Hard Rock Park licensing still up in the air

Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 1:34 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Officials with Hard Rock Park said Thursday they are close to resolving whether the park can keep the Hard Rock brand, but with only two months to go before it opens, theme park experts said the park faces an uphill struggle if the name needs to change.

Read more from The Sun News.

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Friday, March 20, 2009 5:16 PM

My opinion is that they should simply leave the name, why not? It'll get both the park and the restaurant publicity. And anyway, the Hard Rock logo is cool in the park. On a side note: Having ridden Led Zepplin the Ride, I would be ecstatic if nothing were touched on this ride. It's perfect just the way it is! The Bohemian Rhapsody song at the closing time of the park is simply amazing that, too, should be left as it is.

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Friday, March 20, 2009 5:21 PM

It's a matter of getting permission and/or paying for the rights to use the Hard Rock name.

And when I visited the park was still open for 3 or 4 hours after the Bohemian Rhapsody fireworks thingy. :)

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Saturday, March 21, 2009 4:27 PM

I hope they keep the Hard Rock name.

Simonnathan, I agree with you. Led Zep is perfect the way it is! :)

-Tina

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Saturday, March 21, 2009 4:44 PM

Seems to me that losing the licensing would be a real tragedy for this park in particular. Not quite Universal or Disney in terms of the importance of licenses, but considerably more ingrained than Paramount for instance, or Peanuts (wow was the NickToons theming a turn for the better, financially at least).

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Saturday, March 21, 2009 5:49 PM

I don't know how tragic it will be for the park itself, but I would imagine it would be the final nail in the coffin for the essence of the experience that some enjoyed so much last year. There's already talk of sprinkling in some more commercial theme park characteristics to the park in order to ensure better success this year. I would guess without the Hard Rock licensing, the recipe will be more commercial theme park experience with just a sprinkling of rock and roll.

Of course that all remains to be seen. But I do hope they resolve the licensing issue soon so the new owners have as much time as possible for marketing.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:28 PM

They've already said the Nights In White Satin ride won't return as is.

That alone is enough to claim the experience will not be the same. (I'd argue that it's a 'lessened' experience.)

But I think you nailed it, Carrie. This will be as homogenized as any theme park.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:46 PM

What they need is more coasters, less flats, q-bot, one-train operation, and Moosh.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009 11:06 PM

Gonch, I have a question for you.

It seems clear that this park was an "experiment." It was really different. And, it clearly clicked for you. But, I'm wondering if "Joe Sixpack" would get it just as readily.

Before you answer: put yourself in the shoes of your average not-nearly-as-cool-as-you neighbors. Would they get it? Would they bring their kids to it?

I think it's a shame if this park goes the way of "other" parks. But, other parks are by and large successful parks, and this one wasn't. You can blame marketing, and I think you'd be right, but can you really fault the "second try" for going with a formula that works?

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Sunday, March 22, 2009 12:46 AM

Brian Noble said:
Would they get it?


I like to think so, because it was only 'edgy' by those homogenized theme park standards. Still purely PG at worst.

It's hard for me to make that call because I'm outside the box trying to see what's inside.

Would they bring their kids to it?

See above. Really I had no problem with it and my kids dug it. Still have to consider the perspective of the speaker though. :)

I think it's a shame if this park goes the way of "other" parks. But, other parks are by and large successful parks, and this one wasn't. You can blame marketing, and I think you'd be right...

Blame whatever you want (and I've run the list myself), but I think the park never had a chance to find an audience. 4 unorganized months does not a success make...or something like that.

...but can you really fault the "second try" for going with a formula that works?

Unfortunately, I can't.

But if it doesn't draw again...

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, March 22, 2009 12:46 AM
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Sunday, March 22, 2009 1:07 PM

Here's the best analogy for my question that I've come up with.

Imagine if you took EPCOT Center---original, old, "edutainment" EPCOT---and instead of making it a second gate to one of the world's most successful theme parks in one of the world's most successful vacation destinations, you plunked it down as a standalone park somewhere.

I mean, that park was pretty darn risky---it was like nothing that's ever come before it. How long would it have taken to find an audience? Even still, it's gravitated away from the edutainment focus and drifted back to "rides". Likewise, no one (including Disney) has ever tried to replicate it again.

I don't think HRP was that far away from the mold, but to the extent it was a departure, that makes it even more important to have a plan for growth (rather than "instant hit") and the capital to operate it at a loss to find its audience.

If you'd built a "regular rides park" there (and even its biggest fans will tell you that that's *not* what it is) it may well have had a better chance even with the screw-ups on the part of the developers.

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Monday, March 23, 2009 6:03 PM

Nights In White Satin ride won't return as is!!!! This was one of the rides I would go back for... so my Question is why won't it be the same??

I believe the HRP name helps this place, but it needs to be about 40 bucks to get in and also have a evening rate after 5. Yes dropping more rides in would help, but I can't really see that Happening.

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Monday, March 23, 2009 9:01 PM

I like to think so, because it was only 'edgy' by those homogenized theme park standards. Still purely PG at worst.

I should clarify. I'm not really thinking about "edgy" vs. "safe" here. I'm talking more about expectations for the day. Imagine that Ma and Pa Kettle from East Wherever take the kids for a day at the "amusement park" during their week-long trip to the Redneck Riviera that is Myrtle Beach.

The problem is, it's not an "amusement park." It's a "Rock-n-roll Experience." They get there, and discover that after about three hours, they've ridden everything there is to ride, and then some. Now what?

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Monday, March 23, 2009 10:16 PM

Brian Noble said:
The problem is, it's not an "amusement park." It's a "Rock-n-roll Experience." They get there, and discover that after about three hours, they've ridden everything there is to ride, and then some. Now what?

I don't know. This is pretty much the exact point I've made and wrestled with since visiting.

One approach says the problem was selling it as an amusement park and not a "rock-n-roll experience" and that if marketed and advertised correctly, the customer isn't mislead or misinformed and all is well. Selling people on one idea and delivering another is never going to work - even if the product is quality, it's not what people expected, wanted or bought into. Fix that.

The other approach says if the problem is that people expect an amusement park, then let's give them an amusement park.

The new owners seem to be taking the latter approach. Like you said I can't fault that. But at the same time, I can't help but think the former would have (could have? might have?) worked.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 12:46 AM

If the park were to add more attractions in order to make it feel like an "amusement park experience" to those who expect it, how would that take away from the "rock-n-roll experience" that would already be there? I think that it could very easily be both.

Don't get me wrong. A rocker like me, who really enjoys what the Hard Rock eateries provide, would probably like the Hard Rock Park experience as well, but as an amusement park enthusiast, i would like to see a complete amusement park experience as well.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 1:29 AM

LostKause said:
If the park were to add more attractions in order to make it feel like an "amusement park experience" to those who expect it, how would that take away from the "rock-n-roll experience" that would already be there? I think that it could very easily be both.

First, I never said that.

Second, the new owners have already said they're removing things like NIWS and adding more kiddie rides in an attempt to make the park more 'family friendly' - I think change -pretty big change - is going to happen.

Third, being both would blow. Just because I said so. :)

Seriously, I'm not sure it really could be both. It was one because it wasn't the other.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, March 24, 2009 1:56 AM
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8:31 AM

Brian Noble said:

I like to think so, because it was only 'edgy' by those homogenized theme park standards. Still purely PG at worst.

I should clarify. I'm not really thinking about "edgy" vs. "safe" here. I'm talking more about expectations for the day. Imagine that Ma and Pa Kettle from East Wherever take the kids for a day at the "amusement park" during their week-long trip to the Redneck Riviera that is Myrtle Beach.

The problem is, it's not an "amusement park." It's a "Rock-n-roll Experience." They get there, and discover that after about three hours, they've ridden everything there is to ride, and then some. Now what?

Alright , sadly enough I guess me and my wife are Ma and Pa Kettle. I am from Eastern Ky( right on the Huntington WV border - the heart of REDNECKTOPIA). I lived in Anderson Sc for 6 years and never made it to the beach. So at 31 years old decided it was time I took my family down for a week. I will openly say I'm not HUGE on BIG coasters.. I will ride with a lil goating to get on it, but I hold my "Hard Rock Park" Experience in high regards.

Yes We had done all the "Rides" in about 3 hours time, but we proceeded to ride Knights in White Satin about 3 more times, caught the shows, rode the Zepplin a time or 2 more and yes we even stood in line for RPM for 30 minutes at atime before getting announcements that 'it was down again'..lol... BUT I Still had a good time. Yes lower tickets would be better and a few more rides.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8:54 PM

PSlate, I live about 30 minutes SE of Huntington. I live in the heart of redneckville too. Needless to say, when I moved here, I suffered from culture shock.

Sorry...back to the topic.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 9:05 PM

Gonch, What is it you didn't say? I didn't say you said anything...lol. I was offering a potential solution to the problem of marketing. Some people expect HRP to be a full on amusement park, because of how they have marketed thieir park.

I'm not convenced that HRP doesn't offer an amusement park experience...or maybe I should call it a theme park experience. It's like IOA without the fantastic rides. If they added a few more fantastic rides, comparable to the dark ride and LZ, it could be a lot like IOA. IOA is an amusement park experience, or theme park experience, imo.

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