You may call it Drupal 8 ready feature. Noodle sub-themes are not using menu variable in page at all. Instead just enable a block for say 'main menu' and place it in 'header navigation' region.
We also recommend using Menu Block module (http://drupal.org/project/menu_block) to fine-tune your menu display settings. For drop down menus we highly recommend Superfish module (http://drupal.org/project/superfish), but not Nice Menus.