Team Members Discuss Their Roles in the SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ Opening
The wait is finally over. Universal Studios Japan has unveiled SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. For the first time ever, guests can enter the Mushroom Kingdom, throw shells at enemies while racing to the finish line in Mario Kart™: Koopa’s Challenge, hop on Yoshi for a treasure hunt and more.
Opening this incredible, highly-anticipated land was no small feat and it took a group effort to make sure it was such a rousing success. Team Members from every department contributed in innumerable ways, from Attractions to Operations to Food & Beverage to Merchandise. We spoke with a few Team Members to get their perspective on this historic achievement.
“It’s been a long journey since I joined this project in 2015,” said Project Manager Makiko, who has been with Universal for 21 years. “But we made it to the grand opening thanks to everyone’s continuous effort and collective hard work across nationalities and time zones.” As to how she felt now that the land was finally open, she replied, “I am so emotional that the word “emotion” cannot even describe how I feel. We are really excited to offer our guests great experiences.”
Yasuo is an attraction manager who has also been with Universal for 21 years. He was involved in the development of the electronic timed entry system and said that by applying what they’ve learned on other projects and collaborating across departments, they were able to achieve the optimal guest experience. He said he becomes emotional when he sees the looks on guests’ faces when they enter the land. As to what the appeal of the new land is, he said, “The very unique atmosphere that we cannot experience anywhere else but SUPER NINTENDO WORLD!”
The food in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD is particularly extraordinary and contributes to the immersive nature of the land. Guests can visit Kinopio’s Cafe to feast on Super Mushroom Pizza Bowl and Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger or treat their sweet tooth with a ? Block Tiramisu. Helping make that happen was Food Services Area Manager Toshio, who first became a Nintendo fan 40 years ago playing Donkey Kong, and Food Services Menu Development Manager Hiroyuki who grew up with a Super Nintendo Entertainment System™ at home.
Toshio said he’s excited to be part of something that is a “world’s first” and is looking forward to creating moments that can only be experienced at SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. Hiroyuki said seeing the land in front of him for the first time inspired him. “I will never forget how thrilled I was,” he said. “At that time, I felt myself tense up thinking that we must make this project successful.”
In the Merchandise department, Area Manager Yuri said she was excited for the chance to be a part of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD from the beginning. She has special memories from her childhood of all her family members getting together to play Super Mario Bros. Speaking about the integration of the Power-Up Band™, she said, “We are very proud of it. It took about three years to realize the concept, and we overcame many challenges together as a team. The entire team made a collective effort to develop this item with great passion to provide the best experience to our guests!”
Universal Creative PMO Manager Yuki witnessed first-hand the creative process and collaboration that went into this ambitious project. “It was wonderful to share such a great sense of accomplishment with members of Universal Creative gathering from all over the world!” Yuki, who now loves playing the Nintendo Switch™ with his kids after playing Mario Kart™ with his father when he was a kid, said the team had more than 200 members at one point. “We crossed language and cultural boundaries and brainstormed ideas to solve creative challenges and technical issues, which made our bonds of friendship strong,” he said. “The Team Members who I met in this project are my life-time associates!”
The Team Members we talked to repeatedly said they were proud of the teamwork and cooperation it took to bring this one-of-a-kind land to fruition. Judging by the reaction from guests, it seems like it all paid off.