Updated: Aug 24
Readers- to those who live in the Tri-State area like myself, this blog may seem more obtainable for you rather than others, but... isn't the American Dream for ALL of us?
The answer is, yes. It should be, and yes, yes it is Bob! <--- Said in my best announcer voice.
What began as a pipe dream back in 1987, by the company Empire & Mills, now stands a development much larger in scale than ever originally anticipated.
The origin story of the American Dream Mall is a fascinating one and actually dates back to 1961 when the land was first purchased. It wasn't until 1994 however that any actual blueprints for the location were drawn up under the name of "Meadowlands Mills", soon after known as "Meadowlands Xanadu".
After years of environmental concerns, law suits, NUMEROUS construction haults, and the pandemic that is Covid-19, NJ's Dream mall officially opened it's doors to the public, September 20th 2019. This was the mall's first stage of openings, as the mall was set to open in "Chapters" unveiling one large entertainment attraction at a time. Sadly, however, March 8th 2020 the mall yet again closed their doors due to Covid-19. This closure unfortunately caused a domino affect of large chain retail stores that had originally signed on to be apart of the mall's design, to pull out of their contracts. Thus causing yet another HUGE delay, and forcing the property to be abandoned, yet again... Lord & Taylor, Barneys, and FAO stores were among those businesses to have pulled out.
Thankfully though, with the slowing numbers from Covid-19 and the lifted health and safety restrictions aiding us back to a now new norm, the American Dream mall has once again opened their flashy doors (still in stages but open nonetheless) as of May 29th 2021.
After hearing all about this mall, and driving past it for as long as I can remember, (Eyyyyyyyyyy- NJ native ovahereeeee) I just HAD to see it for myself.
Standing at 70 percent entertainment complex & 30 percent retail, my roomie/best friend and I along with my brother NICO who was unexpectedly visiting at the time, got to experience the dream for ourselves! -- and boyyyyyyy, It did NOT disappoint.
SO NOW WHAT?
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN VISITING THE American Dream MALL (in no particular order)
Nickelodeon Universe [indoor roller coaster park]
DreamParks Water Park [a year round indoor water park]
Big Snow American Dream [indoor ski slope]
... soon to come:
CMX Movie Theater
a 3,00 seat Concert Venue
an Observation Wheel
Over a 100 plus eateries
21 full service restaurants
45 speciality food retail stores
AND JUST ANNOUNCED as of July 9th 2021
Coming *September 17th* 2021, an entirely new wing will be cutting its red ribbon and welcoming home a luxurious wing named the Avenue. And yes, if you are wondering if there is any correlation between Dream Mall's avenue, and 5th avenue in New York City, then yes--- YOU WIN A PRIZE!!! --- I'm sorry, my alter ego Bob can't control the urge to announce things every now and then.
Included in the lineup of luxury retail shoppes are; Tiffany & Co, Docle Gabbana, Mulberry, upscale restaurants, a Champaign bar and more are set to open!
GREAT! Now that the boring details are out of the way...
HERE'S THE SKINNY FROM MY PERSONAL VISIT...
1. Parking: After walking around the entirety of the mall that was open, parking now makes a bit more sense as to the best location to enter the mall, as it obviously depends on what you want to do or see first. For us, we entered the first garage on the right hand side after veering right from the exit lane off of route 3. ...... ahhhhhhhhhh route 3-- so many college memories--- (Montclair State Alum)
...okay now where were we? Right. Where I ended up entering the mall.
We grabbed our parking ticket in the garage, and once we entered the mall we were closest to the indoor Ski Slope. YES the ski slope. And yes. It IS really large. No, I didn't go in it all the way. No, I didn't get a good look at any of the supposed HOT ski instructors. Are there always hot ski instructors? Uh--- no I don't think so. It's just a known thing from TV shows such as Boy Meets World. Remember when they all went on a school camping trip, and Corey Matthews was attracted to the female ski instructor and CHEATED on Topanga?!?!?!?!
That episode gets me EVERY time. To this day I remember exactly what happened in that episode because my heart was B R O K E N.
Awkward--- ok so-- back to the American Dream, BIG SNOW Exhibit.
...No, I don't know how to ski, yes the ice really does stay at 27 degrees celsius year round, and no, it's not fake snow. (It says it's real snow on the website, and also my mom told me it's real snow-- so YEAH it's real..moving on now. GOSH)
2. One of the first things I saw when walking inside, other than the BIG snow exhibit, was what looked like a soon to be country indoor dinning restaurant, WITH entertainment on the main floor, and one level below that, a very large Walgreens. Which is perfect to know the location of incase you want to get a cheap water bottle or snack before you are lured into the grasp of all the very yummy but obviously overly priced food vendors.
3. After a very quick visit to the bathroom, because don't forget my roomie and I had to drive an hour in traffic from astoria, we ventured deeper into the mall only to find lovely and quirky decor themes throughout. The Alice & Wonderland fairy garden was a definite personal favorite of mine. Such a perfect setting for some pretty cool instagram worthy pics for the whole fam!! But before I move on to the next bullet point, I need to side bar and talk about those bathrooms for a super quick sec.
Readers- those bathrooms are SUPER clean and the water pressure from the sinks, no joke, the water pressure was beyond perfect. My hands felt silky, smooth and exceptionally clean.
4. Shopping, Shopping, and more Shopping I haven't been to a mall since the shut down of Covid-19 which for me, my last day out in the 'real world' was March 11th 2020. To say I was excited to shop was a bit of an under statement.
It's like when you are supes hungry, but you don't know that you are hungry until you smell food. And THEN you become a ravenous beast who would not only eat everything on your plate, but crave what's on your friends plate if they were there as well?? YA no?? Cool, so now that we're on the same page...
I did a lot of shopping that day. First stop was a Charlotte Russe because, HELLO? I forgot how incredibly cheap they are. Then of course I just had to stop at Victoria's Secret, Perfumania- as I was out of my signature scent Burberry Britt, Hot Topic and of course Lush--Have you been to lush yet??? Lush is a wonderful new(ish) Bath, Body, Shower and Hair Cosmetic Store all in one and all their products are completely organic made from fruits, vegetables, essential oils and safe synthetics.
5. Got a Sweet Tooth? I sure do! Thank god for the two story IT'SUGAR candy store located right outside the Water Park and Nickelodeon Indoor Theme Park entrances. Now I have to admit, this was only my second time visiting an IT'SUGAR location so I'm still pretty newly blown away by their candy selections, let alone, a TWO STORY candy store. Like whaaaaaa? But shhhhhhhh. Don't tell my roomie/bestie it was my second time only. She'll make us go again!
What is my go to candy selection? Why thanks for asking!
So I usually get chocolate covered raisins, chocolate and vanilla fudge covered pretzels, one of those big colorful marshmallow lollipops, and some zero point/sugar free candies! I'm a very BIG chocolate fan. My roomie/bestie has more of the candy sweet tooth sorta thing going for her.
Ever had a box of Lucky Charm cereal but withOUT the cereal?? Yeah me either. But now that I know such a thing exists, I must stay away for the safety of my own body and weight watchers points.
6. SNACK TIME After around 3 or so hours spent walking around and exploring what the Dream Mall experience had to offer, we explored the only dining food court in the mall, as of now; a 38,000 square foot Coca Cola Sponsored Wing. Among the international cuisines included in the food hall: A Ramen, Mexican, Philly Cheese Steak, Sushi, and Chicken Place are to name a few. Myself, my brother and my bestie/roomie all had different cuisines and were all very impressed and quite satisfied with our meals, Bob!
As someone who has both a dog and a cat, I can't stay out of the house THAT long because I need to feed Arya (my dog) and Merlin (my cat) at dinner time. So after lunch, we said goodbye to the American Dream... Mall, but as I mentioned earlier in the post, September 17* 2021 a new luxury wing named the 'Avenue" will open it's doors bringing in the hottest upscale retail stores from NYC to East Rutherford, NJ.
Oh and in case you were wondering- parking was only $3 for our entire visit!
To my readers out there, there are a few minor details I decided to leave out of this review because, well, how much fun would it be if I told you EVERYTHING about the mall?? Right? Right!
So that's why I didn't mention anything about the motorcar animals, or the electric scooter rentals. ---
--- Wait, what?? ---
GRRrrrrrrr! I GUESS I CAN'T KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT.
...AND THAT MY FRIENDS, is my personal experience from my American Dream Mall visit!
Now that you have all the fun facts, along with my personal review, I hope you are able to find an opportune time to visit the Mall and see for yourself what the American Dream is all about. And if you are a parent bringing your little ones, well, just a little pro tip--
I would DEFINITELY suggest bringing a large chunk of change. You never know what your kids will feel connected to, and how many attractions they feel the need to explore and "try" out.
Thanks again Readers for visiting my blog and continuing this journey with me. As I begin to write more entries, I am discovering the pattern or the message I want to portray to others through my blogs, which is a message of Personal Growth, retelling of personal adventures both on tour and off, and empowering/inspiring topics of conversations, convos and topics perfect for the average teen figuring out their adolescent years... More to come on that specific topic genre, adolescence, but for now.... I will leave you with a few last photos from my time at AMD!