Universal Orlando completely and totally recreates the Tonight Show Experience in new attraction



Universal Orlando is about to open their latest attraction on April 6th, with Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York. It’s a fun new attraction based on one of the most popular hosts, of the show that changed how we watch television. Of course, I’m talking about Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show. Everyone has gone on at length at how great the line experience for the attraction is, and that the ride is just kind of there. What a lot of people are missing is that Universal isn’t building a ride, but putting you into the Tonight Show. We’re going to take you through the entire experience of Universal’s latest attraction and show you just why this ride is actually pretty important.

First, you start off by walking into 30 Rockefeller Center…or 30 Rock. You’re greeted by people dressed in their NBC best, with headphones and jackets, ushering you into building. The waiting experience has changed drastically from what you’ve been accustomed to. First you can book your time to come in by either downloading the Universal Orlando app, or by finding one of the kiosks in the park, and booking your time. Then you’re off to wait in line for about 20 minutes.
And the line is a really cool experience. Watch our video below and see the entire line experience.



You have everything there, from a museum, to a live show, to even charging stations. It’s really a revolutionary experience, and not your typical waiting in line, theme park experience.

Related: How Jimmy Fallon Came to Universal Orlando and What It Means For The Theme Park Industry




Universal and Disney have been going head to head for the past few years in how they change the queue experience. Disney’s been putting interactive games in line, and Universal removed the line altogether. They also put the interactive games, and chargers, and they said “let’s take it one step further” and put live entertainment.



Hashtag the Panda walks around meeting guests. He’s Jimmy Fallon’s mascot, and a costumed character without a line! It’s hard to think about in this day and age, but a free roaming character just walks around the line and takes pictures with everyone. It’s a great touch…but there’s one more touch that brings it all home.

Yes, Jimmy Fallon’s Barbershop Quartet that sings modern, sometimes inappropriate, songs-The Ragtime Gals are recreated in theme park form. It’s a great cool experience that just happens frequently throughout your time there.

But why are you waiting in line? What is that you’re waiting for? The ride, of course. Universal has given Jimmy Fallon his own ride. We can’t show you the whole thing, but we can show you some clips of what the ride footage looks like.

Watch-Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon’s New Ride!

The ride itself is a new take on an old favorite at Universal Orlando. They use a theater based simulator to actually “fly” you out into New York.

Many other blogs and critics have said that the ride is very lackluster…but they’re missing the point. The ride completes the Jimmy Fallon Experience. It’s fun, it’s wacky, and it’s like stepping off your couch and taking part in a Jimmy Fallon Show.

This next part is where it becomes important to understand where Universal is going. They aren’t just building rides…not anymore. They are building a world. They started years ago, and really perfected it with the Wizarding World. They put you into the world, but that world has been broken up by waiting in a line and going from scene to scene where you are having things happen to you.

Race Through New York is taking you out of the theme park world, and putting you into a taping of Jimmy Fallon. Your experience starts when you walk into the building and ends when you leave that world by walking out of the gift shop. The ride is only there, because as a theme park guest you need a payoff. The real attraction is that you’re going to see a taping of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, without the hassle of going to New York. And the ride itself? It’s fun, and wacky, but it’s not by any means groundbreaking. That’s not a bad thing at all! It’s part of the Tonight Show experience, because in the show…Jimmy Fallon races celebrities through the studio and through New York. He has a racing cup, named after two guests who started the races-The Hemsworth Cup. That was what brought the entire experience together, and what better thing to base a ride on, then having Jimmy actually race his audience through New York in a way that you’ve never seen?
Again, the ride is a small portion of the entire experience. It’s meant to be that way, because Universal is trying to change the way you think about theme parks.

In the past, you had a themed area, and there was a ride that was the centerpiece of the land…that’s what you came to see…the centerpiece. Like a centerpiece on your table during a holiday meal. We’ve grown too accustomed at looking at the centerpiece, and not looking at the amazing meal set before us. Universal wants you to stop thinking about the centerpiece as the only thing on the table, and start looking at the meal. The entire experience is the centerpiece, and you’ll be wowed by every single bit of it.

I honestly think that’s the future that Universal is taking us. Instead of focusing just on the rides, we could have a whole new world of centerpieces, or a journey among a world of centerpieces. Each stop on that journey will take us into a brand new world that is seamless and doesn’t have anything to interrupt the experience. There will be rides, and they could be groundbreaking, but the entire experience will leave you with something that you can’t get anywhere else…or at least that’s what I see as happening. Race Through New York seems like the first step towards walking into that world, and while the ride itself is not as exciting as say Escape from Gringotts, unlike that ride it’s just one small piece in a much larger puzzle that is fun, exciting and really breathtaking. That’s the direction I see Universal heading into in the future. Again, I might be off on that thought, but with the company buying up a lot of land in Orlando, opening a brand new waterpark experience and introducing new wait time technology, and experiences, it certainly seems pointed in that general direction.

Regardless of what you’re hearing, the bottom line is that Universal has totally and completely recreated the Tonight Show at Universal Orlando. It’s an amazing experience, and it opens on April 6th. You need to get your tickets to the show today.

Slideshow-Want to see more pictures? Check out our full Race Through New York Gallery below!

Click here if you can’t view the slideshow

We will have even more Jimmy Fallon fun, as we count down until the April 6th Grand Opening!

Stay tuned for more from Universal Orlando, and be sure to get social with us on Facebook and follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!
For our latest theme park videos please be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube!
For more information about Universal Orlando, including tickets, visit the official website by clicking here!