Universal’s Epic Universe has seen continued rapid construction progress this year. Nowhere is this increasing progress more apparent than with the roller coaster projects, like the Donkey Kong mine cart coaster at Super Nintendo World.
While the first pieces of track for this attraction started to be installed several months ago, we are just now starting to see a SECOND set of track be installed. This is exciting because this second set of track will be what we see when we ride, and is how they’re going to pull off the simulated effect of jumping over gaps in the track. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
Epic Universe is a new theme park being built in Orlando near the Orange County Convention Center. Universal says this new park will be opening by summer 2025. Super Nintendo World is the only land that has been officially confirmed by the company so far.
This Nintendo-themed area is expected to open with three main attractions, a Mario Kart interactive dark ride, Yoshi themed family ride, and a Donkey Kong mine cart roller coaster.
Construction progress for all of these attractions can be seen in the latest aerial photographs from Bioreconstruct on Twitter, but it’s the Donkey Kong coaster that has reached an important milestone lately.
The Donkey Kong roller attraction is expected to use a new type of roller coaster technology, that was actually patented by Universal, called the “Boom Coaster.”
The design has a mine cart vehicle that appears to run along a regular track, but in actuality glides along a sideways track that is hidden beneath. This allows the mine cart to appear to jump over gaps in the track, just like in the video games.
Now, the first pieces of this false track have been installed at the work site, giving us our first look at how the completed ride will work. We’re even getting our first look at the first gap that the ride vehicles will be jumping!
The overhead image below shows the entire Donkey Kong attraction construction site, but if you pay attention to the yellow arrow, you can see the shadows of the two roller coaster tracks more clearly.
The next images show a better angle of these two sets of tracks. Keep in mind that the real coaster track, which will be supporting our weight while riding, is the lower, sideways track. The horizontal track, which will appear similar to train tracks, above, is the false track that it will LOOK like we are riding on.
This is also where our ride vehicles will appear to jump over a gap in the track during the ride. You can see where the false track seems to end, where the yellow arrow is pointing in the image above, and then it continues on after the bottom track hump below. This moment on the ride may be a little jump over a pit of spikes according to early concept art.
After this little bunny hop over the pit, it looks like our vehicle takes a sharp turn to the right, making an angled banked turn. Keep in mind when looking at these pictures that while it looks like we’ll be riding along those double rails above, all of the weight of the mine cart will actually be placed on the sideways track beneath!
The bottom track and supports are colored differently depending on where they are located. That way they can better be hidden beneath and behind scenic elements—not just from riders on the ride, but from spectators seeing the attraction from the Donkey Kong Country courtyard.
For example, the main building for the attraction will be themed as a large yellow temple. To better blend in, many of the supports and real track pieces for this area are yellow in color. The false track that we are meant to see will be black on top, to hopefully stand out, allowing the yellow sideways track to blend away into its surroundings.
Another moment that is taking shape now, after the banked turn, has us seemingly switching tracks. Instead of appearing to simply jump over a gap in the fake track, this moment will make it appear as though we are switching from our track to another track running parallel on the right, and then back to our original track. The image below shows how the real track is oriented for this effect.
These are only a few brief features of a much larger attraction though. Indoor scenes for the Donkey Kong coaster are also taking shape, as well as a water feature for another outdoor scene. The other outdoor scene has not yet received any track, so may be the next to do so.
Also going on around the Super Nintendo World area of Epic Universe, the Mario Kart dark ride is receiving more steel to enclose the massive ride building.
On the lower level, where the entire ride will be, we can see more of the two ride paths taking shape. Here two tracked ride vehicles will move side by side for the entire circuit of this indoor interactive attraction.
The track sections being constructed now are for the very first scenes of the ride.
At the front of Super Nintendo World, additional track for the Yoshi family ride has been installed.
Yellow material is being placed atop the track pieces along the ride path for this omnimover-like attraction.
A small elevation change for the Yoshi track can be seen within one of the ride’s inside scenes, shown in the image below.
Zooming out, the Mount Beanpole tower that will be seen above the entrance to Yoshi’s Adventure is starting to take shape. You can also spot the round load platform for the Yoshi ride below the steel shape for the tower, but above the ride’s entrance on the lowest level.
One more update of note within this area, the steel structure for Toad’s Cafe is taking shape as well. This will be Super Nintendo World’s main quick service restaurant. Permits say it will have 344 seats.
Before we wrap up, let’s take one look at the entire Super Nintendo World area. Yoshi and other Mushroom Kingdom areas can be seen at the front. Mario Kart is on the back-left side of the area. And finally, the Donkey Kong coaster can be seen at the very back of the image below.
That’s all for now, but a special thanks to Bioreconstruct on Twitter for these amazing views. Be sure to subscribe to him for more shots of the construction around Epic Universe. And check out the video version of this story for additional visuals.