Monday, June 16, 2008

Will Hard Rock Park Be The Next Wild West World?

So its been over two weeks since the highly antcipated Hard Rock Park had its Grand Opening. And so far the reviews have been well.............. mixed. Check out some of the reviews:

Clint & Will on In The Loop
The Coaster Critic
Coaster Critic Reader
Theme Park Review Gang
TPR Forum User

The reviews, some good, some not as good, but here are some things that are similar in most of the reviews.

- The park is small & doesn't have a whole lot of rides.
- The theming is pretty good & the little details (insulting cow & wild bathrooms) are very well done
- Led Zepplin is shaky for a B&M, especailly a new one. (The engineer in me thinks maybe the extra weight of the sound systems on the train might have thrown off B&M's smoothness algorithm)
- Bohemian Rhapsody is well done.
- Nights in White Satin is very bizarre and very cool
- Everyone who has been there, thinks the park has the possibility of becoming a great park in the future.

The two most glowing reviews came from my good friends Clint/Will and the other from the coaster critic. They all visited the park during the media preview and I am always hesitant to believe reviews from things like that for two reasons. One the park tends to pull out all the stops to impress the media (free admission, free food etc.). Two I think a lot of fansites would be reluctant to post a negative review of a media event for fear they won't be invited back.

But the thing that has me thinking is that according to the reports I have seen online, well, no one has been showing up to HRP. This Report From Saturday June 7th (the first saturday of normal operation) saw Less Than 100 Cars in the parking lot at 1 in the afternoon and This Report From Saturday June 14th (the second saturday of normal operation) saw maybe 150 cars in the lot the whole day. These are what I imagine to be VERY TROUBLING to the people running the park. I mean this would mean theres around 600 people in the park on these SATURDAYS DURING PEAK SEASON, thats less then the hourly capacity of many rides.

So I been racking my brains coming up with reasons no one is showing up, and here is what I came up with:

- The high gas price paranoia sweeping the nation has been keeping a lot of people in there homes.
- People don't know its open.
- People don't know what it is.
- Theme Parks are generally a family atmosphere and the Hard Rock theme doesn't exactly scream family friendly. I can't see too many moms saying to dads "Honey we gotta bring the kids to the new Hard Rock Park, one of the big rides they got a ride that simulates an acid trip."
- There aren't enough rides.
- The parks is priced to high at $50 for a one day ticket.
- Myrtle Beach can't support a large scale theme park.
- Led Zepplin, Moody Blues, Eagles only really appeal to older men.

Those were all I could come up with. I really hope the park is a sucess, because it seems rare that a new park opens up anymore. I really wanna try the Nights in White Satin and Bohemian Rhapsody. I am planning on visiting the park with my In The Loop Partners September 6-7 and I am just hoping that the park is still around.

When thinking about that level of crowd. I can't help but think about the simpsons episode where no one shows up to Euro Itchy & Scratchy Land.

Booth man: Hello? Itchy and Scratchy Land open for business. Who are you to resist it, huh? Come on. My last paycheck bounced. My children need wine.


The Coaster Critic said...

I think it may be a bit too early to really talk about the park being in trouble. Down here in NC school is just letting out. I don't know when Myrtle Beach gets the majority of its vacation traffic, but I would assume the busiest days are ahead.

As for the list of possible hurdles, the main ones I agree with are the high gas prices and maybe whether Myrtle Beach can handle a theme park.

When you have a park centered around a seasonal draw like the beach it may live or die by how it performs during the peak beach season. So the people reporting the 100 cars in the lot (Did they count?) may be overreacting a bit. Now if there are small crowds all summer, then HRP will be in trouble.

I don't feel like the number of rides, or their classic rock themes are a problem. And the park is getting A LOT of press and even in Family Circle, so hopefully they'll get out the family focus. You're right though, you don't think Hard Rock and think family.

Nice blog by the way. Great shots of Steel Hawg.

Some Guy said...

The season is just starting in Myrtle Beach, the park has been a lot busier the last week.. also note they are running longer operating hours than any park out there, you can spend 15 hours in the park if you want to. That's great as it spreads out attendance during the day meaning fewer long lines. The park's cool. It's not meant to have a lot of rides, but those it has are unique and well done - it has a lot of vibe though...check out the shows, some of the best in the industry.

Anonymous said...

The park is doomed. Numbers are horrible. They are canceling contracts and cutting hours for their entertainors/staff. It is mismanaged and overpriced. There are only 12 rides in the whole park and everything is overpriced.

Anonymous said...

The park is way too pricey for what it is. $50 admission fee and $10 parking fee. There were few rides appealing to out teenagers. Led Zeppelin was pretty good but the 5 minute video in the small room before the ride was boring and claustrophobic. We live in Charleston, SC and will not return to Hard Rock Park.

Anonymous said...

Will they just started to lay off people, It just isn't making it. go to and see what I mean