Race Through New York at Universal Orlando

Race Through New York

Race Through New York Entrance

We recently visited Universal Orlando to test out their new ride: Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. Come along with us and learn everything you need to know about this brand new attraction.

About Race Through New York

Race Through New York is another addition to Universal’s lineup of 3-D simulator rides. This one is themed to NBC’s popular Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. On this ride, you encounter several iconic New York sights as you race Jimmy Fallon himself through the streets of the Big Apple. Along the way, you will also meet a few characters from the Tonight Show, including Hashtag the panda.

You begin the ride by entering a mock-up of the studio where they film the show. Eventually, the studio becomes a flying racing vehicle, and your race begins. During the race, you speed up the side of the Empire State Building, fly past the Statue of Liberty, and somehow end up on the moon before returning to the studio. There is more to the ride than this, but I’d like to leave you with some surprises to discover.

Avoiding Long Lines for Race Through New York

It’s surprisingly easy to avoid lines for Race Through New York. In fact, this ride boasts a “queueless” waiting system.

If you want to take advantage of the line-free wait, however, you must reserve your space ahead of time. There are two ways to do this. First, you can download the official Universal Orlando Resort App (find the free download here). This allows you to reserve a space in a virtual line, but you must be on property to secure a return time. When it’s your time to ride, just show your phone to the attendant and they will direct you where you need to go.

Pick up return time tickets at the kiosks located here

If you don’t want to or can’t reserve a time on the app, you have another option. There are kiosks next to the ride where you can pick up a ticket for a return time. Then, present your ticket to the attendant when it’s time for you to ride. Be aware that return times go fast on busy days. Make your reservation as soon as you arrive on property to ensure you get to ride.

If you can’t manage to get a space in the virtual line, you can sometimes wait in a standby line. On slow days, you won’t wait longer than 30 minutes. On busy days, though, you could end up waiting well over an hour, if the standby line is even available.

The Waiting Area at Race Through New York

While you don’t have to wait in a traditional line, you will have a short wait before you enter the ride theater. But that’s okay, because you are going to enjoy this wait.

Tonight Show Museum at Race Through New York

Johnny Carson Exhibit in the Tonight Show Museum

Upon entering the first waiting area, you receive a “peacock” card. This card, as its name suggests, will be the color of one of the feathers in the NBC peacock’s tail. You can then proceed upstairs. Once you go upstairs, you need to pay attention to the colors of the lights in the room. When the lights turn the color of your peacock card, go to the second waiting area. You will pick up your 3-D glasses here and watch a very funny safety video while you wait to board the ride.

I told you that you would enjoy your wait, and here’s why. Downstairs, there is a small Tonight Show museum with exhibits for all the different hosts of the show over the years. It’s worth checking out, especially for long-time fans of the show. Upstairs, there is some live entertainment that fans of the show will recognize. We’ve seen the Ragtime Gals perform and watched Hastag the panda dance and greet guests. Both acts were quite funny. We almost missed our boarding time because they were so entertaining.

Hashtag the Panda Race Through New York

Meeting Hashtag the Panda at Race Through New York

The waiting area upstairs also has seating with outlets for charging your devices. Additionally, there are tables with Race Through New York themed games to play while you wait. These are always occupied when we go, so we have not tried them yet. We hear they are pretty funny, though. Needless to say, if you can’t handle this wait, you probably should avoid theme parks entirely.

Our Opinion of Race Through New York

Even if you’ve never seen the Tonight Show, we think most people can enjoy Race Through New York. Most people will recognize the New York sights, making it relevant for a majority of audiences. Our eight-year-old, who knew nothing about the Tonight Show or Jimmy Fallon, is now obsessed with both. I had to find child-friendly snippets of the show for her to watch because she loved the ride so much. I think she is now Jimmy Fallon’s biggest fan. So, I think most kids will like this ride. There is a height requirement of 40″, though, so not all kids can ride. Child swap is available, however.

Unlike many of the other simulator rides, this one is very smooth. You don’t experience the same nausea-inducing jerkiness that you find in rides like The Simpsons or Minion Mayhem. I have terrible motion sickness, and I did not have much trouble with Race Through New York. There were a few scenes that caused slight dizziness, but closing my eyes for a moment made that feeling go away.

This ride isn’t as amazing as the newer Skull Island King Kong ride, and it’s not as iconic as the Harry Potter attractions. But, we think this ride’s theming and silly storyline make it really fun. It’s definitely a must-do attraction, in our opinion.

On a final note: Be sure to check out the gift shop on your way out. It’s a smaller version of the NBC Studios store at 30 Rock in New York, albeit with a higher concentration of Tonight Show merchandise.



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