After months of dormancy following an initial launch last year, a landmark development along Route 3 in East Rutherford is set to welcome guests back to their evolving facility.
One of the largest entertainment complexes in the country, the 3.3 million square foot American Dream hasn’t caught many breaks over the years. Once called “the ugliest damn building in New Jersey and maybe America” by former Governor Chris Christie, the facility endured a long-running saga to open that included revamping the initial panned façade.
The mall was forced to completely shutter at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic mere months after opening. But hopeful signs emerged last month when an 180,000 square foot indoor ski and snowboard park named Big Snow re-opened at the complex on September 1.
A new wave of attractions is set to open October 1 at American Dream, which will be operating at a reduced capacity and require guests to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing measures. The most high-profile draw to open is probably the DreamWorks Water Park, which consists of 28 rides spread out within a sprawling indoor space.
Another indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe, is set to restart its 25 rides after a brief run during the early part of 2020. The Rink and Out of This World Blacklight Mini Golf will also reopen and be joined by an Angry Birds-themed mini-golf course that features 18-holes laid out into six groups of three.
Retail options are set to be expanded significantly at American Dream during October and a few stores opening today include H&M, Primark, and ZARA. Other retailers set to make their debut this month include Aldo, Arc’Teryx, Asics, Century 21, Columbia, DSW, Fabletics, Hollister, MAC Cosmetics, Pink Victoria’s Secret, Primark, Samsonite, Sephora, Sunglass Hut, Tumi, Uniqlo, and Urban Planet.
Food options at the complex are still somewhat limited but should increase significantly in the coming months. A Coca-Cola Eats venue is set to open by the end of October and the Munchies food court planned for the building is scheduled to open by the end of the year.
COVID-19 has caused a few high-profile attractions at American Dream to push their openings into 2021. A SEA LIFE Aquarium, set to include over 3,000 creatures in more than 10 interactive exhibits, has been delayed until next spring as has the opening of Legoland Discovery Center, which will include a Lego-themed train ride, 4D cinema, Lego building classes, and more.
American Dream has recalibrated since the COVID-19 outbreak and announced earlier this year that they will be shifting their offerings from 55% entertainment and 45% retail to 70% entertainment and 30% retail. The complex has notably lost a few tenants that include Century 21 due to bankruptcies that have been filed by retailers during 2020.