American Dream, the megamall in the New Jersey Meadowlands, is finally open, but it still leaves a lot to the imagination.
The public was allowed to enter just two parts of the sprawling complex, which will eventually span 3 million square feet, on Friday for a trial run of sorts.
The key questions everyone has been asking about the project—will parents pay $50 to take their kids to the mall’s indoor amusement park, or $24 to park—are still unanswered because on Friday everything was free.
The developers gave free admission to invited guests and local school groups. Any curious visitors who showed up without an invitation also were admitted for free. Parking and all food and beverages at the makeshift snack stands were free. The NHL-regulation size ice rink and skate rentals were free.
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So pretty much everyone at the American Dream Friday was happy. Hard to complain when it’s all free.
American Dream gets lots of applause and goodwill for being open, even just partially, when so many skeptics thought that day would never come. But it was clear on Friday that they were rushed and not completely ready to open the first parts of the mall.
Mall experts I interviewed before the opening said American Dream could pull off opening in stages if each opening was executed flawlessly. The first opening fell short of being flawless. Here’s how:Not all of the rides were ready to roll, or operating smoothly
At least five of the rides in the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, the featured attraction for Friday’s opening, weren’t operational. Rides had “closed for testing” signs on them. One ride was operating with blue test dummies strapped in the seats.
Several of the operational rides seemed to have glitches. At one ride, guests sat strapped in waiting for the ride to start for 10 minutes before giving up and exiting the ride.