Donkey Kong Country Expansion For Universal Studios Japan

Donkey Kong country promo

Recently Universal Studios Japan announced that a Donkey Kong Country Expansion was coming to its Super Nintendo World area in 2024. We thought it would be a good idea to take a look at what is known about it and bring you up to date with the news and tell you about Super Nintendo World.

Wait, There’s a Nintendo Theme Park?

Not exactly; Universal Studios in Japan and Hollywood have themed areas called Super Nintendo World which are based on the Mushroom Kingdom; whilst Singapore’s version is due to open in 2025.

Isn’t There A Universal Studios In Florida? How Come They Don’t Have One?

Florida will also be getting a Super Nintendo World, complete with the Donkey Kong expansion. However, it won’t be within either Universal Studios or the Island of Adventure parks, as Universal Studios are set to open a new theme park less than 10 minutes away during Summer 2025. The theme park will be known as Epic Universe and Super Nintendo World will be one of the main features of the park.

Epic Universe?

Although the theme park is not expected to open until Summer 2025, currently it consists of 4 main worlds; Super Nintendo World (with the Donkey Kong expansion), Universal Classic Monsters (think Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster etc), Wizarding world (Fantastic beasts) and How To Train Your Dragon. 

Super Nintendo World Poster

So, What Is Super Nintendo World?

Super Nintendo World is set within the Mushroom Kingdom. Guests are warped into the Mushroom Kingdom via the iconic warp pipes, emerging just outside Peach’s Castle. The main draw of the area is feeling like you are part of the videogame experience. Similar to experiences within Disney and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, guests can buy wristbands that let them interact with set pieces, allowing them to hit things like POW blocks or trigger Thwomps.

However, whilst this may sound cool, there are numerous factors to consider before buying one of these bands. Firstly being new, everyone else with a wristband will have the same idea. This will mean that the queues for the experiences will be long, and young children may not have the patience to stand around for ages waiting for their turn, especially on hotter days, as some experiences will need a while to reset. If you’re reading this a few years in the future, the queues may not be as long, but the previously mentioned similar experiences at Disney and Universal aren’t exactly in great condition anymore, with some now activating on their own and some needing miracles to activate. The other main issue is that kids and collectors will want them, but outside of the areas they are designed for, they serve no real purpose, apart from looking nice.

In terms of rides, currently Nintendo World is a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. In the Kingdom itself you have Mount Beanpole with a Yoshi ride, it’s a slow moving gentle track ride, which is great for younger audiences and those who don’t like the more extreme offerings found in theme parks. Also within the area is Bowser’s Castle; inside is a Mario Kart style ride, where you end up in the middle of a Team Mario vs Team Bowser race. To make matters more interesting, you wear a 3D headset and can fire shells at the racers to try and affect the result (we know you’re secretly aiming for Luigi and not Bowser Jr).

Expect to visit many iconic tracks during this experience. There is one problem with this experience though, your stomach size. If you are fortunate enough to be on the slimmer side you are able to enjoy the experience. When the attraction opened there was a lot of controversy as the ride wasn’t big enough to cater for the average American waistline. At the time of opening it was put down to the available technology, but I’m sure once the Super Nintendo World opens in Florida (2025), the issue should have been fixed or nearly resolved. If you can’t get on the ride though,  join the ride queue as it is something that should be seen firsthand. Whilst it may seem negative, the new Donkey Kong Expansion should improve the experience.

So What Do We Know About The Donkey Kong Expansion?

Surprisingly quite a lot despite it only officially being announced recently. There are many people who actively delve into theme park construction, especially Epic Universe, which contains the Donkey Kong Expansion. From the construction permits issued and the continual drone photos being obtained, a clearer picture of the land can be established beyond the announcement video. However, there are some differences between the park, such as the Japanese Golden Temple will have steam and the Floridian one will have a waterfall, which may change the final experience. 

What Is The Land’s Theming?

The Donkey Kong Country expansion is predominantly based around the Donkey Kong Country Returns videogame (released on the Wii in 2010). It see’s Donkey Kong and Co go against the Tiki Tak tribe (think Tiki statues crossed with musical instruments). Post game, by finding certain hidden objects you could unlock a hard level known as the Golden Temple (one of the lands central pieces and part of the mine cart ride). However, there are also nods to Tropical Freeze, (released on the WiiU in 2014 and Switch in 2018), including Funky’s Fly n Buy airplane shop (the retail point of the expansion area). The main attraction within the area is the Mine Cart Madness ride, something which should appeal to the more older and thrill seeking audience.

The Ride Suggests That The Mine Cart Ride Actually Jumps, How Is That Possible?

It’s not actually possible (or advisable) to do this in roller coaster design. What the ride designers have done is extremely clever. Thanks to permits like the one below, it’s been confirmed that the track you see isn’t the real track, as you are secretly connected to a track below this. This means you get the impression that you are jumping over a large gap or that you are swinging from another section of the track, when really you aren’t; so on that score, there’s nothing to worry about.

Ride drawing

Are There Any Future Expansion Plans Beyond Donkey Kong Country?

Universal Studios have not been afraid to include Nintendo characters. In the Japanese park, Pokémon (well people in costumes) have been seen wandering about and in parades. Universal are also set to produce the upcoming Legend of Zelda movie. At both Epic Universe and (I believe) Universal Studios Japan, there is plenty of space still available to add further expansions. There are plenty of rumours making the rounds at the moment that yet another Nintendo franchise could be added to these areas and could be announced sometime in the future.

Have you visited one of the Nintendo Lands at Universal Studios? Are you planning on going in the future? What other Nintendo characters would you like to see added to the theme parks? Let us know in the comments below.


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