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Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

For many years Universal has always been inviting people to watch their films. This invitation is made at certain seasons of the year, which is also accompanied by a unique welcome. What we want to explain to you can be extremely attractive. Specifically, riders get to experience The Tonight Show by taking a Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.


Instead of going head to head against Chris Hemsworth or another A-list star, the comedian challenges the entire theme park audience to a race. And instead of limiting the course to the hallways in 30 Rockefeller Plaza where The Tonight Show is taped, the race is on throughout New York City – and beyond. The attraction uses motion simulator technology and large-screen, 3D, point-of-view media to immerse riders in the experience.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

The immersion begins long before the countdown starts and show announcer Steve Higgins waves the checkered flag. Located, appropriately enough, in the New York section of the park, Universal has fashioned a facsimile of Manhattan’s famous 30 Rock building. Visitors enter the attraction by passing under the park’s version of the stylized marquee that has long graced the Avenue of the Americas and into an Art Deco corridor adorned with NBC logos.

Race Through New York marks Universal’s first attempt to eliminate traditional ride queues. Visitors need to make a reservation using Universal’s app or kiosks adjacent to the attraction (unless they have Universal Express Passes, which cost extra and allow immediate entry). When it’s time to ride, they head to the attraction and show their reservation to enter.

New York Starring Jimmy, Fallon Queue

Instead of snaking through stanchions, riders get color-coded tickets at a reception desk staffed by “NBC pages” and are free to roam around the lobby’s museum-like Memorabilia Hall. Exhibits trace the history of the long-running show and pay homage to its stars, including original host Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and, of course, Fallon.

New York Starring Jimmy, Fallon Entrance

When the color of their tickets is illuminated in the lobby, guests make their way upstairs to a second free-range holding area. They could gather around interactive displays pre-loaded with clips from The Tonight Show, Fallon-style thank-you notes that they can email, and other diversions. Or they could relax on comfy couches equipped with phone charging outlets.

In a club-like room adjacent to the second-floor lobby, The Tonight Show’s dance-crazy (but easily exhausted) Hashtag the Panda shows off his moves and meets visitors. There is also a stage on which the Ragtime Gals perform. Another show staple, the all-male group sings contemporary hits such as “Baby Got Back (I Like Big Butts)” in a retro barbershop quartet style. They perform other bits from the show such as lip-synch battle and popular songs played on classroom instruments.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Pre-show

It’s great to be able to move freely throughout the pre-ride space and not have to inch along in a typical line. Surrell says Universal is closely monitoring Race Through New York and plans to incorporate additional queue-less attractions throughout its parks.

When their ticket color is flashed in the upstairs waiting area, riders get in a short line that leads to one of two backstage pre-show rooms. Fallon sets them up for the race, and his house band, The Roots, rap the safety precautions. Then it’s on to the main event.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon The Tonight Shop

Riders enter a theater that looks like NBC’s Studio 6B – except the seats in this theater have safety belts. After buckling in and donning 3D glasses, the race is on. Fallon uses a souped-up go-kart he refers to as “The Tonight Rider” (which should resonate with TV viewers of a certain age).

Universal characterizes the attraction as “the world’s first flying theater.” But that’s misleading. The innovative Soarin’ Over California opened at Disney California Adventure in 2001. Since then, third-party designers have built similar rides that are known generically as flying theaters in the attractions industry. Race Through New York is not like those rides, however. Instead of seats that rise into the air and simulate hang gliding, the Universal attraction is a motion simulator ride like Disney’s Star Tours, which dates back to 1987. So what gives?

New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Seats

The flying theater designation has a double meaning according to Universal’s Surrell. For one, the studio audience does take virtual flight above the Statue of Liberty and in some other scenes. “What it technically refers to is that it’s 72 seats on one platform, and all of the seats move together,” says Surrell. In other words, the entire theater “flies.” “It’s important because we wanted to create the sense that the whole studio audience is along for the ride,” he adds.

Seating In New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

How Is New York Starring Jimmy, Fallon?

Unlike some of Universal’s motion simulator attractions that feature animation, such as The Simpsons Ride and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Race Through New York uses CGI-enhanced live-action footage. The special effects wizards at Industrial Light & Magic produced the ride film.

Race Through New York is the first theme park attraction to feature media rendered and projected using 16K resolution. (That’s four times as sharp as the best ultra-high-definition television sets available to consumers.) It was also shot at a higher frame rate than conventional films. The enhanced specs are all about tricking the audience and immersing them in the experience.

The theater only moves a few inches in any direction. But because its movement is in sync with the projected action, it creates the illusion of a rollicking adventure. The media is a key part of the illusion. “For us, the holy grail is photorealism,” Surrell says. “We want you to feel like you’re really in that world.”

New York Starring Jimmy, Fallon theater

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Ride Vehicle

The imagery is noticeably crisper in Race Through New York than other park attractions. But it’s not seamless. It’s an evolutionary step forward in the race to achieve photorealism. I admired the detail, but I never felt that I was actually on the set of The Tonight Show or that the real Jimmy Fallon was cracking jokes in front of me.

The race vehicles bust through 30 Rock and careen through Times Square, down into the subway tunnels, under the East River, and hit other New York hotspots. Fallon plays many characters including a De Niro-Esque taxi driver and 15-year-old Sara of “Ew” fame. It’s funny and engaging, especially for Fallon fans.

Despite a simulated roller coaster sequence, the ride is tame enough that all but the wimpiest visitors should be able to handle it. (The minimum height to ride is 40 inches.) If you’re concerned about the thrill level, request a seat in the middle of the theater where there is the least amount of action. So who wins the Race Through New York? I wouldn’t spoil that.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Ride

Is There A Store In Jimmy Fallon’s Race?

As is the case with nearly all theme park attractions, riders exit through a retail store, here known as The Tonight Shop. Amid the T-shirts, coffee mugs, and other usual suspects, there are some quirky items. If you are a Fallon fan, you could get your own Hashtag the Panda costume for a cool $90. Dance moves and exhausted demeanor are not included.

Preview Starring Jimmy Fallon

Guests are called in to enter Studio 6B once the lighting in the upper-level waiting area changes to the color of the NBC ticket they were given at the receptionist desk. After guests are ushered into the doors that lead to Studio 6B, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon begins in the screens. The show begins with its intro and music played by The Roots, with Steve Higgins announcing the guests for this episode: you (the audience) “and featuring the Legendary Roots Crew”. The shot cuts to Questlove yelling “Universal Studios!” followed by Higgins introducing Jimmy Fallon. As he emerges from the curtains, studio applause lights flash, indicating the guests to do so as the show intro proceeds.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon At Universal Orlando Resort

After the intro ends, Fallon begins the show with a quick monologue about the sights the audience will get to see in the race through New York City and requests the help of Roots vocalist Tariq Trotter to rap about the safety precautions of the ride, instead of reciting them because “that’s boring”. After the applause lights flash again for The Roots, Sara and her stepdad, Gary, make an appearance as the only people in the studio audience, who later leave the studio for the ride’s gift shop. After they leave, Fallon ushers guests to step inside Studio 6B to begin the race, as he returns backstage through the curtains he emerged from to board his vehicle, “The Tonight Rider”

Jimmy Fallon’s Race History

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show hosted by Saturday Night Live alum, Jimmy Fallon, on NBC. The show premiered on February 17, 2014, and it is the seventh incarnation of NBC’s long-running Tonight Show franchise, with Fallon serving as the sixth host. The show also stars sidekick and announcer Steve Higgins and house band The Roots. The Tonight Show originates from Studio 6B, where Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show also was taped, in Rockefeller Center, New York City.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon At Universal Orlando Resort

On October 27, 2015, episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon officially announced the attraction, which opened in 2017 at Universal Studios Florida. The attraction, which is based on the popular celebrity race segment from Fallon’s show, replaced Twister…Ride it out, which closed on November 1, 2015.

It can be said that since Universal Studios officially launched this ride three years ago, it has become one of Universal Studios’ most exciting programs to date, and every year this season begins its tickets from It is over long ago.

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