The new roller coaster set to open as part of the “Donkey Kong”-themed expansion of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in 2024 has entered its testing phase. X user @Kyle_0310 shared a video of the roller coaster’s ride vehicle being tested on its track on November 30.
Donkey Kong Roller Coaster Testing at Universal Studios Japan
The clip primarily showcases the golden Kong-inspired temple that serves as the new expansion’s visual centerpiece. Steam is seen rising above the barrier forest in front of the banana and palm tree-detailed icon; toward the end of the clip, we see a ride vehicle pass by through openings in the trees.
Watch the video in the post below.
Though difficult to make out, the ride vehicle appears to resemble a mine cart akin to what Donkey Kong occasionally rides in throughout the “Donkey Kong Country” video game series. The vehicle design fits into the reported theme of the attraction; though nothing has been confirmed, the Donkey Kong roller coaster is rumored to be named “Mine Cart Madness” and feature a wholly unique ride system that gives guests the illusion that they’re jumping over gaps in the track.
The appearance of the cart lines up with previous rumors that suggested the ride vehicle would contain two rows of two. A previously shared video of prototype cars being tested featured carts with roof-like coverings; the vehicles recently tested at Universal Studios Japan do not appear to feature overhead coverings.
A “Donkey Kong” expansion to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan was confirmed in September 2021 following months of speculation. Super Nintendo World held its grand opening on March 18, 2021, with construction on an as-of-then-unannounced expansion starting in July. Roller coaster track was lifted in the work zone in December 2021; the attraction is testing less than two years later. The “Donkey Kong” expansion is expected to ultimately house a meet-and-greet, interactive games, snack stands, and a small shop in addition to the roller coaster.
While again unconfirmed, rumors (largely substantiated by construction photos) suggest that the Donkey Kong roller coaster will ultimately make its way to Universal Orlando Resort as part of Epic Universe. The new park is expected to open in 2025, the year following the opening of the “Donkey Kong”-themed Super Nintendo World expansion at Universal Studios Japan.
Super Nintendo World
Super Nintendo World opened at Universal Studios Japan in 2021. Though named after the entire company, the land is themed to the popular ” Super Mario” video game franchise, primarily featuring characters and imagery from the decades-spanning series. Attractions in the land include Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, a dark ride that places guests inside the popular “Mario Kart” video game using augmented reality technology, and Yoshi’s Adventure, a slow-moving Omnimover attraction for families. There are also several dining options and character meet and greets; you can read our full guide to the land here.
A smaller version of Super Nintendo World opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2023. Additional versions are currently under construction at Epic Universe and Universal Studios Singapore; both are expected to open in 2025.
The “Donkey Kong” expansion to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan is inspired by the “Donkey Kong Country” video game series; the platformer franchise launched in 1994 with “Donkey Kong Country” and today includes five mainline games. The series itself is inspired by “Donkey Kong,” a 1981 arcade game that introduced both the titular gorilla and Mario to players.
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