While Nickelodeon Universe and Big Snow opened late in 2019, American Dream was set to open a bunch of retail locations and its DreamWorks Water Park this past spring. But due to COVID shutdowns, the massive entertainment complex has been completely closed for seven months with the exception of indoor ski and snowboard spot Big Snow opened which just opened in September. But now, American Dream is opening in a big (and safe!) way on October 1.
We got a tour of the space today from Co-CEO Mark Ghermezian, who explained what they’ve been doing to make the space extra fun (think some Disney-style magic) and safe for visitors. In addition to following COVID state restrictions, with requires no more than a 25 percent capacity throughout the space, American Dream has also partnered with Hackensack Meridian Health to create a #dreamsafe initiative.
Guests will be required to wear masks in all public places (unless swimming at the DreamWorks water park) and there are touchless temperature checks at attractions like Nickelodeon Universe and DreamWorks Water Park. There are signs guiding guests on the flow of traffic and QR codes for mobile booking for set time slots for mini-golf, ice skating and other venues. There’s also an on-site urgent care facility, run by Hackensack Meridian Health, for any concerns, and an educational pop-up run by the medical facility to offer information on health and wellness topics. The upside of American Dream is that this place is simply enormous. There’s plenty of room to spread out and social distance.
Some things, like luxury shopping, Legoland Discovery Center and SeaLife Aquarium, won’t be opening until spring, but in the meantime, there’s plenty happening.
Opening October 1:
The theme park opened last year. While a few of the high-touch climbing areas for kids are closed, all of the big rides will be open. The touchless temperature check is easy–you’ll just walk by and the machine takes your temp. On weekends, the venue is selling tickets for morning and afternoon sessions in order to keep crowds down so you can social distance. There will be thorough cleanings in-between sessions and rides will be cleaned in between passengers. Make sure to book tickets in advance.
Out of This World Blacklight Mini Golf
This indoor mini-golf is one of two mini-golf options inside the American Dream. This one has players in the dark and is filled with funky blacklight decor. You’ll need to book your timeslot online to make sure the course isn’t at capacity when you arrive.
Angry Birds Not So Mini Golf
Your favorite Angry Birds are here and they are super adorable. You’ll need to book in advance for a tee time at this one-of-a-kind golf course. Be warned, there’s a gift shop filled with some seriously adorable merch.
DreamWorks Water Park
The long-awaited water park boasts the largest indoor wave pool in the world. It’s seriously so huge that surfing lessons from pros are offered in the pool. Be prepared for some major slides, including the tallest indoor drop slide, which is so tall it made us more than a little nervous!
Lifeguards have been specially trained for COVID social distancing and have been provided with waterproof masks. Masks are required for guests (along with a temperature check) when in the park, but not while you’re in the water. The space is kept at a warm 87 degrees and feels practically tropical. Thanks to big spacious skylights, you can pretend it’s still summer. You can rent cabanas for your family if you want to have a safe space away from others.
Ready for winter sports? The ice skating rink is open. You’ll need to reserve a time slot.
The indoor ski and snowboarding spot reopened on September 1 and is also following #dreamsafe protocols. Book in advance and remain distanced when possible.
This candy department store is one of a kind, has multiple stories and will make you feel like you’re taking a trip through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
While most stores hadn’t opened before AD closed in March, that’s changing now. There are approximately 100 stores opening October 1, with additional retailers opening each week (keep up to date with what’s opening here). Some of the stores opening October 1 include the two-story Zara flagship location, as well as Primark, Express, H&M and more. There are three stories of shopping, and there’s so much space, you can definitely spread out. There are also some handheld food locations opening (Dunkin’, Cinnabon) with a Coca Cola Eats dining experience opening in the future.
This serene spot in the mall is already our favorite. It’s filled with adorable gnomes and mushrooms and so much moss. Visitors to the mall can spend a few minutes walking through this magical fairy land or sit and enjoy a few moments of zen.
Don’t forget to charge your phone and take some fun photos. There are Instagram worthy murals and pop-up art spots throughout the mall that make amazing backdrops for your pics.
Ghermezian and his team have been working to make this a fun and safe space for visitors and employees (who are all called Dream Makers). When fully up and operational, American Dream leadership expects the venue will provide approximately 20,000 additional jobs to the New Jersey job market.
Parking is still free for the moment, and we were assured that when it’s instituted at a later date, there will be a nominal charge.