Recently we had the opportunity to explore Pandora- The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (review coming soon!), and while in the Orlando area, we decided to spend a day at Universal Orlando. It has been a couple of years since we visited Universal (long overdue), and even though I am a huge Harry Potter fan and couldn’t wait for a train ride on Hogwart’s Express and an escape from Gringott’s Bank, there was one newly-opened ride I was super excited to try for the first time- Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon!
For years I have been a fan of The Tonight Show. I have fallen asleep many, many nights listening to my favorite comedian, Jay Leno, and most recently Jimmy Fallon, my new favorite! With high hopes, I entered the NBC Studios replica at Universal Studios.
Now, to be clear, this isn’t a thrill ride. Don’t get me wrong. It is the typical 3D style motion ride setup found on many rides throughout Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but it is what happens before this ride that really stands out to me and is a concept I hope to see on many rides to come.
Upon entering, you are given a time to return (you can also select this using the Universal app), or if using Express Pass, you are allowed to enter directly. If there are no times available for a later return, then standby is an option. When you enter, you are given a colored card.
You can then explore an area full of Tonight Show memorabilia from hosts from the beginning through now. Once you are done looking in this area, you climb stairs to a large waiting area. Here, you can rest on a couch, play interactive games, or my very favorite part of the area- watch a live performance of the Ragtime Gals and appearances by Hashtag the Panda! That is right, not one line in sight. It did not even feel like waiting for a ride. It was pure, fun entertainment!!! As you enjoy your time, the walls light up a specific color, and if your color card received at the beginning of the ride is flashing, then you head on toward the ride.
We had about twenty minutes as we waited for our color to appear. We enjoyed an entire performance from the Ragtime Gals- including fabulously harmonized versions of songs by artists like DMX and Nelly, and an especially entertaining sing off including songs by Fifth Harmony and a song/dance routine from Dirty Dancing! We were all laughing and enjoying the show when we heard the NBC tune sound and our color card indicated. I hesitantly moved toward the ride, as Hashtag the Panda had just taken the stage. Next time, Hashtag!
The next area did require us to stand in a line, but the preride video was hilarious, in true Jimmy Fallon style. Between the preshow and preride video we had laughed and laughed. I could have left then and still been happy! We then entered the ride, which looks as though you are in the audience of The Tonight Show. The ride is fun, and our whole family enjoyed it. My seven year old loved it and my four year old was hesitantly optimistic.
Overall, this ride was one of the best of our trip. The concept of the queue was phenomenal, and is something I hope to see in the future of rides. It made waiting seem as fun as the attraction itself!
So in true Jimmy Fallon fashion-
Thank you (insert dramatic music)…… Jimmy Fallon, for having one of the greatest experiences at Universal Studios Orlando!
If you have questions or would like to book your next vacation to check out Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon and all of the other amazing rides at Universal Orlando, ! I would love to help with your next vacation!