Rock & Roll Heaven -- Hard Rock Park 6/16/08

Associated parks:
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:44 PM
We finally made it down to HRP this past Monday, and we had a great time. Below I'll just make some random comments and observations.

--The park is basically like I expected it to be: kinda like a scaled-down IOA with different theming, but this isn't really a bad thing.

--The park was very empty, but they still showed us a good time. The staff was relatively friendly overall, the park was clean and pretty well-run, there was plenty of entertainment, and they were open very late and still had fireworks.

--Led Zepplin, while clearly the star attraction, wasn't an outstanding ride compared to some of the other B&Ms. The trains were sweet and gorgeous. However, the ride was one of the new breed of forceless machines, and it also seemed to have some of that Hyrda-type bumpiness or whatever. Also, the way they load the ride is annoying. They group people together by trainload and assigned you a square, which ends up being your seat. You enter a pre-show room every time which has a video on Led Zepplin that lasts 5-10 minutes. Then when that is pretty much done, you enter the boarding station and are supposed to sit in the seat assigned to you from the beginning. Kinda kills the easy re-riding, as well as annoys you with the pre-show.

--Personally, I really liked the Eagles Life in the Fast Lane. It was a smooth, fun mine train with some cool music to ride with, and there were some other nice little touches that they threw in, as well.

--Slippery When Wet is a cool little ride, though not quite as good as a Setpoint swing thing. Beware, though, that there is supposedly a height limit on the thing of 6'3", though they still let me ride, thank God. The station looks pretty nice, too.

--Knights in White Satin is basically like a bad drug trip.

--Maximum RPM is a fun, but very short ride. It is very smooth and also plays some fun music, but the capacity is pretty low, at least right now, and there were a fair amount of breakdowns.

--The park has tons of merchandise, so you should have little problem finding something you like, though it did tend to be pricey.

--The food was actually pretty decent, and the prices were actually a little better than the SF/CF corporate prices. I got a nachos order that was huge, and it actually tasted good.

--The shows were fairly professional. I also liked how they have live entertainers throughout the parks at different times. They also had a couple of guys riding around the lagoon flying some kites.

--Apparently, from talking to one of the employees, their busiest day is Sunday, but from what I saw on Monday, that is the day to go--our Monday was so empty--I certainly hope they get good enough attendance to keep the place open!

--Overall, a great park. A bit light on the attractions list right now, especially considering the $50 price tag. They could really use some more water attractions, as well as maybe another big coaster with some good capacity. I definitely recommend hitting the place, especially if you like rock.

--There were plenty of fun small touches throughout the park, so don't just go for the rides--look around and notice all the little things that add to the entire experience.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:33 AM
All of the reports and pictures I have seen, the park always seemed very empty. I hope that this park finds a way to fill the parking lot.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008 9:54 AM
Word on the street is that attendance is sucking ass, and the investors are getting pretty nervous. There have been significant management changes already. The complete lack of any meaningful marketing is probably at least partly to blame.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:29 AM
I thought the Slippery When Wet ride is a Setpoint ride. It just doesn't sound like a lot stuff for $50.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:51 AM
Let's see how it plays out over the summer. Many school districts in the Northeast were still in session when I was up in DC/MD/NJ area last week. Maybe attendance will pick up in the next month or so...

If not, I'm available for one of those management/marketing positions... ;)


P.S. Whatever became of the "tempoprary installation" of the Flitzer that was supposed to tide them over until Max RPM was up and running reliably? Finally got my second Flitzer in NJ, and loved it...
*** Edited 6/19/2008 3:53:29 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:52 AM
^ RCDB lists it as a Premier ride. It definitely doesn't look like a Setpoint ride up close.

It isn't a lot of stuff for $50. I'd say $40-$45 would be a little more in-line with what you get.

Jeff is probably onto something. There are plenty of billboards for it on the way to Myrtle Beach, but they really need to advertise it on a broader level. A lot of people travel to Myrtle Beach, and they can plan for attending the park if they know it's there beforehand.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 1:28 PM
Is this supposed to be a destination park or a local park? If it is a destination park then they are doing a really poor job of getting the word out about it. Hell, even the people who work for the company don't know about it. I tried talking to someone at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City about it and they had no clue what I was talking about.

Locally, I think they've priced themselves out of most people's budgets based on the attractions they have. Most of the rides do not look all that thrilling. I've heard absolutely nothing about the shows they have. This should be a park with better shows than SFFT.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 3:20 PM
Our classic rock station here in Detroit has been plugging the park over the past couple of weeks and now have a contest going where the grand prize winner will get a trip to HRP (transportation, hotel, entrance to the park) to "ride the 15 story Led Zepplin coaster!"

Myrtle Beach is generally pretty active during the summer months after kids get out of school, so hopefully things will pick up for them in the next month or so.

But it sucks opening a new park in a destination area with gas prices so high.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 8:02 PM
Right around the grand opening here in central Ohio they had numerous radio ads on the local rock station. I thought it was odd since it is a good distance to the park. Plus with a high price, relatively little number of attractions, it's hard to entice people to drive all the way to MB just for the park, especially when you can go to KI or CP for under $40.

I guess they were targeting people who vacation regularly in the Myrtle Beach area.

Although the park is over priced, there are other expensive attractions in the area that seem to be doing ok (Dolly's Dixie Stampede ain't cheap) so it's not necessarily the price but what you are getting for that money. I think if the park was to fail it would be due to low price-value ratio.

For the first couple years I would have had prices low but reasonable(not necessarily highly profitable) until you could grow a fan base/regular attendance. Once you've established that you start to turn a profit.

This park may become the next Wild West and close before they had a chance. In my opinion, it is starting to large to sustain, and skipping the important stage for a park, the growing phase from small to big.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 8:16 PM
They have a dark ride, a few flats, a few kiddie coasters, and a B&M. That's hardly worth the $50 price tag.

But because it is the HARD ROCK park, I am going to give it a shot on my trip to MB this September. I hope it isn't gone out of business by then.

EDIT - But Bucknut, They may be thinking that they are going to take the displaced customers that used to go to Pavilion Park.

*** Edited 6/20/2008 12:20:18 AM UTC by LostKause***

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 8:33 PM
I know I have beaten this idea to death, but I may have a new spin to it:

Discount evening admission.

While I can agree with the theory of why would you discount the time you expect the park to be most busy, I think a lot of people look at it like, why would I pay full price for only a few hours and a few rides?

Now I know its still too early in the season to say attendance won't pick up, but I bet it would get a nice shot if people knew they could get in at 6pm for 30 or 35 bucks?

Then again, would that Kill the daytime attendance? And if it would, maybe they need to re-think their hours of operations?

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Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:00 PM
LostKause- That probably is their hope, but Pavilion Park wouldn't cost a family $200+ dollars (my guess), so this prices out a large majority of customers. I've never been to PP, drove by, but not entered, was it a pay per attraction or general admission?
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Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:44 PM
I really don't think pricing is the issue. I think fifty bucks is pretty fair for a themed park like that. People are less price sensitive in areas that probably wouldn't exist were it not for the tourism.
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Friday, June 20, 2008 1:05 PM
Well, pretty much everything Hard Rock does is mildly overpriced with a mediocre product that's dressed up in memorabilia so you forget how average it is, so I don't really see why their park should be any different.
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Friday, June 20, 2008 2:04 PM
Bucknut, PP sold tickets. It was a very unique park. The limited space forced the designers to be very creative.

About slow growth, maybe that is the plan on a much larger scale. Right now the park isn't offering as much as a SF or CF park, but as time goes on, hopefully the park will grow.

They really need many more water rides. They should take out one of the kiddie coasters (meaning any coaster besides LZ) and put in a log flume or rapids.

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Friday, June 20, 2008 2:10 PM
^The last couple seasons I went to MBP (or PP in your jargon) I most definitely purchased a wristband. Pretty sure tickets were an option up until, and maybe even including, the last season.

For Max RPM (and the Flitzer), and everything else operational - I'd like to hit the park once this season. I expect business to pick up steadily...but if it doesn't, someone will buy the place for cheap.

kpjb, in typical fashion, cut right to the chase. :)

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Friday, June 20, 2008 2:52 PM
^^They definitely don't need to take anything out but they could use w major water ride.

I wondered why they built so many low capacity rides (Slippery When Wet, MaxRPM) but I guess it doesn't matter if the crowds haven't been there.

What I could see happening though is when that day finally comes when there are huge crowds people will be put off by the long lines, especially for such lame rides.

I have also heard several radio ads here in Ohio for the park, but I'm pretty sure 9 out of 10 people at least have no idea what it is.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 7:20 AM
That's too bad that attendance may be rough at this point, especially since I still believe the success of a place like this should absolutely be attainable. A large, well-themed park with this kind of brand in this kind of area should be able to do kick ass and take names, like I've said many times, but of course that's contingent on so many things.

I've also been a defender of the ride line-up but looking now I don't think the quantity is the issue, just which rides they chose. It's too bad at least one nice, high capacity water ride wasn't made a priority. There's a few things they could add pretty cheap to make the selection seem a bit more rounded out.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 7:52 AM
I dunno Jeff, it's pretty darn expensive given the number of attractions. I went there on a weekend earlier this year and there were no more than twenty cars in the car park. I reckon that's people voting with their feet.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008 12:33 PM
I know they already have a Zeppelin ride, but a hi-capacity, highly-themed STC with the stereos blasting "When the levee breaks" wouldn't have hurt my feelings one bit...
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