I thought the video looked like the trade show in Orlando but I am not sure. The photo gallery on their site shows more locations. The only place I have ridden one was the Santa Monica Pier. I wish there was a site like RCDB where people kept track of operating carnival style rides, but not that I can find.
The final stop of my pre-coronavirus tour was Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. I visited both Nickelodeon Universe parks for the first time last year and I much preferred Minnesota's for a few reasons.
I love how none of the photos for the Mall of America are actually about shopping.
One of the biggest reasons is the atmosphere. Minnesota's has far more natural lighting and more trees making it feel like an outdoor park as opposed to a warehouse. And Minnesota's is located in the center of the mall with free admission, so the kinetic energy of the mall is infectious. Compare that to the one in New Jersey that's pay-one-price and tucked in the corner.
And the ride that best defines that is the Pepsi Orange Streak, the Zierer coaster that winds its way through the entire park. This coaster is far from thrilling. In fact, it feels more like a high speed monorail. But the visuals completely make the ride and it's honestly my favorite coaster in the park. 7 out of 10
The other reason why I prefer the Minnesota park is the Log Chute. I'm a big fan of log flumes and this one is my personal favorite outside of Splash Mountain (yes I prefer this to Chiapas and Ripsaw Falls ).
In my visit last year, the Log Chute had an hour wait so I was only able to get two rides on it. This year, I got a half dozen rides in the park's first hour of operation and a few additional rides throughout the day as the line maxed out at 20-30 minutes.
This flume has everything I could want- some great theming, beautiful landscaping, great drops, and the perfect amount of wetness. Plus, the views of the mall and park during the elevated section are fantastic. New Jersey may have the stronger coaster lineup, but I'd trade anything at that park for the Log Chute. 10 out of 10
Yes, this really is an indoor park.
That moose isn't just a static figure. It's an animatronic!
Tell me another log flume next to a Hooters.
Speaking of the coasters, the park's biggest thrill coaster is SpongeBob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge. While the coaster isn't in the same league as Shellraiser, it does have some good airtime on the first drop and speed hill plus a few good inversions in the slow barrel roll and sneakily forceful vertical loop. The one issue with Rock Bottom Plunge is something shared by many of the EuroFighters- the roughness. This coaster shuffles pretty badly along the course. 6 out of 10
The road to Rock Bottom had a 90 degree drop on SpongeBob. Nick Universe took the creative freedom to add a few degrees to that.
You make a loop de loop and pull, and your shoes are looking cool.
Avatar Airbender isn't far behind in the thrills department. This Intamin halfpipe still has the original over-the-shoulder restraints as opposed to the lap bars on New Jersey's version, but it's not an issue for me since this ride is smooth. However, this is a ride with diminishing returns for me.
I enjoyed it my first time, liked it less my second time, and found it just ok the third time. I just found the ride to be a bit repetitive like a swinging ship since the cars barely spun. But at least Avatar has far better airtime that almost every swinging ship. 5 out of 10
The U stands for universe.
The final adult coaster is Fairly Odd Coaster, the original Gerstlauer spinner. And I think this coaster has a big advantage over the versions at the Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks. Whereas the larger parks try to pair single riders with groups of three to maximize capacity, Nickelodeon Universe didn't care one bit so it was extremely easy to get an unbalanced ride. That resulted in some great spinning.
As for the course, it's quite familiar for me considering I've ridden my home park's Pandemonium more times than I can count. But this one does have a better setting wrapping its way around rides and over pathways. 6.5 out of 10
The Mall of America opened hours before the official opening time for walkers, so I was able to catch Fairly Odd Coaster testing before breakfast.
The park is also home to 1.5 dark rides. Ghost Blasters is definitively part of the park. It's included on the wristband and it's a pretty good version of the familiar ride. All of the targets work and it's longer than you'd expect. 7 out of 10
The half is for Fly Over America, the flying theater. The ride is located in Nickelodeon Universe, but it appears to be unaffiliated so it requires an extra ticket. The tickets were pricey (almost $20 if I remember), but was the ride worth it? Sort of.
I got a ticket for a double feature, so I could experience the original Fly Over America film plus Fly Over Hawaii back-to-back. And each film was probably the longest I've seen in a flying theater. I didn't time it, but they felt just south of 10 minutes in length.
Fly Over America (7 out of 10 had some great city/landmark shots, but there were a few duller shots mixed in. Thankfully, the latter was often paired with a smell to make it interesting. Fly Over Hawaii (5 out of 10) was stronger visually, but I thought the landscapes all blended together after a while, so I preferred the variety on America.
The one issue I had with both versions was the use of sprayers. There are several sprayers mounted on the ride vehicle itself and they kept fogging up my glasses throughout the ride. I'm used to sprayers (I go to Universal after all), but this flying theater seemed to use them far more often. So just keep that in mind if you're visually impaired like me.
Still bitter this isn't themed to Danny Phantom.
Here's my boarding pass. I got one better than TSA Pre-Check, no TSA!
Nickelodeon Universe also has a very strong flat ride collection.
Brain Surge lets you flip like a lunatic.
Shell Shock lets you also flip like a lunatic, but you have to work for this one.
This frisbee had good airtime on the two max swings it provided, but it was way too short.
Splat-O-Sphere is more of a family drop tower, but it has a nice long cycle.
As I mentioned earlier, the Mall opened well before its posted opening time since it's connected to a train station and hotel. This meant I could casually walk around the Mall before it got busy. Nickelodeon Universe is the undeniable star as a theme park fan, but the rest of the mall is quite interesting as well.
I skipped SeaLife since the version in Canada was tiny, but you could see the mantas from the top level balcony.
So many butterflies.
2020- The year when an ice cream cone learns to take a selfie.
Canobie Coaster wrote:In my visit last year, the Log Chute had an hour wait so I was only able to get two rides on it. This year, I got a half dozen rides in the park's first hour of operation and a few additional rides throughout the day as the line maxed out at 20-30 minutes.
Pro Tip: It definitely makes a difference to visit when school is still in session like you did this second visit, even if it is a weekend.
Great report, thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your visit because 8 days later is was closed. And yes, the Log Chute is probably the best ride in the state. If you are a fan of flume rides you need to get to NU someday.
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