Entertainment

Here’s Everything You Should Know About The New Nickelodeon Amusement Park Opening This Weekend

Nickelodeon might be the source of many millennials’ nostalgia-loving happiness. A lot of us grew up watching the children’s network classics, like ‘Rugrats’, ‘Doug’, ‘Hey Arnold!’ and everyone’s favorite, ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ — sigh.

It should come as no surprise that loyal Nickelodeon watchers still retain an abiding passion for the network’s shows of our youth. Tapping into our fond childhood memories, Nickelodeon built a theme-park featuring all of your 90s faves and we’re ready to book a ticket to New Jersey for the sole purpose of visiting it.

Nickelodeon’s theme park is set to be the largest indoor amusement park in North America.

Nickelodeon Universe is opening in New Jersey this weekend, and at 8.5 acres, it’s set to be the biggest indoor theme park in North America.  On October 25, the park located at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey will open its doors to excited Nickelodeon fans, kids of all ages are welcome — little ones and nostalgic grown-ass millennials alike.

‘Nickelodeon Universe’ will feature record-breaking rollercoasters and rides.

The park will feature more than 35 rides, roller coasters and attractions, and all your favorite characters will be there for you to meet. Among the thematic rides will be three record-breaking roller coasters —the world’s steepest rollercoaster, the tallest and longest spinning coaster, and the tallest indoor spinning drop tower.

Every 90s kid dream come true —meet your favorite characters and play with slime.

Visitors will be able to finally meet characters like SpongeBob, Arnold and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And since no Nickelodeon experience would be complete without slime, visitors to the park will be able to enjoy entertainment on the Nickelodeon Slime Stage.

Prices for the park are available, but if you were thinking of visiting this weekend, you’re out of luck.

According to American Dream’s website all tickets to Nickelodeon Universe are sold out for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. General tickets are priced at $39.99. For those interested in a more thrilling, VIP experience, there is an all-access ticket for $49.99 and children under 2 get in for free! —best try booking those tickets before they sell out again!

This week, only a fraction of the 3 million square foot mega mall will open.

Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and American Dream’s ice rink are the only two sections of the mega-mall opening this week. American Dream’s NHL-regulation size ice rink will offer space for skating, figure skating and hockey tournaments The rest of the mega retail and entertainment center will be opening in phases later this year and over 2020.

DreamWorks also has a mega theme park in the works; the worlds largest water park.

Later this year, in November, the studio behind films like; ‘Shrek’, ‘Madagascar’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda’, is set to open a water park at the mall, featuring more than 40 waterslides and 15 attractions.  DreamWorks’ water park is billed to be the second largest indoor water park in the world. It will feature a whopping 35 water slides for kids and grown ups plus a few different swim up bars for adults.

The park’s focal point will be its 1.5 acre indoor wave pool —the largest in the world— which is about the size of a football field. Kids will even be able to practice their surfing skills there.

The park will also feature an engineering wonder.

The DreamWorks park will also have the world’s longest hydro-magnetic coaster, which —as it name aptly says it— is driven by magnets only. At 142ft long the body slide will feature a 50ft free-fall.

Snow lovers also get an attraction at American Dream.

For those who love snow adventures, there’s Big SNOW – an indoor snow park with a 16-story slope where anyone can learn to ski – in addition to the Ice Rink, which we described earlier.

Familiar attractions like SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center will also be joining the line up of attractions. Not to mention a role-playing experience for kids, a luxury cinema, a miniature golf course, a 300ft Ferris wheel, climbing centers and more. At the moment, American Dream hasn’t released how much these  attractions will cost. For shoppers, there’s a mall featuring 450 outlets with all your favorite brands. And in terms of food, there’s everything from upscale eateries to food halls, with some promising incredible views of Manhattan.

If you’re visiting Nickelodeon Universe this weekend, operating hours are: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and, and Saturday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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