Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is a flying theater simulator ride manufactured by Dynamic Attractions and is located at Universal Studios Florida. The ride opened in April 2017 and is located in the New York section of the park. Today I will be taking you through the whole experience and sharing my thoughts on it!
First a bit of prior history, the spot the ride sits in was first occupied by Ghostbusters Spooktacular. It was a live stage show that opened with the park in 1990 and closed in 1996. Ghostbusters was then replaced by Twister…Ride it Out, a special effects attraction that opened in 1998 and closed in 2015. Then the park made way for Jimmy Fallon.
Now back to the present attraction. The first thing you will notice is that when you go to ride you may have to get a virtual line pass. This ride is open stand-by when the park is not that busy. But during peak times or peak days, this ride operates with just virtual line. To get a virtual line time, you have to pick a time slot at a kiosk or on the Universal app, and return during that time. Although most of the time, you can just enter stand-by no problem!
If you use virtual line you will enter through the rides main facade and if you’re going stand-by you will enter to the right of the virtual line kiosks. Regardless of which way you enter, you will receive a colored card. This card will determined when you will go into the ride. The waiting area will light up the color of your card when it’s time to ride!
Once you receive your colored card, you will most likely head right upstairs. If their is more people in the attraction, you will wait downstairs before heading upstairs when your color is called. If you wait downstairs in the first floor, you essentially wait in a Tonight Show museum. They have artifacts and highlights of each host’s tenure, it’s very cool and I wish I had more time to check it out.
After you wait on the first floor, or if the wait is short, you will proceed to the second floor. The second floor is a much bigger waiting area, which includes seating areas and large tablets kids can play on while they wait for the ride. But the highlight here is the stage where occasionally, the Ragtime Gals will come out and perform a set of pop and rap songs in barbershop quartet form. This was the best part of waiting for me, as I didn’t feel like I was waiting for a ride at all, but I was seeing a show I would see elsewhere in the park.
When your color gets called on the second floor, you will give your card to a team member and head into the ride. After you hand in your card you will pick up your 3D “Racing Googles” and head down a long corridor before heading into a pre-show room. In the pre-show, Jimmy Fallon explains that you will race him through New York while seeing famous New York landmarks. Tariq from Fallon’s band from the show, The Roots, raps the freestyle safety precautions which automatically makes it the best safety spiel of all time. It’s not even close, I have never seen everyone pay attention to the safety spiel as I did with this ride. After an appearance from Sara from the sketch “ew!”, Fallon heads backstage while you head into the studio. The simulator seats 72 people with around 11 per row.
After you board the ride vehicle and strap in your seat belt, you are off on your race through New York. Fallon’s sidekick Steve Higgins counts down and waves the green flag and you are off. You start by going through 30 Rock before busting out and going through Times Square. You then proceed to go into a subway station on 42nd Street, into the East River, over the Statue of Liberty, and to the top of the Empire State Building where Hashtag the Panda launches you to the moon. The race continues on the moon as Fallon gets out of his vehicle and writes a thank you note to the moon. You and Jimmy then launch back down to earth on a roller coaster before you finish first after Fallon comes in too hot off hyperdrive. Jimmy thanks you and you then exit down to the Tonight Shop, where you can buy ride and Tonight Show merchandise.
My Thoughts: I really like this ride. This is one of if not the best motion simulator ride at the resort. Fallon makes it so fun by giving off good vibes and fun laughs. I can’t see how anyone can come off this ride not smiling! I do have to admit that the 3D wasn’t the best as my glasses kept falling off, but it didn’t take away from how fun the ride was. Along with the ride, the wait is also a lot of fun. Seeing one of Fallon’s sketches in the Ragtime Gals come to life is an awesome experience and super entertaining while you wait. Also, the ability to sit down and rest your legs on couches. It’s a nice break after you’ve been standing in line for most of the other attractions.
Tips: I would do this ride in the afternoon when you need a break from the sun or other attractions. Especially since this has virtual line, this ride let’s you plan around what time you want to ride. Do stand-by if it’s open, but if you have to go virtual line I would go for a time in the afternoon to take a rest from the heat.
Final Thoughts: I know this attraction gets mixed reviews, how people don’t like it because it’s another screen ride, but in my opinion it’s one of the better screen rides by Universal. Sure not as good as Spider-Man, Gringotts, or Forbidden Journey, but it’s so much fun that you just are having a good time. The queue makes it a better experience for sure, but the ride is very good in itself. Jimmy Fallon’s goal is to try to put a smile on everyone’s face, and that’s exactly what this ride does when it’s over!