As we ventured out for a day of adventure at Universal Studios Orlando to check out the new “Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon”, we had no idea what to expect, but watching the teasers on the Today Show and Tonight Show we knew we had to check it out.
We are Disney people. We have mastered the fast pass system and know when and how to navigate the parks to get the most out of our time. We had no idea what a Virtual Line was, when we heard this was a feature of the ride, so our hope was just that we could get to the park early enough to get to do the ride at some point during the day.
Approaching the 30 Rock building, walking down Main Street in Universal is pretty awesome. It really captures the look and feel of New York City. The gift shop is also a grand display of Jimmy Fallon merchandise, NBC memorabilia and larger than life pictures of Jimmy Fallon and crew. But then we approached the line entrance and were told that there were no more virtual line spots available for the day…sorry. Ack, what?? So, not to be beat by this technical fail, my husband whipped out his iPhone and began his quest to challenge this defeat.
Here’s the thing with the Virtual Line. You have to be on Universal property to get a reservation. Using the Universal Orlando app, you can go online to reserve your spot, but only for same day reservations and only when you get to Universal. Unlike Disney you can’t do this from home or many days in advance and once all the spots are filled, the only shot of getting a spot is if someone cancels. Fortunately, he happened to be in the right spot at the right time and found an open spot 2 hours after we had inquired at the entrance. This allowed a nice window of time to grab lunch. Our day was saved.
When we came back with a “virtual reservation” secure the next approach to the ride entrance was much more fun. We were welcomed into the lobby where we had a walk down memory lane, seeing pictures and scenes from Tonight Show hosts present and past. From Jack Parr to Jay Leno and Johnny Carson – everything about the main floor lobby was TV magic. And then we were told to go upstairs “whenever we were ready” to go to phase 2 of the pre-show. An area of sofas and gaming tables as well as video clips from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon played on larger than life screens. High energy and fun, but also a great place to chill and relax. (And phone chargers were plentiful as well). An additional feature is the color-coded cards that each guest receives when they enter the lounge area. The colors are displayed and announced when it is your turn to enter the line queue. A great way to keep the people moving through the attraction without having to stand in line.
Once you enter the queue the ride is all about Jimmy Fallon and being part of his crazy adventure. The safety precautions rap sets the stage for a ride that has character and makes each rider feel like they are part of the show. The ride is a journey through New York, racing Jimmy Fallon. With twists and turns and little extras, it is a ride that can be enjoyed by all and one that we will probably need to do a few more times to make sure we didn’t miss anything the first time.