Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe: A Toddlers Review
As I tucked my two year old daughter in Friday night I could see the excitement in her eyes. " Are we gonna go on rides tomorrow honey?" I asked. "Round and round" she exclaimed as her grin was from ear to ear. "Go to sleep then and when you wake up we'll go" I told her smiling. "OK mommy, love you" she said happily as I knew she would not get a good nights sleep with Dora and Sponge-Bob dancing through her mind.
Mall of America
Saturday morning we woke with anticipation for the days event. The drive was approximately 2 hours from our home. The ride was consumed with talk of Blues Clues, The Backyardigans and Dora. She was so excited. I was excited for her.
Arriving at the Mall of America I could see her eyes widen as we entered. For a small child, this was all too much! She could not help herself from skipping through the corridors.
Nickelodeon Universe is hard to miss. It is located in the center of the mall. You can hear screams of delight and fear as you near the park. Entering the park is an awesome sight. Bright colors and characters of Nickelodeon are everywhere! Sponge Bob, Dora, Jimmy Neutron are larger than life.
Tickets are sold through an auto-machine. Much like an ATM. You choose what package you want and it drops out the bottom. Use of a debit or credit card is needed. However, I found out much later that at Guest Services you can pay with cash. Although it is a little hard to find, it is located by the Carousel. The auto ticket booths are located without the park.
I wasn't sure which package to purchase as I just have my one child of 2 years old and I am unable to go on rides. However, an employee was located near the booth and I was told that the wristband was the best choice. The employee informed me there was ample rides for my child to enjoy! Okay, wrist band it is. I found it to be a little pricey at $ $29.95 + tax but if she would have a day of fun it would be worth it.
I was wrong.
Rides For Toddlers
The rides for toddlers to attend by themselves is very limited. For the few, and I mean few, (3 to be exact) rides that my daughter was tall enough to go on alone required she be at least 36" tall. As I stated earlier, I cannot go on rides so that again limited her experience.
The average height of toddler rides is 42". This will give your child an approximate pick of 10 rides. Well worth buying a wristband. And if you are willing to chaperone your child you will have even more options.
I would not recommend bringing a child of my daughters height or shorter to the park. Just because, as I stated, she was very limited and needless to say disappointed. I, on the other hand, was angry. I did not appreciate the fact that the employee told me there were numerous rides for my little one when there wasn't just to make a sell. However, I did go to Guest Services and complain. They deducted the amount of rides she rode from the original price of the wristband and I was refunded.
SpongeBob and Dora!
Although the rides were disappointing, there were some things that made the day worthwhile. My daughter got to meet Sponge Bob and Patrick and Dora and Boots! Nickelodeon Universe has a meet and greet and we were lucky enough to stumble upon it. The line to wait was short, which was awesome. And the characters and staff were very friendly and accommodating. They even took a picture of my daughter and I with our camera. This was definitely a plus!
There are a few shops along the park where you can purchase your beloved characters. Shirts, stuffed characters, pillows and cups seem to be the most popular. I bought my twelve year old daughter a HUGE stuffed Nihao Kailan face pillow for $13.99. The prices are great considering they could easily mark up the prices for the all to wanting child.
The food court is right upstairs and overlooks the park, which was great. We never had to really leave the park to get food. However, the food prices were a little high except for McDonalds which is the same.
There are other attractions than rides at the park, such as the Butterfly Bay, Flying Dutchman and Moose Mountain Golf. However, they do cost extra. I recommend the Butterfly Bay if you've never experienced it. My family and I went through one similar to this at the zoo so we did not do it again. But it is truly awesome. You are surrounded with beautiful butterflies from around the world. Absolutely a must see.
Overall, I suggest going to the website of Nickelodeon Universe to see if they have ongoing specials or coupons before going.(I have provided the link) Also, they sometimes close for special events or maintanence so be sure to check for the dates you are intending to attend. If you need disability accomadations they will help with this also.
To sum it up, we had a good time at Nickelodeon Universe, but I think I'll wait a year or so until we go back and experience it the way it should be.