So, let’s talk about the new Mario Kart Ride at Universal, the ride with breathtaking technology.
The highly-anticipated Mario Kart ride that first launched in Universal Studios Japan has stolen the hearts of guests of all ages.
With an official opening date of Feb 18 in Southern California at Universal Studios Hollywood, Epic Universe near Universal Studios Orlando will soon open their Super Nintendo World with Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and the Mario Kart ride.
From the time you put on your Mario hat to the goggles, this ride will continue to amaze you every time you get a chance to ride on it. This is one of the most interactive rides at Universal Studios Hollywood – Los Angeles, and we have to admit it’s one of the best rides at Universal Parks.
Let’s talk about the queue really quick before we get into ride tech because it deserves a spot of appreciation.
Want to learn more about the entire Super Nintendo World Read more here
Mario Kart Ride Queue Line
Not only is the entire Super Nintendo World area interactive and thrilling to look at, but the rides queue line is just as wonderful with its attention to detail throughout. While not fully interactive, it is fun to walk around Bowser’s Castle, see his giant statue, and watch how Bob-ombs are made. You will see a lot of easter eggs from the Mario Kart game and many aspects of the video game world.
There is so much detail that went into not only this ride but the queue as well.
Bowsers Castle Queue Line
My favorite part is once you get upstairs and make your way to Bowser’s Castle entrance on the second story is the view from the top above Toadstool Cafe — more about Toadstool Cafe here.
It gives you an entirely different perspective of the new land and just how much detail is all around you.
This vantage point gives you a bird’s eye view of the mini-games and characters within the mushroom kingdom, like Piranha Plant, Koopa Troopa, Goomba, Pookey, a rare 1-up Mushroom, multiple question boxes and more.
Most of the rooms have a set theme and stick to the details with lots of hidden items. For those who love the Mario IP, you will have a grand time looking around and finding everything.
When I walked into the adorable Mario-themed pit room with the character race suites, the only thing I could hear in my head was the choose your character sound from Super Smash Bros.
While it is a different game entirely, yes, the character suits are all displayed on the wall with their customized suites, helmets, cute framed pictures of them, and a specialty item. Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad — all the characters you can get power-up bands for except Daisy.
Besides Yoshi and Toad being my favorite characters, there is something about the fox suit that weakens my soul every time I see it. It’s just way too adorable for public viewing.
In this media/pit room, you will watch a short video and game intro telling you what to do and how to win the game.
How to Earn Coins on Mario Kart Ride Universal
The rules of the game are relatively simple.
There are two teams, Team Bowser and Team Mario. You are part of Team Mario, and the goal of the game is to gain as many coins as you can to defeat Team Bowser.
You have to earn more than 100 gold coins to beat Team Bowser. While I got over 100 both times I rode Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge, it can be a little hard as a child to gain over 100 coins.
There are a few ways to get gold coins: turning in the correct direction when indicated and shooting characters with shells are the two ways to gain coins. If you shoot your own teammates, you will not gain coins, and if you spin out, you will lose coins, spinning out is turning in the wrong direction.
More on how to use the technology in a moment, but the ride and game are simple, making it easy for kids or people who are not “gamers” to win and have fun.
Kids will need to be able to tell the difference between character teams as well as know left and right when indicated on the screen. Make sure to point out the bad guys in the ride video so that they can start to familiarize themselves with the other team.
We’ve heard that if you press both shoot buttons when the countdown timer gets to 2, you earn extra gold coins as a bonus to begin. We will definitely be trying this next time to confirm, but in the meantime, give it a shot and let us know if it works!
Mario Kart Ride Technology
Now for the cool technology for the ride. Once you are out of the demonstration room, it’s time to grab your Mario Hat at the end of the queue and make your way to the ride vehicles, where you will pick up your VR goggles/AR headset.
Mario Kart VR Headset
The Mario Hat has a ratchet-style tightener at the back of your head, perfect for any size noggin you may have.
To ensure a secure fit, the soft and moldable rubber should form a tight seal across your forehead and above your bangs line. It should fit snugly and remain in place, as you will be clipping the goggles onto this and moving your head around during the ride. You don’t want it to fall off or move too much, so it’s important to make sure the seal is perfect.
The racket tightener is flexible and adjustable so that you can move it to wherever it is comfortable on the back of your head.
They use a flexible silicon rubber material that doesn’t pinch or bother your head.
If you wear glasses, you understand the struggle of 3D goggles and the VR world at theme parks and your ability to see comfortably.
Nintendo has crushed this idea and blown ride technology out of the water. We hope more rides and the theme park industry follow suit and start to implement this technology. While Disney’s 3D goggles for Web Slingers are larger and adjustable for your face while wearing glasses, it’s still not the most ideal setup.
Make sure to grab a cute photo of you with your Mario hat on because once you get into the ride vehicle, it is very fast-paced and difficult to capture a photo.
Mario Kart Ride Technology Universal Hollywood
Once you are all strapped into your seat, it’s time to put on your VR goggles and see Mario Kart in a whole new world with the rides projection mapping technology.
Right below the steering wheel on your lap bar, you will find the VR glass you magnet to your Mario Hat.
These safety restraints are very similar to the one you would see on a lap bar on a roller coaster, but this slow-moving dark ride is not going anywhere quickly.
Being able to grab your goggles right from your lap bar was the second coolest thing when it came to the ride technology.
While the height requirement for this slow-moving dark ride is 40 inches with a companion and 48 inches as an individual, you will notice a few of the pieces are geared towards children’s height, not adult height.
The average U.S. male will need to adjust their line of sight the most on this ride.
Your shell count and coin count will be displayed just above the steering wheel, so you will need to look down slightly in order to see where you are at with the count. Both a blessing and a curse.
While tunnel vision in racing is important, knowing your shell count is really important because you don’t want to just willy-nilly shoot them around and not keep track of them.
The goggles allow you to look around and see a completely different overlay to the ride than without them on. Each room will have actual set pieces and projected pieces that work with the ride.
The rooms are well-lit, and the physical sets are colorful and immersive, adding to the VR experience.
While the glasses allow you to look around and see different things, it uses this as your sight for throwing shells.
Remember, wherever you look is where the shell will go, so be very aware of where you are looking, and don’t mistake a team character for bowsers teammates when you throw your shell.
Many of Bowser’s team members are also shelled characters and look very similar to him. Similar to Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings.
When you see a Bowser or any of the Bowser team characters, it’s time to shoot your shells. One shell is good for a small character if it’s a direct hit, you will collect more coins the more hits you get. But when you see Bowser and the large Bowser at the end, you want to throw everything you have at them.
This gets you the most coins and the best opportunity to hit him.
Similar to Mario Kart turns are important! Turn the direction indicated on the projected map and hold the turn all the way through to gain extra gold coins.
If you turn the wrong direction, you will spin out. Spinning out is really bad.
Lands and Characters
The transition to Rainbow Road is a little odd, and if you are a motion-sick person, this is something you want to be a little aware of. There is a slight vertigo feeling when it turns, and does the video transitions between race tracks.
I was so into the game that I couldn’t even tell you what race tracks or how many you are actually on besides the Rainbow Road. I believe there were 4 transitions throughout the ride, each with its own themed room and set pieces.
You are able to gather more shells from the moving item question blocks, so if you do run out, you are able to get more. They are NOT unlimited, but they do give you quite a few, but use them wisely.
You will see many of your favorite characters throughout the ride, and no matter how you play, you will enjoy this ride.
While not as much ride technology went into the vehicle, the time and thought put into the ride vehicle itself should also be noted for its innovation and flawless design.
Most ride vehicles are a single level, and when I say single level, the back is at the same eye height as the front, making it difficult to see around the people ahead of you and ultimately creating a poor experience. That is something that was well thought threw for this ride.
The front two seats are slightly lower than the two in the back. The two seats in the back overlook the heads of the front riders, making your view almost unobstructed.
This makes for a good ride with no annoying interference.
While you wouldn’t think there was that much tech that goes into the vehicle, there is more than we will understand.
From the perfectly molded spot for the goggles to sit to the woven cover over the cord that connects the goggles to the ride vehicle, no detail was unnoticed.
I enjoy rides that don’t make you put on a seatbelt in addition to the lap restraint, but I would say there are some body size limitations.
If you or the team members believe this will be an issue, you will have you try out the test seat at the entrance of the attraction.
Right inside the attraction entrance to the right, you will find the test seat to try. It is only a single seat and not the entire Mario Kart vehicle.
Power-up Bands on Mario Kart Ride Universal
You do not have to track anything if you do not want to in the Super Nintendo World, but if you want to track your score and earn coins, you will want to download the Universal Studios Hollywood app, and purchase a power-up band to interact with the area at the highest extent.
You can purchase a Power-up band outside the new attraction at the 1-up store or at the power-up band kiosk.
Mario Kart Ride Universal Queue Line Easter Eggs
There are SOOO many Easter Eggs throughout this new rides queue line as well as throughout the ride. Here are some of the top Easter Eggs we found throughout the rides queue line.
Yoshi’s New Island
You can see the unique land throughout the first part of the queue line.
- Unique coins with Yoshi’s face on them
- Gem-filled caves
- Beanstalk room
Mostly employee doors, the do not enter signs are very subtle.
This is where most of the easter eggs are located.
Mario Kart 8 is all over this place.
- The chains at the front gate
- The spike gate
- Giant Bowser
- The lamps, sconces and chandeliers
- The ground and rugs
- Shields and soo much more
Mario Kart Cups
Trophies from the game, the Golden Cup, my favorite is a Universal Cup, that you are working towards winning.
The airships from Super Mario Bros Wii can be seen on a blueprint on the wall.
Soo Many Books
Throughout the main room, you will see bowsers library collection, it has over 70 books here are some of our favorites
- How to Beat Team Mario
- Crazy Eights & Lucky Sevens
- Yoshi’s Story
- Battle Mode for Beginners
- Surviving Rainbow Road
- and many more
Toads Starting Grid
The breakdown of the Bowser team and Mario team’s starting location. You will also notice the two rider vehicles in the middle for the starting position.
I would consider this a drafting station since it has the map layout and a few notes for Bowser
- Feeding schedule
- Grocery List
- including burn cream
- Lunch plans with Iggy and Roy
- A note that more bombs are needed
- Map containing the course and the enemies you will encounter along the way
- and my favorite, the piranha plant light
Bob-omb Assembly Room
This was the best room out of them all. As you walk along, you will not only see how Bob-omb is assembled and so many other things.
- Hot coals on the ceiling
- How the Bob-oms are made
- Koopa prints running away from an oil spill
- Production numbers
- Bullet Bill
Mario Kart TV Room/ Pit Room
MKTV is a fictional broadcast channel for Mario Kart that first appeared in Mario Kart 8.
- Real test cards with a play on the colorful patterns and characters from Mario Kart
- Mario Kart 8 race tracks
- “Live Footage” from Mario Kart courses
- Super Horn
- Players with a specialty item
We really enjoyed walking through this queue line and expect so many more hidden easter eggs to be revealed the more we ride the Mario Kart ride at Universal Hollywood.
Frequently Asked Questions People Have about Mario Kart Ride Universal Studios Hollywood?
Does Mario Kart have a single rider lane?
Yes, Mario Kart at Super Nintendo World has a single-rider line.
It is not always open, but if you walk up the the ride entrance and ask the staff member, they will let you know if it is open or not.
On my first ride threw I wanted to walk through the main queue line to see all the detail and imagery in the castle. Single rider, on the other hand, bypasses all of downstairs and bowsers castle with the bob-omb factory section.
On my second ride threw, was my time to bypass the long line and make the most of being a solo rider a the park.
Is the Mario Kart ride in Universal Studios Scary?
The Mario Kart ride at Universal is not scary at all. This is a family ride with no drops or crazy sudden movements.
If you or your child are scared of Bowser, there are roughly 2 sightings of him in the show and brace yourself, nobody wants an upset child on the ride because we couldn’t prep them ahead of time.
There was an adorable family behind me who was worried it was going to be a scary ride. If your child is deathly afraid of Bowser, then yes, this can be a little bit of a scary ride for them. BUT this is a race with no jump scares or extremely dark spots.
How do you win Mario Kart?
Gain more than 100 gold coins to defeat team Bowser and help the Mario team win and take down the hated bowser to win the Golden Cup.
How many people are on a team for Mario Kart?
While there are four spots on your ride vehicle, and you can all work together, each person has their own interstice video experience and must receive more than 100 gold coins to win.
Where can I get a power-up band in Universal Studios Hollywood?
My favorite spot to grab a band is the bank kiosk outside the Piranha Plant mini-game as well as the 1-up factory inside Super Nintendo World, and finally, you can pick up a band outside Super Nintendo World by the Jurassic World entrance.
How tall do you have to ride Mario Kart?
The Mario Kart Ride at Universal has a 40” height requirement with a companion and 48” to ride individually.
Other areas you might enjoy outside of Mario Kart Ride Universal Studios Hollywood
If you are looking for more fun, there are a few other things to do within the area as well as the theme park.
Play the mini-games within Super Nintendo World
Eat at Toadstool Café
Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and purchase an interactive wand to cast spells around the land
Ride Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Attempt to escape the Tombs and Ride Return of the Mummy
Eat at the new Minion Cafe