Universal Parks & Resorts Signs Deal with Nintendo For Video Game Attractions

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NINTENDO_LOGO

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.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

9 Comments

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  • Makes you wonder if this could also be in response to giving the rights to Marvel back to Disney. They could replace the Marvel rides with Nintendo based rides.

  • I think there is a correlation to the Marvel situation then again, there have been whispers about a potential 3rd gate for Universal. I wouldn’t mind walking into Hyrule and going fishing.

    • And I really hope this is something big, because I think it will force Disney’s hand and make them add a bit more, or at least announce a few things that are coming. Who are we kidding, if Universal builds rides for the Nintendo properties they are just going to be screen based rides.

  • the press released mentioned florida as that is where universal parks and resorts is operated from, same as nintendo is in kyoto. I dont know how much they could do in Osaka, the park is really cramped already, just like tokyo disney is. But time will tell, though I did want Disney to do this, not Universal

  • Can you start covering universal for hells sake.. fans of the show would like your take on the park and with new nintendo news.. its freaking exciting time right now.

  • What a strange article:
    “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.”

    The first Harry Potter was for a big part an overlay with the dualing coaster and kiddy coaster, that makeover ended up being an amazing succes only topped with the replacement of Jaws by Diagon Alley.
    On the blog page of Universal Resort Orlando you can read the announcement so I’m pretty sure whatever they are going to develop will be also in Orlando. I’m also sure that it will be up to the highest standards because Nintendo is as protective of it’s ip as JK Rowling is (if not more).

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