Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Welcome to Nintendo Land: 14 attractions at the Nintendo theme park of our dreams

Illustration by Patrick Lee

It was recently announced that Nintendo and Universal have entered into a partnership that will bring attractions based on the game-maker’s characters and series to Universal theme parks. No mention has been made of when those creations will start to appear or what they might look like, so we put on our Imagineering hats and dreamed up 14 totally plausible Nintendo-themed rides and attractions of our own. You’re welcome, Universal.

1. Ice Climbers’ Rock Climbing Challenge

Stay fit and learn the thrill of cooperation! At the Ice Climbers’ Rock Climbing Challenge, your strength and determination will be put to the test, both on the wall and on the ground. Work together to reach the highest heights. Watch your footing, and make sure to have each other’s backs! It’s not a competition, so do your best and help your friends succeed! Remember: Belaying for your partner is neither a chore nor the boring half of the rock-climbing experience but is itself a thrilling exercise—in safety! (Note: Ice Climbers’ Rock Climbing Challenge is an outdoor course, and participants are at increased risk of bird attacks. Use of mallets to deter birds is effective but strongly discouraged. Course closed in winter due to icy conditions.) [Patrick Lee]


2. Maximum Velocity: The F-Zero Super Coaster

Nothing less than the fastest coaster on Earth could do justice to these classic games! You’ll be seated in one of our futuristic racing machines, all of which have been lovingly recreated from the F-Zero series. The race begins high above Mute City, the sprawling metropolis at the heart of the Space Federation, and after a spine-tingling countdown, you’re off! You and your fellow racers will plunge from a record height and pull off death-defying maneuvers through the city’s space-age streets at speeds of up to 250 mph as you vie for position and dodge attacks from the villainous Black Shadow. It’s guaranteed to be the fastest 60 seconds of your life. This is the race of the 26th century! [Matt Gerardi]

3. The Zelda Dungeon Crawl

Illustration by Nick Wanserski

Are you in the mood for adventure? Feel like wandering through a dark and gloomy basement in search of unknown ends? The Zelda Dungeon Crawl is just the ticket for anyone with a sword in their hand and a bomb in—well, in their other hand! Players can explore a sprawling 12- to 15-room foam-walled air-conditioned dungeon where they’ll poke monsters, open treasure chests, and delve deep into the heart of family-friendly darkness. With our handy Tingle App, you can map your progress as you go and scan walls for weak spots. Dungeons are rebuilt from scratch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and each one features secret rooms that only the boldest will discover, with prizes ranging from gift certificates to stuffed animals to gift certificates of even greater value! And those brave enough to find their way into the dungeon’s center will face off against Ganon himself. Using state-of-the-art motion capture and virtual targeting, you can beat the bad guy, win the Triforce*, and save Hyrule! (*Triforce available for purchase in the gift shop.) [Zack Handlen]

4. R.O.B.’s Observational Bistro

After a busy afternoon of rides and shopping, why not take a well-deserved break for refreshments at the R.O.B.? R.O.B.’s Observational Bistro, that is! Have a seat in one of our air-conditioned red or blue pagodas, and let our mechanical buddy lift you up for a sky-high snack before setting you down again slightly farther away! R.O.B.’s 270-degree rotation cycle will give you an unprecedented view of a fair portion of the park. You’re certain to enjoy such signature delights as our refreshing triple-scoop, chest-thumping “Donkey Kone” or savory “Sorry, but the princess is in another casserole,” and the adults can cool down with a “Mariojito.” [Nick Wanserski]


5. Gotta Catch’em All Pokémon Park Adventure

As you make your way through the park, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for Pokémon. We’ve hidden 151 of these critters across the park, and you’ll have to catch them all to win the title of Pokémon Master. To start your adventure, simply download the Pokémon Trainer smartphone app. While it’s open, you can tap your phone to any Pokémon you spot to capture it. If you succeed, you’ll get to learn all about your new friend from information provided by the world famous Professor Oak. The Pokémon like to move around a lot, so you won’t find them in the same place if you come back too soon. They could be anywhere from the tall grass near the Jurassic Park River Adventure to hiding among the wands at Ollivander’s. Catch as many as you can and build the perfect team to do battle with other trainers around the park! [Samantha Nelson]


6. Samus Aran’s Laser Hunt

Deep in the cavernous depths of Planet Zebes, a dangerous bioweapon known as a Metroid waits to be unleashed, and in Samus Aran’s Laser Hunt, you are the only hope to find it and save the galaxy. Put on your official bounty-hunter helmet, grab your infrared arm cannon, and descend into more than 10 miles of pitch-black caves that are crawling with alien creatures! Run, climb, and roll through the maze to find hidden secrets and blast enemies to increase your score. Make a final thrilling escape before time runs out to win fabulous prizes! Only the most skilled of hunters will be able to find the Metroid, but those who do will receive the greatest prize of all: A picture of themselves in their underwear! (Warning: The park is not responsible for any items lost when beginning your adventure on Samus Aran’s Laser Hunt.) [Sam Barsanti]


7. The StarTropics Pavilion

Illustration by Derrick Sanskrit

Behold the StarTropics Pavilion! Depart C-Island on a yellow submarine captained by R.O.B. the robot and travel around an archipelago of bizarre islands where you’ll face giant sea serpents, ghosts, and hungry parrots—and that’s all before things get really exciting! You won’t even be allowed to sit down to dinner until after the submarine crashes and you’re forced to face the trials of the tropics. Play a tune on our giant piano to sink the pirate ship in your submarine’s path! Resurrect a gaggle of alien children trapped in meteorites! Finally, put on a dress and sneak into an Amazons-only fortress. Once there, you’ll enjoy guacamole made right at your table and the overwhelming smell of chlorine. Just make sure not to lose that letter you’re handed at the beginning of the ride—even if you make it into the restaurant, you’re not allowed to eat until you provide the secret password on it. [Anthony John Agnello]

8. Animal Crossing Delivery Service

Why travel joylessly from one attraction to the next when the whole park can be an attraction? Our specially trained Animal Villager Performancekateers are located all around the park with items they’d like delivered to one another, but they need your help! Whether you’re standing in line for a ride, waiting for your little brother to stop gawking at everything, or even praying for a moment of peace and quiet, find one of the nearby Villagers to receive a package you’re expected to deliver to another Villager somewhere in the park. But don’t dawdle. Those contents might be delicious! Or they might be furniture, so be sure to wear your back support belt! [Derrick Sanskrit]


9. The World Video Boxing Association’s Punch-Out!! Punchatorium!

After soaking up the sun in our beautiful park, why not head inside and try something a little more challenging at the Punch-Out!! Punchatorium!? Presented by the World Video Boxing Association, the Punchatoruim! is the only place where you can step into the ring and strap on our motion-sensing boxing gloves for a series of matches against all your favorite ethnic stereotypes. And also Glass Joe! While they watch the action, certain lucky visitors will get chosen for the full Doc Louis corner-man experience, with complimentary chocolate bars and the encouragement to give players as much bad advice as they can muster. And to help you really live out the life of Little Mac, Universal’s licensed Super Nintendo Enthusiast Specialists will be on hand to enhance every on-screen punch you take with a limited edition Nintendo-branded dodgeball to the face. [Julie Muncy]


10. The Excitebike Experience

Love the excitement of biking, but hate the drudgery of roads? Then saddle up for The Excitebike Experience, the motocross ride that allows you to design your very own track to race on, no matter how convoluted or dangerous. After signing your liability waiver, you’ll be directed to our interactive touchscreen menus to pick from an array of obstacles—hills, oil slicks, slightly larger hills, ramps, even larger hills, another ramp—that will then be mechanically loaded into place by our team of attendants. You’ll be given a genuine motorcycle to speed across the track of your own making, and therefore your own responsibility for your safety, with no legal recourse against the park. Still, don’t worry: Riders who crash will simply be tossed into the nearby grass, according to our understanding of physics. [Sean O’Neal]


11. Isle Delfino Water Park

Illustration by Patrick Lee

On a hot day, nothing beats a chance to cool off while saving the environment in our Isle Delfino Water Park. Modeled after Super Mario Sunshine’s iconic island paradise, the Isle Delfino Water Park is the perfect summer attraction. Take a deep dive in the Delfino pool or strap on a FLUDD water-gun backpack and clean up the mysterious goo that’s started showing up by the food court. And be sure to check out our special Splatoon Arena, opening up inside Isle Delfino later this month, where anyone can join in the wholesome team-based paint fights before rinsing off and mingling with the locals. [Julie Muncy]

12. Kirby’s Dreamcourt Foodland

Got a powerful appetite for the snacks of your sweetest dreams? Come on down to Kirby’s Dreamcourt Foodland, where you can pick up dozens of picture-perfect fruits, veggies, desserts, and evil minions to munch on! And just like Dreamland’s pink hero, you can pack them away like they were nothing at all, because all of the food items at Kirby’s Dreamcourt Foodland are hollow shells of dyed sugar! That’s right. Every apple, doughnut, and Waddle Dee are 99 percent pure air, so feel free to go “hyper” and eat one or two hundred in a single sitting with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever! [Derrick Sanskrit]


13. Donkey Kong’s Mine Kart Koaster

Remember when mine carts were a depressing symbol of dehumanizing industrial labor in the early 20th century? Neither do we! Our thrilling Donkey Kong’s Mine Kart Koaster is all monkey business. Buckle up in our newest roller coaster (metaphorically speaking; mine carts don’t have seat belts) and relive the manic fun of Donkey Kong Country’s iconic mine levels. You’ll hop over giant wasps, snapping sharks, and other angry animals while collecting real bananas and the letters K-O-N-G for some reason we’re certainly not going to tell you. Those broken sections of unrepaired track? Don’t sweat it! You’ll be fine. [Ryan Smith]


14. Wario’s… Um… Fun Time… Good Ride Attraction Or Whatever

Experience the definitely officially Nintendo-licensed good times of Wario’s… Um… Fun Time… Good Ride Attraction Or Whatever! You pay here, and it’s just around the corner there. What? Oh. Uh no, it’s a new ride. It just went up, so there’s no sign yet. Actually, it’s not even open to the general public yet. We’re still testing it, so don’t tell anybody about it, okay? Yeah, you still have to pay to get on, though. You pay first. Yeah, just put your money in the bag here. What’s that? Yes, of course, I work here. Look, do you want to go on this ride or not? Okay, good. Now, normally it’s 50 bucks a ride, but for you, make it 75. [Patrick Lee]


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