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Guest Article www.parkworld-online.com


Dreams do come true


Nickelodeon Universe and DreamWorks Water Park at American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, enjoyed a joint opening October 1. Debbie Evans reports


I


n October 2019, after more than two decades of waiting and wondering, the record-breaking mega entertainment and retail destination just minutes away from New York City finally opened its doors. American Dream, developed by Triple Five Group and dubbed “a revolutionary community for fashion and luxury retail, fine to casual dining, and unexpected attractions” was off to a thrilling start with the launch of Nickelodeon Universe. The park regularly reached capacity on weekends and earned high marks from guests. Triple Five executives fast- tracked expansion plans and began preparing to add five more rides, making the most out of each square foot of available space.


On opening day, October 25, 2019, Nickelodeon Universe was the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere, welcoming three world-record breaking rides: Shellraiser – steepest roller coaster (Gerstlauer), Shredder – tallest and longest spinning coaster (Gerstlauer), and Skyline Scream – tallest indoor spinning drop tower (S&S Worldwide). Then came the pandemic. Nickelodeon Universe ceased operations on March 15 joining thousands of other parks and attractions around the world in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. While the thrills stopped, the team - referred to as Dream Makers - did not. Executives proceeded with expansion plans, all the while working with medical and industry experts to prepare for a return to fun at American Dream.


With five new rides added to the portfolio and ready to open, and all the precautions expected of an industry committed to safety, Nickelodeon Universe re-opened on October 1, 2020. The park is sparkling – clean, colourful and a dream for families. The mix of rides satisfies all ages and the detail invested in Nickelodeon themed décor, seating, signage and even colour-matched queueing is tremendous. Of course, guests can also pose for socially- distanced photos with their favorite characters including Dora and SpongeBob.


Director Chris Mortensen


More than 35 rides installed include popular models from Zamperla, Chance Rides, Gerstlauer and Intamin. Also part of the project are S&S Worldwide, Amusement Products, Softplay, and Ropes Course International. The sheer number of rides carefully placed completely indoors is quite an impressive achievement. When asked about being part of this unique development, attractions director Chris Mortensen replied: “Triple Five has a very innovative and open approach to operating their attractions because they are always looking for new and exciting experiences to offer their guests, from the world’s largest indoor wave pool to the world’s steepest coaster, just to name a few.”


Indeed, Triple Five has extensive experience operating mixed-use developments including the West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America, both of which feature multiple entertainment and attraction options. On the same day American Dream re-opened Nickelodeon Universe, the mall also opened the new DreamWorks Water Park, now the world’s largest indoor water park. Originally scheduled to open in March, the water park’s opening was delayed by the COVID-19 shutdown.


The theming and attention to detail at DreamWorks Water Park match, or perhaps even exceed, that achieved at Nickelodeon Universe across the hall. Not to be outdone with world records, DreamWorks Water Park features its own set of superlatives: Far Far Bay - largest indoor wave pool, Toothless Trickling Torpedo


AUTUMN PART 2 2020 33


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