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Nickelodeon Universe / American Dream Discussion Thread

p. 32 - AWESOME DreamWorks Water Park trip report!

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1 hour ago, jamesinclair said:

Pissing people off in an attempt to make $2 a pop while half your mall is empty doesnt seem smart to me

Welcome to American Dream NJ, where all logic goes straight out the window.

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1 hour ago, jamesinclair said:

Pissing people off in an attempt to make $2 a pop while half your mall is empty doesnt seem smart to me

Really? The first two hours are free. Surely $2 isn't pissing anyone in NJ off more than they usually are. Isn't a New York City $2 to a New Yorker like a quarter at the parking meter is for me in the Midwest? Sounds like an intelligent business decision to me.

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A $2 parking fee in the NYC metro area is very small, but the existence of a such fee at all is an extra psychological barrier I certainly wouldn't want at my mall struggling to find tenants.

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The majority of parks charge at least $20 to park.  I have to spend $3 to park at my local target.  I don't think this is worth complaining about.

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For what it's worth, I visited the park this past Wednesday with my daughter. After our inaugural visit back in 2019, where she just missed being tall enough to even ride the Shredder, we made the decision to not return until she hit at least 48" so she could ride way more stuff. Well, she finally hit her mark back in April, so we ended up picking up the low-price mid-week tickets that gave us free reign of the park from 12 PM to 7 PM.

We didn't end up actually getting there until 2:00 PM (had to wait for her virtual school to end before we left), but once we did, it was a pretty painless process. We picked up our wristbands at the counter after they scanned the QR code from our online purchase. Unlike in the past where they were embedded with RFID chips and they would be scanned at every ride entrance, these are now just your average paper wristbands that we showed upon entry to the park and then never got checked again the rest of the day. Crowd levels were pretty light, as to be expected mid-week.

In the span of the five hours that we were there, we rode everything we wanted to ride multiple times. None of the rides had more than a station wait, with the exception of Jimmy Neutron, which was closed earlier in the day but opened back up around 4 PM. For whatever reason they were only loading about four or five cars at a time on that ride, so it took us about three cycles to get on.

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The first coaster she wanted to ride was her nemesis from last time, The Shredder. This is without a doubt my favorite spinning coaster I've ridden so far (might change whenever I make it out to SDC, but for now, this slaps). The sheer length of it gives a lot of bang for your buck, and with only the two of us in the car, we got some absolutely insane spinning. Both times we rode it, they allowed us to stay on for re-rides thanks to no one else being in the station, so we ended up getting a total of four rides. It's just a great smiles-on-faces ride, and easily a big favorite here.

Shellraiser was up next, and it was also a walk-on for us. Sadly, this one ended up being a one-and-done. Although the layout is great, I remembered half of the rides with my son being super rattly back in 2019, and unfortunately, it's only gotten worse since then. I don't know what they can do to fix this ride, but it's shaky to the point of the car feeling like it's going to tear itself apart mid-ride. We noticed at many points throughout our time there they were just sending empty cars throughout the course. Here's hoping they find something to do with this ride that makes it more enjoyable for everyone, because as it stands, this record-breaker is definitely the biggest flop in the park.

Slime Streak was listed on the website as being down for maintenance from the 4th through the 20th, but for whatever reason, it was open that Wednesday! I was a bit apprehensive about riding as I had heard it was not particularly friendly towards larger body types and I'm still trying to shed those extra lockdown pounds, but I'm happy to say that although the trains were on the small side, the restraints were not overly restrictive. We did this one twice throughout the day. It's your average family coaster, nothing too special or thrilling but gives a nice view of the park.

Timmy's Half-Pipe Havoc was open for the first time for us, originally being closed back during our 2019 visit. This was my second Intamin halfpipe coaster and my daughter's first experience. More ridiculous fun, with the back and forth launches and the rapid-fire spinning. We only did it once but wouldn't mind riding it again.

Timmy's Half-Pipe Havoc

Sandy's Blasting Bronco was also operating, but due to the height requirement being 52" and my daughter being short by 4 inches, we skipped it. It looks hecka fun, though, and hopefully the next time we go back and my son is along for the ride, we'll get a chance to give it a spin!

Other rides of note: Kraang's Pandemonium is an absolutely bonkers mini-pendulum that picks up speed super fast, and the interaction with the ceiling (and ceiling fans!) is sure to thrill. Skyline Scream was operating as well, and this S&S tower runs a combo program; it shoots you up to the top and then bounces several times before pulling you the rest of the way up for a beautiful panorama of NYC and New Jersey. You are greeted up at the top by Spongebob and Patrick figures before you plummet back down. While it apparently can rotate, it wasn't rotating during any of our three rides on Wednesday, but it was still a lot of fun.  Last but not least, while the Reptar carousel is cool to look at, it's a total pain to ride. Not sure whose idea it was to have the spikes on the tail poking your butt if you slide even slightly backwards.

There were a number of new Zamperla kiddie rides scattered throughout the park, including a Crazy Bus themed to the Loud House, a Happy Swing themed to Dora The Explorer's monkey Boots, some cupcake looking teacups themed to Butterbean (whatever that is), and a mini-whip themed to Paw Patrol, but the only one that was currently operational was a Bubble Guppies themed spinning balloon tower. Here's some photos of the ones currently under construction:

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Foodwise, they're still only operating a single food stand located near the Half-Pipe coaster, with primarily pre-packaged sandwiches, hot dogs, popcorn, snacks, and the like. However, we noticed they were bringing more structures into the building as we were leaving Slime Streak for the second time, one of which said "Burger Bar" on it. Hopefully there'll be a little bit more options for food in the near future, especially considering that they aren't offering re-entry to the park currently. If you want to check out any of the other food options in the mall, you'll forfeit the remainder of your ticket.
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I'm definitely happy we visited on a slow day with the cheaper tickets and smaller crowds. I wouldn't want to visit on a weekend, where you're limited to timed entry and exit periods and the crowds are heavier, as I feel like you simply wouldn't be able to get through everything here (and it's not even as if there's a whole lot for that matter).

Last but not least, the parking fee. It's free under two hours, and $2 for any length of time over 2 hours. This is ridiculous... and by ridiculous, I mean ridiculous to complain about. Literally go anywhere else in New York City and try to find parking anywhere near as cheap as that. Or for that matter, any other amusement park that isn't named Knoebels. Hell, the Queens Center Mall charges $3 for an hour of parking and all they have is a damn Target and Red Lobster. I get that people are looking for something to whine about, but this ain't it, chief.

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1 hour ago, Canobie Coaster said:

There is a photo floating around of Slime Streak missing track.  Seems like they may be retracking a section of it already?

That would definitely explain why it was being listed as "temporarily closed" for a two week stretch of time on the website. (Of course, in typical AD fashion, it wasn't ready on time for that scheduled closure.) :lol:

Maybe they realized that, y'know what, this family coaster really needs an inversion.

In all seriousness, seeing that they're already doing some work on their rides gives me hope that they can eventually either retrack or get new trains for Shellraiser, because it really pisses me off just how unpleasant that entire ride experience is.

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1 hour ago, Canobie Coaster said:

There is a photo floating around of Slime Streak missing track.  Seems like they may be retracking a section of it already?

a 2nd train and transfer station seems like it is needed 

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The section being replaced appears to be the second drop, so it's definitely not to add a second train.

Maybe they thought it was running too smoothly and they wanted it to better train young guests for the older, rougher coasters.

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Unlike in the past where they were embedded with RFID chips and they would be scanned at every ride entrance, these are now just your average paper wristbands that we showed upon entry to the park and then never got checked again the rest of the day. gimp download

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  • 3 months later...

Two operational changes have occurred.

Nickelodeon Universe now state online that you can leave and re-enter throughout the day.  I didn't see the same thing for the Dreamworks Water Park.

Both Nickelodeon Universe and the Dreamworks Water Park now offer skip-the-line passes for $50.

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^ Additionally, they're now selling a combo ticket for admission to both Nickelodeon and Dreamworks for a flat $149. They claim this is a $45 savings, but looking at ticket prices for this upcoming Friday, Dreamworks is $99 and Nickelodeon is $75. They must be using that common core math that's confusing to my old ass, I guess.

You can (but are not required to) use them both on the same day, but you do need to select which specific dates you are going to use them on at time of purchase. It also includes discounts at various shops and other attractions throughout the mall, which could be negligible depending upon your mileage. (Wow, 10% off at Cinnabon. Be still my beating heart!)

Side note, we came back to the mall over the summer -- not to do any of the rides or slides, but to check out the two 18-hole mini golf courses. They had a special running one weekend where ticket prices were 50% off (and considering each course is normally $20 per player, that added up fast). "Out of This World" is their blacklight course, and it's all angles. No real gimmicks or much of anything beyond that. If you've been to a Monster Mini Golf, you pretty much know what to expect here. It felt cramped, and was pretty underwhelming. The other location, Angry Birds Mini Golf, was much more our speed with a lot more space, a lot more interesting obstacles, tons of fiberglass figures of the whole Angry Birds gang, and a cool twist on some of the holes where instead of putting, you could use a slingshot to launch your ball towards the hole. It was actually a lot of fun and something I would do again (just not at that $20 price though).

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10 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

It's nice to see them offering some combo packages and discounts. Honestly, $149 for the 2 day combo is reasonable.

Honestly this might make the couple hour drive worth it for us. It's been hard to justify stopping and seeing just the water park or just the dry park since they both look pretty good, just not good enough to make a weekend trip out for essentially $700 for both of us with hotels/tickets to both. This would actually get it to about $500 overall which is cheap enough that I feel like I'm not getting completely ripped off. I'd much rather use that extra money saved for Fast Pass which is now an option as well and also a reasonable price. Overall I think this is great news and enough of an incentive to get me out for a trip finally at least.

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The local grocery store by my house charges 2 an hour as well. free if you're out in 20 min and validated for 2 hours if you shop. 

 

I said a while ago this park is a Prestige park, I think they also risk inviting people from The Bronx and Brunswick NJ if the price is too low. This part of NJ is famous for keeping prices high to keep certain people out, Bergen County. 

 

The last time I went there several guests were men in nicely tailored suits with their children. That is exactly the customer this park is built for. 

 

The Meadowlands literally never made sense even back then. I have only taken an urban planning class but that 101 class taught me to never build anything other than a museum in the middle of a park or grassland. Everyone knew that when they started this back in the late 80s. This place was never going to be successful unless it was a museum. 

 

This new concept of turning this mall into an experience center rather than shopping center is probably the best idea this place has ever seen. It needs to be a destination and Malls are not considered destinations to people. 

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People in new jersey  don't pay to park at target, or their grocery store, or a mall. This isn't brooklyn or los angeles (or jersey city). Even people from "Brunswick NJ," don't normally pay for parking 🤣 Not a single business in bergen county charges customers to park. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The fire happened a few weeks ago, dang. That website didn't say, but the official website says October 31st for reopening as Bill noted. 

"Just one week after celebrating the long-delayed grand opening of its luxury retail and dining wing, "The Avenue," one of American Dream's longest-running tenants will remain shut for at least one week after an early-morning fire on Saturday." Source

Convenient timing for a fire that will bring them back "better than ever" with that sweet insurance money.

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