While some parkgoers may have already seen a glimpse of what’s to come at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, an official release is showing us first glimpses of the upcoming Donkey Kong Country expansion. Initially centered around Super Mario, the reveal of the Donkey Kong Country concept images signals the broader representation of Nintendo’s diverse franchises within the theme park.
In a preview video, Super Nintendo World enthusiasts are shown a transition from the Mushroom Kingdom into Donkey Kong Country, aligning with the preliminary map unveiled in 2021. The teaser introduces “Funky’s Fly ‘n’ Buy,” a shop within the jungle nation offering souvenirs inspired by the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze video game. This thematic approach adds a layer of immersive storytelling for visitors and touches of references for fans of the series.
Highlighted in the video is the flagship attraction of Donkey Kong Country—a roller coaster based on the iconic minecart levels from the Donkey Kong Country series. Promising an interactive experience akin to the Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride, riders will navigate the track while protecting their bananas from enemies, creating an engaging outdoor and indoor coaster adventure.
Universal Studios Japan also revealed the integration of Donkey Kong versions into the Power-Up Bands lineup. These wristband devices, already part of the Super Nintendo World experience, will likely offer interactive elements with the showcased drums, reminiscent of the Donkey Konga rhythm games.
While Donkey Kong Country will be slightly smaller than the existing Mushroom Kingdom, the combined expansion is set to increase Super Nintendo World’s size by approximately 70 percent. Although an exact grand opening date is yet to be announced, Universal Studios Japan assures fans that Donkey Kong Country will welcome guests by the spring of 2024. Given the timing, with Japan’s Golden Week vacation season in late April and early May, the park aims to unveil the new area for fans to travel to during the long holiday. Who knows what can come next at USJ’s Nintendo lineup?