What was reported to be concept art for a new Donkey Kong roller coaster coming to Universal theme parks didn’t come from Universal.
WDW News Today was the first to report on the concept art and attribute it to Universal. Multiple theme park and Nintendo news sites reported the same on Wednesday.
However, Universal spokesperson Erica Ettori emailed Theme Park Tribune on Thursday saying that the company did not release any Donkey Kong coaster concept art and that WDW News Today had agreed to remove its original story. Ettori did not answer Theme Park Tribune’s question as to whether the image simply wasn’t officially released by Universal or whether it was not produced by Universal in any way.
You can find the original version of the story from WDW News Today here.
Orlando Park Stop has reported that the Donkey Kong coaster is expected to use a Universal patent that uses a sideways coaster track hidden beneath a false track, which can be used to simulate the feeling of a mine cart jumping over gaps, just like the “Donkey Kong” video games.
A leaked model of Super Nintendo World in 2019 showed off the Donkey Kong expansion to the land, which was confirmed in September 2021 to be coming to Japan. The Donkey Kong mini-land will be a part of Orlando’s version of Super Nintendo World from opening. For Universal Hollywood, where Nintendo attractions just opened last month, the Donkey Kong expansion is only a rumor and has not been confirmed.
Universal’s Texas park gets local council approval
The Frisco City Council approved a zoning plan to allow Universal to build a resort and theme park on 97 acres in the North Texas town.
According to WFAA-TV, there was resistance to the project from some local residents, but the council voted 4-1, with one abstention, to approve the plan on Tuesday.
Universal has not announced an opening date for the park and has not offered details on its attractions other than emphasizing that it will be smaller and more kid-oriented than its Orlando resort. The park is getting some local competition for the same market, as Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments announced it will open a Peppa Pig Theme Park in North Richland Hills, Texas, in 2024.
DeSantis-controlled Disney World board meets for first time
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had said, “Buckle up” in regards to the first meeting of the new Reedy Creek Improvement District board he appointed.
Yet the first meeting of the new panel in charge of Disney World’s governmental district — now renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board — did not bring any concrete changes or ignite battles with the Mouse. Public comment was largely limited to firefighters (who supported the state takeover) asking for more staff, training and equipment.
As WESH reported, some board members did mildly hint at future culture clashes with Disney. “I have been disappointed by the trajectory that they have taken and not really aligning with the true Walt Disney ideas about what their spirit and their family focus is,” said board member Bridget Zeigler. She is the co-founder of Moms for Liberty, a conservative nonprofit which has advocated for removing books with LGBTQ+ representation from school libraries and the wife of Florida Republican Party chair Christian Ziegler.
“You will see a lot of changes that are going to occur, and many of those are because we have been lawfully mandated to implement those changes,” said board chair Martin Garcia, who has donated $53,000 to DeSantis’ political campaigns.
Disney’s self-governing status was stripped after the company publicly opposed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law in 2022, which said Florida schools cannot teach sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade or “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that Universal had released concept art for the Donkey Kong coaster. Universal later denied that it released that concept art and the original source, WDW News Today, had agreed to remove its story. Theme Park Tribune apologizes for the error.