Jimmy Fallon ride begins soft opens at Universal Studios Florida
The Universal Orlando Resort today started technical rehearsals for its new flying theater ride, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
The ride, featuring the host of corporate sibling NBC's The Tonight Show, debuts officially on April 6. But Universal's letting fans in early on a soft opening. (We will be in Orlando for a media preview next week, and will run our review after that.)
This isn't Fallon's first appearance in a Universal theme park attraction. Since 2011, he's been the on-screen host for the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood — a gig that pre-dates his promotion from Late Night to Tonight Show host in 2014.
In Orlando, Universal has transformed the old Twister show building into a truncated version of NBC's 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York, where Fallon's The Tonight Show is taped. According to Universal's description of the attraction, fans enter through the lobby of the building, under the idea that they're going to see a taping of the show. But what they'll get is a chance to experience an all-new type of flying theater, in which they'll race through the city with Fallon, who'll be piloting his own "Tonight Rider" quadcopter on the screen ahead.
Then it's a 3D adventure through the city, with appearances by multiple Tonight Show personalities and characters (some also played by Fallon), with in-theater effects, including the smell of New York pizza. (Warning: That's the good smell effect.)
The theater will be a 72-seat "flying theater" ride. If you're wondering what that is relative to other theme park attractions, it's like Soarin', but with more motion. A flying theater typically offers a stationary screen that's not firmly attached to the moving rows of seats in front of it. A motion simulator, such as Star Tours, has a smaller floor plan and features a screen that is attached to the base of the theater and moves along with the seats.
Just to further confuse you, a 4D theater, such as Shrek, is one in which individual seats in the theater might jiggle or move, but the entire floor remain stable. And if you haven't thrown up your hands and given up at this point, let's go Full Geek here and make a distinction between flying theaters such as Fallon and Soarin', and other rides such as Minion Mayhem and The Simpsons Ride, which feature multiple, smaller moving and shaking ride vehicles in front of a stationary screen. We're calling those motion base shows — though that's not an industry standard term.
Anyway, back to Fallon. The queue and gift shop at the end of the ride will offer plenty of Tonight Show-themed bits, including a meet with Hashtag the Panda, performances by Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet, and televisions playing clips of many of the show's most popular routines, including History of Rap and Lip Sync Battle. There also will be an Interactive Host Desk, from which you can send Thank You Notes to family and friends.
The ride also will feature Universal's new Virtual Line system, where fans must obtain return times via the resort's official app or kiosks in front of the attraction. Universal Express will not be available during the soft opening.
Rate and Review:
People are saying it's fine for what the ride is. If you expected an E-ticket, you'll apparently be disappointed, but why would you expect a Jimmy Fallon ride to be an e-ticket in the first place?
FWIW, I don't consider Soarin' to be an E-ticket-level attraction. (Hides for duration of comment thread.)
Before the fire comes out and pitch forks come out, let me say this.
I still say universal missed out by not taking the sharks from jaws and putting them in the twister building as Sharknado. It would have been better than this for far less money.
There was that prominent Sharknado rumor that I'm kinda bummed out didn't come to fruition. I remember reading about it and thought it had real potential. The sheer self-aware stupidity of the films has already proved a comedic cult hit. Imagine that kind of fun mindless experience being in the middle of a Sharknado in reality. The "WTF" concept alone would've drawn numbers and provided great exposure for SyFy.
QUESTION: "Why would you expect a Jimmy Fallon ride to be an e-ticket in the first place?"
I absolutely love the exterior of this building. The truncated 30 Rock looks really good, at least from the photos. Looks like the real thing.
A 3D Adventure at Universal!? No way! And when I think of adventure I think of The Tonight Show Sarring Jimmy Fallon.
I was one of the lucky ones who was able to ride the new Jimmy Fallon ride today. They only had it available to team members yesterday and today. Tomorrow starts the "soft opening" like they did with King Kong: Skull Island. There were some unique features for the que line. There were interactive game consoles available to use to help pass the time. There's also a little live entertainment set up for guests. They have Jimmy's barber shop quartet singing different funny songs and performing some comedy. The ride itself was fun but I can see how it may not be a "must do every visit" type of ride. It runs through all the characters that Jimmy does on the tonight show and shows every New York trademark location. The "tonight show vehicle" flys at one point and even goes under water. It's very enjoyable with lots of infused humor. It'll definitely be a big hit throughout the spring and summer park attendance periods.
Queue has a Conan O'Brien tribute. Didn't expect that. The quartet show is all Jimmy Fallon. Juvenile, but entertaining in small doses. Still waiting for someone to upload the ride to YouTube.
I've never ridden a flying theatre attraction, so that aspect is interesting. Nothing else about this excites me, but I'll reserve judgement until I actually ride it.
Robert, I'm trying to avoid taking the bait on the Soarin'. I enjoy the ride, but it's one of my wife's favourites. The queues speak for themselves, I'd class it as an e-ticket.
Someone must have told Jimmy Fallon he was funny once? Look what we're left with.
I don't know about this ride but don't waste your time on King Kong! 2.5 hr wait for nothing!!!!!
I'm really getting bored with screen based attractions. Enough is enough.
Robert, I have to side with you. Soarin' is a great ride but I think it only gets its "E" rating from the sheer size. It has a full queue because it takes awhile to move people through it.
What sort of attraction is it? Is it a simulator ride or is it like minions ride?
With Soarin you are seated and then lifted into the air with your feet free to dangle in the air. As the hang glider moves your feet react to the movement.
I'd still rather race through New York with Sterling Archer.
Twister was on it's last legs. It would have costed a ton to replace everything and have a shark instead of a cow fly around. The attraction had low ratings and wasn't visited a lot.
The attractions externals, the build up the ride are brilliant. But the ride itself is for the first time i've been let down by Universal.
Had a chance to ride yesterday and I was impressed. In my opinion, it is the best simulator technology on property. With that being said, it still is just another simulator. Probably the biggest (and generally only) letdown was that "America's first flying theater" is basically the same ride vehicle technology used on Despicable Me but seating a 100 or so people in the ride vehicle.
I'm curious as to the international appeal of this ride and how it'll date. I can't see it doing great on either front. Personally find Fallon irritating so I've no desire to see it.
There was absolutely nothing new to this ride. The queue line/area is unique, but it stops there. Race through New York is Back to the Future with a make over.
Awesome that we have something completely new in this building. We do have The Tonight Show in the UK but I dont watch it. Kinda feel like I may skip this as I think I won't 'get' it. Look forward to more reviews.
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