The long-awaited Universal Studios attraction finally opened on Thursday in Osaka, Japan. Initially announced in 2015, the park’s opening was delayed from last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The park has implemented new safety protocols including mandatory masks, temperature checks, quick access to hand sanitizers and social distancing in lines. Visitors are also encouraged to “scream in their hearts” instead of aloud on rollercoasters, according to CNN. Capacity limits are half of what would be permitted pre-COVID at 10,000 guests. Visitors are transported into the park through one of Mario’s green warp pipes, where they are greeted by life-size replicas of popular Nintendo games. For an additional fee, the park offers the option of a Power-Up Band which connects to a smartphone app. The band adds to the virtual experience by allowing its users to collect points by punching "question blocks" located throughout the park. The band also enables users to participate in a separate challenge. Mario and Luigi stand by for pictures in a carefully monitored mask-free zone. Visitors can interact with the characters but won’t be allowed to touch them. Toad is also available for a meet and greet.
One of the most anticipated rides was the Mario Kart race in Bowser’s Castle, featuring augmented-reality technology that allows users to see other characters on their headset. Twitter user @tdrexplorer noted how much detail was put into the park while waiting in line for the ride. “I couldn’t help but smile at all the racing cups,” the user said. Visitors can bring home a variety of Mario-themed trinkets sold at the park.
There are also speculations that a locked door hints at a possible expansion of the park featuring the world of Donkey Kong. For now, visitors outside of Japan will have to wait to visit Nintendo World as the country's borders still remain closed. Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, was present at the opening and says he hopes that the world can visit the park one day. Though there are still concerns about large gatherings at the park, one visitor told CNN, “The park seems to take safety protocols, cleaning the rides and wiping surfaces every time people touch them, so I feel safe.” Featured Image via Theme Park Insider
Enjoy this content? Read more from NextShark!