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Nickelodeon Universe / American Dream Discussion Thread

p. 32 - AWESOME DreamWorks Water Park trip report!

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Wow I did not realize there was another coaster blended in there with the Eurofighter. I just read it's a Intamin mini launch like a smaller Premier Sky Rocket. Not open yet obviously.

 

No, the coaster intertwined with the Eurofighter is a Gerstlauer spinning coaster (both open). The intamin short loop and half pipe coasters are still yet to open but the park has said the latter is expected to be open by this weekend. The Chance family coaster has been open on weekend but closed intermittently during the week - presumably to make adjustments to the restraints, which were a complaint on opening day and the park promised were going to be fixed.

 

Over all, it does seem like the facility wasn’t quite ready (lacking the food court that is slated for between the park and water park and the large Nickelodeon gift shop). But, while expensive, the park is in a market where an all day pass at nearby Luna Park is only 10 dollars cheaper (and with an included ropes course, some additional unique rides, character greeting and climate control, that would seem to make sense). This is a city where people pay $250 to see a 2 hour Broadway show.

With a metro area population of 21 million and NYC seeing over 60 million tourists annually, if they’re looking for a price point to keep crowds to a minimum, but still keep people coming in, it would probably be on the high side.

I would be disappointed, however, if once the mall opens they don’t allow you to pay per ride so you can ride one roller coaster between your holiday shopping.

I would also tend to agree with the predictions or a water park all day pass being over $100.

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Has daily train service started? When I went for USC vs. Syracuse, they ran busses and it was a sh*tshow.

 

No. There are 4 bus lines operating daily however. 3 local, one express from NYC.

 

Earliest train service would be in the March schedule, but even that is not guaranteed. Im guessing if there is train service next March, it will be weekends only.

 

NJT cut a lot of service last year due to construction + labor shortages. They havent fully restored those trains. Adding service to a mall before restoring those trains would result in an outrage.

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Has daily train service started? When I went for USC vs. Syracuse, they ran busses and it was a sh*tshow.

 

No. There are 4 bus lines operating daily however. 3 local, one express from NYC.

 

Earliest train service would be in the March schedule, but even that is not guaranteed. Im guessing if there is train service next March, it will be weekends only.

 

NJT cut a lot of service last year due to construction + labor shortages. They havent fully restored those trains. Adding service to a mall before restoring those trains would result in an outrage.

 

As of right now, there is an indefinite hold on train service on the Meadowlands spur line, except when there is an event at MetLife Stadium. If you do decide to go on game day, you'll have to hike it from the train terminal to the mall as there is no shuttle bus service. Otherwise, don't look for train anytime soon. NJTransit is shopping for an "innovation partner" to get people from Secaucus to the mall because they know they're incapable of handling it and won't be able to do so for quite some time. They're looking for a public-private partnership and are open to all proposals including sky cabs, monorails and light rail - hell, anything that moves people. So far, there's only been one prospective partner putting a plan up.

 

That said, there's also a ferry-bus link from Manhattan courtesy of NY Waterway between Manhattan and Weehawken and then bus from Weehawken to American Dream. It's $16 each way for the ferry-bus link and $7 each way for just the bus.

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Why is there a Ren & Stimpy ride if the creator's a pedo? You'd think Rocko and Hey Arnold would get rides seeing as Invader Zim has a ride... also, where's The Loud House ride? That's like the second most popular Nicktoon next to SpongeBob these days...

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Why is there a Ren & Stimpy ride if the creator's a pedo? You'd think Rocko and Hey Arnold would get rides seeing as Invader Zim has a ride... also, where's The Loud House ride? That's like the second most popular Nicktoon next to SpongeBob these days...

 

The S & S drop tower is Hey Arnold themed

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I know I said I wasn't planning on coming out here until the waterpark opened, but what can I say. We were in the area and we decided to check it out.

 

It was crowded AF in the afternoon with most everything having a line spilling out the entrance of the queue. At one point, they managed the quintfecta of having every single roller coaster down simultaneously. Two of them, Shredder and Shellraiser, came back up eventually while the other three never ran at all. Other rides down for extended periods of time or the whole day included Invader Zim, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Dora's Sky Train.

 

Shredder is pretty amazing as far as spinning coasters go. Shellraiser, we got four rides in total. Two of them were incredible and breathtaking. Two of them were headache inducing. I don't know what it is, but train #5 is rattly beyond the point of tolerance (and I'm honestly pretty tolerant of bad rides). Hope they can get it fixed soon.

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Disney raising their prices, in increments, in three decades is one thing. Nickelodeon raising their prices, in just one month, without being fully 100% operational, is on a whole different head scratcher level of a dimension.

Here's the thing, though. American Dream has been advertising the prices during the current soft opening as a "preview period". Maybe if they came out at the beginning and said "hey our normal prices will be $60 on weekdays and $80 on weekends, but during this first month, we're giving all our early visitors a discount", it would be received differently... but pretty much all I hear from the media reporting on it is "they're RAISING prices already!!!!11".

 

Either way, I certainly hope that they have all their certs sorted out by the date they're expecting to start charging $80 per ticket, else they're going to get rightfully hammered.

Super belated response, but yeah. True. It's the preview period that people + media are overlooking in what they see. Still... Even the preview prices felt a bit steep to the average goer. Hopefully, they do have everything ready to go by this coming Friday to make that $80 feel a bit better (but still stinging).

 

I will forever cross my fingers that they'll adjust that $80 in the future.

 

I know I said I wasn't planning on coming out here until the waterpark opened, but what can I say. We were in the area and we decided to check it out.

 

It was crowded AF in the afternoon with most everything having a line spilling out the entrance of the queue. At one point, they managed the quintfecta of having every single roller coaster down simultaneously. Two of them, Shredder and Shellraiser, came back up eventually while the other three never ran at all. Other rides down for extended periods of time or the whole day included Invader Zim, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Dora's Sky Train.

 

Shredder is pretty amazing as far as spinning coasters go. Shellraiser, we got four rides in total. Two of them were incredible and breathtaking. Two of them were headache inducing. I don't know what it is, but train #5 is rattly beyond the point of tolerance (and I'm honestly pretty tolerant of bad rides). Hope they can get it fixed soon.

Thanks for your trip report. Not surprised on the crowd factor. It's a Saturday. At least, the last weekend before that price goes up. Here's to really hoping they get all the coasters mostly up and running by next weekend. (Edit x5: Come to think of it, that's also the first time I've ever heard of it being actually crowded. Not even on opening weekend did it feel "crowded" from what I observed from the upstairs overlook. "Crowded" can be seen as a good sign in some aspects.)

 

And I just noticed.... So, it's official that they scrapped the parking fees indefinitely? On their official website, it says "Free Parking" (with the exception of game days). Now, the complainers can't complain about it.

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Hopefully, they do have everything ready to go by this coming Friday to make that $80 feel a bit better (but still stinging).

Honestly, I'll be surprised if they get everything up and running in time for next weekend... see my response to Canobie below.

 

(Edit x5: Come to think of it, that's also the first time I've ever heard of it being actually crowded. Not even on opening weekend did it feel "crowded" from what I observed from the upstairs overlook. "Crowded" can be seen as a good sign in some aspects.)

 

This is what the crowd looked like from the top of Shredder at 3:15 PM yesterday:

IMG_9636.thumb.jpg.0d01b9bf5013259874525965d0a591d0.jpg

Yup. Crowded.

A lot of the pathways between rides were just slammed and crammed. One of the ride supervisors had mentioned that they weren't expecting this much in the way of crowds yesterday so everyone was kind of caught off guard. It sounds like it was the largest test of their infrastructure that they've had to date.

 

And I just noticed.... So, it's official that they scrapped the parking fees indefinitely? On their official website, it says "Free Parking" (with the exception of game days). Now, the complainers can't complain about it.

So, when we drove in, they had completely unmanned toll booths with the gates raised, and cones placed in the parking structure to block anybody from going above the first level of parking. There was still a ton of empty spaces on that first level (the structure is massive, after all), but if I were to speculate, I wouldn't be surprised if paid parking makes its reappearance in the future once more stuff starts opening and the mall starts drawing even more of a crowd.

 

Has Sandy's still not started testing? It sounds like the Halfpipe has been seen testing and Slime Streak was open at one point.

Sandy's Bucking Bronco was completely blocked off and had tarps over it. They did have the lights turned on for it, so it was drawing a number of people in its direction, all of whom were disappointed to find it unopened. Timmy's Halfpipe Havoc was testing intermittently throughout the day, but every time I saw it cycling, it was only shooting the vehicle back and forth through the circuit. None of the seats were rotating while it was in motion.

 

Slime Streak was definitely open during opening weekend, but when I had spoken with the folks at the ticket booth inquiring about the possibility of some of the rides reopening during the day, they had mentioned that Slime Streak had been down for the entire week and there wasn't a likelihood of it reopening on Saturday. Sure enough, at no point throughout the day did we see anybody working on it or any trains being cycled. That was pretty disappointing for my daughter, as it was going to be the only coaster she would have had a chance at riding all day -- she came up just a sliver shy of the stick at Shredder, even though she had measured up at 44" at Great Adventure one week prior.

 

Invader Zim had all the bumper cars parked in the corner all day with no testing and no movement at any point. Dora's Sky Railway ended up getting stuck in the middle of the track for a few hours. They were eventually able to reopen it much later in the evening. Legends of the Hidden Temple had the kids' course closed due to, from what I understand, the one attendant who was running it having a personal emergency and having to leave, and them not being able to find someone to take over to keep it open. The larger part of the course ended up being closed off early around 7:30 PM, a good two and a half hours before the park was scheduled to close.

 

A few more random thoughts from the park, now that we've had a night's sleep:

 

  • Kraang Prime Pandemonium is easily the best cycle out of any of these Midi Discoveries that I've ever been on. It ran for what felt like a good three minutes, with tons of flips, a lot of speed, and three genuine upside-down hangtime moments. It was a strong contender for best flat ride in there, tied with...
     
  • Jimmy Neutron's Atom Smasher. This was the first one of these Chance Unicoaster models that we've been on, and it feels like a worthy successor to the old Looper flats like Knoebels has. A lot easier to get flips on, for sure, as it's all controlled by a joystick. We had a ton of fun on this one, and had the wait not been nearly as long as it was, it'd be one of those ones we'd rush around to get rerides on.
     
  • Aang's Air Gliders is a pretty good Air Race, marred by kind of poor operations -- they were running one cycle every ten to fifteen minutes. No wonder this had a line spilling out the queue. When we finally got on, one of the ride ops asked me, no joke, five times if I was sure I wanted to keep my glasses (with strap) on. Even after showing him the strap. Even after explaining that they weren't going anywhere. Maybe just focus on checking everyone's restraints? *sigh*
     
  • Once the sun went down, it got really, REALLY dark inside the park. This isn't too terrible when you're dealing with rides that have awesome light packages (shout out Shellraiser!), but for the kid's Paw Patrol playground area? There were no lights whatsoever inside this fenced off area and from what my wife tells me, it was pretty disgusting in that spot with lots of trash splashed all over and an overwhelming smell of stinky kid feet. Sounds like they should probably try to retrofit it with some additional lights if they plan on keeping it open after dark.
     
  • In fact, the trash problem was something that we had noticed elsewhere in the park, too. Towards the end of the night, when we were getting our last ride of the day on Shellraiser, the platform up at the top was filled with piles of trash from people eating and drinking while waiting in line. With no trash can up at the top, I'm not surprised that they just left them sitting out, but it was pretty unclean and even caused my son to exclaim "WHO'S BEEN LITTERING?!?!".

 

I don't want to come off sounding like we had a horrible time at the park. We didn't. We went in with low expectations knowing that it was still part of the preview weekend and that there were going to be issues. The crowds were unexpected but manageable. I'm not rooting for this park to fail, and I don't think it will. But I think they definitely have a long way to go to get this up to speed because at the current moment, the experience they are offering is not worth the price they're charging, especially not when the prices are about to go up. I'm hoping that they can make some improvements in the areas where they're needed, from ride reliability to general cleanliness and order, and I'm hoping when we make a return trip that a lot of these issues are addressed.

 

As far as making a return trip, we definitely will be coming back, because at the end of the night, we went over to guest services. I came out and admitted that I had made a mistake when purchasing the tickets for my family, as we had bought an "All-Access" ticket for my daughter, and she ended up not being tall enough to ride Shredder, which would have been the only All-Access ride she would have been able to get on. The customer service rep immediately offered us a set of coupons good for 50% off any future ticket purchases, good for any date through one year from today. This was more than we were expecting to receive from them, and we thankfully gave them some appreciation and were on our way back to the car. However, I took a look at the coupons, and the expiry date printed on them said "11/08/2019"... after going back and pointing this out, the same CSR told us to hold on, came back, and gave us a fresh set of coupons with expiry dates of 10/27/2020.

 

Except, they were 100% off coupons.

 

This was definitely not necessary but it was a nice step to see them go above and beyond to try and ensure that we left the park happy, and we'll be looking forward to visiting again in the future, hopefully once more of American Dream is open. The Dreamworks Waterpark looks amazing from what we've seen through the windows, and they're also advertising an Angry Birds Mini Golf course coming soon that should be pretty entertaining.

 

A few more random photos from throughout the day (tbh, taking photos was kind of the last thing on my mind, sorry!);

IMG_9635.thumb.jpg.c7d2e16dcaa5a48312be0f328a44e7cc.jpg

While we were waiting in line for Shredder, my wife won this Nickelodeon slime button for correctly answering a bit of 90's Nick trivia. The question was "Which group performed the original theme song to the show, All That?". Do you know?

IMG_9678.thumb.jpg.dbb199b975938c0dbd8e7fe5a230245c.jpg

The illuminated Nickelodeon blimp shining like a beacon in the darkness.

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The shiny, red, CANDYLIKE button.

IMG_9921.thumb.jpg.ec9668d0a4f684a868bb0ecf17e8ad3b.jpg

What more needs to be said?

IMG_9922.thumb.jpg.9a6dd8e02fadd882e02f88842714d068.jpg

It's all an impressive mess of track, to be sure. Good night, Nick Universe!

Edited by robbalvey
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Thanks for the report! I'm glad you guys got vouchers to return when everything is up and running. You're not the first person I've heard get those vouchers.

 

Yup lol when I went I didnt even need to complain they just handed it to me as soon as I started talking. Interesting that half-pipe havoc still isnt open, I have a video of it testing on the 1st up on my Yt. Looks like I may have to wait a few more weeks than I thought

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I saw on twitter someone who says they went yesterday evening he estimated there were 25 customers total.

 

Also looks like they reduced their hours.

 

Pre-opening PR:

 

The theme park is expected to be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

Current:

Monday - Thursday - 11am - 7pm

Friday - 11am - 9pm

Saturday - 10am - 10pm

Sunday - 10am - 8pm

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Interesting, though I don't think performance right now is indicative of anything. The only thing there is a half-open theme park. Despite the "malls are dying" trend I think they desperately need to have the rest of the mall open to convince anyone to actually go to this place on weekdays during the school year. They also need a different pricing structure...

Edited by coasterbill
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Interesting, though I don't think performance right now is indicative of anything. The only thing there is a half-open theme park. Despite the "malls are dying" trend I think they desperately need to have the rest of the mall open to convince anyone to actually go to this place on weekdays during the school year. They also need a different pricing structure...

 

Too many mixed messages.

 

All the media before was about the traffic apocalypse and congestion and whatnot.

 

IE: Stay away!

 

Followed by "well actually, nothing is really open"

 

IE: Stay away!

 

Let's see how they handle the water park opening. If they have another issue where it opens with all the main slides "still being inspected" or whatnot , thats the kind of poor PR that lingers.

 

But regardless, raising prices + cutting hours at the same time is pretty damn stupid. I was actually thinking of going next week after work since itll be empty, but with the reduced hours, thats no longer an option.

 

 

Also, folks have asked about new pricing. I accidentally visited the website for the Minnesota location and they have a mix of options.

 

https://nickelodeonuniverse.com/tickets/

 

You can buy an all-day pass or pay per ride, like most boardwalk theme parks.

 

Looks like their roller coaster = 6 points = $7.60

 

Their day pass is $36.99, which is pretty good. I would never buy a single ride with that pricing.

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I'm still having serious trouble believing that people will make the trek to the Meadowlands just to visit a friggin mall. I grew up in central Jersey, mall central. I had 5 malls within 10 miles of my front door. What I'm saying is, people aren't going to drive an hour or more just to visit this place. Sure, when the Giants or Jets have a game I'm sure people will check it out, but malls were always a local hangout in that area of the country. You didn't venture far to find a mall. This isn't the midwest where towns and cities are vast distances apart. Towns are stacked on top of each other with no clear borderlines and each town has its own mall (or malls). Take the King Of Prussia Mall, for example. It's huge, it was always #2 right behind Mall Of America in terms of total square footage. Does it do the business Mall Of America does? No, because the greater Philadelphia area has malls EVERYWHERE. The only reason I'd ever drive out there was when I wanted to check out an IMAX movie.

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I just think people are forgetting how many rich people are in the NY area. Specifically 50$ is not much money to a lot of these guys. Ive talked to many peers who wanted the prices to be higher so less people can go. The sojo spa club in North NJ is 70$ for all day and it's just various pools of diff temps. 50% for Nick U is cheap.

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I'm still having serious trouble believing that people will make the trek to the Meadowlands just to visit a friggin mall. I grew up in central Jersey, mall central. I had 5 malls within 10 miles of my front door. What I'm saying is, people aren't going to drive an hour or more just to visit this place.

And that's probably why it is more than a mall. I think I read where the mall is only a fraction, small bit of what this entertainment center will have. I look at it like a vegas resort. Yeah, they have a mall but they have soo much more to keep you busy and coming back.

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Isn’t the point that it isn’t “just a friggin mall”? The area does not have an indoor amusement park, indoor ski slope, or indoor waterpark. The LEGOLAND discovery center, Kidzania, and sea life aquarium will also draw people like me, who have to keep two kids entertained through the dead of winter. People are very willing to drive “all the way to the meadowlands” for a day out with the family at these types of things.

The negative attitude of New Jersey folks towards this boggles my mind. As a NYC resident this is about the only thing that would draw me across the river.

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