We are fortunate enough to live relatively close to one of the greatest cities on the planet. I have been visiting New York City since I was a kid myself, and now it is my kids’ favorite place to go for a fun family weekend. We have done lots of the expected New York City activities and attractions, yet there is still so much left to do. I haven’t (yet) written about even a fraction of our NYC experiences, although I have had a long post in the works for a while now. I also haven’t (yet) won the lottery, so we try to keep expenses down as much as we can in one of the most expensive places ever.
On a recent weekend, we decided to drive into the city and spend the night near Times Square (using one of our IHG credit card annual ‘free’ nights) at the Intercontinental Times Square. We were offered tickets to The Ride and Madame Tussauds so we could give them a try and write about it. We weren’t sure what to expect from either attraction, since we hadn’t been to them before. They are right next to each other (and also next to McDonalds, Dave and Busters, and Aladdin the Musical) in the Times Square area. The location for picking up tickets to THE RIDE is actually inside of Madame Tussauds.
Here’s some information about THE RIDE from their website:
THE RIDE uses New York City and its renowned landmarks as the backdrop for a theatrical event that blurs the boundary between tour and performance. The city becomes a stage, and soon you can’t tell where the street ends and the show begins!
THE RIDE gives you a front-row seat to the streets of New York City in a multi-million dollar motor coach that comes equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual technology, including 40 plasma screen TVs and over 3000 LED lights. Enjoy the performance from the comfort of one-of-a-kind stadium seating and huge panoramic windows.
While navigating a 4.2-mile midtown path, our performers and native New Yorkers alike become performers for THE RIDE, showing guests an entirely new side of New York City they can’t see anywhere else.
Whether you’re new to the city or a long-time native, you’ll find something to enjoy.
Get On, and Experience the Ride.
$50 OFF Your Next Party with THE RIDE!
I had seen these cool looking buses on previous trips to NYC and have always wanted to give it a try.
THE RIDE – Our family review
I know that a sponsored review can be hard to trust, but we really, really enjoyed our trip on THE RIDE. There are some surprises along the way, so I don’t want to give too much away. But I can say that this is not a typical NYC tour. It is actually more like entertainment, with some NYC trivia and facts thrown in.
There were 2 tour guides, who I think were probably aspiring (or maybe actual?) comedians. They were very entertaining and funny. My kids were smiling ear to ear the whole time, especially my very outgoing daughter, who became a big part of the show by singing karaoke and answering every question they asked.
The seats are more like movie theater seats (in rows), facing the long part of the bus (instead of the typical bus set-up facing forward). The bus is all windows, so you do get some great views that are hard to come by otherwise. We also drove right by Pee Wee Herman filming something, and had a great view of him. Not sure that was a bonus though. The comedians poked lots of fun at people walking on the streets of NYC, so if you ever see one of these buses driving by, try not to do anything stupid (or, on second thought, do something really weird & become part of the show for the passengers).
Our other planned activity was at the request of my daughter, who had birthday right before our visit. We have walked past Madame Tussauds many times when visiting New York City. She always begs to go in. This was a surprise for her birthday, and I knew that she would be thrilled. It was our first visit to a wax museum, and I was curious about how realistic the statues will be.
Become a star at MADAME TUSSAUDS with over 85,000 square feet of interactive entertainment in the heart of Times Square. There are millions of things to see and do in New York City, but there is only one place where you can get up close with over 200 incredible wax figures of celebrities, historical icons, sports legends and more. From Marilyn Monroe to Barack Obama to Lady Gaga to Carmelo Anthony, there is a star for everyone! Don’t miss the thrilling Marvel Super Heroes 4D theater featuring Marvel’s legendary Super Heroes. Visit nycwax.com for more information.
First, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ability to take photos with and touch the statues. I had thought that they would be behind glass or ropes or blocked off some other way. Instead, visitors are encouraged to get right up next to the celebs, put their arms around them, and pretend that they are hanging out with their favorite person-who-is-well-known-enough-to-be-made-into-a-wax-statue. Some of the statues were extremely realistic.
We liked how there were interactive exhibits, where the kids could play sports with famous athletes, play instruments with pop stars, and sign the Declaration of Independence. We got to take pictures with the First Family in the White House, and even with the potential first female president (insert liberal democrat reference here). I really liked the New York themed room, with famous New Yorkers, and a wonderful September 11th tribute.
Just yesterday we visited our second ever wax museum (Movieland in Niagara Falls, which was part of an activity pass we bought) & it gave us an even greater appreciation for Madame Tussauds in New York. The quality of the wax statues paled in comparison to Madame Tussauds, to the point where I wasn’t sure if one of the statues was giving us the finger or if someone broke some fingers off (even though the statues were behind ropes). Madame Tussauds’ statues seem to be the Cadillac of wax statues. It takes about a million hours to make each one of the statues, or something like that:
We had an excellent time on our most recent trip to New York, in part because of our tour on THE RIDE and visit to Madame Tussauds. As my husband says, sometimes tourist traps are worth falling into.
I also noticed that both of these attractions are part of those combo New York City ticket passes that you can buy, such as this one here.