Goodbye Myrtle Beach Pavilion

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Saturday, July 1, 2006 4:42 PM
Last week I attended Coaster Con XXIX and heard through the grapevine that a few people had planned to make one last trip to Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park. As I had never been there before, I decided to go too.

I arrived on Sunday June 25th around 5pm give or take. After all it was about an 8 hour drive from Orlando. The park had a decent croud that day. There were a few rides not running including the Top Spin. All three coasters were running though.

The Mad Mouse was fun. You get a few good pops of air near the end of the ride. The stop at the end is about as abrupt as they come. It was nice to ride a standard mouse for a change. They all seem to be spinners these days.

The Little Eagle kiddie coaster was cute. I'm not sure if they normaly allow adults to ride, but I was told the other ACE'ers that had been there were allowed to ride. It is one of the best themed kiddie coasters I've ridden. With the waterfall, the Cave and all the folliage. Watch your hands on the track crossover and ni the cave. ;)

The Hurricane while a pleasure to look at was anything but a pleasure to ride. The only woodie I've ridden that was rougher than that was another Custom Coaster ride, "The Rattler" at Fiesta Texas. I was going to ask if I could do on-ride video, but after 1 ride I knew that was out of the question. The straight aways are fine, but all you can do through the helixes is hold on for dear life. Despite this, I tried a front middle and rear ride. Results were all the same. I settled for ground shots. Click the link below to see my farewell video of Hurricane at Mrtle Beach Pavilion.

http://www.RollerCoasterFreak.com

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Saturday, July 1, 2006 5:29 PM
Wow! Great video! That just breaks my heart. I doubt I will be able to get down there before September 30th, but thanks for sharing that video!

-Tina

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Saturday, July 1, 2006 7:46 PM
Well, according to their site the last day is the 24th. And while at the park they were advertising last day tickets. They are selling 3000 I think. They are $45 presale and $40 day of, but there is no gaurentee there will be any available on closing day. I tried finding the info on thier site, but was unsuccessful.
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Saturday, July 1, 2006 10:34 PM
Just FYI Rattler @ Fiesta Texas is a John Pierce creation, not Custom Coasters. Just looking at some pictures of the Hurricane it looks like a shame... decent layout butchered by maintenance and awful trains.
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Saturday, July 1, 2006 11:10 PM
My bad, not sure what i was thinking.
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Sunday, July 2, 2006 2:09 AM
What is the ROI of the Hurricane at Myrtle Beach? How much did it cost and how much did it return?

Thanks,

BILL

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Sunday, July 2, 2006 9:46 AM
Well, if you check out www.rcdb.com you can see that the ride cost $6 Million Dollars. As for the ROI, you'd probably have to talk to the Park owners. But considering it's only been open since May of 2000, I would be suprised if they got a ROI. I'm not sure how it rode in it's first couple seasons, but there is a lot of Maintenance that needs to go into the ride. Unless they had an all day ride pass, I doubt people would have been riding it more than once. Individual tickets are $1 and if I'm not mistaken, the hurricane was 5 tickets.
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Sunday, July 9, 2006 1:25 AM
Aside from the whole idea of closing a sea side park in the name of "progress" (i.e. turning it over to developers), to me the biggest loss of the Pavilion is not the Hurricane... but rather the Haunted Hotel Dark Ride. Someone, somewhere, will eventually build a new wooden coaster... but I seriously doubt you will see any of these old style dark rides ever being built. The craze is now on "interactive Dark Rides". Fun as they may be, its still "cardboard" cut outs in rather well lit building... and not the creepy (if cheesy) old time scares.
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Sunday, July 9, 2006 1:38 AM
^ I'm hoping (desperately perhaps) that Family Kingdom would pick up that ride...I keep meaning to join DAFE.

Interactives, while I praise them alot as good BUSINESS, just don't have the nostalgia factor of the old time ones...like Kennywood's (old) Old Mill, and the COOL dark-ride from Miracle Strip that I presume has been destroyed.

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 1:52 AM
At the Hurricane media day in 2000, I had a lengthy discussion with then-GM Alan Kanter about the Pavilion and its future. The rumors about closing had begun even back then, and the Hurricane was what it took to silence them. Kanter was excited about the ride and, being a first-year GM and a young guy, had really ambitious plans for the park. They were going to develop a new merchandising department, build a fairly large Huss Shot'n'Drop on the site of the Rainbow (which would have been relocated within the park), and consider a new dark ride where the arcade used to be. As a side note, I find it interesting that the arcade did eventually become a dark ride last year. The bottom line is that in 2000, they had a great, enthusiastic GM who had with B&C great plans for the park.

The entire downfall of the park may have been something entirely overlooked during the 2000 season -- the gate. The Pavilion was always an open park with no admission charge, and in 2000 that changed. It was now gated with a $5 entrance fee, but you got $5 worth of good-at-Pavilion-only coins in return to help make up for it. They'd had a bunch of small problems with crime at the park after dark, and figured this would be the best way to deter it. However, what it also did was keep out almost all of the people who visited the park at the spur of the moment while walking by the beach. This part of their attendance was underestimated and really hurt their bottom line. Indeed, 2000 was their least profitable season.

After such a huge investment for the park, B&C was not happy. Not a single one of Kanter's plans was realized, and he was fired after a 2001 season that was no better. His replacement, I hate to say, seemed like an idiot and was clearly not there to do anything important.

So, I'm sure that the decision to sell the very profitable land came after the 2000 season when it became clear that the site was not as profitable as it should have been. It's too bad, really, because I think it may have still been there next year if it hadn't been for the 2000 season.

To answer a few of the above questions: The Hurricane was awesome in its first two years; a little rough in the first helix and a bad shimmy at one spot in the second, but overall very awesome. It began getting really rough in 2002, just after Kanter was fired. And, yes, losing the Haunted Hotel is perhaps the worst result of the park's closing. *** Edited 7/9/2006 5:56:56 AM UTC by lettuce***

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 9:01 PM
I was thinking that last time I was there, I'm really going to miss the Haunted Hotel. Every time I ride it I laugh hysterically at the fun effects and cool atmosphere, I really wish it could be saved.

Such a shame... such a shame.

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 11:21 PM
After having been to both parks in the past, and seeing recent pics and video from both Pavillion & Family Kingdom in recent weeks, it's clear to me.

The wrong park is closing!

MBP actually has a nice line-up of rides, nicely looking property, and is fun. Family Kingdom always seemed like roadside carnival that just permanently broke down.

But I digress, thanks Jason, that was a great video.

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 11:33 PM
I visted the Pavilion last weekend as part of my Myrtle Beach & Carowinds trip with Iggy. I really enjoyed the Pavilion and even the Hurricane was fun, but not quite as good as I thought it might be. All the reports of how brutal the ride is made me think I might really like it. Yeah, that sounds odd, but those of you who know me will get it. :)

Anyway, the Pavilion is a beautiful seaside park. Lots of colors and palm trees--love it! During the day, the crowds were very light, but come nightfall, the place was bustlin' with activity and atmosphere. The Mad Mouse was the surprise hit of the weekend--tons of airtime. I don't recall any of the other Arrow Mad Mice being this good. The theming on the kiddie coaster was quite impressive. The flume and rapids ride were quite fun and, I enjoyed several flat rides there as well. I got the best tilt-a-whirl ride ever. Started spinning right away and made about 20 consecutive spins before changing direction for the first time--crazy!

I was very pleased I managed to visit the park. And am sad it won't be there in the future. It reminded me a lot of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

I can't mention my trip without touching on the highlight of the weekend though. I FINALLY sanpped a flyer! We were at Carowinds for two days and rode the flyers about a dozen times. Sadly I have yet to master the sanp thing, as after a couple of great rides, I was stuck in "no snap land" for the rest of the weekend. :(

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 11:58 PM
I recently went to both parks in June as well. I found both Pavilion and Family Kingdom to be fun seaside parks. With a little TLC, I'm sure the Hurricane could have been a much better coaster, but, when I rode, I could only manage one ride on it. It's THAT bad in the roughness dept! The Haunted Hotel is absolutely one of the greatest traditional darkrides out there. It rivals Knoebels, it's THAT good! My guess is that the Hurricane, being a steel structured ride, will most likely find a new home at the end of the season. Possibly even at the new Hard Rock Park that's scheduled to open in a few years at Myrtle Beach. I only hope that the new owner gives it the proper maintenance it deserves (and a new set of PTC trains wouldn't hurt, either!). I'm sure most, if not all of the flats, the Mad Mouse, and even the kiddie coaster will find new homes as well. Unfortunately, we'll most likely lose the rapids ride (well themed and extremely wet!), log flume, and, most unfortunately, the Haunted Hotel. It's really sad to see Pavilion close. Another great seaside park that we're going to lose!

On the other hand, Family Kingdom actually was much better than I had anticipated. Sure, the landscaping seems a little more carny like, but, it was fairly clean with a decent selection of rides. Swamp Fox is absolutely fantastic and very repeatable! This is John Allen at his finest. A smooth, fast, double out & back that delivers! And it's well maintained, just like most of the park. Other highlights include a nice relaxing C.P. Huntington train ride, a double shot, a decent Sally 'shoot-em-up' dark ride, and a great log flume! Overall, we had a great time at this park, too. If they buy and move the Haunted Hotel intact, I'd say they would almost be as good as Pavilion. They certainly have the better coaster of the two!!!

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Monday, July 10, 2006 8:55 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:I can't mention my trip without touching on the highlight of the weekend though. I FINALLY sanpped a flyer!

You RULE...Congrats!
See ya at PPP Phlyers' School! :)

Family Kingdom, take the Mouse *and* the Haunted Hotel, and keep that "charm" you have, and I'll be back EVERY year...promise! :)

*** Edited 7/11/2006 12:55:28 AM UTC by rollergator***

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Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:52 AM
Something needs to be done to preserve parks and seaside resorts in general from condo-overkill. One seaside park that is safe is Rye Playland. It remains an amusement park because Westchester County owns it and it is put aside as a recreational facility. The only way this park would close is if the amusement operations became unprofitable.

Fortunately New York City is doing things to keep Coney Island viable as an amusement area. They recently purchased the B&B Carousel to prevent it from being chopped up for collectors. This is one of the few carousels that has a ring machine.

The list of beachfront parks that have been sold off over the years is just so long. We have Revere Beach, Paragon, Rockaway's Playland, Crystal Beach, Buckroe Beach, Lake Pontchatrain, Miracle Strip, The Pike, Playland on the Beach and many others.

One unusual case of such a place was Colonial Beach, VA. They had slot machines at one time! Sure, the one-armed-bandits were illegal in VA but they were formerly legal in MD. Since the Potomac River was entirely in MD as a result of a colonial charter, some businesses built piers into the river and put slot machines there in compliance with the law. Today, slots are illegal in MD and Colonial Beach is just a sleepy town with little left to remind you of its glory days as an amusement and gaming center.

Hopefully beachfront survivors such as Santa Cruz B&B, Trimpers, Family Kingdom, etc. can continue as parks and that newer ones such as Kemah's can expand. *** Edited 7/15/2006 3:15:20 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

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Saturday, July 15, 2006 12:13 PM

Jason Hammond said:Well, according to their site the last day is the 24th. And while at the park they were advertising last day tickets. They are selling 3000 I think. They are $45 presale and $40 day of, but there is no gaurentee there will be any available on closing day. I tried finding the info on thier site, but was unsuccessful.

I *guess* this has changed...
http://www.mbpavilion.com/farewell_listing.html

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Saturday, July 15, 2006 8:14 PM
I really hate to lose another seaside park...especially one like Pavilion. GREAT atmosphere there and a really fun place. Yes, the Haunted Hotel is a classic totally worth saving. I wouldn't mind seeing the Rainbow get picked up as well...best Rainbow EVER! The ironic thing about losing parks to condos is that...well...I'll have no need for a condo now that the park is gone. I guess other vacationers don't feel the same though. We are a small minority.
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Saturday, July 15, 2006 10:24 PM
It is possible to stop this with appropriate legislation. North Carolina passed such a law to prevent large condos from being built on the top of mountains. Many people were outraged when a hi-rise condo building was built on Sugar Mountain, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The result was a law banning the construction of hi-rise buildings on mountaintops above 4000 feet.

Zoning could be used to preserve some of the more traditional uses of private beachfront property in some areas while permitting the condos and other such developments to be built in certain other designated areas near beaches. The objective of such laws would be to balance the use of land in beachfront communities so that all types of uses would be respected instead of such uses being solely determined by the highest bidders.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006 10:56 PM
This is really sad.

I had a hand in the design of the haunted hotel, and it still remaines one of my favorate dark rides today. I just hope it is relocated to another park, but it may be hard to do that because of the layout and the building.

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