Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Soft Opens, Full Queue Experience and Construction Update

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon will officially open April 6, 2017, but if you're lucky you may get a chance to experience this new 3D simulator attraction during "soft openings," which are going on now! Soft opening, or "Technical Rehearsal" as Universal calls it, is like a practice run for the attraction. Some effects or elements may not be working, some things may change as they work the kinks out, and most importantly, there's no guarantee that the attraction will be open at all during this time and may close down at any given moment. Lately the ride has been operating in the afternoon each day, and over time that should move to be all day for most days. Check with the ride attendant out from in the morning to see if they know anything, and check back throughout the day for your chance to ride during a soft open.

This brand new attraction features a unique queue-less design, giving guests the chance to explore the Tonight Show museum, relax in the 30 Rock Lounge, and see some live entertainment while they wait. I was very impressed with the entire experience all around. If this were simply just the four minute ride I don't think I would've liked it as much as I did. This park needs more long experiences now that Twister, Beetlejuice, and Disaster have closed, and you can easily spend 30 minutes in this attraction just soaking in the queue areas and fun entertainment.

The ride will utilize a Virtual Line reservation system after it officially opens next month. This will allow you to reserve a time to come back, either through the Universal mobile app or one of the new kiosks near the ride entrance. You will still need to wait a short period once you enter, but that time is spent enjoying the museum and live entertainment, and should be considered part of the attraction overall. They've even included comfy chairs with mobile device charging stations, which is not too shabby a way to wait for a ride.

See the video for the latest construction update, full queue experience and live entertainment, and check out the photo report below for more information as well as more of my thoughts on the attraction! And stay tuned for more theme park news and updates coming soon.

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Construction Update

Welcome to 30 Rock Orlando!
All work walls are down around entire building now
Ride entrance (note only one entrance, no separate entrance for Express)
Entry way now has warnings sign
Ride warnings and rules (including no video taping on the ride)
Height requirement stick and host podium
The one and only entrance is called "Virtual Line Return"
To make your virtual line reservation there are kiosks to the right of the entrance
After the ride officially opens you will be able to use these to reserve your return time
In addition to the kiosks you will be able to reserve times via the mobile app
Closer view of the screen. Note that they have trademarked "Virtual Line"
New street lights are showing up, making it feel more like an authentic NY street
These windows have been redone and dressed with props that match the Newspaper offices theme for the facade
There's lots of hidden things in the window displays, including nods to Twister and items in memory of Bill Paxton
Hanging on a coat rack is Bill Paxton's shirt from the Twister pre-show

Blue shirt in window
Blue shirt on the Paxton

One of the windows features an ad copy room, with this advert for "Twister" Cola
There's also a stapler on the desk of the ad copy window...
The label on the stapler says "B PAXTON"
There are four newspapers hanging up in one of the windows, each of them have nods to things from the park
On the front page it says it's a Newspaper with "Universal" values

Newspaper ad for "Bull's Gym"
Bull's Gym is a facade at Universal with Bullwinkle

Ad for "Regal Cafe"
Regal Cafe is facade across from Mummy coaster

Newspaper article about "World Expo"
World Expo is the name for Men in Black building

Ad for Paranormal Investigators
A nod to original Ghostbusers Spooktacular

Moving on into the gift shop area, new signs next to exit stairs have shown up
Exit stairs
Recently the mural over the stairs was painted over with white. The assumed reason is it was too distracting to read while walking down a flight of stairs

Mural above stairs two weeks ago
Mural painted over, now blank

Looking up the exit stairs
Lots of new merchandise added, including these Ew! bags and purses
New Hashtag the Panda mugs
New Hashtag the Panda Tervis

Hashtag Panda boys shirt
Hashtag Panda girls shirt

New smart phone cases
Children's book written by Fallon
Cute little tiny mugs
And toy taxi cabs added

Soft Open and Queue Experience

Also be sure to watch the video for much more including the live entertainment from the attraction.

Soft openings have been starting in the afternoons each day. Over time they will be all day long
They were only running one of the two theaters when I was there, so the wait shot up to an hour real quick (I only waited 30 minutes)
Technical Rehearsals warning sign
After entering the building you turn right, into a long hallway
The hallway features NBC shows on the right and all NBC logos through history on the left

After the hallway, you enter the 30 Rock lobby
After entering you're given a plastic ticket, one of six colors
When it's you're time to enter the next room your color will light up
This is what the signs look like when they change color
In this room the chandeliers change to the color as well
This room also features some cameras and equipment through the years

The next room is a museum featuring a display for every Tonight Show host
The displays feature a sample of their desk, some memorabilia, and a TV of the era

Four out of six hosts' names begin with "J"
When you're color is called, it's time to go upstairs
I love the fake windows overlooking the city skyline

Hashtag the Panda, welcoming me to the Studio 6B lounge
The Studio 6B Lounge
Instead of waiting in line, to pass the time you can play games or watch clips on these touch screen desks
Or you can relax in these comfy seats
Seats have built-in charging stations and wall sockets
There's also a theater adjacent to the lounge. Monitors play bits from the show
The highlight of your no line waiting experience is definitely the live performances by the Ragtime Gals
They combine the music stylings of a barber shop quartet, with the music of today
In the theater, the stairs light up as well as the peacock logo, to indicate who's turn it is to enter the studio
The walls light up as well, so everyone knows who's turn it is to enter
Time to hand over our ticket and enter the studio
Be sure to pick up your "racing goggles" before entering
Gotta watch a pre-show before riding, see my full video for complete preshow

You can watch the quick video above for a small sample of what the ride film is like. (Imagine it with music and effects though!)

The child swap room is right there after you exit the ride theater
Don't forget to drop off your 3D glasses
View of that empty wall while exiting down the stairs into the gift shop

So there you have it! After many many months of construction, the new replacement for Twister is complete. I think it's a great addition to the park, with a fun (and silly) ride, an awesome full wait-less queue experience, and most of all, a great new facade for the New York area of the park!

That's all for this update. See all Fallon Ride updates here and subscribe to the feed for more continual updates!

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