So once a year, I get my date night with Aanya, my friend Artee’s 13-year-old daughter. I try to plan something special that she will enjoy since we really don’t get too much time together. It is not easy to find something that a teenager will like, especially on a weekday evening. After doing some searching on the internet I learned that Madame Tussauds NYC had a special Ghostbusters Dimension Experience, which is a virtual reality exhibit. I sent the information to Aanya to see what she thought. She responded back to me quickly saying that it looked really good and then started telling everyone else how excited she was to go. Let me tell you more about our visit to the Madame Tussauds in Times Square so that you can decide if it’s worth it for you go.
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What is Madame Tussauds?
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum where you can see models of famous people including actors, political figures, athletes, and even fictional characters. It was founded by Anna Maria “Marie” Tussaud who was a wax sculptor from Strasbourg France. The first museum opened in London in 1835 and has since spread to 24 other cities. The New York City location opened in 2000. It has five floors of attraction space and over 200 figures!
Fun Facts about Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds is not your average wax museum. Here are a few interesting facts about the wax figures to help you appreciate how special they are:
- Each wax figure takes about four months and $300,000 from start to finish.
- They take more than 250 measurements and 180 photographs of each subject to make sure the figure is accurate. If they can’t get the measurements, the artists examine hundreds of photographs and watch hours of video to create the figure.
- Each wax figure is made 2% larger than the actual person to compensate for the amount the wax will melt during the process.
- It takes two to five weeks to do the figure’s hair because each strand is inserted individually. There are approximately 100,000 hairs on each head.
- They use red silk thread to create the veins in each eyeball and knotted rope for veins on the body.
- All figures have their hair washed and makeup (which is an oil based paint) retouched regularly.
Our Visit to Madame Tussauds NYC
When we arrived, we had to wait in line to enter. Those, like us, that had bought Madame Tussauds New York tickets in advance were in the shorter line. I definitely recommend buying the tickets online as the ticket prices at the wax museum are more expensive. (Click here to purchase tickets online) When I pulled up the mobile tickets on my phone, they asked me to take a screenshot so I could show them at a couple places throughout the museum.
In the lobby, there is a wax figure of Miley Cyrus, although we didn’t even realize who it was until we were leaving. Once you are upstairs, they will take pictures of your group in King Kong’s hand. There are a couple spots where they have professional photographers that will take your picture, which you can buy at the end of your visit.
Next, you take the elevator upstairs and the first room you enter has some pretty big name celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Depp, and Morgan Freeman. Some were very realistic, while others like Scarlet Johanson, I had a hard time recognizing. Luckily there were signs to help you figure it out. Then you enter the section with some movie and tv sets which were set up perfectly for pictures. I love the picture Aanya took with ET and the one with me on the set of Live with Kelly and Michael.
The political/religious section is next. Lots of former presidents and even a staged oval office with Michelle and Barack Obama. We saw the Pope. It was funny that one lady took off her University of Michigan hat and put it on the Pope. I was really wishing I had a Texas hat, it would have made such a great picture. We also saw the Dalai Lama and Gandhi.
Ghostbusters Experience at Madame Tussauds NYC
Then, it was time for the Ghostbusters section. First, you will see lots of props that look like they are from the original movie. I was impressed to see so much all the Ghostbusters at Madame Tussauds! I love that movie. We passed by Janine’s (the secretary) desk and the phone rang. Aanya picked it up and it was a warning about ghosts. It was nice that you could touch things and have fun taking pictures. In one room, we also found a piano that was playing the Ghostbusters theme song its own – you could see the keys moving. When we went downstairs, there was a hologram of a ghost.
Finally, we arrived at the Ghostbusters Dimension Experience. First, we had to sign our lives away (well, it was a short waiver form that I didn’t read). We ended up waiting about an hour for our turn because they were having technical issues. At one point, I actually asked for my money back because I was tired of waiting. Then luckily they said we could go now or get a refund if I wanted. We decided to go ahead and I am really glad I did. I have never experienced anything like it.
While we were waiting we met a lady and her daughter who was about the same age as Aanya. They asked if we would go with them. I thought it was a little weird but it allowed us to skip ahead of other people in line, so I agreed. Also, you cannot take purses into the experience, so they had us put ours in lockers.
When it was finally our turn, we went into the room to suit up. There is a somewhat heavy backpack/life vest thing that you have to strap on tightly, Then there is the helmet with the visor. The staff was very helpful with making sure everything fit properly. The lady who asked us to go with her started freaking out saying that she could not wear the helmet because she was claustrophobic. She couldn’t do it and asked if we would take her daughter. I tried to reassure her and convince her to go, they had been waiting even longer than we had. She still said no. Somehow one of the staff members was able to calm her down and convince her to go.
With the helmet on, it totally changes what you see. When I first put the helmet on, I saw a man in the orange jumpsuit walk in front of me. Of course, I had no idea it was Aanya. So when I took off the helmet again I panicked when Aanya wasn’t right next to me. It transformed all of us into men (that all looked the same) wearing orange jumpsuits, which I found odd since the new movie is all girls!
Once we had the gear on, we waited outside the door. My instruction was to wait for the light and then open the door and go in. I have to admit I was a little nervous being the first to walk in, I wasn’t sure about what to expect.
Well, the effects were amazing. Ghosts would appear and we would shoot them – trying not to cross the beams. Walls would fall down and when you were hit you would feel it through the vest you were wearing. We went in an elevator that felt like it was going up (but it wasn’t), walked across a shaky bridge that seemed high up. And of course, a Ghostbusters Experience wouldn’t be complete without a battle with the Marshmallow Man. The whole thing last about 10 minutes and it is so intense it goes by fast. I do think the Ghostbusters Dimension Experience would be too scary for young children.
If you want to do this virtual reality Ghostbusters Dimensions Experience (which I highly recommend especially for Ghostbusters fans) you should buy your tickets online in advance. The Ghostbusters NYC Experience does sell out! You need timed entry tickets that are in addition to the admission price for Madame Tussauds.
More Madame Tussauds Wax Figures
Next, we saw more wax figures and there was a section for Marvel comics. They have a 4-D short film, so it’s more than just 3-D. The seat moves and you do get a little wet, but it is a lot of fun.
Next, there is a section in Madame Tussauds NYC with sports celebrities. We saw Messi, Mohammed Ali, Serena Williams, and Derek Jeter who coincidentally have all been in the news lately. The last section was for music stars. Of course, they had Taylor Swift, but I didn’t really think it looked like her. I thought the most realistic in this section was Selena Gomez. They also had Rihanna, Usher, Carrie Underwood, and Alicia Keys.
We had a great time at Madame Tussauds NYC. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s one of those things you need to see at least once. The Ghostbusters Dimensions Experience was something else and we have so many great pictures of the rest of the museum. Plus, there are also several kid-friendly restaurants in Times Square to grab a bite after your visit to the museum.
Have you been to Madame Tussauds in New York City or another location? Have you ever done a virtual reality encounter? I would love to hear about your experience.
Expert Tips for visiting Madame Tussauds NYC
- The best time to go to Madame Tussauds is during the week. Allow 2-3 hours to see everything at Madame Tussauds NYC.
- Many places inside the wax museum did not have cell service.
- Standard Madame Tussauds NYC hours are Monday – Thursday 10 am – 8 pm and 10 am – 10 pm on Friday – Saturday. Check the website for the specific date that you plan to visit as the timing can vary.
- Buy your tickets for the Ghostbusters Dimensions Experience in advance to make sure it doesn’t sell out (Click here to purchase tickets online)
- If you are visiting NYC and want to see several attractions, you can save money by purchasing the New York Pass (Click here to see all the attractions included). Madame Tussauds New York tickets are included in several of the different NY sightseeing passes.