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NBC's Tonight Show Announces Jimmy Fallon Ride for Universal Orlando

October 27, 2015, 9:04 PM · Jimmy Fallon is coming to Universal Orlando in a new 3D adventure.

NBC's Tonight Show host announced on this evening's program that Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon will debut at Universal Studios Florida in 2017. Slated to replaced the Twister show in the New York section of the park, the attraction will star Fallon in a 3D adventure that he called "scary," "fun" and "exciting."

"You know the Harry Potter rides? It's like that except that instead of Harry Potter, it's me," Fallon said. "And instead of Hogwarts, it's New York City."

Here's the clip, from NBCUniversal:

Update: Creative Director Jason Surrell described the new attraction:

Soon, you will get the full Tonight Show experience as you make your way to the fabled Studio 6B for a very special taping in which Jimmy challenges his studio audience to the ultimate race through the greatest city on earth.

You’ll rocket through the streets—and skies—of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers, encountering colorful characters, famous landmarks and anything else that comes to Jimmy’s mind—and “that is some weird, wild stuff,” to quote an iconic previous host.

Universal also announced that Twister will close on Nov. 2 to make way for the Jimmy Fallon ride.

Replies (68)

October 27, 2015 at 9:24 PM · from Jason Surrell, Universal Creative Director for this attraction. (Jason previously worked for Disney)..."you will get the full Tonight Show experience as you make your way to the fabled Studio 6B for a very special taping in which Jimmy challenges his studio audience to the ultimate race through the greatest city on earth. You'll rocket through the streets-and skies-of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers, encountering colorful characters, famous landmarks and anything else that comes to Jimmy's mind-and that is some weird wild stuff" The script will be a collaboration between the Tonight Show writers and Universal Creative.
October 27, 2015 at 9:59 PM · Well, I guess after many years of successful hits, it was inevitable that Universal comes up with their first creative flop. Seriously, who ever thought that this could be a good idea? What happens when Fallon is no longer relevant (he's already behind Conan and Colbert in popularity)? Just what kind of merchandising do you come up with? Sounded stupid from the beginning and will probably end up just being a filler attraction for when the lines are long at the better rides. The only positive thing I can say is that as a person with flat feet, I'll appreciate turning a walk-through attraction into one where I can sit down.
October 27, 2015 at 10:15 PM · Holy cow, this is a dumb idea for a ride. A ride themed after a person? Come on.
October 27, 2015 at 10:27 PM · In related news, tomorrow Disney will announce a new Jimmy Kimmel attraction. It will replace Monster Inc at DCA, and will also be at Disney's park that keeps changing names and losing attractions, in the former home of some attraction that closed in 2000. Guests will be picked up from LAX via limo and head through L.A. on the way to appear as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel will talk to the you via Skype, and will introduce you to his celebrity friends along the way. Opening in 2030 at DCA, and Disney's park that keeps changing names and closing attractions in 2035 (Give Disney World a break, their version is being built from scratch) Get ready for Superstar Limo staring Jimmy Kimmel!
October 27, 2015 at 11:16 PM · Are you sure this is not just a joke from Fallon's monologue? Who in their right mind would think this is a good idea?
October 27, 2015 at 11:43 PM · I had to double-check today's date, to make sure it wasn't April 1st...
Robert, are you sure this isn't one of Fallon's gag sequences for his show?
Please say it is!
October 27, 2015 at 11:55 PM · Yeah, this ride sounds like a dud. Thanks Randy for trying to make the story about Disney.
October 28, 2015 at 12:50 AM · Upon seeing this announcement, my initial thought was "Is this some kind of joke?" After taking the time to confirm that it is not a joke and is in fact real, I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it could be okay. Jimmy Fallon is the host of the USH Studio Tour after all and does a good job there, so perhaps the ride will work out. Either way, Twister doesn't seem to be that well received so I imagine it would be an improvement.

After seeing an advertisement for a certain movie about 10 minutes later, however, my thoughts changed to "forget about this plan, if Universal wants Jimmy Fallon they should get to work on a Gyrosphere ride."

October 28, 2015 at 1:44 AM · Mr. Trexen writes "What happens when Fallon is no longer relevant (he's already behind Conan and Colbert in popularity)?"

I Reply: Not sure you got that right: Variety - "During the week of October 12-16, The Tonight Show beat The Late Show by a margin 56%. The previous week, it was 30% (3.409 million vs. 2.628 million), so Fallon’s lead seems to be widening."

October 28, 2015 at 1:45 AM · @ Note to Mr. Keith: Ever hear of Universal Escape?
October 28, 2015 at 2:01 AM · Finally a Universal attraction without a dragon or t-rex.

(SNARK!)

Seriously, I love the way UC always takes chances with its attractions. So many disparaging comments on this thread seem to come from narrow perspectives.

My thought, why not? Take a swing at it.

October 28, 2015 at 2:12 AM · I'm excited that it will become a ride! The walk through attraction of Twister was never that exciting.
October 28, 2015 at 2:34 AM · I would assume whatever they build will be easily re-themed & re-programmed when Jimmy Fallon does get too dated.

Same as Minions is the same basic tech as Jimmy Neutron before that and Hanna-Barbara before that.

October 28, 2015 at 4:07 AM · Late night talk show ratings, Fallon has been crushing it since his show premiered:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/10/22/late-night-ratings-oct-12-16-2015/479861/

What's your source for him being behind Colbert and Conan, Mr. Trexan?

October 28, 2015 at 4:08 AM · @Randy Keith
New for 2040, it's Jimmy Kimmel the Ride Sucks starring Matt Damon and Sarah Silverman.
October 28, 2015 at 4:15 AM · I can't quite figure out all of the negative responses in the comments. Think of Soarin' (a consistently popular and highly-rated ride at WDW), but replace California with New York City. Sounds like a winner to me.
October 28, 2015 at 4:24 AM · It does sound a little fun, but no matter what it is, it'll be an inprovement to what's already in that spot, which is Twister. I guess at the end of the day, your view on this attraction will simply come down to whether you're a fan of Jimmy Fallon or not. I'm a fan of his, so I'm looking forward to it. Besides, I have confidence in Universal Creative to make this work.
October 28, 2015 at 4:29 AM · Soarin over New York. Or through it perhaps. Sounds like a ride once and never again attraction. Kinda like Twister.
October 28, 2015 at 5:04 AM · Once again, a motion simulator with giant projection screens....groundbreaking. Ugh.
October 28, 2015 at 5:14 AM · It'll be open before Avatar's giant projection screen ride.
October 28, 2015 at 5:18 AM · I have to agree with the negative posts but for very specific reasons. Certainly, it could be fun. I like his parts on the studio ride, but what Universal has been doing is one upping the whole Disney Magic and transporting its guests to another world, and a trip through modern New York just seems too mundane for what they have been doing up to now. Yes, dragons and dinosaurs are well represented, but what about some form of dark, scary attraction based on Universal Monsters or the Walking Dead. I would love a Crimson Peak attraction, but the film is not likely doing well enough for that (which is a crime). Or since we are talking houses, how about an Animal House house? I suppose they are limited by rights and Twister (while I really like it) has grown somewhat irrelevant. i will say I am sure it will be fun, I am just not sure they could not have come up with a better theme.
October 28, 2015 at 5:32 AM · "I guess at the end of the day, your view on this attraction will simply come down to whether you're a fan of Jimmy Fallon or not.:

i disagree, i ll view the attraction based on the merits of the ride
im sure it will be at least funny

October 28, 2015 at 5:53 AM · Ok, I love Jimmy, and I'm glad that something's finally replacing that awful Twister, but making Jimmy into a ride?! Seriously?! And it's not the actual quality of the attraction that has me concerned, it's the IP. Why make a ride out of Jimmy Fallon when there's so many other action-packed, ride-worthy, marketable franchises out there that Disney has yet to get there hands in, like Star Trek or James Bond? IMHO, a more fitting Fallon-based attraction would be a fake taping of The Tonight Show with the guests as the live studio audience but put some sort of twist on it. That twist could be Jimmy (or an actor playing Jimmy) interviewing characters that appear in other Universal attractions, such as Harry Potter, Spider-Man or Shrek. And if one of those attractions gets taken out, you can rewrite the script to put in whatever replaces it.

And lastly, if Universal was really "taking a risk," they'd build something other than another simulator. Seriously, Universal, there are other ways to build an attraction without having people stare at 3D screens. Look at all of Disney's highest-rated attractions; Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, Pirates of the Carribean, Indiana Jones Adventure, Radiator Springs Racers, Mystic Manor, Journey To The Center Of The Earth...are any of those screen-based? Absolutely not! Do they still kick ass? Absolutely! I go to outdoorsy places like theme parks to take a break from staring at screens all day, so why make me stare at even more screens?!

October 28, 2015 at 6:14 AM · In a vacuum, I think the ride-as-described sounds like it could be a fun little experience. However, to situate another screens-centric 3D attraction within line-of-sight from Transformers, Shrek, and Despicable Me feels like a big mistake. They're going to replace one of the few remaining practical/physical experiences left in the park with an old flying theater simulator, and between it and the upcoming Fast & Furious ride, the Studios might be about to reach critical mass when it comes to screens and 3D.
October 28, 2015 at 7:32 AM · It's a small space so they're limited in what they can put there. The previous occupant was a show, Ghostbusters. It's unfair to compare this with E ticket attractions. It's really just a filler C/D ticket that will actually fit thematically in the New York section of the park. Twister was really out of place. I think the key to this attraction is if it gets good writing. If the story ends up amusing and entertaining, it could shine like the similar attraction down the street, Despicable Me. But bad writing could doom it. Regardless, I would bet it does well with tourists and gets pretty decent lines, whereas Twister was basically a walk on. Some ride details from the insiders at OU...The ride's manufacturer is Peterson Inc. The ride will be three sets of 50 seats, on articulated arms. Kind of like a giant Kuka Arm. So the ride effect could be very similar to the Forbidden Journey flying sensation. The facade will be 30 Rock and the NBC store with the whole street being redone. The ride will originate in Fallon's Studio and then the race will be announced. At that time the articulated arm will raise the theater as if it's flying and the race through NY will occur. Fallon will do the intro and when the flying seats return to the theater, but he will not be on the race video.
October 28, 2015 at 7:27 AM · It's really odd, but I'm good with it. What excites me is that Universal is now adding two brand new rides (well at least to Florida) at the Universal Studios Park in 2017. With Kong coming next year and Volcano Bay in the works, there's quite a lot happening over there.
October 28, 2015 at 7:50 AM · Too many 3D motion simulator attractions at Universal Studios. They need more practical effect dark rides.
October 28, 2015 at 8:29 AM · I'm still mad they didn't take the shark from jaws and stick it into twister for Sharknado. That would have been awesome.
October 28, 2015 at 8:46 AM · At least we'll always have Bill and his 'finger of God' speech on YouTube.
October 28, 2015 at 9:03 AM · at last twister is going woooooohooooooooo very outdated!!
BUT!!!!
i can only imagine this is a short term thing until the next big thing comes along.
will it be a bit like epcots soran ???????????
October 28, 2015 at 9:06 AM · I never thought Jimmy Fallon The Ride will be the new reality. Maybe Disney can change the Energy ride and call it Ellen DeGeneres The Ride.

Race Through New York sort of takes the energy out of Fast and the Furious.

October 28, 2015 at 9:16 AM · To TH and the Anonymous poster, I was talking more-so about critical popularity, based on conversations I've had with friends, co-workers, and through reading comments over the internet. However, you are right to call me out and put me in my place about Fallon's viewership, so I will admit my mistake, but still have a hard time getting excited about this.
October 28, 2015 at 9:57 AM · And Comcast Studios Florida, excuse me Universal, has just jumped the shark.
October 28, 2015 at 10:10 AM · Good heavens! Some of you are never satisfied!

"Universal uses too many screen-based simulators!"

"The Universal Orlando Resort has too many rollercoasters!"

"Islands of Adventure doesn't have enough dark rides!"

"Why don't they build something like a ride from my cherry-picked list of top Disney attractions from all over the world?"

"Jimmy Fallon is a second rate talk-show host!"

Yeah, I paraphrased a lot of comments I've seen on this thread, and I added a few more I've seen repeatedly in other threads, but the reality of this new attraction is that:
-it is a dark ride that gets you out of the Florida heat and rain,
-it is a family ride,
-it fits thematically with the area,
-it is an improvement over the current show,
-it will be done in the near future (in other words it will be ready in less than 5 years),
-it incorporates new technology, and
-with all due credit to TH Creative, it doesn't have a dragon or a T-Rex.

So, ride it, and enjoy it for what it is - a nice, mid-level upgrade to the #2 park in Central Florida.

October 28, 2015 at 10:23 AM · Universal "Studios" is a movie themed park. Why wouldn't people expect screens. After all, that's what movies are about.
October 28, 2015 at 10:27 AM · Yep, don't be so quick to judge it until it at least gets some more detailed concept art. And even then ya should probably wait until you ride the darn thing. Then evaluate, judge, criticize all you want!

Talk about flying off the hook!

October 28, 2015 at 10:35 AM · How is Universal/Comcast "jumping the shark", Jeff D?

By providing more top quality rides in Central Florida than all of the Disney parks except for the Magic Kingdom?

By featuring a celebrity in a ride? Well I guess that rules out The Mummy (Brendan Fraser), Men In Black (Will Smith), Ellen's Energy Adventure (Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye) (double uh-oh there, that ride has dinosaurs), and Journey into Imagination with Figment (Eric Idle) as worthwhile attractions.

As someone who watched the "jumping the shark" episode of Happy Days during its original airing on prime time, I have a good idea what the phrase means, but I certainly don't get where it applies to what Universal is doing in Florida.

October 28, 2015 at 10:44 AM · I can't wait to not experience this insipid idea of an attraction
October 28, 2015 at 12:43 PM · The upcoming King Kong ride is a step in the right direction, giving us a break from 3D simulators, with some actual AAs and sets. This Kimmel ride is more of the same, and a very strange theming choice, unless they are desperate to promote The Tonight Show.
October 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM · Stupid, Stupid, Stupid idea, Enough Said!
October 28, 2015 at 1:18 PM · Sylvain: You're probably close to the truth on that. Last year when the rumor first came out, it was said by the insider Teebin that the concept came straight from Comcast Execs after the excellent reception Fallon received when he did the Diagon unveil in Orlando, and did not originate with Universal Creative. Supposedly UC grappled with how to do a Fallon themed attraction in such a small space. This is the result. So, if that was the case, UC did the best they could with a concept that they were probably a little unfamiliar with.
October 28, 2015 at 1:40 PM · I'm told that Disney sold them the concept and creative. They un-shelved "Superstar Limo" from the failed DCA archives.
October 28, 2015 at 1:57 PM · Geez...next thing you know, Disney is going to build a roller coaster about a washed up classic rock band!
October 28, 2015 at 2:04 PM · Again I think it's a nice e-ticket ... But it is a sign that Universal/Comcaat is waving the white flag on the families with small children market.
October 28, 2015 at 2:20 PM · Considering what is in the park now, I think this attraction could be a nice change of pace. What Twister offered, in its heyday, was a nice break from the Florida sun in a high-capacity standing attraction. Adding some comedy to the park would be nice too, and personally I think Fallon offers fun, accessible humor that's solid enough for most people.
October 28, 2015 at 2:40 PM · @THC, Not with Nintendo and Hello Kitty coming. I'll wait a bit longer.
October 28, 2015 at 3:22 PM · Move along, nothing to see here.
October 28, 2015 at 4:12 PM · To think we lost a potential Walking Dead Experience for Fallon
October 28, 2015 at 4:56 PM · Nintendo and a gift shop featuring Hello Kitty vs. Frozen ... I know where my long term bet is placed.
October 28, 2015 at 5:34 PM · I like the idea - kind of like the simulator ride at the Empire State Building - only funnier. http://www.skyride.com/
October 28, 2015 at 5:38 PM · Hello Kitty includes a meet and greet. I doubt they are competing with Frozen. Nintendo appeals more to boys, but they do well with both. Universal is covering more people in demographics. This is a long process. That Disney can't use Marvel means Universal can take advantage.
October 28, 2015 at 6:02 PM · The most important thing here with this new attraction is that a new ride system is being put in place.

If the Jimmy Fallon show flops, they can easily retheme and repack the attraction into something new like thet did with the Simpsons and Despicable me using existing ride systems.

October 28, 2015 at 6:31 PM · Wow two words epic fail.
October 28, 2015 at 6:31 PM · Rob, in reference to your comment above...that's what I figured. This idea is so bad that it can only be forced on Universal Creative by the executive higher ups. Very unfortunate. I'd much rather see another Potter expansion on the way. Hopefully the Ministry of Magic rumors will actually come to fruition.
October 28, 2015 at 7:03 PM · I'm optimistic.This could actually be really cool. It has the potential to be innovative if anything.
October 28, 2015 at 7:29 PM · Sylvain: M&M. Hopefully by 2019 or 2020.
October 28, 2015 at 8:00 PM · "Universal "Studios" is a movie themed park. Why wouldn't people expect screens. After all, that's what movies are about."

No, Universal was always about 1. Educating about the movie process and 2. Putting you into the movies. It was never about making you watch a movie for 3 minutes and calling it a ride (that is until Back to the Future came out 30 years later to compete with Star Tours).

"Well I guess that rules out The Mummy (Brendan Fraser), Men In Black (Will Smith), Ellen's Energy Adventure (Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye) (double uh-oh there, that ride has dinosaurs), and Journey into Imagination with Figment (Eric Idle)"

I think you actually proved the opposite. The mummy and men in black are not celebrity based attractions, they are movie based and darn good ones (of course movies have actors i.e Indiana Jones) Ellen de Generes is a celebrity added to the attraction after the fact, and same with Figment. Neither are original attractions based on movies like the Mummy and Men in Black, yet score lower on TPI ratings.

My thought about this is I'm very surprised. I agree that Universal needs more mild family attractions and no more 3D screen based ones. This doesn't excite me at all. They would be better off bringing spaghetti space chase from Singapore or Space fantasy from Japan. Universal makes great dark rides. Why they are so reluctant to build them in the US baffles me.

October 29, 2015 at 7:41 AM · To me, the bottom line on an attraction is if it is fun & entertaining. I don't really care what the balance of rides in a park is, be it Disney or Universal.
October 29, 2015 at 11:42 AM · Rob, are you saying that Ministry of Magic is definitely on the way? Source?
October 29, 2015 at 12:02 PM · Sylvain: No hard info. Just what the Warner creative director that collaborated with Universal stated and general rumor's floating around OU. Feeling out there is that it will go where Fear Factor is, plus Diagon was designed so that it could be extended in that direction. There's a lot of space there extending from that side of Diagon backstage, the old Amity restrooms and through FF. Looking at future expansions 2019-2020 would fit nicely and be a challenge to Star Wars opening. So, if I was a betting man, and the OU insiders have a really good track record, I would bet on it.
October 29, 2015 at 2:01 PM · It should fit in nicely in the New York section of the park. My kids will be able to go on it with out any issues. Universal is right to do an attraction that will apply to everyone.
October 29, 2015 at 2:39 PM · I'm not gone on the Fallon theme but a thought just crossed my mind this ride will be a C or D ticket in Universal. The ride is the same concept as Soarin and Soarin over Avatar..... What happens if Creatives C /D ticket is better then the Imagineers E-tickets. It's very interesting to see Creative and Imagineering doing two such similar concepts at the same time
October 29, 2015 at 3:19 PM · Wow - so much commotion!
October 29, 2015 at 8:46 PM · Since the only thing worth talking about in this thread is the rumors related to the Ministry of Magic expansion at USO that Rob provided, I would aim my comment in that direction.

The Ministry of Magic should open the year before or the year after Star Wars Land. Opening concurrently would be a tragic mistake resulting in lost revenue for Comcast and a top tier expansion receiving undeserved second billing in most every newsroom, trade, podcast, or blog with a theme park interest.

Just my opinion, of course, but going head to head with the grand opening of Star Wars Land doesn't seem like something the smart people at Universal Creative would willingly do.

October 29, 2015 at 10:56 PM · I'd have to agree with you there, James. Rob, thanks for the info. As for Fear Factor, it's high time that thing bit the dust.
October 30, 2015 at 2:29 AM · Another motion simulator?

I love Universal, but please come on ...

October 30, 2015 at 10:04 AM · Good points James. With the accelerated schedule for Star Wars at DHS (now they're saying late 2018 late or early 2019, though that would be pretty optimistic) and Nintendo penciled in for e 2018 for Universal, I would guess, if it does indeed get approved, that MOM would open sometime after Star Wars. Yes, Star Wars will have a massive opening. But, one thing to look at, is that both Disney and Universal feed off of one another's openings now. More tourists attracted to Orlando is a win for both companies.
October 31, 2015 at 9:47 AM · USO have gotten rid of almost all of their original attractions and physical sets in favor of 3D screen rides. At this point the only reason I would visit USO again is to see Diagon Alley even though the ride there is also screen centric. A quick hop from IOA might be in order, but that's it.

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