Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon is expected to open to the public April 6th in Universal Studios Orlando. Passholders were invited via e-mail to attend a scheduled preview as long as they were early enough to respond to their e-mail. I was not one of those lucky enough to schedule my preview online. Instead, during normal operating hours, my group (along any other guests who “asked”) was invited to test out the new “Virtual Queue” for the attraction.
After selecting our time from the virtual queue, we returned to the entrance and were welcomed by an usher who scanned our pass and pointed us down a long hallway into the 1st level lobby. The entrance of this lobby appears like a receptionist area where you are given a small plastic card with a specific color on it. this is a very open lobby with memorabilia from all the prior Late Show hosts along with a center display case for Jimmy Fallon. When the lobby lights turn to the color matching your card, you are welcomed to proceed upstairs to the 2nd floor lobby.
In the 2nd lobby, the area is a little smaller but there are touch screen games that guests can play with and large screen projectors and televisions that show clips from the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon and a plethora of Hollywood guests (including a small cameo from former President Obama). Once this lobby lights up with your matching color from your plastic card, you are to proceed to the “studio.”
This is the only queue section located in the ride. Riders line up in two lines and are placed into one of two pre-show rooms. The pre-show is a fun introduction where Jimmy and the Roots rap about the safety instructions. You are then moved into the main simulator room. This is a large, 6 row box-shaped vehicle designed to resemble seating for a studio audience. Then the race begins! Race scenes include Time Square, the East River, Empire State Building, and the Moon (yes, I did type that correctly). At the end of the race and ride, you exit into the standard Theme Park gift shop with a lot of souvenirs and collectibles featuring Jimmy Fallon or his characters from his show. For a full detail and review of the ride, continue reading, but be forewarned, there are spoilers in this ride review.
First Floor Lobby included Memorabilia of all the Tonight Show hosts
During our first tour, I was welcomed in by an operator of the ride who stuck up a small conversation with me and encouraged me to take as many pictures and video as I wanted, as long as I did not take any pictures or video on the actual ride. I politely obliged, so you will not find any footage of the actual ride or ride vehicles in this article.
The queue system is a little sketchy; I think they were in “test” mode so I’m assuming this will be improved before the actual opening. We did not have to scan a ticket or enter IDs or anything; we simply picked the number of guests in our party and picked a time-frame. Once complete, we could easily pick another time-frame with no issues and could continue this process as many times as we liked. I want to make it clear that we DIDN’T actually do this, but we did test it out and found this bug.
I want to say right now that the two lobbies are GORGEOUS! The first lobby has a clean and modern look to it showing off the history of the how and a little bit of NBC. It did have a very good feel of looking just like we all were in New York City visiting the actual studio. The top floor 2nd lobby was a little more cramped and dark, but there was still plenty of space to move around. Games were available at about 8-10 stations; we were not able to play on any of them but I did watch some kind of ski game that someone was playing. The system they use for the virtual queue is something that I’m actually excited about. You receive a colored card when you enter the first lobby, each card is one of the six colors from the NBC peacock feathers (Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Orange, or Yellow). When each lobby lights up with your color, you move on to the next lobby or on to the ride. We were able to enjoy this attraction twice and we had both Blue and Purple colors; my only complaint is that those two colors are very similar and did cause some confusion with some other guests.
VIEW THE PRE-SHOW BELOW!
The pre-show is generic and fun to watch, if you’re at all familiar with Jimmy Fallon and the Late Show, it resembles a basic interaction of Jimmy with the Roots band. Now onward to the ride itself. You you motion sickness prone people, I’d recommend asking for a seat closer to the back and closer to middle. We at in the front row edge and the back row center on our rides, actually made a big difference in the motion. However, the motion on this simulator is very smooth and fluid, it is not rough at any point, but the film itself can get a little overwhelming. I honestly think they tried to cram just a little too much action into the shots.
You start out in the studio with Jimmy being introduced in his Tonight Rider vehicle and the race begins! You start going through the hallways of the studio until Jimmy crashes through a wall and you follow him into the city. You drive around Time Square, narrowly avoiding cars (Jimmy does hit a few), until you drop down into a subway station. An unexpected train splits you and Jimmy up as you race backwards trying to avoid the train. Once you get your bearings, you head back up to ground level to find Jimmy parked with a bunch of pizzas talking with the Sara and Gary characters. Jimmy then reveals that the audience and his Tonight Rider can fly! You begin racing through the skies until Jimmy dives down into the East River. There is a cheesy jump scare with a shark at this point, but then you both reemerge back into the air. As you both fly around the Empire State Building, the Hashtag Panda Bear is monstrous in size and is holding on to the top of the Empire State Building, surprisingly resembling King Kong. The Panda Bear character then grabs you and flings you into space right to the moon! The moon features a quick shot of The Roots playing music in Space Suits and Jimmy takes a break out of his Tonight Rider to write a quick Thank You note to the moon. The race then restarts as you both lock into an “unfinished” roller coaster that takes you from the moon back to earth. Since it’s unfinished, you and Jimmy start hurling towards the Earth at high speeds until Jimmy drops a worm-hole type tube that bring you and him to the final stretch/hallway back in the studio. The riders then take the lead and win the race. Jimmy congratulates you back in the actual studio and as the curtain closes, Jimmy turns around to reveal that part of his suite back is on first (for comedic effect).
The ride is in 3-D with some minor effect put into place. Along with that, there are effects in place to stimulate the riders senses. The smell of pizza during the first flying scene, water (very very little) during the river scene, and even some special “moon particles” when Jimmy blows moon dust your way. The cheese 3-D effects have gone down to a minimum and you get more of a “depth” feel with the 3-D. Jimmy does throw pizza boxes, t-shirts through a t-shirt cannon, and moon dust towards the riders to give them some scares.
All-in-all, this is a good attraction and can be fun for all guests. I’m very happy the motion isn’t too rough, but I wish the filming speed would’ve been toned down just a little bit. Overall, I am immensely impressed with this attraction. It is also very nice to have a queue line where you aren’t really waiting in a line, but have the freedom to enjoy an entire area at you leisure. My family and I are looking forward to more rides on this, and we hope you all enjoy it just as much!