Although we always knew that riding Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and exploring the various interactive activities would be incredible fun, one of the things that most interested us from the very first announcement of Super Nintendo World was all the myriad opportunities for shopping experiences and exclusive merchandise; if there’s one thing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has taught us, after all, it’s that you can enjoy yourself just as much in any of the stores as you could on the rides.
The new themed land located over at Universal Studios Japan hasn’t disappointed – and that’s even starting months before the Mushroom Kingdom first welcomed guests into its domain. Whether they’re located in a pre-existing store inside of the park’s Hollywood section or in a custom-made spot nestled within Super Nintendo World proper, the available items to purchase are nothing short of captivating.
And while we can’t at all be certain that all – or, indeed, any – of these items will make the transition Stateside, we’re still very eager to show you what’s available now in the Land of the Rising Sun and stoke your imagination for what may be possible in the City Beautiful sometime in the near future.
Nintendo merchandise outside of Super Nintendo World
As you make your way from Universal Studios Japan’s front gate to the (warp pipe) entrance of Super Nintendo World, you will come across at least two stores that have a collection of Nintendo goodies inside. How long these will remain here once the Super Mario Bros.-themed area opens is anyone’s guess, but, at least for the time being, they’re fun to see – and give guests even more of a reason to hang out in the Hollywood section of the theme park.
The Mario Cafe & Store
Occupying the Hollywood facades of Schwab’s Pharmacy and The Darkroom, the Mario Cafe & Store is a makeover with plenty of exclusive items inside, both of the retail and gastronomical variety.
The venue itself is themed, with oversized Mario and Luigi hats festooning the outside and checkered floors and a digital ceiling – displaying a “luminous” Super Mario sky – gracing the interior (much like the faux skylight in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley back here in Florida). These details already make the Mario Cafe & Store a stop worth taking.
But then, of course, there are the wares contained inside. Over on the store side of the Mushroom Kingdom equation, we have the likes of Mario-themed pouch sets, cushions, key chains, and a sleeve to store your park admission in, along with a Peach-themed coin purse.
In the adjoining quick-service cafe, meanwhile, you can sink your teeth into:
- Mario Hat Pancake Sandwich – a strawberry shortcake sandwiched in Mario’s hat
- Luigi Hat Pancake Sandwich – grape cheesecake that tastes “rare,” sandwiched in Luigi’s hat
- Mario Fruit Cream Soda – strawberry-flavored, with a straw that comes festooned with Mario’s mustache
- Luigi Fruit Cream Soda – green apple-flavored (with Luigi’s mustache)
- Princess Peach Cream Soda – peach-flavored, but of course! (With Peach’s crown on the straw)
- Super Mushroom Souvenir Bottle – get your soft drinks in a Power-Up Mushroom
The Mario Cafe & Store opened at Universal Studios Japan on Friday, October 16, 2020, which will be at least four months before Super Nintendo World itself bows.
Rodeo Drive Souvenirs
This gift shop right on the main drag of Hollywood, which already houses merchandise from such big intellectual properties as Sesame Street and the Minions, now has a little section devoted to Mario and his pals, replete with pillars that are made up to look like warp pipes.
Among the pencils, POW purses, and “tart cookies,” you’ll also find the highlight of the offerings here: a whole line of classic 8-bit items that just has to be seen to be believed. Luckily, we have all those photos for you right here:
This little treasure trove of Nintendo merch arrived at Rodeo Drive at the end of January 2021; it’s unknown if this was a makeshift plan put in place after Super Nintendo World got delayed yet again to later in the spring or summer, or if trotting out more and more licensed items all throughout Universal Studios Japan was always the strategy from day one.
Nintendo merchandise from the 1-Up Factory
The 1-Up Factory, the Mushroom Kingdom’s flagship retail store, has a warp-pipe entrance and an interior that’s stocked full of Super Mario Bros. goodies, most of which appear to be exclusive to the land. You can find hoodies, hats (including Boos, Goombas, and Bloopers), and plushies (Mario, Yoshi, and – our personal favorite – a question-mark-and-brick combo that unzips to reveal a stuffed Super Mushroom, 1-up Mushroom, and Starman).
But the most unique item revealed so far is one designed by Nintendo itself: a walking Mario toy that’s been lovingly dubbed Tokotoko Mario; just push the red shell that trails behind him, and off the little figure goes, brandishing movements that look surprisingly faithful to his videogame counterpart.
(Partial photo credit to @Bee_my_honeyyy.)