looks like the proposed Donkey Kong Land area. There seems to be a children’s play area with slides and in the background – a Donkey Kong coaster?

Super Nintendo World Kong Coaster

There is that possible Donkey Kong coaster. It looks like a faux mine-cart track laid above the real coaster track and the car with an arm holding the car in place to give the effect of you travelling over the mine-cart track. Allowing for what looks like ‘jumps’. So we can expect some crazy mine-cart action just like the Donkey Kong games.

Super Nintendo World Zelda

With the punters crowded around – this one looks like some kind of possible live/interactive show or pre-ride experience based on The Legend Of Zelda?

Super Nintendo World Zelda 2

Is this inside The Legend Of Zelda live/interactive show? Looks like it anyway with seats around the main stage and what looks like Link himself standing in the middle.

Super Nintendo World Mario Kart 1

The biggest and main ride/attraction at Super Nintendo World is said to be a new ride based on the Mario Kart franchise and these concept images seem to be for exactly that.

Super Nintendo World Mario Kart 2

Exactly how the ride will work or what it will contain is not yet known. But its obviously some kind of a karting based attraction. But will you be just sitting there looking at scenery or will you actually be racing against other punters and Mario characters shooting power-ups at each other?

Super Nintendo World Mario Kart 3

This concept art seems to show exactly that. Real people racing karts against Mario characters and yes… there are those power-ups too. Though I’m not sure how all that will work out unless its some kind of VR/ride hybrid experience – just maybe?

Super Nintendo World Mario Kart 4

And here? Quite possibly the track layout for the Mario Kart ride.

So there you have it, some possible leaked images for Super Nintendo World and what we might expect. But what about the Florida version I mentioned in the headline?

Super Nintendo World Map

This image is a leaked possible map for Super Nintendo Land placed over the map of the Universal Studios Florida map. If you know the Florida park well (and I do), then you’ll know where this is set up. There is the Men In Black ride at the top left, following the path south and we are in The Simpsons/Springfield area and that big white building in the bottom right would be the E.T. ride.

So if these plans are accurate, then Super Nintendo World will be built at the back of the Springfield area and where the current kids zone is in the Florida park – which makes sense given Nintendo’s kid friendly attitude. But that also means that you can wave goodbye to the Woody Woodpecker ride and the whole interactive Curious George water play area.

You can also make out the various areas in Super Nintendo World including the main entrance to The Mushroom Kingdom (makes sense with the first image in this article right?), Kirby’s Kid’s Playland, Zelda’s Kingdom, Donkey Kong Land and of course the Super Mario World section/ride. Also note that the main area/ride (Super Mario World) is right at the very back of the whole area – forcing you to walk past everything else including shops and stalls… classic theme park set up.

It seems authentic and the proposed map does fit the area perfectly but I have to stress again that none of this is confirmed as to being official.

Super Nintendo World Mario

Well there you have it – what we may (or may not) expect to see when Super Nintendo World is built in Japan and what could possibly be plans for the Florida version too. Just have to wait until 2020 now…

Super Nintendo World Is Coming To Universal Studios Japan

Its been long rumoured and speculated – but now its official. Nintendo is coming to Universal Studios in Japan as this teaser trailer shows.

Building work at Universal Studios in Japan has already begun with a lose opening date pencilled in at around the same time as the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.  Its has been said that Super Nintendo World will be huge and contain various areas within the world based on famous Nintendo IPs such as a Zelda Kingdom, Donkey Kong Land and of course, a Mario themed area.

One rumoured ride will be based on the Mario Kart game franchise – but Super Nintendo World is set to have various rides and attractions including both Bowser’s and Princes Peach’s Castle along with shops and restaurants inspired by decades of Nintendo games.

Check out the announcement ceremony below…

Both Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood are also set to have their own Super Nintendo Worlds but no date or even work has yet to be announced.

Stay tuned for more info.