What’s to do in the winter in the tri-state area? Theme park wise, not much. However, the new American Dream mall in New Jersey offers a wonderful day out with an ice skating rink, shopping, (some) dining, a DreamWorks water park, and the Nickelodeon Universe theme park. Join us for a review of the largest indoor amusement park in the United States!
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We took a quick rideshare over to American Dream about 2 hours prior to Nickelodeon Universe opening and checked out the mall. It reminded us a lot of new mega malls in China, which is a nice compliment. The aesthetic is beautiful and modern and despite there still being a lot of retail space that sits empty, the variety of murals installed help cover it up.
Nickelodeon Slime Streak was the first ride we rode, as its right by the entrance to the park. The coaster’s layout and pacing are wonderful. One thing I absolutely detested was the trains, however. This Chance coaster runs trains that are found on their Big Dipper (kiddie) coasters (which are terribly small). The size of the coaster is similar to West Coaster in Santa Monica, so I wish it had larger trains. The coaster has a nice mix of forces but I was in misery the entire ride. Tall people, be warned! You can click on each image and swipe to take an up-close look.
Nickelodeon Universe is home to two Intamin coasters, a new generation Intamin Half Pipe coaster with awesome over-the-shoulder lapbars named Timmy’s Half-Pipe Havoc. Right next to it is Sandy’s Blasting Bronco, a prototype Intamin launch coaster with a turntable. The ride lets riders experience the 26m tall coaster both forwards and backwards. I tried helping Patrick fix the coaster, but with no luck. The ride was down all day. You can click on each image and swipe to take an up-close look.
The park is filled with solid flat rides and nice theming. The overall atmosphere was quite impressive. While it lacks the amounts of natural daylight that Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe has (Minnesota), there is a good blend of family rides, thrill rides, landscaping, and theming. You can click on each image and swipe to take an up-close look.
One of the park’s two big coasters is Shredder! This is a custom Gerstlauer spinning coaster themed to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles archenemy Shredder. The coaster’s impressive 685m length delivers a wonderfully lengthy ride experience that interacts with the park’s massive TMNT Shellraiser Eurofighter coaster. Shredder reaches a height of 26m, and closely navigates around the Eurofighter’s beyond-vertical drop. The entire integration of the two rides was very impressive. The lineup of ride elements on Shredder was well-balanced, but make sure you balance out your ride vehicle. Alexander and I sat on the same side for our first ride and we spun uncontrollably for the duration of the coaster. It was so sickening we sat around for about an hour before re-riding everything! You can click on each image and swipe to take an up-close look.
The park’s signature coaster is TMNT Shellraiser, a clone of Takabisha (Fuji-Q Highland) themed to… you guessed it: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The coaster has an impressive size for an indoor ride reaching a top speed of 100km/h, measuring is 1,000.00m in length and standing 43m tall!
The ride’s odd location inside an indoor theme park on a concrete midway was somewhat off-putting. The coaster had no infrastructure besides supports and open-station, while it did have a light package, it did not interact with the trains the way Knott’s Berry Farm’s HangTime does. Unfortunately, the ride is also incredibly rough in the front row, (migraine-level). Luckily we found the back row to be a LOT better. The coaster’s beyond-vertical 121.5 degree drop offers a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline and is definitely a highlight making the rather rough ride experience worth it!
The neatest thing was to appreciate how nicely woven in these two Gerstlauer coasters are! It made for some great head-choppers while riding TMNT Shellraiser. In the below images you can see how densely packed the two coasters are, as well as what the pre-launch drop and inversion look like (hidden on Takabisha). For the nerds among us, the coaster utilizes a scissor lift to transfer ride vehicles between the lower-level storage tracks and station! You can click on each image and swipe to take an up-close look.
Overall, we really enjoyed our day at the park, and while ticket prices are steep, we’ll gladly come back in a few years to get the Sandy credit! I highly advise everyone that’s within reasonable distance to hit up the park, it’s a great way to get some coasters in while all regional parks in the Northeast are closed for the winter!
We made this a day trip from Orlando with roundtrip flights the same day! If you’re looking to also make this a quick trip, fly in in the morning to EWR (Newark) and use a rideshare app to get to American Dream, then rideshare back for an evening return flight. Using Google Flights we were able to monitor some of the flights in and out of EWR that day and we got great deals with jetBlue and Spirit.
American Dream requires time slot reservations for DreamWorks Water Park and Nickelodeon Universe, make sure to research which time slot works best for you and your transportation. Also consider which day to visit as some days have higher ticket prices and shorter time slots!
For now, I’m going to Blue’s Skidoo Skiddadle outta here.
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