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Jimmy Fallon on his new Universal ride

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Arthur Levine, Special for USA TODAY

7:48 a.m. ET April 6, 2017

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It’s not every day that someone gets to star in and be the focus of a theme park ride. In fact, except for fictional characters such as Harry Potter and King Kong, it virtually never happens. But The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon is the unlikely inspiration and star of Race Through New York, a simulator attraction that opened at Universal Studios Florida on April 6. Audience members get to compete against the comedian in a raucous showdown that sends them careening through Times Square, above the Statue of Liberty, and to other iconic places in the city.

Fallon moved his TV show to Orlando for a week to help celebrate the new ride. He chatted with USA Today about his attraction in the pre-show area of Race Through New York.

Dressed in a natty suit and tie, Fallon looked like he walked off the set of his talk show — which was appropriate given that Universal designed a convincing reproduction of NBC’s 30 Rock building and The Tonight Show’s Studio 6B in the New York section of the park. He was as affable and funny as you might expect. And Fallon was clearly excited and genuinely thrilled about the ride.

USA TODAY: Where does your fascination with theme parks come from? What are some early memories?

JIMMY FALLON: I grew up about four hours away from The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, and we used to go there. I loved the roller coasters. I love…

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