Universal sets spring debut for Donkey Kong land

December 4, 2023, 11:47 PM · The Donkey Kong expansion to Super Nintendo World will open next spring at Universal Studios Japan, the park announced today.

The new area will be called "Donkey Kong Country" and Universal released a new teaser video as part of a pre-launch press event today in Osaka.

You can see animation depicting the land's anchor attraction - the Mine-Cart Madness coaster. This coaster appears to be the first installation of the "Boom Coaster" that Universal patented back in 2016. Basically, a boom arm connects a coaster cart to a track element in such a way that it looks like a coaster is floating above the ground. Here's a diagram from the patent application, which you can read here.

Boom coaster
Universal Creative's 'Boom Coaster'

On the Donkey Kong coaster, this set-up will allow Universal to make it look like the coaster is jumping missing track segments, as shown in the animation above.

"We are delivering the ultimate wish fulfillment by transporting fans to places they only dreamed and in doing so igniting the thrill of feeling alive," Universal Creative Chief Creative Officer Brian Robinson said. "Just as we brought a first-of-its-kind augmented reality attraction, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge to Super Nintendo World, we are bringing that same level of innovation to Donkey Kong Country with a first-of-its-kind thrilling family coaster. A new vision of coaster design that isn’t visually or viscerally bound to a traditional coaster track. This innovative design allows us to present the mine cart ride experiences of the Donkey Kong games, like jumping broken tracks. It is a coaster innovation that could only be born out of Donkey Kong Country and I cannot wait for fans to experience it."

Stay tuned for more information about Universal Studios Japan's new Donkey Kong Country as we get closer to its opening next year. In the meantime, for the latest on what's coming next to major theme parks around the world, please check out our theme park rides under construction page.

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Replies (17)

December 5, 2023 at 5:24 AM

Not sure based on the diagram how it would pop up in the video, but looks fun.

Btw is there some sort of ban on epic universe news on this site ? It’s the biggest story in theme park news and not a drop of news here?!!?

December 5, 2023 at 7:34 AM

@Tiptop: what news is there to report currently? We know the park is under construction, but outside of any updates or official announcements from Universal, all that I’ve seen myself is conjecture from fans or bloggers. Don’t get me wrong- I’m as excited as anyone to learn more about this park- and sooner than later. But I think TPI is respected and popular because it doesn’t deal in conjecture or social media whims. When there is confirmed intel to report on, I’ve no doubt it will appear here immediately. I’d love to hear what you know though friend. So if you have some juicy word-around-the-campfire rumors, maybe get a Discussion Thread going?

December 5, 2023 at 8:13 AM

I'm of 2 minds here, because Epic Universe will be the biggest theme park story over the next 18 months.

First is that this website has always grounded itself in journalistic integrity, so writing about rumors, conjecture, and the like has always been out of bounds here on the front page. Also, Robert is based in California, and not in the business of piggybacking on other sources as a basis for reporting, so physical, on-the-ground developments at Epic Universe aren't exactly in his wheelhouse. I think there's also something to be said about oversaturating the market and not rolling out the red carpet before the star has even gotten into their limo. While 18 months is the start of the home stretch of a development that's been occurring for the past 4+ years, it's still a far ways off in theme park industry terms with dozens of new attractions and developments opening in the next 4-6 months. Epic Universe is a massive story, but filling this site with stories about a theme park still 18 months from completion would undercut other important stories across the industry.

On the other hand, I think there are numerous opportunities to discuss this exciting and generational development that are being missed. While I don't think this website needs to create stories just to keep the development in the consciousness of its readers, there are definitely opportunities to keep the biggest theme park development since Galaxy's Edge opened in 2019 top of mind. This is a perfect example given that this coaster opening in Japan appears to have completed it vertical construction in Orlando. Just a simple blurb noting that a clone of this is set to open at Epic Universe in 2025 (while not confirmed by Universal, it's a pretty widely accepted fact) would be enough to keep the park in the consciousness while not creating burn out on the development.

December 5, 2023 at 8:28 AM

This looks really awesome, and I am genuinely looking forward to it. However, having Miyamoto be the primary consultant on this land is a mistake. Yes, he created Donkey Kong, but he has had little to no creative involvement in Donkey Kong Country since its inception. They should have had some of the former Rare employees contribute to this project. Would you have a Harry Potter land without Voldemort or a Mario land without Bowser? And yet, no mention of King K. Rool or Kremlings. 3 out of the 5 games (5 out of 7 if you count the Gameboy versions) in the series feature Kremlings as the main antagonists in the series and yet no mention or sight of Kremlings anywhere.

December 5, 2023 at 8:30 AM

very very curious as to how this boom coaster technology is going to ride. it's an incredible concept but what will be the reality. my biggest concern is bumpiness. Japan is high on my list of places i want to visit so maybe i need to release the hounds on that thought and get over there and check it out.

December 5, 2023 at 11:34 AM

Let's not forget they are building one of these at Epic Universe. Great drone footage shows the track layout, and the broken railroad is clear to see.

I thinks it's more of a visual thing than anything else, and at the end of the day, will the only place to ride be the front seat ??

The only coaster you can see clearly from the road, is the dual racer.

December 5, 2023 at 11:41 AM

The trouble with Epic is that, at this point, it's just a slow drip of not-much-new happening. We covered it from the beginning, have reported a bunch of trademark filings, and have a running list of what's coming to the park on our Epic page at https://www.themeparkinsider.com/reviews/universal-epic-universe/. Beyond that, if there's an official announcement or something major new breaking on the park, of course, I will write about that, too.

December 5, 2023 at 1:00 PM

@jeffrey H: I think the lack of King K. Rool is honestly a smart move from Universal. Don't get me wrong, I love his character and design, but Mario Kart right next door already has a big evil reptile as its villain. I feel like that'd confuse a lot of casual guests. I think the tikis from Donkey Kong Country Returns are a good pick for variety's sake, plus they add more to the land's tropical aesthetic.

December 5, 2023 at 2:54 PM

Robert, you’ve become a victim of your own success. After the Diagon Alley leak, everyone expects another Internet-shattering news break.

December 5, 2023 at 5:42 PM

I don't know if anyone remembers, but I had a bunch of EU stuff up in late 2019 - concept images, etc. But after Universal killed the park during the pandemic, the people who provided me with that information asked nicely if I would take it down. (FWIW, I understand why they would ask that, but I don't want to air that in a public forum.)

So I did. Then I did not bring the images back after Universal revived the project, as I had agreed not to publish them anymore. Since then, I have received more information, plans and photos about the park, but under the condition that I not publish them.

Why would I agree to that? Because I made a decision that, since I live in California and was not going to be able to obsessively document the EU construction on a week-by-week basis, I would focus instead on amassing information to do the best, bang-up coverage of the park as it approached its opening, with stories from construction and development along the way. I want to do another "Harry Potter and the Day That Changed Theme Parks Forever" - https://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/202006/7528/ - but not have to wait 10 years to do it.

So that's what I have been up to. If you don't like my decision, fine. There are other sources out there for you. But I am proud of what I am doing on the site - not just covering Universal, but also Disney and other parks.

December 5, 2023 at 5:52 PM

Yeah, and Like I said before, if you want near-daily updates on EU construction that are chock-a-block full of speculation about what they're building, you can find them in a five second google search.

This coaster looks really cool. I was disappointed in Universal Hollywood's Nintendo Land (it was like being in a giant toy store or something), but the one in EU looks to be substantially cooler.

December 5, 2023 at 6:14 PM

As a side note...it's fun going back to the initial Diagon Alley news break from 2011. All the "Potter fans" in the comments not happy with the announcement and claiming it's a bad decision to split between two parks lol. I wonder if that Guillermo guy ever went back. He seemed devastated.

I played Donkey Kong Country on Super Nintendo and Donkey Kong 64 on the N64 more than any other games as a kid. So this expansion and its copy in Epic Universe is VERY exciting.

December 6, 2023 at 6:00 AM

Hmmm I just found an article on this website entitled “ Let’s Speculate on epic Universe” on this website posted in 2019 ?

Lots of construction updates on many other projects here as well ,but nothing on Epic for quite sometime until the recent hotel article.

Anyway not my decision just the name themeparkinsider had me confused but I see clarification posted.

December 6, 2023 at 6:22 AM

What wasn’t your decision?

December 6, 2023 at 7:29 AM

Can't wait to see it in action next spring!

December 6, 2023 at 7:43 AM

whilst this looks original and kind of fun is it just me or does it also look really short? I've seen an animation based on the predicted track layout and frankly it's not much longer then the sliding sleigh thing in Frozen land Hong Kong.

December 12, 2023 at 6:24 AM

That's exciting news! The Donkey Kong expansion at Universal Studios Japan's Super Nintendo World sounds like it's going to be a blast, especially with the Mine-Cart Madness coaster as the anchor attraction. The concept of the "Boom Coaster" with a coaster cart floating above the ground sounds innovative and thrilling.
While we're on the topic of amusement parks, if you're a fan of such attractions, you might want to explore the https://wealthofgeeks.com/best-amusement-parks-in-the-us/ . It's always great to compare and discover new experiences.
I'm sure Donkey Kong Country will add a whole new level of fun and excitement to Universal Studios Japan.

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