New Rides at Universal Orlando Resort

Fans of The Tonight Show and host Jimmy Fallon can now step into Studio 6B at a new attraction at Universal Studios Florida®.

Exterior of NBC’s 30 Rockefeller building

Photo: TM & © 2017 Universal Studios

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™ takes visitors through the history of the popular late-night talk show The Tonight Show and lets them get up close and personal with Hashtag the Panda and enjoy a hip-hop barbershop performance by the Ragtime Gals before boarding the attraction. The ride is a 3-D simulator that allows riders to race against Fallon above, below and through New York City. During the race, Fallon appears as 10 different characters.

Hashtag the Panda

Photo: TM & © 2017 Universal Studios

Fallon proposed the ride to Universal® executives years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. Things changed when he became the host of The Tonight Show in 2014, and planning for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™ began about three-and-a-half years ago. Fallon was given free rein with his ideas, and his ride is for all ages (so long as kids meet the minimum height requirement of 40 inches). The attraction is, of course, in the New York section of Universal Studios Florida®, and NBC’s home at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has been replicated inside and out to fit into the streetscape.

Guests are talking about Universal®’s Virtual Line™, which the theme park has introduced at the attraction. Guests download the official Universal Orlando® Resort app, reserve a one-hour return window, and return at their preferred time. Return times are also available on kiosks in front of the attraction. When they come back, guests are entertained in different areas of the building: They are invited to walk through the history sections of the first floor before advancing to the second-floor lounge, which features Hashtag the Panda and the Ragtime Gals. In effect, Universal® has essentially eliminated lines for most guests at Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™. (There is a standby queue for folks who do not get a reservation card.)

Volcano Bay at night

Photo: TM & © 2017 Universal Studios

The Fallon attraction is a big draw, but visitors have another huge reason to visit Universal Orlando® Resort this summer: the new Volcano Bay™ water park. Volcano Bay™ has four distinct areas: Krakatau™, Wave Village, River Village and Rainforest Village. The volcano, named Krakatau™, is the centerpiece of the park. It rises 200 feet above the tropical landscape and streams waterfalls during the day and fiery lava effects at night. Inside the volcano is a variety of water slides, and throughout the park there are tube, body and raft slides. There’s a children’s play area, too.

Runamukka Reef at Volcano Bay

Photo: TM & © 2017 Universal Studios

The park has a Pacific Islands theme that is carried out not just in the water rides but also in the food. Look for coconut curry chicken, a mango-barbecue pulled pork sandwich and Hawaiian ribs, plus traditional kid favorites like chicken fingers, burgers and pizza. There are 60 food items at four locations, including the park’s signature chocolate lava cake.

Volcano Bay™ also features new technology that reduces guests’ wait times, enhancing their experiences. At Volcano Bay™, each guest is given a TapuTapu™ wearable band that allows them to enter virtual queues and avoid physical queues for the rides—which means more time to enjoy other attractions, like the wave pools or the Kopiko Wai Winding River.

Universal Orlando® Resort’s Virtual Line and the new TapuTapu™ wearable at Volcano Bay™ are included in the regular admission prices. However, Universal® also offers the Universal Express™ Pass, which, for an additional charge, allows the visitor immediate front-of-the-line access (once per ride) at each of the three theme parks.

So, get ready to race and splash your way through all the new rides at Universal Orlando® Resort this summer.

AAA Members can take advantage of an all-new Splash, Stay & Play Vacation package and save up to $100*. (*Restrictions apply.)

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Janice Yip-Hudson, AAA Travel Counselor, Daly City, Calif.

Today, people's lives are so busy. We're thinking three days ahead just to get through our to-do lists. I love helping my clients plan vacations where they have nothing to do but relax; where time stands still, and you're just on vacation.

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