The Donkey Kong expansion for Super Nintendo World has been officially announced to open in 2024, and will feature a roller coaster, interactive experiences, themed merchandise and food when it opens at Universal Studios Japan.
While construction is already well underway for this upcoming expansion, Universal and Nintendo are announcing that it will not open for several more years. Let’s go over the officially released details from the announcement, including new concept art for area, as well as rumored information and a construction update, in today’s news update. Be sure to check out the video version of this story for additional visuals.
Over the summer we talked about how construction appeared to be ramping up at the expansion site for the then non-yet announced Donkey Kong land. Structures have been built at the back of the area, and coaster supports have started to go up.
Satellite imagery even shows how all of the ride’s roller coaster track pieces are being staged behind the theme park.
More recently, we could see the very first sideways track support for the Mine Cart Coaster being installed. This will be the real track for the ride, and a false track that the cars will appear to be riding on will be built above it.
Despite being already well into construction for the Donkey Kong Country themed area, Nintendo and Universal jointly announced that the new mini-land will not officially open until 2024, more than a year longer than most people had been expecting.
The companies said that “the area will be a gamechanger that combines the innovative technology and globally popular approach to theme park entertainment of Universal with the creativity of Nintendo.”
They also pointed out how the expansion will increase the size of Super Nintendo World by about 70%.
Donkey Kong creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, who will be working closely with Universal on project, said:
“I am very happy to be able to make the world of Donkey Kong a reality following the world of Mario. I am looking forward to creating a thrilling Donkey Kong experience with the amazing team at Universal. It will take some time until it is completed, but it will be a unique area for not only people who are familiar with Donkey Kong games, but for all guests.”
Discussion from fans about the possibility of a Donkey Kong expansion has been going on for years, especially with early concept art and model photographs floating around the internet.
When the initial land opened to guests for the first time late last year, many snapped photographs of the closed doors at the back of the area, captioning them with “Future home of Donkey Kong.”
Super Nintendo World already has a Mario Kart ride, Yoshi’s Adventure ride, interactive areas, and dining locations.
With this official announcement, we now have confirmation that the Donkey Kong expansion will include the roller coaster, interactive experiences, and themed food of its own.
Along with the announcement, we also received a piece of concept art. In it we can see the existing Super Nintendo World areas on the left, under Mario, and the upcoming expansion area on the right, under Donkey Kong.
Looking closer at the image, it really does appear to be remarkably similar to the early photographs of the model we originally saw online a couple years ago.
We can see the Mine Cart roller coaster running through the land, with the temple facade at the back of the area, (and even the ride’s future entrance pictured,) plus other details like Donkey Kong’s treehouse-themed meet and greet area, and some of the interactive areas.
As we discussed in the past, the roller coaster, which has so far been called Mine Cart Madness, after one of the levels from Donkey Kong Country, will use a patented technology named the “Boom Coaster.”
The design has riders sitting in a mine cart shaped vehicle that appears to run along a regular track, but in actuality glides along a sideways track that’s hidden beneath. This design would allow the mine cart to appear to jump over gaps in the track.
We got a glimpse of this technology being tested off-site a couple years ago. And from the new official concept art, as well as construction on the ground, it looks like nothing has changed from the initial plans.
Donkey Kong Mine Cart Madness boom coaster ride testing off site.
— Alicia Stella (@AliciaStella) August 1, 2019
The roller coaster will feature both indoor and outdoor segments. The indoor scenes, while short, are rumored to include some animatronic characters and story elements. The outdoor scenes will likely be the faster, more thrilling segments of the ride.
The interactive areas for the land have been rumored to include animatronic figures that communicate with guests, or react as you play games around them. Drums and crates with Power-Up Band touch points around what appear to be Rambi the rhino and Ellie the elephant figures were seen in early concepts, which seem to line up with the new art as well.
In addition to the mine cart roller coaster and interactive animatronics, the mini-land is also expected to contain a small retail shop, rumored to be themed as Funky Kong’s Fly n’ Buy. It’s not as obvious due to the angle of the official art, but a section of his plane can just barely be seen at the bottom of the image.
While opening as a phase two in 2024 for Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, the Donkey Kong area is expected to open along with the rest of the land for Universal’s Epic Universe in Orlando. Although this entirely new theme park was briefly delayed due to the pandemic, the company announced that construction should be getting back on track soon.
An official opening date for Orlando’s new park, along with its Super Nintendo World area, has not yet been announced, but many believed it could be as soon as 2024, or more realistically 2025.
We do know now, from today’s official announcement, that Japan should be getting the Donkey Kong area first, as the title of their press release says this will be the “world’s first Donkey Kong themed area.” That may mean it will be opening before Epic Universe in Orlando, which may lend some credence to the 2025 guesses for our new park over here.
So far, neither of the two other planned Super Nintendo World lands in Hollywood and Singapore are expected to open with the Donkey Kong area. Although, some have speculated that with a little bit of remodeling, Hollywood could someday have the space to add it in the future.
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Be sure to stay tuned for continuing coverage of Super Nintendo World and the Donkey Kong expansion, as well as construction and rumors for Epic Universe in Orlando.