Sure, it’s only March and the start of the 2022 season, but as a theme park fan living in Southern California, I can’t help but look forward to what lies ahead. in 2023.
That’s when we’ll have the long-awaited Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. And archrival Disneyland is rising to that unanswered challenge, as it will also reopen its redesigned and expanded Mickey’s Toontown next year.
The addition of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and a refreshed Toontown to the recent Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the rest of Disneyland’s classic lineup should help Walt’s original park lay down a strong claim to reclaim the crown in as the best theme park in the world. Meanwhile, Universal will add Super Nintendo World to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Studio Tour, Waterworld and a dark ride The Secret Life of Pets to elevate USH to the number one park in the world.
So local fans get two world-class dark rides (Japan’s Mario Kart and Orlando’s Runaway Railway), each surrounded by immersive themed lands with interactive elements. This is a big step forward for these parks and their fans.
But which one excites you the most for next year? I understand this might be a bit of an unbalanced question for Theme Park Insider readers who have been able to visit Orlando in the past two years but have been unable to enter Japan. For them, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World will be their first chance to experience Mario Kart in person, as they may have already been on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Orlando.
However, Mickey’s Toontown will offer a compelling lineup of supporting attractions, including the return of Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Gadget’s Go-Coaster, meet and greets at Mickey and Minnie’s homes, and multiple play areas, including interactive elements in the new CentOONial Park Zone. That might make Toontown a more compelling overall package for some families. Still, hardly anyone in Southern California will have seen what Super Nintendo World has to offer when it opens here, which surely adds to its appeal.
Mario and Mickey together might be the two biggest names in themed entertainment in the world, so it really is a clash of giants. Of course, many of us plan to visit both, but if I had to push you on this – who do you have?
If you’re planning on visiting any of these California theme parks, our travel partner is offering discounted tickets to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Universal Studios Hollywood – including packages for everyone – on their Disneyland tickets and Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets pages.
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