American Dream’s observation wheel is open and we were able to take a look at 300 feet

Views of the New York skyline and the Meadowlands from 300 feet above the ground.

Sounds like a good time – unless you have acrophobia, like me. My fear of heights is real. Heart pounding, legs really getting weaker. But I survived. And you too.

American Dream‘s Dream Wheel opened to the public on Wednesday after a media preview before the resort opened at 11 a.m.

Built by Breman Mega Wheels of the Netherlands and designed by BUSSINK, the Dream Wheel is owned and operated by Skyviews of America, which also operates Skyviews Miami. Breman has built similar but smaller wheels that can be found in Miami, Seattle, Myrtle Beach and Niagara Falls.

That of American Dream is the largest on the East Coast.

“The Dream Wheel isn’t just about views, it’s about experience,” said Ben Pickett, vice president of Skyviews of America. “Going over 300 feet in the air and taking in the views of New York City and the surrounding New Jersey area in air-conditioned gondolas that can accommodate up to 16 people is unique.”

It is the 11th entertainment offering to open at the 3.5 million square foot site in the Meadowlands. But it’s not the last. The Hasbro-powered arcade, Skip Barber Karting Academy and other upcoming entertainment options are planned, American Dream representatives said. Other food and retail products, including a flagship Apple Store, are also coming, they said.

American Dream is recovering from its pandemic crisis, said Paul Ghermezian, whose family owns Triple Five, the developer of American Dream.

“We’re seeing, week over week, big increases in ridership and that’s with our parks and our retailers,” he said. “So we’re really, really excited. And the Dream Wheel is another one of those things that’s going to add to that.

Triple Five, and American Dream in particular, have struggled financially during the pandemic. He had to divest the 49% stake in Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall that he used as collateral for a $1.2 billion construction loan for the East Rutherford development last year. And in February, it made its final bond payment using $9.3 million of its reserves, nearly depleting that account.

“After the pandemic, we had an incredible rental rate,” Ghermezian said. “We were well beyond the threshold that any center needs to open and even stabilize centers. During the pandemic, it was just what it was…it’s the reality not only of us but of the whole world. From sourcing labor to securing commitments. People were struggling to survive. »

The Dream Wheel, a 300-foot observation wheel opens to the public, at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, NJ on April 13, 2022 Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Dream Wheel is located on the third level of American Dream, in the Coca Cola Eats food court. Carnival-style lighting calls visitors to the back corner where tickets, snacks and a gift shop are located outside the doors to board the wheel.

Deep Fried Love sells deep-fried candy — Oreos, Twinkies, Snickers, funnel cakes with toppings, and — that riders can bring along on the 30-minute Dream Wheel ride.

Riders head outside to a covered platform to line up to board the wheel, where they already get a taste of the sights to come. When boarding one of the 27 fully enclosed temperature-controlled gondolas, the wheel continues to move, but there is a platform below, so there is no fear of falling to the ground from the platform -form of the third level.

Up to 16 passengers can fit in one of the regular gondolas. There is a high low table in the center and riders must stand or sit on the table during the ride. Two VIP gondolas carry only six passengers and feature plush chairs and a table in the middle.

Once the pod begins to rise with the rotation of the wheel, the first view is of the building’s roof and utility amenities. Once you’ve crossed the roofline, MetLife Stadium, the Meadowlands, and New York City are in full panoramic view.

The Dream Wheel moves very slowly – almost feels like it’s not moving at all except for view changes – and being inside the enclosed vehicle makes the height 300 feet less intimidating. The gondola swayed slightly in some places, but there were only two of us in it.

A video screen inside the gondola that was supposed to broadcast a safety message and other information was not playing during our media preview.

The Dream Wheel is open seven days a week for general admission, VIP experience, and private events. Tickets can be purchased at AmericanDream.com/venue/dreamwheel. They are $29 for adults and $20 for children. There is a military discount and a discount for residents of Bergen County and Hudson County.

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Allison Pries can be reached at apries@njadvancemedia.com.

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