Feature: The failure of the Hard Rock theme park

Posted | Contributed by kpjb

From the feature:

Hard Rock Park boasted rides themed around Led Zeppelin songs and acid trips, but it closed after just five months, amid the 2008 financial crisis. Ten years later, we visited the abandoned site to find out how it went off the rails.

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Jeff's avatar

This is a great feature. I still kick myself for not making it to the park, especially with all of the stories about how empty it was. And of course, Gonch had a legendary good time.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Is it time for the annual "one of our best park days ever" Hard Rock Park post already?

This is the first article that kind of started touching on what I think made it different (and lean towards my sensibilities a bit). There's was a playful subversiveness to the whole place.

If I were a theme park I'd be HRP - cool in its own way, largely misunderstood, and ultimately not viable.


Very interesting. I now know more about the park than I ever, ever thought I would, particularly the financial aspects and the pitfalls of a bad market in a collapsing economy. It was like a perfect storm.

Years ago we spent time in Myrtle, at Pavilion and Family Kingdom as part of an ACE convention. The parks were fun but otherwise I thought Myrtle was pretty dreadful. The author’s thoughts on the town are accurate. I have no desire to ever go back there. And especially now.

I cant believe the thing got stolen out of the back of his truck. It almost seems like the final f-you.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

RCMAC said:

The parks were fun but otherwise I thought Myrtle was pretty dreadful. The author’s thoughts on the town are accurate. I have no desire to ever go back there.

Same.

With all due respect to those that visit and/or enjoy the place, isn't it pretty much the standard redneck/white trash beach vacation? Like if there was such a thing as a low end beach getaway, it's Myrtle Beach, right?

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,
Jeff's avatar

That was always my impression, like Daytona North. No thanks. But the park was interesting, but I was blown away by how nonexistent the marketing was.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Lord Gonchar said:

If I were a theme park I'd be HRP - cool in its own way, largely misunderstood, and ultimately not viable.

One of the funniest things I've ever read here; and that, my friends, is saying something.

Lord Gonchar said:

isn't it pretty much the standard redneck/white trash beach vacation? Like if there was such a thing as a low end beach getaway, it's Myrtle Beach, right?

it's where the Pigeon Forge trash goes to get washed off once a year.

I mean it was the home base for "Hooters Airlines".

What else needs to be said?

Good article.

I made it to the park once just after opening and had a great time, but something seemed off about the place. I mean besides the obvious lack of crowds.

Thinking back, I'm glad I went down there to check it out. It was a good time.

Also in hindsight, good thing I went with my gut feeling after the trip. I was there for a job interview / tour basically.


June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82

Jason Hammond's avatar

If you want a less whitetrashiness Myrtle Beach experience, you want to go to the city of North Myrtle Beach. It is separated from Myrtle beach by Briarcliffe Acres, & Arcadian Shores.

Last edited by Jason Hammond,

880 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
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That’s true. We had friends who swore my North Myrtle and went every year. We drove up there one day and it seemed more relaxed and a lot less touristy. Played miniature golf at Hawaiian Rumble, which had a volcano in the center of the course complete with eruptions every ten minutes

Another saving grace in Myrtle was the Calabash seafood places. And the ones that are away from the heart of town, the more local places, are the best. (Actually more toward Calabash) Most delicious hush puppies ever, served with honey butter.

Still not enough to make me want to go back...

ApolloAndy's avatar

Interesting article. I never realized how "rock n' roll" the park actually was. I don't think I would've taken my kids there, but would have loved to go there myself.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I worked with someone that was on staff with HRP from its inception until its first demise and she said it was an absolute blast. Right up to the point where she stopped getting paid at the very end.


Vater's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Is it time for the annual "one of our best park days ever" Hard Rock Park post already?

If so, I'd like to traditionally follow that with the "one of the lamest parks ever" post about the very next year at Freestyle Music Park. And the proverbial mention of the worst excuse for a dark ride that was formerly themed to a Moody Blues song.

The park wasn’t well bermed and it was built on the back of a deserted outlet mall. The area around the park was pretty trashy.

Horry County SC like Sevier County TN highly voted for Trump. Right there is a great statement on how white trash those areas are

Jeff's avatar

That's fantastic. I love when the male figure scratches his balls.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

I liked HRP.

I've since seen a few of the coasters in Vietnam. I do wonder how viable they are there... time will tell.


Vater's avatar

super7* said:

Horry County SC like Sevier County TN highly voted for Trump. Right there is a great statement on how white trash those areas are

Half the country is white trash? Asking for a friend...

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