Jimmy Fallon ride in Orlando: Here's what we know

ORLANDO — It's less than a month till curtain, but Jimmy Fallon is ready for you.

Well, his ride is anyway.

Universal Orlando Resort hosted a media preview of its newest attraction Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday. Universal executives call it the world's first flying theater. You are the audience and Jimmy, of course, is the host.

It officially opens April 6. Till then, here's what we know, thanks to Jason Surrell, creative director for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Oops

It is not a roller coaster. The ride is a computer-generated simulator. Big difference, but still very entertaining. Fallon apparently told the Today show that he's getting a roller coaster. It was never meant to be a roller coaster. Said Surrell: "It was Jimmy being excited" when he said that.

Fallon wants a ride. But what?

At first, Universal struggled trying to find the right story to tell. "Late night talk show doesn't necessarily scream thrill ride to people," Surrell explained. "It was really important to us to try to come up with an experience that felt organic, that felt like it emerged from the world of Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show."

The Universal team watched hundreds of hours of DVR-ed Tonight Shows to figure this out. In the end, it was the wacky celebrity races. Said Surrell: "It gives us a vehicle, it gives us motion, it gives us a crazy route."

Instead of the Hemsworth Cup, named after brothers Chris and Liam, it's the Tonight Show Cup, and it's the ultimate prize.

Tickets to the Tonight Show

Not available. Fallon will film some episodes at Universal Orlando the week of April 3-6. However, according to the Tonight Show ticket website, tickets to his Orlando shows and monologues are sold out. Also, guests are TBD.

Fun Fallon ride facts

• Before Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, Universal asked the comedian to host the tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood, which debuted in 2011.

• #JimmyFallonRide replaced Universal Orlando's Twister attraction, which replaced Ghostbusters.

• Universal's trying to combat long lines with a new system: A virtual line experience. There's no actual standing in line. Guests will grab a color tab or download Universal's app, then they're free to congregate throughout the 30 Rock building — upstairs, downstairs or hanging at the interactive tables. Once they get an app notification or the color from the NBC peacock logo starts flashing, guests are ready to ride.

• Universal made New York a literal, true co-star of the show. "New York City is something that pretty much transcends all borders," Surrell said. "Even if you're not necessarily familiar with who Jimmy Fallon is, you'll get to see Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building …"

• The Ragtime Gals will bring to life a number of sketches from the Tonight Show. On TV, it's a bit that's meant to be funny, but these musicians are amazing. Other features include Jimmy Fallon thank you notes, Tonight Show history (did you know there were six hosts?), and the Tonight Shop gift shop.

Easter eggs (spoiler alert)

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon has a few Easter eggs or hidden gems: Fallon's family makes an appearance in the ride and so do two Universal writers. A blue shirt similar to the one worn by the late actor Bill Paxton in Twister is hanging up in one of the window displays. There's also a Twister reference.

Follow Jennifer Sangalang on Twitter: @byjensangalang

The details

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon opens April 6 with special guest Jimmy Fallon at Universal Orlando, 6000 Universal Blvd. Single-day single-park tickets start at $110 for adults. Call 407-363-8000 or visit universalorlando.com.

Florida Today


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