Universal Creative teases Nintendo collaboration, offers little specifics

Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2016 10:37 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the blog post:

  • Nintendo-themed areas are coming to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They’ll be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.
  • You’ll feel as if you’re playing inside your favorite games – in real life.
  • There will be something for everyone—regardless of their age or gaming experience level.
  • Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years.

Read more from the official Universal Orlando blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:43 PM

Man, Morimoto from Nintendo seems to be really excited for this.

Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:35 PM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Mr. Miyamoto is a legit creative genius. This is the guy who invented Donkey Kong. I'm surprised it took this long for one of the major park chains to strike a deal with Nintendo.

Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:47 PM

well, I have to admit I wasn't expecting this for Hollywood. Two questions come immediately to mind:

1) Is Secret Life of Pets still on for Hollywood, Singapore, and Beijing? (which I assume it is, based on conversations a month ago)

2) Where in Hollywood is this going to go? Given that the potential footprint available in those three parks isn't really the same, just what are we looking at here? (assuming that Orlando is the Woody Woodpecker area, Japan in that temp area left of entrance as you walk in).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 2:28 PM

Good questions. Pure speculation but from reading between the lines in the blog post my takeaway is the Nintendo zones will vary in scale significantly from park to park. Do we know if this is slated for Studios in Orlando? I'm curious about Toon Lagoon at IOA.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 2:55 PM

The rumours have been for a revamp of Curious George/Woody Woodpecker area for a long time, and Nintendo overlays well here. Add the potential for removal of the aged E.T. ride, and you have quite a large space. Which you exactly do not have in Hollywood.

The problem with a toon lagoon revamp, is that you have two popular water attractions that don't easily fit a Nintendo overlay. While the rest of Toon Lagoon isn't usually considered a creative success, there's not an easy solution if you keep the two water rides. That amphitheater is a big waste of space, but I'm not sure you can carve out a fully developed Nintendo zone in that small space.

Again, the Japan and Orlando announcements were exactly as expected, but the Hollywood piece really threw me. I would have bet the farm on London Expansion (somehow) minus Gringotts, long before I would have believed Nintendo.

Makes me wonder if they really do have something unique that they think will resonate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 2:57 PM
Jeff's avatar

Toon Lagoon is weird, because the IP is dated and "kids today" don't know it, but there's no question in my mind that it's insanely well executed. I half expected them to sell-out the Marvel license and go Nintendo there. And of course, they now have enough room down the street to do an entire new theme park if they so choose.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 3:20 PM

Makes sense. To me Ripsaw Falls is easy to retrofit into a Nintendo theme. Sure Mario never floated down a log but Harry Potter never flew on a KUKA arm either. That said, I hear you on space constraints. Curious what the solution for Toon Lagoon will be.

I would love to see ET stay but realize its days are likely numbered one way or another. That forest queue is really effective. So much nostalgia.

On Hollywood - is Gringotts and Nintendo a zero sum game? Just because one was announced first doesn't mean the other is out. Again, the blog post made clear each park would offer its own version and its own timeline. We might not see Mario in Hollywood for a while. Based on the photos I saw it seems inevitable some form of Potter expansion is coming to Hollywood. It will be fun to see what form that takes and/or if the Potter fever breaks.

Interesting times for Universal parks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 3:20 PM

I Agree with 2/3 of that Jeff, but to me I've never thought of that land as "insanely well executed". I think the two rides are exceptionally well done. Seriously well done. Dudley works well even for today's audiences who never got the subversiveness of Jay Ward's cartoons. " 'Kids today' don't know that IP' " is absolutely true. I'm a pop culture junkie and I don't even remember or care about half of the stuff in that area (excluding the two rides themselves and the IP attached to them). I don't even think that the aged IP on the rides is an issue. Yeah, kids don't know or care about Popeye and Olive, but Bad Guy - Good Guy both fighting for the girl, and all the gags around the ride, resonate quickly, even if you've never seen the characters before. Same for Dudley. Bad guy, Girl, Good guy, stupid puns that still make you laugh, and a ride system that works well and has a big payoff. Again, no quibbles there.

It's the rest of the area that for me is a complete waste. Is a themed area really insanely well executed if no one gets or cares about the theme? To me Toon Lagoon is not even placemaking. It's not like Port of Entry that tells me in seconds that I'm in a strange place where I'm about to have an adventure. It's not like other areas in other parks that evoke a place or time, even if there's no real attraction there. I'm cool with themed areas that work, even if there's not a big attraction. A theme park can just be a park with a theme, if it transports the visitor somewhere else. However, I never "got" Toon Lagoon. Is it where the toons live? no. Am I going to the world of Toons, not really. Maybe I'm overly critical but the space excluding the two rides has always been a big let down for me.

It's a convoluted path, after leaving the excitement of superheroes, or amazing dinosaurs and primeval worlds, that tries to hide that graveyard of a stadium, while leaving nothing to remember it by. Other than the fountain and the posing sideways for the dog picture, I can't name anything else in that area. I know there's a shop and a restaurant (blondie and Dagwood?) and maybe an ice cream stand. I've been to IOA many many times, most recently October, and we rode both water rides there and yet I still can't remember much else about the land.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Tuesday, November 29, 2016 3:37 PM
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 3:34 PM

Jetsetter: Yeah, you summed it up nicely. I can't imagine the Potter expansion not happening in Hollywood (even if some abbreviated version). Given the years of "space constraints" for that park, and the very creative way that they've shoehorned things in, I still don't see available space for Life of Pets, Potter part two and any LARGE Nintendo area. Maybe it's as simple as a Nintendo meet and greet, and game play area. Doubt it, but I have to believe that whatever comes out of this IP, the Hollywood part of it will be very minor.

The initial rumours have always been that Nintendo would be a large area in Japan and Orlando. As Jeff mentioned there is the third park area to think of. The timeline doesn't match up well to do a start from scratch park development for a third park with Nintendo as a big anchor. But then again, Woodbury was very careful to say Orlando Resort and not USO, so maybe that's it. Still way too much infrastructure has to happen on the old Lockheed site, and that would take time. Not to say it couldn't happen there, but I can't believe they would mention Orlando if it were too far off, and I'm reluctant to accept that they would mention IP for the third park without a more flushed out announcement for that whole complex. I just don't think that's the way they are going to unveil whatever it is that they have planned for that site.

And if Nintendo doesn't go into the Studios, that still leaves the issue of the aging IP of Feivel, Woody Woodpecker and E.T. that would need to be addressed. My money is and has been on that area getting wiped for whatever Nintendo has to offer (but then again I don't work in the industry so that should tell you something).

It's Hollywood where I'm confused and eager to see what they have planned.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Tuesday, November 29, 2016 3:47 PM
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 10:16 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

What CredtWhOre said about what Jeff said.

I know about Little Nemo and Gasolne Alley (because I'm slightly older than dirt), but I have to think the majority of guests have no idea what those and other IPs in Toon Lagoon are. And Toon Lagoon has always seemed like a hallway to me -- a nicely decorated hallway, but still a hallway.

The Dudley Do Right and Popeye/Bluto attractions are great.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 11:04 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

I love walking through Toon Lagoon. It's the best use of audio in the whole park and all of the photo opportunities are always popular.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 11:12 AM
Jeff's avatar

Maybe that's what I was really thinking... it is interactive. There are always kids in the fountain, squirting people at Dudley, watching the Popeye ride, taking photos of the Marmaduke pulling people... it's surprisingly engaging.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 8:39 PM
LostKause's avatar

I've never gotten the Toon Lagoon theme either. Creditwh0re had a lot of interesting points. People can relate to the stories that the attractions tell, even if they don't know who the characters are.

I'm not going to do anything as obnoxious as linking back to my previous rants ( ;) ) about how well Nintendo works in a theme park setting, and how I couldn't believe it hasn't been done yet. I just wanted to mention that I was probably the first to ever mention it. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Just for that, I'm not going to pull them up and give you validation.

Nah. I'm not that big of a dick.

Looks like you were really going on about it in 2010. Here & Here

Still going on about it in 2012.

But the first mention of it that I could find was 2004. Back in the dexter days.

But the difference is that no one really disagreed with you. I think everyone thinks it's a pretty cool idea. You just felt really strongly about it. It's not like the larger enthusiast community was saying it would never happen.

But still, you were suggesting it 12 years ago.

Thursday, December 1, 2016 8:40 AM

I'm just hoping this area isn't just Mario, but rather a fine mix of a lot of the games. Fire Emblem may be a really cool thing to see at a theme park, and something like a Kakariko Village or Hyrule from Legend of Zelda. Maybe even a Splatoon thing, because that caught on really fast. Something like Plants vs Zombies at Carowinds, but with a Splatoon IP, maybe?

Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.

Sunday, December 4, 2016 12:04 AM
LostKause's avatar

Wow, Gonch. I feel special. You have my sincere thanks for your last post.

Upon reading those posts, I wonder if my past comments were the entire reason Nintendo licensed their characters to Universal? Now who's being obnoxious? Me? :D

Monday, December 5, 2016 3:21 AM

Somehow I missed this announcement from back in the summer.


While this opens up a piece of land, it still doesn't allow for both a Nintendo and Wizarding World Part 2 on the lower lot. This adds some clarity to the area behind Transformers (Secret Life of Pets, and I'm assuming Nintendo). Still have to think that Wizarding World part two goes where Waterworld is located. They could encroach on the backlot further, down the hill to the East of the current Potter area, with a Hogwarts Express attraction, but that opens up its own host of logistics issues. Many of those could be solved if the current expansions really rev up attendance and per caps.


Last edited by CreditWh0re, Monday, December 5, 2016 8:01 AM
Monday, December 5, 2016 8:06 AM
Jeff's avatar


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense


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