EAST RUTHERFORD — Seventeen years after it was first proposed, the American Dream shopping and entertainment complex opened on Friday.

And Gov. Phil Murphy was there for the ride — hopping onto a rollercoaster at the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, which, along with the ice rink, are the only attractions available to the public.

The mall received a last-minute temporary certificate of occupancy issued just 12 hours before its scheduled opening.

Still not open, however, are the mega mall's 300 shops and 100 eateries, which will begin welcoming customers in March.

American Dream posted no information about the rink, which is NHL regulation size, on its website and did not return several messages. NJ.com reported that skating for its first weekend will be free. A picture appeared to show ice skates available for rental.

Murphy, his wife Tammy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and state Sen. Paul Sarlo took a ride on the "Shellraiser" rollercoaster. Murphy called it "quite a ride" after experiencing its 122-foot drop.

"This is a big day for New Jersey. It's a huge step. It's been a long day coming," Murphy said in a post to his official Twitter account.

The complex was formerly known as the Meadowlands Xanadu and earned a reputation as a boondoggle and eyesore before the Triple Five Group developers took control and rebranded the project.

Not everything went well at the complex on the first day.

The automatic soap dispensers in the ladies room were not working and a makeshift pumpkin patch had to be brought in to fill space, according to @retailjoan on Instagram.

The Department of Community Affairs, which licenses amusement rides, said that the 35 rides at the Nickelodeon Universe there are 17 that have been permitted to operate. Another two rides are pending inspection, which may have a permit issued by the end of the day.

The mall's next milestone will be Wednesday, Nov. 27, with the opening of the DreamWorks Water Park. The indoor ski and snowboard park Big SNOW opens on Dec. 5.


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Sofia Solimando contributed to this report.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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