Photos first posted by the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast appear to show a model of Universal’s plans for bringing Nintendo into its theme parks.
The model shows two sections: a Mario-themed Mushroom Kingdom, featuring the Mario Kart attraction already confirmed for the first Super Nintendo World opening next year at Universal Studios Japan, and a Donkey Kong-themed section, which is dominated by a roller coaster called Mine Cart Madness. The latter is not slated to be included in either the Japan or Universal Hollywood versions of the land.
The Mushroom Kingdom area also includes a Yoshi’s Adventure attraction and a quick service dining location called Toadstool Cafe.
According to Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop — who has been the first to report many details on Universal attractions in recent years — this model reflects older plans when Nintendo was going to replace Universal Studios Florida’s KidZone area.
Leaks and rumors have suggested the plans for Orlando have changed multiple times. A report from WFTV in November 2017 included a leaked map of the KidZone plans. Theme Park University later reported those plans were real, but out of date by the time they were leaked. Universal has since been rumored to have shifted its Nintendo plans in Orlando to focus on its next theme park.
Little else has been said by either Nintendo or Universal about its plans in Orlando, other than to reiterate that Super Nintendo World will be coming eventually.
“Because the theme park is operated by Universal Parks & Resorts, we cannot talk about anything they have not yet announced,” Nintendo game producer and representative director Shigeru Miyamoto said in February. “But every effort is being made to advance preparations, and Universal Studios Japan is our top priorities, as is making sure we will be ready by the start of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. After the opening in Japan, Super Nintendo World areas will also be built in the parks in Hollywood and Orlando in the US for the enjoyment of everyone.”
While the lack of information may frustrate fans, there may be benefits to Universal not revealing its plans so quickly.
“Universal always keeps their plans close to the vest. In this case it worked out well for Universal, as they began to realize that the project was big enough to be in a new theme park rather than being added to one of the existing parks. Then the land purchase went through completely, and the designs changed to accommodate that,” said Bill Zanetti, a founding member of the University of Central Florida’s Entertainment Management Advisory Board.
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