Freestyle Music Park, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
In short, Hard Rock Park is f'n awesome.
I say that as someone who digs the whole Hard Rock thing. I also say that as a music fan who understands, appreciates and enjoys rock music and where it came from.
My honest opinion is that someone who enjoys the Hard Rock product would get more out of this park than someone who enjoys rides. If you enjoy both, well then you're the reason the park is open for 15 hours a day.
On to the thoughts:
- Led Zeppelin The Ride was better than I expected. Typical B&M fare with an exceptional zero-G. Not sure if the music made the coaster better or the coaster made the music better, but to worked for me and, while I enjoy both (Zep and B&M), I'd hestiate to call myself a huge fan of either.
- The staff clearly has some leeway in what they're allowed to do. Literally some of the coolest people I've ever encountered at an amusement park working here. (and the hottest) All the way from the parking attendants to food service to ride-ops to sweepers to random staff walking by...everyone was awesome.
- Maximum RPM was up and down all day and the sign in front of the ride is still calling it a 'Sneak Preview'
- Speaking of Maximum RPM, it really is what everybody says - the crazy cool wheel lift system, a crazy drop and a couple of turns after that...
...they squirt a little water on you at the end. (nervous smile)
- RCDB says Shake, Rattle & Rollercoaster is a custom. Felt like a standard Roller Skater to me. Not that that's a bad thing.
- We got pictures with the Banana Splits! Yeah! And the good word is that they have a new version of the show coming this fall.
- Did I mention the abundance of hotties working at the park - both male and female?
- The shows are surprisingly good. The Roadies Stunt Show was probably the best with the guys (and lady) really working their asses off and having a lot of fun doing it. The Malibu Beach Party was fast paced and entertaining. We also saw a dude (I forget his name) doing a fire eating-sword swallowing-juggling knives kind of show at Phonehenge that was fun as well as seeing the BMX show.
- They were doing a scavenger hunt for kids 12 and under where they had to find certain shops in the park and get a 'passport' stamped. After they collected all the stamps, they returned to the candy store (I Want Candy) at the front of the park and got a freebie bag with a bunch of candy in it. My kids ate it up...literally!
- The crowd was never big. The park wasn't empty by any means, but the park could've handled a much larger crowd. The crowd seemed to follow a bell curve over the course of the day. Dead for the first few hours, picking up all afternoon to a peak around 5 or 6 pm and then a steady decline back to dead for the last few hours. After talking to a few staff members this seems to be the general trend they've been seeing.
- We ran into a lady right around noon who struck up conversation with us while waiting for the kids to ride. She was bitching about how they'd already done everything and there was no reason to stay and how the park was a ripoff...this was two hours into the day. I suspect that's a common reaction from anyone thinking they'll find 15 hours worth of riding to be had.
- The best ride in the park is the one I was probably least interested in going into things - Nights In White Satin - The Trip. It really is an awesome dark ride. We rode four times. The guys working this one have a good deal of fun working the dual innuendo of "The Trip" and don't shy away from playing the adults. It's a really good time with some basic techniques used to great effect. So many images still stick vividly with me - the candles lighting and the smell of incense, the dancing red lady, the puff of smoke, the wall that changes, the projection room where the speed of your car and the speed of the images offset and (for me at least) screwed with me enough to feel like an actual trip. ;)
- Kids Rock State Park was a pleasant surprise with all it's physical activites.
- I liked how the in the little bohemian section that included the shops, Reggae River Falls & Paradise Grill that the music playing switches to island versions of the songs (steel drums and stuff). Even crazier is that it stays synced to the music playing throughout the park so that as you enter that area the music kind of fades from the real song to the instrumental island version and the opposite happens as you leave the area. Such a subtle thing that had a lot of impact.
- The Eagles Life In The Fast Lane Coaster was decent. Nothing major, but it was a solid mine train style of coaster. Again, not sure if the coaster made me enjoy the Eagles more than I should or the Eagles made me enjoy the coaster more than I should, but it worked for the most part.
- During the day it's more about little shows and characters roaming. As night falls, it becomes more about live music around the park.
- Easily the most alcohol tolerant (encouraging?) park anywhere. Drink up and have fun, sucko!
- The Bohemian Rhapsody was really well done too. Water effects, fireworks, the kites, the guitar, lasers, Queen. It's hard to screw up those ingredients. Good views from all around. Might I suggest the porch behind the Wheel House Canteen? Not crowded at all and you can score a sweet bench, table or rocking chair to watch the show...and some food if you so desire.
- The big Les Paul goes neon after the Bohemian Rhapsody show...and it twinkles.
- Lots of little things like the Rock Garden, Heavy Metal Graveyard, Peace Park, the Mini Mushroom Garden, the Riff Notes plastered all over the park and so much more to check out.
- Some different food choices (I had Bangers & Mash at Carnaby Street Cafe) and the food is unique to each area of the park. Another subtle touch.
- Speaking of food, quality was slightly above average park food and prices were exactly what you'd find and most bigger parks. Considering the quality was a tad better, I'd say there's more value for those that fret over such things. (Heh, that was a pun. Puns are the lowest form of comedy.)
- The Graffiti Wall :)
- Slippery When Wet. Cute little ride. Not too wet. Not sure what exactly the green button does. It claims to "Fight Back" - maybe David Horowitz pops out somewhere? (anyone old enough or lame enough to get that reference?) I dunno, it was fine. Seemed a lot like the old Scooby coaster at KI.
- We stopped to watch the cow statue rip a few people apart. Be warned. Rock-Cow-Billy does not pull his punches. He ripped men, insulted women and even reduced children to the butt of the joke.
I could go on forever if you let me. :)
The park itself seems a bit of an anomoly. I think people go expecting an amusement park and it is one, but not one like most people are probably used to. In fact, dare I say the park hints of early IOA in the way that almost every attraction is a biggie and there's so much more to the experience than the attractions.
If you're a ride fan and don't care much for rock music, the history of rock, rock memorabilia or the attitudes and lifestyles of the stereotypical people who do enjoy that sort of thing, then you're going to be sorely disappointed. As a ride park, it's exactly like the lady who talked to us...two hours and you're done.
If you do like that stuff and prefer to take your time soaking in the experience on all levels (rides, shows, people, attractions, exhibits, etc) than you'll get so much more out of the park. I suspect people who don't ride, but like those things will have a 'fuller' day than people looking for amusement park rides.
If you happen to enjoy both, you'll beg the owners to let you pitch a tent (snicker) and live there. We showed up a little after 11am and left going on 1am and still didn't really want to leave. We had such a great day there that we 'forgot' to take a break and go back over to Family Kingdom and use the tickets we bought there the night before. Somehow I think I'll manage to live with that decision. :)
-Edited for clarity and spelling...and still probably needs more. :)
*** Edited 7/21/2008 12:57:23 AM UTC by Lord Gonchar***
When I stopped by customer relations on my way out (to rave about the park over and over) the lady behind the counter said their #1 "complaint" was that there was "nothing much to do for the price."
That's when we agreed that if you are not into rock and roll and are looking for a typical amusement park then you will get bored. She says a lot of people come in there with their families expecting a Disney World or Six Flags, etc. That's when she said "We are a rock and roll park!"
$50 is considered "steep" but it really depends on how much you get out of the park. If you get bored then yeah, I would feel ripped off, too. I personally felt it was worth EVERY cent and I would throw down another $50 without thinking twice. If I lived closer I would just get a pass. :)
The lady I talked to was real nice and was actually "surprised" that someone actually had many compliments about the park. I assume they get a LOT more complaints, which is sad.
I really had fun with the employees as well. They were all VERY cool. I kind of liked how a lot of them just dressed as if they were at a rock concert, as long as they wore the HRP vest and lanyard. I guess that's one place you can apply where you don't have to cut your hair or take out your nose ring! :)
The shows were excellent! I really don't see too many shows at parks but the ones I saw (the roadies and the BMX guys) were a blast! I saw a little of the beach show. It's kind of cool the way they had various entertainers roaming the park doing various stuff. The Moody Blues thing was definitely a surprise, and I had "flashbacks" as well for a few minutes after getting off the first time. Excellent! :)
I didn't get to see the park during the nightime (left to go to Family Kingdom) which I regret. I wish I would of just stayed at Hard Rock! LOL!
Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!
*** Edited 7/20/2008 11:25:20 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
$50 is considered "steep" but it really depends on how much you get out of the park. If you get bored then yeah, I would feel ripped off, too. I personally felt it was worth EVERY cent and I would throw down another $50 without thinking twice. If I lived closer I would just get a pass.
A tip for anyone visiting is to ask at your hotel about tickets.
We got ours at our hotel for $40.
Slippy slope, Gonch...slippery slope! And I'm waiting at the bottom, lol ;)
mOOSH (gets the Horowitz ref too)
And I'm waiting at the bottom, lol ;)
Maybe Gonch would prefer you at the top, who are you to asssume?
I did notice a few hotties, yes. ;)
I loved the Banana Splits, and why I still remember their theme song after all these years, I don't know.
Sounds like HRP might be worth the trip down south, even if you don't have a Volkswagen Bus.
Lord Gonchar said:
- Did I mention the abundance of hotties working at the park
So just to confirm...Coasterimage does/will have pics of these hotties, right!?
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