If you’re looking for answers on when Universal Orlando will add Nintendo attractions and characters, Nintendo is apparently the wrong company to ask.
In a presentation and Q&A session with investors on Feb. 1 (for which Nintendo released its official translation on Friday), legendary Nintendo game producer and representative director Shigeru Miyamoto fielded a question on when more details about Super Nintendo World will be released, given that the attractions will open at Universal Studios Japan next year. Miyamoto said:
“Because the theme park is operated by Universal Parks & Resorts, we cannot talk about anything they have not yet announced. 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.
“We are in frequent contact with Universal Parks & Resorts, working closely together to develop the theme park from a creative standpoint. Building work on our area at Universal Studios Japan is progressing, and the construction of interiors will be starting on a full-scale operation. Osaka is close to Kyoto, so we check on the progress of the work frequently. I think it will be really worth the wait.”
Since Universal and Nintendo first announced their theme park partnership in 2015, little has been said about when Universal Orlando or Hollywood will see the likes of Mario, Donkey Kong or Link. Miyamoto’s statement about areas coming to those U.S. parks sometime after 2020 opens mirrors what the companies said at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Japan land in 2017.
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 Universal Studios Florida’s Super Nintendo World showing it replacing Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone. Theme Park University then reported those plans were indeed real, but already out of date, with KidZone remaining untouched to this day.
The next phase of rumors said Pokemon would replace KidZone while a Legend of Zelda-themed area would go into Islands of Adventure. In a similar fashion, those plans were also reportedly shelved. Even after a ride system unveiled at the 2018 IAAPA Expo in Orlando was suspected of being the basis for Universal’s Mario Kart ride, no announcements about their Nintendo plans in Central Florida have been forthcoming.
The reveal fans want may still be years off if Universal intends on saving Nintendo properties for its next Orlando park. To be built on more than 500 acres Universal owns near the Orange County Convention Center, the company hasn’t confirmed their plans, but its rumored name (Universal’s Fantastic Worlds) leaked from a Comcast employee town hall and infrastructure work has already begun.