Joey here, today I had the honor and immense enjoyment of experiencing the technical rehearsals of Super Mario World at Universal Studios, Hollywood.
Where to start?
Before you enter the park, you get a photo opportunity with the iconic warp pipes. There are three, two of which you can take pictures with. As you enter the tunnel/warp pipe you enter a room where it shows windows to the Mushroom Kingdom. These interactive windows are showing the story of the land. It features Peach and a Golden Mushroom, and some trouble provided by Bowser Jr. To aid in this effort, you can purchase a Power up Band ($40+tax) and that is the beginning of your interactive journey. There are plenty of interactive events inside the land, including the well-known question boxes, there are also games where you can get three keys so you can have an epic show off with Bowser Jr. There are also character meet and greets with Princess Peach and Mario and Luigi. These amazing meetings happen throughout the day within scheduled times. The best part of the meet and greet is the fact that the characters speak in their own voices. We heard Mario and Luigi introduce each other and Princess Peach greeted us and hoped to see you again soon.
Also inside of the land is Toadstool Café. This Mario themed eatery is out of this world. There is a fully themed menu containing Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots, Piranha Plant Caprese or Super Star chicken salad for appetizers. The main Courses include the Mario Burger featuring both mushrooms and bacon, The Luigi Burger which is a delicious Chicken and Pesto sandwich served with fries, a chefs special featuring Short Rib, and the Fire flower spaghetti and meatballs. The portions were hearty and unbelievably delicious (We enjoyed the Luigi Burger and the Fire Flower Spaghetti and Meatballs.) The signature drink of Café Toadstool was a fizzy take on lemonade with flavored boba and star shaped jellies. For dessert I had the Princess Peach Cupcake, it was huge and very filling with its funfetti cake and a middle of strawberry jelly.
After a hardy meal, what is left to do? Visit Bowser’s Castle and ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. This 3D/4D ride is amazing. You are tasked with joining up with Mario and friends and taking down team Bowser. No spoilers but you do visit some great locations in Mario Kart history. Strap on the VR like visor and get ready for a race like you have never experienced.
While writing this article, Universal Studios Hollywood is reporting on their website that they are still technical rehearsals with signs stating that the ride may operate intermittently throughout the day. The land officially opens on February 17, 2023, with annual passholder previews on certain days in January and February.