I had a chance to ride Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon today during it's limited soft open. Simply put, it's one of the most entertaining and unique queue experiences I've ever been in, followed up by the most mediocre and lazy attractions I've been on. After you enter the building, you're given a NBC logo card with a color. Every time you see that color, you move into the next room. There are two main holding rooms. The first is a museum of sorts, with memorabilia from the entire run of The Tonight Show. The second room, after a flight of steps, was a lounge area combined with a stage area, of sorts. Throughout the wait, they had various acts come out on the stage, from a guy in a panda suit (quality stuff...ugh) to a group of barbershop quartets, who sing modern songs, like baby got back...yup. Despite that, the vibe was actually quite energetic here, passing the time well. After that room was the preshow/safety briefing area, then its off to the ride. And once again, its a bunch of seats in front of a screen. Think Despicable Me, but...no, actually it's the same exact thing. The benches are uncomfortable, and the jokes are...well not funny. After it was done, there was a consensus of..."That's it?" from the crowd, and "Well, I never need to ride that again." Not exactly the reaction they expected, I'm sure. For me, it was another disappointment, after Kong. But I'm just not a fan of media based attractions, and hate that every new ride requires 3D glasses. Might as well hand them out at the entrance. But your milage may vary. A few photos follow.
This is where Twister was right? I kind of miss Twister but maybe thats because I'm into natural disasters like tornadoes. However I know the movie Twister is pretty irreverent now. So I assume thats why they replaced it. It would of been cool if they modernized it somehow with a 3D screen but with the wind blowing and even debris flying towards you. (of course it wont be real) Maybe they could of made it move too. Now that would be awesome! Yea a lot of USO's attractions are just that,the moving seats and the 3D screens and special effects,but I thing tornado themed ride would be pretty cool and separate it from the rest. I don't even really watch TV let alone the Tonight Show. So I know diddly squat about the show.
So we had a chance to go down and get a sneak preview of the Jimmy Fallon ride today. Let's just say that the previous reviews kind of sum it up. There are certainly positives to take away from the entire package, but don't go in expecting a ground-breaking new simulator style experience. The area in which you walk into the building and the upstairs area is very nicely done. If you are a fan of current or nostalgic television, namely The Today Show, which does have many decades of history behind it, there is a lot to see. The upstairs lounge where you'll find some Tonight Show themed entertainment was also very nicely done. It's great to have a place to hang out and sit, even charge your phone, while waiting for the attraction. Here's some photos and some teaser video from the ride...
Yay! We have made it to Universal Orlando! Always exciting to come check out a new attraction!
Over at the entrance to the New York area, you'll now find 30 Rock! Home to shows like Saturday Night Live and the Tonight Show!
The entrance has a very classic NYC style feel to it.
Upon entering the building, you'll find some tributes to all of the Tonight Show hosts...
Not a fan of Jay Leno...
The current guy...
Yay! Johnny Carson!
The ride is using Universal's new "Virtual Queue" system, and much like Dumbo over at Magic Kingdom, when it's your turn to ride, or at least go on to the next part of the queue, your buzzer will go off, or in this case, you are handed a card with a color on it...
When the NBC Peacock turns your color, you go on to the next area...
We have headed into what I will call the "lounge" and we are greeted by Hashtag the Panda.
Hashtag and Elissa seem to be hitting it off.
The upstairs area is very nicely done. It feels like a "high end lounge" like something you would see made for DVC members or a really nice hotel lobby. It has a very clean and nice look to it.
There are places to sit and relax. Watch the TVs, play some games. You can even charge your phone here.
This is the entrance to the attraction. Again, when it turns your color, you will know when to board the ride.
The stage is in another room where they have live entertainment while you wait.
And again, this area just has a nice, clean look to it. Where the Dumbo queue has a kids play area to hang out in while you wait for your turn, this area has entertainment and "adult stuff" to do. Same concept, different content.
Just some artwork of what to expect from the ride.
Nice looking vehicle, right?
As we wait for our turn, Elissa plays some games...
And then the entertainment starts. This is the Ragtime "Gals" Barbershop "Quartet!" (Get the joke? Good!) They were actually really fun to watch!
Next up, time to do something you do a lot here at Universal...grab those 3-D glasses!
There are two theaters in the attraction. House Left and House Right.
We go into the next room where we get to watch the pre-show and safety information video, divided into rows.
They said no photos or video beyond this point, so this is the best you're going to get. As for the ride/show vehicle itself, it really is more like a giant Star Tours without a roof. Picture a very similar looking Star Tours base of seats, but instead in the middle of an open theater. And you can let your imagination figure it out from there...
Hashtag was getting very "friendly" with Elissa, but I an told he does this with all the girls!
Seems he had a rough night...
He doesn't do so well at video games we found out.
The sofas and walls are modeled after the chairs that Fallon's guests sit in. Attention to detail here.
it's all very nice. It's what you would expect in a high-end hotel lobby or just a nice waiting area for an expensive show. It feels upscale so that's a good thing.
Building front entrance! Yay! Just in case you forgot where you were going! You go here!
Ride height restriction sign.
Ride vehicle test seats.
Inside the shop was all sorts of Jimmy Fallon merchandise and references to the show. I'll be honest, I don't watch very often so some of this was lost on me, but here's a few pics of what you'll find inside...
Plenty of Hashtag plush....
Is this a "thing" or is it like trying to make "fetch" happen?
And look! An obligatory roller coaster shot on our way out! Go check out Jimmy Fallon. Let us know what you think!
I thought Twister was hot garbage and anything in its place is an improvement, especially if I can sit down and play Bubble Witch or make pithy comments about fellow guests on Twitter instead of standing in a hot queue while waiting for a dumb attraction I will only go on when there are lines everywhere else.
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