First Look: Jimmy Fallon’s New Ride At Universal Studios Orlando
“Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” will officially open on Thursday, April 6 at Universal Studios Orlando, but we took a sneak peek inside!
This new ride has created a lot of buzz not only at Universal Studios, but on the Tonight Show as well. Last night we previewed the new ride during technical rehearsals aka a “soft opening”.
The queue line is very entertaining and the actual ride was really fun! Guests really do get the ultimate “Tonight Show” experience by getting up close and personal with the show’s most hilarious moments before taking off on a wild race through the Big Apple.
The building that the attraction is housed in is incredible. It’s a replica of 30 Rockefeller Center, the famed Manhattan skyscraper that is the current home of The Tonight Show tapings. Upon entering guests receive a colored ticket for the ride. There is one ticket for each color of the feathers of the iconic NBC peacock logo. The attraction features 2 queue areas instead of the normal “queue line” – the lobby and the upstairs lounge called the “Studio 6B Club”. The ticket color represents when you will move on to the next queue area. but more about that in a bit..
Walking into the attraction guests travel down a long hallway lined with with all the old NBC logos.
The ground floor of the queue area features a museum that showcases the history of the NBC talk show and its hosts through the years, including the brief one-year reign with Conan O’Brien.
Each of the six hosts — Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, O’Brien and Fallon — have individual display cases filled with memorabilia from their time on the show. Each case even has a tv inside from that particular hosts era as well.
The display cases are larger for hosts that were on The Tonight Show longer, hence why Johnny Carson’s case is so big! Johnny’s even included one of his old suits and of course, an old floor model tv from that era.
Guests are free to roam around the room and check out all the cool sights for about 3 to five minutes. Then, the famous three-note NBC chime sounds and the room lighting changes to the guests ticket color. Ours was red, So once the lighting turned red, we had a choice to walk up the stairs or take an elevator upstairs to the next queue area to Studio 6B Club. If guests miss the chime and their color, team members will still allow them to pass through if you recognize your mistake within a reasonable amount of time.
In the Studio 6B Club or the second free roam queue area, guests can enjoy special live performances from the Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet, as well as meet and interact with The Tonight Show’s mascot, Hashtag the Panda.
After having some fun with Hashtag the Panda, guests can watch star-studded pre-recorded clips from the talk show, and also have the opportunity to play host at their own Interactive Desk where they can send Jimmy’s famous Thank You Notes to their friends! There’s also touch-screen games based on Jimmy’s most popular routines and couches to relax complete with outlets to charge your phone!
Clips from popular Tonight Show guests play on big screens while you wait.
The third phase of the queue moves you through the Studio entrance where you receive “racing goggles” aka 3D glasses.
Once goggles have been acquired, guests enter the fourth and final phase of the queue– a pre-show area featuring Jimmy and The roots telling everyone the rules.
But it’s not an ordinary run down… The roots play a beat while Tariq rap the rules to guests for a unique safety video. Watch!
No photos or video were permitted once the actual ride began. So what exactly does this ride look like? Imagine a hydraulic theater, designed as a recreation of the real Tonight Show audience set in NYC. It contains a six-row vehicle that seats 12 people across on a single platform that twists, rocks, and shakes, in front of a giant screen made to look like the opening curtains of the real Tonight Show set. Although it sounds like it might be rough, the ride system is actually very smooth and the 3D is well done. Below is a look at the actual ride seats courtesy Inside The Magic.
Our experience was really fun! We loved it! The ride is a based around racing Jimmy through NYC. The race course includes some of New York’s biggest landmarks, sight, sounds, and even smells such as New York City pizza! The ride also highlights stars such as Higgens, The roots, Sara from eww, hastag the panda and more! Without spoiling it, we will just say that the effects are somewhere between the Simpsons Ride and Transformers, two sister attractions at the park. Here’s a sneak peek of the ride!
The gift shop at the end is filled with cool gifts and memorabilia from NYC and The Tonight Show. Guests can buy shirts, bags, jackets, hats, hoodies, magnets, drink cups, plush hashtag the panda dolls, and so much more… even your very own Thank You Notes! Take a tour below!
The ride makes it’s official grand opening on Thursday, April 6 – which is the last of four days during which “The Tonight Show” we be taped live at the park.
On a side note, “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” will be the first attraction to feature a Virtual Line experience at Universal Studios Florida. This means spending less time in line and more time experiencing the thrills of Universal Orlando Resort! Visitors will access the system through the Universal Orlando Resort app or at kiosks in the park. Once checked in, guests will be virtually “in line” while being able to go enjoy other rides through-out the park with an assigned return time for Fallon. When it’s your time, just head over to attraction, walk inside, and get ready for the race of a lifetime!
For Universal Studios tickets and more information, visit the official Universal Orlando website by clicking here.
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