Thursday, June 21, 2018
Things To Do

Universal adds Jimmy Fallon ride to list of new theme park attractions

Jimmy Fallon is about to become a theme park ride at Universal, the Orlando attraction announced Wednesday, in a ride the Tonight Show host likened to the signature Harry Potter experience with a high-energy pace and 3D graphics.

The announcement is the fifth big coming attraction slated for Universal Resort in the next two years, making good on parent company Comcast's promise to keep investing in the parks as it draws record attendance.

The new ride called Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon is coming in 2017. The comedian talked about the announcement on his NBC show Tuesday night saying, "It's like that (the Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey ride), except instead of Harry Potter, it's me," Fallon said. "And instead of Hogwarts, it's New York City.

He said it will have smoke, smells, water and sensory experiences making it 4D.

"And if you really do it right you can get it up 8D," he cracked.

The Twister ride in Universal Studios will close Nov. 2 to make way for the Fallon ride.

Theme park designers said they looked to the Tonight Show's history of pitting its host against celebrity guests in contests and games for the ride inspiration.

"Jimmy wanted a fun and hilarious adventure that was also a valentine to his hometown of New York City," Jason Surrell, creative director at Universal Creative, wrote on the Universal's blog. "Our team found inspiration in the outrageous celebrity races that have become one of the most popular segments of Jimmy's Tonight Show."

This is another is a series of big announcements made in recent months from Universal, which has vowed to open at least one major new attraction every year.

Universal was estimated to have spent $400 million building Diagon Alley, which opened last summer in Universal Studios. And industry buzz, according to theme park expert Dennis Speigel, president of Cincinnati consulting firm International Theme Park Services, is that Universal is spending $100 million to $200 million to build the massive Skull Island: Reign of Kong, which is slated to open in the summer of 2016. The payoff, Speigel noted when Kong was announced, has been "the largest increases we've ever seen in the industry."

Other recent announcements include:

• A new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is already taking reservations for its opening in July 2016. The Caribbean-themed hotel, which will offer early park entry, will have a 16,000-square-foot beach entry pool, water slide, interactive splash area, private cabanas and a fire pit.

• Fast & Furious: Supercharged is coming to Universal Studios in 2017 as a stand-alone ride, which will offer more than the California version, with a queue area that lets visitors explore some of the cars from the Fast and the Furious film franchise.

• Volcano Bay, a huge new water park coming in 2017, in renderings shows a smoking volcano at its center with a platform near the top.

• Partnerships have been announced with other entertainment franchises, including plans to bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks, a Hello Kitty store and the recently opened NBC Sports Grill & Brew in Universal CityWalk.

The investment has paid off handsomely so far, with record attendance year after year since Harry Potter opened in 2010.

Just this week, parent company Comcast reported to investors on Tuesday that its theme park business saw record attendance this summer and quarterly revenues rise 34 percent to $651 million.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

Comments
Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Grief can unhinge us, disconnect us from our daily lives, make us do things we’ve never done. Grief made Tessa Fontaine run away and join the circus.To be more exact, the sideshow: World of Wonders, the last traditional traveling sideshow in the coun...
Published: 06/21/18
Food events: Wine dinners, ancient drinking games and Filipino food

Food events: Wine dinners, ancient drinking games and Filipino food

This week's best food events across Tampa Bay.
Updated: 3 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Thursday, June 21

TODAYBaseballRed Sox at Twins1 p.m.MLBMets at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBCubs at Reds7 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Angels10 p.m.MLBCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas Tech8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA: Traveler’s Championship3:30 p.m.GolfHorsesRoyal Asco...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Watch the first trailer for ‘Creed 2’ … and rejoice

Watch the first trailer for ‘Creed 2’ … and rejoice

There are very few things Hollywood gets right these days when it comes to making sequels from the movies of our generation. Thankfully, Rocky movies are one of the good things. And the very first trailer for Creed 2 – the newest sequel –...
Published: 06/20/18
Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Tampa might have the worst track record when it comes to contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race.Both queens who hail from the Cigar City were eliminated right away during their seasons. Alisa Summers was the first boot on Season 4 in 2012. Then on Season ...
Published: 06/20/18
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

The best of what's on stage across Tampa Bay this week.
Published: 06/20/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What are you going to see?
Published: 06/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 21

Go Skateboarding Day: June 21 is the worldwide Go Skateboard Day and there’s free skateboarding all day at the skate park with free barbecue and a trick challenge. 8 a.m., Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. Free. (813) 621-6793; ...
Published: 06/20/18
Ticket window: Comedy Get Down, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Gladys Knight and more

Ticket window: Comedy Get Down, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Gladys Knight and more

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week: • Comedy Get Down with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley and George Lopez, 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, $25-$125, on sale at 10 a.m....
Published: 06/20/18
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanIt’s been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But he’s about to make up for lost time. On Saturday he’ll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Published: 06/20/18