For as long as I can remember, people have asked why Disney or Universal didn’t have or try to obtain the theme park rights for the Nintendo video game library, and there are a lot of stories out there as to why. For whatever reason, it just seemed like park-goers would never see Mario or Zelda themed rides, shops, and restaurants. That was until today…
KYOTO, Japan & ORLANDO, Fla.–Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts today announced plans to bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks – creating spectacular, dedicated experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters and worlds.
The agreement brings two icons of entertainment together and represents a significant partnership for Nintendo as it expands the reach and popularity of its characters and intellectual property.
While I know our focus is usually just the Disney Parks, today is a landmark moment in theme park history that is sure to affect Disney should Nintendo-themed attractions come to the U.S. parks. There is a small chance that this deal will just affect the Universal park in Japan, but I can’t imagine that the two companies wouldn’t want to see Mario and the gang taking over the now-booming Orlando and Los Angeles area parks.
The magnitude of this deal is yet to be seen and will depend on what kind of investment Universal makes with the giant Nintendo character library. If the Nintendo characters end-up as just an overlay replacement of Marvel Super-Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, or the Woody Woodpecker’s Kid Zone area, then this probably will not be anything to write home about, but should Universal start from scratch and build attractions and environments on the scale and quality-level of the first Harry Potter endeavor, then Disney will have something to contend with, even with a HUGE Star Wars land on the horizon.
Regardless of what the future holds, this is another fascinating chapter in the theme park wars between Disney and Universal.