Is the Dream Wheel at American Dream Worth the Ride?

Wednesday, June 12, 2024
I hear this question often as a New Jersey-based travel writer: Have you been to the Dream Wheel yet? Is Dream Wheel worth it? How long is the Dream Wheel ride? And sometimes even, Is the Dream Wheel scary? Well, we visited the Dream Wheel at American Dream twice already, so I have the answers to all of your questions and more in this quick-read blog post. Check it out!

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to the Dream Wheel at American Dream in exchange for an honest review and social shares, but this did not influence my opinion. As I always say, I would never recommend something to you if I didn't love it myself.

Don't forget to Pin this post for future use! 

What is the Dream Wheel?

The Dream Wheel observation wheel is located at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It features 27 climate-controlled gondolas providing guests with a 20-30 minute ride and  breathtaking panoramic views of New Jersey Meadowlands and the New York City skyline, all from 300 feet in the air. You can access the ride from inside American Dream Mall at Coca Cola Eats - Court C, Level 3. 

What Can I Do at the Dream Wheel?

You can purchase tickets for a day-time ride or an evening ride on the Dream Wheel (check their website for operating hours). There are Standard tickets, VIP tickets and Gold tickets available (more on that in a minute). We've never visited at night but I imagine it would be fun to see all of the lights during the evening hours, too. There is a fun 'carnival' theme around the check-in desk at the Dream Wheel. You can purchase funnel cakes, fried Oreos, slushies, popcorn, shave ice, and various other treats at Deep Fried Love. There are also carnival game-type plushies and toys for sale near the Dream Wheel entrance. Guests of all ages are welcome but children riding alone must meet their height requirement of 52 inches.

Shave ice, VIP lounge area and funnel cake

What's the Difference Between a VIP Ticket, Gold Ticket and a General Ticket?

It's difficult to find this info clearly on the American Dream website so be sure to check out the Dream Wheel site for the most updated details about tickets. As of the publication date of this post, the VIP ticket includes: private gondola, table with 6 leather chairs, 1 free drink per ticket, 10% discount at the retail shop, in-flight bluetooth, and access to the VIP lounge. The Gold Ticket offers a private gondola, table and 8 chairs, 1 free drink per ticket, and access to the Gold lounge. A General Ticket offers a table and it's non-private (meaning you might have to share your gondola with other riders, depending on crowds and availability). 

The red gondola is the VIP gondola

The VIP pass offers special perks for riders

What is the Ride Like? Is it Scary?

People always ask me if the ride is scary. It does go about 300 feet into the air but it moves very slowly. I did not feel frightened at all, but I don't have a fear of heights. The gondola felt sturdy and didn't rock like a typical ferris wheel (you will feel some movement but not that tipping sensation you feel on a standard open ferris wheel). It's enclosed and climate-controlled, so at no point did we feel exposed or uncomfortable (and we visited in Summer and in Winter). The ride takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Truth be told, I would try to visit during a nice weather day if you can. You can see a nice view of the New York City skyline as well as the Meadowlands and surrounding area, but if you have a cloudy or foggy day, you're not going to see as much.

Is the VIP Ticket Worth It?

The VIP and Gold Tickets are pricey, but if money is not an issue for you, I can tell you that VIP was overall a more fun experience as opposed to the General Admission Ticket. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the General Admission ride. We still had fun and the teenagers I was with loved it. But when we took our second ride with the VIP experience, we now had something to compare it to. We loved the comfy rotating seats (the General Admission just has two small, low tables right in the middle that can double as a bench, but no seats). We brought our snacks with us during the VIP ride and enjoyed funnel cake and shave ice as we checked out the view. Our bluetooth connected and we were able to play our own music from my phone. We enjoyed the little VIP sitting area before boarding, too, instead of just standing in line waiting for our gondola. That being said, if you can't swing the extra cost of the ticket, you'll enjoy the General Admission just as much. It's the whole experience that is fun- especially if you're there with kids. It's exciting to board that little gondola and to ride up into the sky!

Jersey Momma Tips and Thoughts for Visiting

-The Dream Wheel is great for a celebration, small group or party. It's not a long ride, so be sure to plan something else at American Dream while you're visiting. We LOVE American Dream Mall and there are SO many awesome places to eat and visit while you're there. You can spend a whole day there and still not see everything. You can shop, eat at a variety of unique restaurants and quick-serve eateries, visit their attractions, museums, and so much more (even ski and snowboard indoors!).

-Dream Wheel is also a fun date night activity or a fun day trip for teenagers, especially. It's also a great place to take visitors from out-of-state, or those typically not used to seeing the skyline views.

-Gondolas were clean and we saw staff cleaning them before and after guests entered and exited.

-You can book small events, group visits, even field trips to Dream Wheel.

-Parking is free at American Dream for the first hour and then $5.00 for the remainder of you stay. I often hear people gripe about the parking fee but honestly, that's not too bad for a place where you can stay for hours at a time with so much to do. 

-The funnel cake from Deep Fried Love was delicious. I doubted it could be as good as a typical carnival funnel cake but it actually was!

-Dream Wheel does operate in the rain or various weather conditions (but, personally, I think you'll experience the best ride on a sunny/clear day). The Dream Wheel may close during severe weather conditions.

-The Dream Wheel gondolas are wheelchair accessible. However, the manufacturer restrictions require that those in powered wheelchairs transfer to a non-powered wheelchair, which they have available for use during your visit.

-If you're up there and for some reason you panic or there's an emergency, there is an emergency call button inside the gondola that connects you to an operator. In the event of an emergency, the operator can bring you down within a few minutes or less.

-For more information and tickets, visit the Dream Wheel's main website here or follow them on Instagram here. You can also visit the American Dream website here

No comments

Powered by Blogger.