Is This Universal Parks Mario Kart Ride System?

With the recent announcement from Dynamic Attractions, many are wondering if their new Dual Powered Coaster system is going to be used in the new Mario Kart ride headed to Universal Parks around the globe. Many people look at some of the imagery used in the sizzle real recently released at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and have noticed a strong likeness to “Mario Kart” environments in some of the scenes.

Indeed, there are many similarities to these images and to those seen in “Mario Kart.” You could also say that it looks like a great Hot Wheels attraction. But really, it’s neither of those things.

Dynamic Attractions isn’t going to leak concept art or video without Universal Park’s permission. Even if there were a Hot Wheels attraction in development using this ride system, they also wouldn’t leak any of that concept art or video ahead of the announcement from a particular park. That’s just bad business and that kind of carelessness can mean serious consequences for non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) for a company like Dynamic Attractions. 

However, it doesn’t mean that Dynamic’s Dual Powered Coaster has zero relation to the Mario Kart attraction. Most likely, this ride system was pitched to Universal Creative during the early development stages of designing Mario Kart. If I could take a stab, my guess is Dynamic Attractions did a decent amount of research and development for this ride system with the intent that Universal would end up buying it for their three Mario Kart attractions opening at Orlando, Hollywood and Japan. 

Instead, it would seem that Universal Creative ended up going in a different direction with the ride system for Mario Kart (and overall attraction design). Why? Dynamic Attractions wouldn’t be advertising that this new ride system is for sale. Generally speaking, if a big player like Disney or Universal has a brand new ride system for their parks, they have exclusivity on it for several years. Sometimes that exclusivity is within a certain radius of the park, sometimes it can be worldwide. Even so, if Universal Parks had ordered three of these ride systems, Dynamic Attractions would most likely be working on engineering, building and testing these new rides to be ready to open in the coming years for Universal… if they were being built.

In a nutshell, the very fact that Dynamic Attractions is opening the floor to potential buyers for the Dual Powered Coaster really means that no one has bought it yet, including Universal Parks. However, it doesn’t mean that Dynamic didn’t get the contract to build another ride system for Mario Kart that was purchased by Universal Creative. What could that be?

In a perfect world, theme parks would have unlimited budget to spend on every aspect of every E-ticket ride. Instead, the reality is, you’ve got to compromise somewhere along the way. Universal Parks have been known to be leaders in technology for several decades when it comes to new ride technology. However, in the case of Mario Kart, it’s not the ride system itself that will be the new tech being shown off, it’s the glasses. 

You may recall a patent filed several years ago when Universal Parks which showcased augmented reality glasses on a moving ride vehicle. Instead of blocking your field of vision (like virtual reality) augmented reality can make it seem like animated objects appear in front of you when they aren’t really there. In this case, they are projected via special glasses being designed and developed for a Mario Kart attraction. 

As an example, let’s look at a new installation that just opened in San Francisco known as The Unreal Garden. It’s an immersive attraction with several different interactive elements. However, the highlight is an augmented reality experience where the artist-created garden comes to life via specialized headsets guests wear through part of the exhibit. Flowers come to life, dance and “live” around guests via these headsets. Check out the video above. It’s pretty cool. 

If all goes as planned, this will most likely be the same technology used on the Mario Kart ride that Universal Parks are currently developing. The difference being that there will be far more headsets being used at once and it will be on a moving ride vehicle. Making this project far more complicated than perhaps any other theme park has tried to tackle before. We will go more in-depth on the ups and downs of how that is going to work (or not work) in a future article. 

For now, you’re probably wondering: if Dynamic’s Dual Powered Coaster isn’t Mario Kart’s ride system, what will it be? We will cover that in a future article. For now, I’ve given our readers plenty to think about. If I revealed what the ride system was going to be similar to, you wouldn’t remember any of it anyway. 

**Editor’s Note: Information in this article is considered to be unofficial until Universal Parks releases information directly.**

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