The American Dream shopping and entertainment complex reopened on Thursday, welcoming back thrill-seekers and avid shoppers to the over-the-top indoor experience with several health measures in place due to COVID-19.
As part of its reopening plan, the massive amusement park-like complex implemented several protocols — known as the #DreamSafe initiative — including mandating face masks, reducing capacity inside various attractions, and installing hand sanitizers throughout. Guests will also see plexiglass barriers to reduce contact with employees. Tickets to different venues can be purchased through contactless QR codes and all rides are cleaned between riders.
This follows New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s order on Sept. 1 allowing indoor amusement facilities to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
American Dream sits just outside New York City in East Rutherford, N.J. and features everything from a massive Nickelodeon Universe theme park to an indoor DreamWorks Animation Water Park and even an indoor ski slope. The massive attraction will bring 20,000 jobs to the New York-New Jersey area.
At the water park, there is an hour-long break between sessions so the space can be cleaned. And while masks are required in common areas like changing rooms, they are not required in the water or on a slide for safety reasons, an American Dream spokeswoman told Travel + Leisure.
On the retail side, several stores opened for the first time, including the largest Zara in North America and the largest H&M in New Jersey. In addition to implementing safety protocols, American Dream has partnered with Hackensack Meridian Health to open an urgent care center at the facility.
This follows the reopening of the Big Snow ski slope, which welcomed guests to don their winter outfits and hit the 16-story slope on Sept. 1. There, guests are required to wear gloves on the snow in addition to masks and rental equipment is sanitized after each use.
While two new attractions — the New York City-themed New Jersey SEA LIFE Aquarium and the Legoland Discovery Center New Jersey — were initially slated to open in the spring of this year, they were pushed back due to the coronavirus. Both of these are on track to now open in the spring of 2021, the company shared with T+L.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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