Welcome back to the blog! After a few weeks of apprehension and over-preparation, I spent a recent Saturday at the Mall of America, and it was a smashing success! Here are a few tips for navigating the Minnesota institution, from someone who only goes every ten years. 🙂
I’ve been to the Mall of America five times in my life: for my third birthday, my fourteenth birthday, a family outing, a college party night, and this past trip. My main focus is usually Nickelodeon Universe (formerly Camp Snoopy). I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie, but my tastes have mellowed with age. This trip, we checked out a few select rides.
My first tip for making the most of a mall day is to GO EARLY!!! The Mall of America opens at 10am, and we got there at 10:30. There were already a few people in Nickelodeon Universe, but not more than ten in line at a time. When we went back at 3pm, there were at least 50 people in multiple ride lines.
Our strategy was to explore the rides first, take a lunch break, and then window shop a little. This worked well with my energy levels, to do the most intense things first. Others might have more energy in the afternoon or evenings, but make sure you’re doing the most intense things when you have the most energy.
Another small tip is to bring the smallest bag possible. I brought a pink crossbody and it worked well, but I wish I had brought my even smaller fanny pack.
We started at the Log Chute, which I’ve enjoyed a few times before. It remains at the top of my ride list, fun for those who like roller coasters, water, and a sprinkle of Minnesota history.
I continued to the Splat-O-Sphere, which is my other top favorite. I’ve called this type of ride a “frog hopper”, but I’m not sure if there’s a more official name for it. I’ve always loved the “frog hopper”, and I screamed and laughed the whole time’
My boyfriend brought me on a new ride, the Pepsi Orange Streak roller coaster! I like roller coasters, and this one has a few cool extras. The track spans almost the length of the whole park, giving riders a nice variety of views. Additionally, the Orange Streak also uses the same tunnel as the Log Chute, on a higher track, offering a different perspective. This one is good for people who like roller coasters but are scared of the more intense Rock Bottom Plunge.
As bookends to the day, we rode the Ferris Wheel twice! El Círculo de Cielo (Circle of the Sun) is Dora-themed, so there are two large attachments of the explorer and her chimp friend!
The top of the Ferris Wheel is a great spot to get some photos of the whole park
I’ve gone on Rock Bottom Plunge, Brain Surge, and the Airbender rides on other trips, but I wasn’t in the mood this time. Those are the highest-adrenaline rides in the park, best suited to fearless tweens and teens with endless energy.
After a refreshing food court lunch of Qdoba and Shake Shack, it was time to explore the shopping! We weren’t going to get to all the stores (we couldn’t even see a fraction in a few hours), but our highlights were GameStop, Kate Spade, the official MOA merch store, and the Lego store.
My boyfriend wanted to check out GameStop, and I found it pleasant. It’s what you would expect: video games, gaming systems and equipment, and some branded merchandise like figurines. The most featured brands include Marvel, Mario Brothers, and Sonic the Hedgehog. For those who are into gaming, there’s plenty of options! For non-gamers, maybe a Funko Pop would be interesting.
I expected the Kate Spade store to be the highlight of the day, but I was surprisingly disappointed. I’ve previously checked out the Eagan outlet, and I’ve loved their colors (purple, pastel pink, red, white) and styles. The MOA store featured fewer styles of bags and wallets, and in colors like blue, yellow, beige, and green. If those colors work for you, you’ll probably find something worth investing in. For me, I think I’ll stick to the Eagan store.
We stepped into the Mall of America store, which features teddy bears and clothes branded with the MOA and MN logos. This is a good option for out-of-state tourists who want a souvenir, but locals likely won’t find anything worth buying
The real highlight store ended up being LEGO Land, of all places. The LEGO sets available for purchase are incredibly intricate, and it was cool to see some of the displays!
Making my own mini LEGO figure was a fun and unexpected treat! For $12 and 30 minutes, I got this cute little knickknack to display on my desk, or perhaps as a new profile picture. 🙂
It was great to revisit the mall after so long away! I had just as much fun at Nick U as I used to, and I got a good sense of some new stores. Going earlier in the day made it exponentially more enjoyable, and I might go back as soon as next month for my birthday! That’s all from me for now, and I’ll catch you on the flip side