Super Nintendo World Part 4: Bowser Jr.’s Secret Lair

Any good video game has lots of secrets and hidden areas, and Super Nintendo World was no exception.  When we got to the Mushroom Kingdom, we learned that Bowser Jr. had stolen the Golden Mushroom and Princess Peach needed ME to get it back!  But in order to do so, we needed to use our Power Up Bands to play some mini-games to collect three keys so we could open up Bowser Jr.’s Secret Lair for one final showdown!

So in order to do this part of the park, you HAVE to get the Power Up Bands, which I talked about in an earlier blog.  Around the area were four mini-games that you had to play, and when you won one, you would get a key.  The app would show you how many keys you’ve collected, and when you had three, you could scan your band at the lock at Bowser Jr.’s Secret Lair to go inside to play one last secret mini-game.

My problem with this idea was that you had to wait in a long line to play what was basically a carnival game.  And there wasn’t a guarantee that you’d get a key at the end.  Because if you lost the game, you wouldn’t get a key.  So you would’ve waited in line for nothing.  I BARELY was able to get enough keys to do the challenge.  And if you’re a little kid or not quite as good at video game related timing, this part would’ve been especially hard.  I know that in real life you don’t always win, and I certainly don’t support kids getting a trophy or reward even if they don’t win.  But in this case, I would make an exception.  I think that as long as you paid for the ticket, paid extra for the bands, and then waited in a long line and at least TRIED the mini-game, you should get the key.  I heard that after you did the challenges once, you could try for harder ones, but there was no way I’d be able to do all of these again in just one day.

So anyway, the first game had you hit a POW block, which would cause a chain reaction with two other POW blocks.  You had to time it right so that a bouncing Koopa shell would get sent up the pipe from the POW block quake so that it hit the Koopa Troopa up on top.  You got three tries.  This was the mini-game I failed at.  I just couldn’t get the timing right.  And my dad, who knows very little about Mario games, thought the POW block stood for Prisoner of War!

The next game was super easy, at least for me.  You had to turn a crank to make a hill roll backwards to keep a Goomba from exiting a cave.  In front of me was a little girl who couldn’t do it, because the crank was bigger than she was.  So I felt so bad for her.

Next was a group game where you had to keep a Piranha Plant from waking up.  They played the lullaby music from Mario 64, and you had to hit the tops of alarm clocks to keep them quiet.  You were supposed to be able to see the clocks’ faces light up red, but it was hard to see during the daylight so I just hammered on my three clocks as fast as I could all at once.  It was just frantic whack a mole.  But I guess we won somehow.

And the last game was a Thwomp puzzle challenge.  You had to enter this cave with a Thwomp coming down on you.  They had a neat effect where it looked like bits of stone and dust came down when the Thwomp landed, but it was actually just a cooling mist.  So this was one time you would actually WANT to be under a Thwomp.  Inside a cave my dad and I teamed up to play a giant touch screen game where you had to make all the blocks one color under a certain amount of time, but each time the Thwomp came down, it would reset.  We BARELY made it past this one!

So after we got the three keys, we went to Bowser Jr.’s Secret Lair and scanned the lock and they let us in.  Like any bratty little kid, his lair was pretty messy.  Here’s some shots I took.  I always liked the clown cars that originated from Super Mario World.

Here’s some more junk.  I liked the Kuribo’s Shoe!

This next part I couldn’t take any pictures of, so sorry about that.  Inside you got to play what is basically an Xbox 360 Kinect style game.  You stood in front of a screen and could see your shadow.  You had to wave your arms to swat away parachuting Bob-Ombs, duck under Bullet Bills, and jump to hit power-up blocks.  If you got hit, your shadow would shrink down and you would need to jump up to hit a block to get a mushroom to grow big again.  If you managed to get another power up block, you could get a Fire Flower to shoot projectiles from your hands to hit long distance enemies like Piranha Plants and Bowser Jr. himself.  After he takes a bunch of hits while flying around, you defeat him and jump on a flagpole to finish the game.  It was a fun little event, but I think it should’ve been open for everyone and not something you had to go through all those hoops to do.  After exiting the game, you could see this letter from the princess.

And that’s my time at Super Nintendo World.  So what did I think?  Well, I’m really glad I got to go and experience it.  Even though I’ve never become a super famous game reviewer, I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been able to have that many other gamers never get to do, like go to PAX and E3 several times, and now this.  I was also glad to spend time with my dad.  However, because of all the crowds, the disappointing ride, the poor service and wait time at the restaurant, and the poorly designed Bowser Jr. area, I don’t think I want to do this again.  Once was enough.  Maybe in a couple of years when the Super Nintendo World opens up in Orlando I might be ready to do it again, but I could really wait a long while after that, at least that’s how I feel now.  So all in all, it was fun, but only once.  I also can’t really recommend this place for parents with little kids because of all the problems, which is a shame because with a few tweaks and adjustments, this place would be perfect for them.  But for now I think it’s only best for older patient kids, teens, and older gamer enthusiasts and Mario fans.

I also really wish this area wasn’t just ALL Mario.  Especially in the gift shops, they could’ve had other franchises.  Like Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon, and especially Kirby and Animal Crossing.  Oh man, if they had those last two things as areas in the theme park, I wouldn’t want to leave!  Maybe them not having that is a blessing in disguise.  And wouldn’t it be cool to have other video game franchises at a theme park, like Mega Man?  I know what you might be thinking, “Gee Cary, wouldn’t you like to have a Pac-Man theme park?”  Well did you know that already happened?  Back before Six Flags Over Texas was owned by Time Warner and their kids area was Looney Tunes Land, the kids area of the park was usually based on whatever was popular at the time.  And for a couple of years in the early 80s, it was called Pac-Man Land.  Granted it was nothing more than a glorified McDonald’s PlayPlace painted yellow with a crappy magic show, but it did happen!  I live near that park so I was able to see it as a kid.  I remember they also shared the area with the Shirt Tales, so I didn’t like that as much.

Universal Leftovers

We spent most of the day at Super Nintendo World, from 8 am when they opened to about 3:00 pm or so.  So after that we moseyed our way to the front entrance of the park, hopping on whatever ride we wanted to do along the way because we had Fast Passes for everything BUT what was in Super Nintendo World.  Most of the stuff we rode were things I had already ridden on when I was here for E3 more than ten years ago, or when I went to Universal Studios in Orlando a couple of years after that.  So we hopped on rides like the Transformers ride, The Simpsons, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, and a Kung Fu Panda moving seat theater ride.  So here’s some pictures I took of the non-Nintendo stuff.

This is Universal CityWalk.  It’s a group of restaurants and shops just outside the park, and you don’t have to have a ticket to go here.  I used to go here a lot when we would go to E3 because it was a safe place to eat at night.  It’s a bit touristy, but I like it anyway.

In a candy store at CityWalk they had this big Wizard of Oz sculpture made out of candy!

Here’s the front of the Simpsons ride.  I’ve ridden it like three times now.  But I am a bit of a Simpsons fan.  It was really big when I was a teenager and in college.

When I was at Universal Studios Hollywood before, there wasn’t much outside of The Simpsons Ride besides a Kwik-E-Mart themed gift shop.  But since then they’ve added a few more things.  Like a Moe’s Bar you can go into.  Here’s Barney doing his thing.

And here’s Police Chief Wiggum doing what he does best.  Wiggum’s son Ralph is one of my favorite Simpsons characters.

One new thing since last time in LA was a Harry Potter area.  I’m not really a big Harry Potter fan so we didn’t do any of the rides here.  But we did stop here to sit down at the restaurant and grab a Butterbeer for my dad and a Pumpkin Juice for me.  At the park in Orlando, I loved the Pumpkin Juice but here it tasted sweeter than I remember.  Oh yeah, and you remember how I said the Mario park restrooms were water level themed?  Well the Harry Potter restrooms were like that, too.  But here you could hear the voice of that ghost girl in the restroom from the books and movies talking.  Couldn’t understand what she was saying, though.

We did ride one new ride at the park that was based on the Secret Life of Pets movies.  It was a cute slow kids ride where you sit in giant cardboard boxes, and then you go in front of a screen that shows you as cartoon puppies.  You can even wave your arms in the air and the puppies will do the same with their paws.  Then you go through animatronic scenes from the movies.  I think the theme was they were trying to get you adopted, because at the end you’d see a cartoon family wanting to take you home.  So it was cute.  Although a lot of it still didn’t make any sense.  My dad had never seen any of the movies so he said he didn’t know what was going on.  So I said, “Don’t worry, I’ve seen both of the movies and I still was a bit confused.”  During the line, they made it look like you were walking through the apartments so I took a couple of pictures of that.

My mom loves The Secret Life of Pets movies so I had to ride this for her!

And that’s all for my trip!  Let me know what you think and if you have any questions, post them in the comments section!  Later!  –Cary

One Response to “Super Nintendo World Part 4: Bowser Jr.’s Secret Lair”

  1. That Thwomp sculpture is pretty cool. I may use it as my gamer pic sometime this Summer.

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