Back when we were kids, a trip to the mall meant pizza at the food court, loitering by the fountain, spritzing ourselves with perfume at the Macy's cosmetics counter, and indulging a Butterfinger-laced fro-yo before our moms picked us up in front of the sporting goods' store. Oh how times have changed. Our beloved state has always been known for its amazing malls, but we're about to go even further, opening what might just be the country's biggest, best, and bravest mall ever.
You've probably been hearing about the megamall being erected at the Meadowlands for years now, since the project actually broke ground back in 2004 and became famous for its attempt at building a (sometimes troubled) indoor ski slope. Fast forward more than a decade and, after changing hands (and concepts) multiple times, we are now just a little more than a year away from having the whole 3-million-square-foot shebang open complete with that ski slope, more than 400 retailers, and family entertainment complexes including everything from mini golf to a water park. If it sounds overwhelming, it is, so here's a breakdown of many of the too-good-to-be-true highlights we're looking forward to the most at the appropriately named American Dream.
The coolest movie theater ever
Last October, the Mexico-City based theater chain Cinemex announced it would be opening a 1,400-seat complex at American Dream, one of only a handful of locations in the United States. It'll feature dine-in theaters, oversize seats, private viewing rooms, and, coolest, something called Cinemex X4D, which includes not just surround sound, but even moving seats and everything from wind to snow to scents synchronized to what's going on the big screen. After watching a movie here, you'll realize you've been doing it wrong all these years.
Currently, getting to experience the fun of life-size Legos requires hopping across the bridge, but that will change next year when Legoland Discovery Center opens here. Designed for kids ages 3 to 10, the center will include rides, play areas, a brick pool, master model-building classes for your budding engineer and the fabled Miniland exhibit, which can be found in every existing Legoland park and is designed to reflect the iconic buildings and skyline of the area.
An interactive aquarium
In addition to cool displays of marine life from seahorses to sharks, the Sea Life Aquarium will include a walk-through underwater tunnel along with feeding demonstrations, educational talks, and plenty of other interactive, educational, and just plain fascinating exhibits. From now on, when your kids beg you to get a fish tank, save yourself the headache and just come here instead.
Shopping, shopping, and more shopping
So far, 14 retailers have been announced, most of which are focused on fashion and most of which you're probably familiar with: Hermes, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Banana Republic, Gap, Lululemon, MAC, Microsoft, Pink, Victoria’s Secret, Aritzia, Uniqlo and Zara. That means 386 more still to be revealed. Chances are you'll find what you're looking for.
An indoor amusement park and water park
This is going to be so much more convenient than schlepping to Great Adventure or any of those water parks that dot the map during the summer. Since both are indoors (which means no worrying about being rained out!) and open all year, in theory, they'll be less crowded on any random (non-school vacation) day of the year you choose to bring the fam over for some fun. Oh and they're huge, too. Together the two parks will total more than half a million square feet.
Though they haven't shared specifics yet, just last month American Dream announced that the president of Carpaccio – a swanky restaurant in Bal Harbour, Florida – will be opening three fine dinging eateries in the complex. When it's all said and done, the mall will feature 15 full-service restaurants in a park-like setting with patio seating. That means you could come every night for two weeks and hit a different restaurant every day. Not that you would. But you could.
Yep, indoor skiing
You don't have to be a pro skier to take part. The 12-story, 800-foot ski slope is also for snowboarding and tubing. And here's a fun fact: The indoor ski slope, part of the 180,000-square foot Big Snow America, will be the first indoor ski park in the entire Western hemisphere. (Go Jersey!)
American Dream is slated to open Summer of 2017.