Super Nintendo World Part 2: Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge

Almost immediately after I got to the Mushroom Kingdom, a.k.a. Super Nintendo World, Bowser challenged me to a Mario Kart race!  So of course I took him up on that challenge!  So here’s my impressions of the Mario Kart ride.  Was it good?  Did I beat Bowser?  Well you’ll just have to read on to find out.

As I said in my last blog, we paid a little extra to get inside the Super Nintendo World area an hour early.  We used most of that hour to do the Mario Kart ride twice.  Which was a wise thing to do because from then on out, the line was out the door and I’ve heard reports of people waiting in line for that for two and a half hours!  Yeah no thank you.  So if you can, do the ride first when you go.  And see if you can’t try to ride it twice, because it’s one of those rides that you have to do a second time to get the hang of.  At least we did.

The first time we rode it, we were able to get pretty much right on.  Which was both a good and bad thing.  It was good because we didn’t have to wait in line, but also bad because we had no idea what we were doing because we were moving so fast we skipped the instructions.  The second time we had to wait in a little bit of a line, but nothing too bad.  But it gave us more time to view the video instructions so we knew what to do the second time.  Plus, I took my dad with me on this trip, and he had never played a Mario Kart game before, so I used that line waiting time to explain to him how Mario Kart works, like running over question blocks to get powers and such.  I feel sorry for the people riding this ride with no knowledge of Mario Kart.  They’d be so lost!

The other good thing about waiting in line a bit longer the second time was that I got to enjoy looking at all the things and decorations while you wait.  In fact, and I kind of hate saying this, but I actually had more fun looking at everything while waiting in line than actually riding the ride itself.  Which really doesn’t bode too well for how I felt about the ride.  But we’ll get to that in a bit.  First, let’s take a look at what you get to see while waiting in line.

The first part of the line is based on Yoshi’s Island.  Which I was happy about because I love that game.  I should also mention that wherever you’re at in the park, they have speakers that play the appropriate music.  So in the Yoshi area they play songs from Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story.  When you’re in a cave they play cave level music.  In Bowser’s Castle I heard the fortress theme from Super Mario World.  Peach’s Castle had the familiar hub world theme from Mario 64.  And outside around the park area they played happy overworld music.  It was pretty cool, but at the same time, by the end of the day I was a little tired of some of it.

And here’s Yoshi’s little treehouse cover thing.  I think Japan even got a Yoshi ride.  I wish we could’ve gotten that, too.

And here’s the entrance to the cave, which also had a Yoshi’s Island theme.

The cave was super dark, so I couldn’t take a very good picture.

After that you go outside for a bit, and then enter Bowser’s Castle!

Upon entering the castle, you’re greeted by a giant Bowser statue.  Luckily it didn’t shoot lasers at us like they do in Super Mario Bros. 3.

And here’s a side view of the statue.  It was really cool.

Inside you get to see some of the Mario Kart cup trophies.

More cup trophies.

And here’s all the cups.  The ride was referring to this race as the Universal Cup.

Here’s the letter from Bowser challenging us to the race.  It says, “Hey Mario!  I challenge you to a race!  Come to my castle and don’t chicken out!  Gwuahaha!”  Oh we won’t chicken out!

After that we went through what looks like a laboratory/workshop/library/throne room area.  I’m really sorry this first picture is so blurry.  We really did have to rush through fast to get through the line. Normally I wouldn’t put in such a blurry picture, but this time I will.

Here’s a better shot of a different part of the library.  I could imagine Kamek the Magikoopa hanging out here.

And here’s Bowser’s throne.  It was pretty big, but I’m not convinced he could fit his big butt in that.

My favorite part of this area was this work table that had a Piranha Plant on it as well as a blueprint for a Mechakoopa.  Some of the little Post-It notes around it said stuff like, “Lunch with Iggy and Roy at 1 pm” and a grocery list that read: “Potting Soil, Plant Food, Bandages, Burn Cream.”

After that was a factory where you could see how Bob-Ombs and Mechakoopas were made.

Close to when you get on the ride, they had a MKTV station.  Here’s where you could view the ride instructions.  Unfortunately, even the instructions were poor and were only pictures, no words.  So some parts were still a little unclear.

And finally, right before you got on the ride, they had the suits the Mii characters wear while racing.

So before I talk about the ride itself, I have to apologize that I didn’t have any pictures of it.  You really couldn’t take pictures on the ride itself, and sometimes I just like to view things with my own eyes, and not through the lens of a camera.

The first thing you get is a Mario hat shaped thing to put on your head.  Normally in rides with 3-D effects, you get the whole goggles, but here you just get a hat first.  We were confused.  But once we sat down in our karts, the second part was on the steering wheel that you attach to the hat that had the goggles on it.  I had a hard time figuring out how to attach them both times I rode it.

The moving part of the ride itself is nothing special.  I describe this ride as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride With Technology.  So in case you didn’t know, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was a Disney park ride that I liked when I was little.  You just rode in a car around a track looking at things.  They’ve since replaced it, which normally would make me mad, but they replaced it with a cute Winnie the Pooh ride so I was OK with that.  Anyway, so that’s pretty much what the Mario Kart ride is as well.  You just ride on a track looking at things.  Most of the physical things you see are from Mario Kart tracks like a starting line, underwater, lava, ghost area, etc.  You finish off with Rainbow Road, but it wasn’t as visually appealing as what I think it could’ve been.

So the goggles you wear use AR technology to make things zip by for you to shoot and arrows to let you know when to steer.  When you see arrows, you’re supposed to steer in that direction to get more coins, although I had no idea how this was indicated.  When you roll over question blocks, you get a bunch of shells to use as ammunition to shoot at targets.  There are trigger buttons on the top of the steering wheel and you aim at things with your head.  Both were rules I didn’t know when we first rode it.  And you’ll want to look all around as you can shoot at secret things and question blocks all around you with shells.  One problem is that once you run out of shells, you can’t shoot anymore until you run over another question block.  Granted you can get anywhere from 15 to 25 shells, but I still think you should be able to shoot all the time. It would make the ride more fun.  I think you scan your Power Up Band on the horn of the steering wheel to record your score and stamps you’ve earned, but again, they didn’t explain that well either.

I THINK you’re supposed to avoid shooting at the other Mario hero character racers, like Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, etc.  And you’re supposed to shoot at the racers on Team Bowser, which include the seven Koopa Kids.  I was glad to see them featured here, because I really like the Koopa Kids, or Koopalings, or whatever you want to call them.  When they introduced Bowser Jr. in the games, I was worried they’d ditch the Koopa Kids, so I’m glad they didn’t.  Everyone here is using the anti-gravity wheels from Mario Kart 8, so they’re flying all around you.  The first time we rode the ride, Team Bowser won because we had no idea what to do.  But the second time, Team Mario won.  I still have no idea how to win at that ride, but hey, I beat Bowser so that’s all that matters.

I think another thing that hindered my enjoyment of the ride is that any of these rides that use 3-D glasses or stereoscopic vision technology I can’t see as well because I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth.  I could still see what was going on, but it was more like looking through a telescope for me rather than wider binoculars.  Oh yeah, and when the Mario Kart ride first came out, a lot of articles were written bashing it for not being able to fit larger guests.  Well my dad and I felt that there wasn’t any problems.  My dad is a bit bigger than me, and he didn’t have any problems fitting in the seat and having the bar over him.  In fact, other rides at Universal were even tighter than this one.  So I think this is a matter of online “journalists” trying to stir up trouble and views.

And that was the Mario Kart ride. I’m glad I got to ride it (now the only Mario Kart thing I’ve never done is the VR attraction I’ve heard about), because I’m a big fan of the Mario Kart games.  But ultimately, I wasn’t impressed with the ride as a whole.  Or maybe my expectations were too high.  I think the ride should’ve been more like a Buzz Lightyear shooting ride that’s at Tomorrowland.  In that one, you actually get to control your car and move it around, while the Mario Kart ride didn’t feel like you had control at all.  And the other ride let you shoot at actual objects, not pixels flashing in your eyes.

Ok so tune in tomorrow where you get to hear me defeat Bowser again in a different kind of challenge.  This time at the Toadstool Café restaurant with Bowser’s Fireball Challenge!  Later!  –Cary

One Response to “Super Nintendo World Part 2: Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge”

  1. Sounds like you should’ve designed the ride. I like your ideas better.

    I totally want that Piranha Plant lamp! I’m going to look for one.

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