Donkey Kong Country at Universal Studios Japan delayed until second half of 2024

Promotional image of Donkey Kong Country in Universal Studios Japan (© Universal)

In 2021, Universal Studios Japan opened the world’s first Super Nintendo World. The land has been the most popular themed area of the Osaka-based park ever since. It was therefore not too much of a surprise that, already in 2021, a first expansion for Super Nintendo World area was announced in the shape of Donkey Kong Country. Two days ago the park announced that the previously communicated opening of early 2024 would be pushed back to “the second half of 2024”.

Donkey Kong Country features an unique semi-dark ride ride called Mine Cart Madness, in which guests are taken on a crazy tour through a re-imagination of 2010’s Nintendo Wii game “Donkey Kong Country Returns”. The ride features an entirely new type of ride system by Japanese manufacturer Sansei Technologies, using a hidden roller coaster track underneath the visible fake track that resembles a mine cart rail. This allows the ride to have unexpected ‘jumps’ over broken rails, or over obstacles on the track, giving the ride a whole new dimension.

The themed area, along with the ride, have been under construction since 2021 and were initially scheduled to open early 2024. However, two days ago, the park announced that the opening would be delayed until the second half of 2024. In a statement Universal Studios Japan said the following: “Although the development work of this expansion area is in the final stages of completion, USJ would like to ensure a positive experience for our guests and has determined that additional time is needed for the final period of preparations and adjustments.”

Overview of the entire Super Mario Land at Universal Studios Japan including Donkey Kong expansion (© Universal)

Super Mario Land

Donkey Kong Country is the first expansion to Super Nintendo World, which has been the most popular land in the park since its opening in 2021. The land already consists of a dark ride, a semi-dark ride, a large restaurant and several mini-games which guests can play using the interactive Power Up Bands. The area’s main ride, dark ride Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, garnered universal acclaim for its combination of a classic tracked ride system, physical sets, media and augmented reality.

A second Super Nintendo World, minus the semi-dark ride, opened last year in Universal Studios Hollywood. A third version of the complete land, including from the beginning the semi-dark ride and Donkey Kong Country, is slated to debut next year at Universal’s Epic Universe, the new park in the Universal Orlando Resort.