Southern Trip: Myrtle Beach Parks (6/14/2004)

Associated parks:

We left Charlotte NC on Monday morning and headed East – South East toward Myrtle Beach. Along the way we did make a quick stop at that “delightful haven of tackiness” known as South of the Border. I am not sure if I want to call Pedroland and Pedro’s Mouse SBNO or Defunct. It’s still there, but I have this feeling that it will never run again… well, it might if it is sold and relocated… but in its present location?

Anyway… we arrived in North Myrtle Beach in the early afternoon for our first coaster stop of the day…

Myrtle Beach Grand Prix (Park (?) #2 of our trip): Not much to say here. Pulled into the parking lot, got ripped off… I mean bought tickets, and rode the Crazy Mouse. Seems kind of neglected… the cars looked like they were maintained to the same standards of a traveling fair. Anyway… three rides on this thing. Fun little coaster, but nothing out of the ordinary. As for Myrtle Beach Grand Prix… the only difference between this and the SBNO Pedro Land at South of the Border seemed to be that the electricity was turned on. The stop took less than half an hour and we moved on down the coast to…

Myrtle Beach Pavilion: (Park #3 of our trip): Pulling into the parking garage across the street from the park, we were informed by the attendant that some of the rides were not open. I asked if Hurricane was running, and he said it was, but Mad Mouse was not (down because of a lightning strike a week or so earlier). Okay… would have ridden the mouse, but Hurricane was the main reason for the visit. While we did not use it, we were given a ticket for a free spin on the go karts since some of the rides were down.

First stop at Pavilion was Hurricane. Great layout, painful trains. I had never encountered Gerstlauer trains before…. Lightweight, they seemed to skip around the track and were very rough. One ride up front and one ride in back were all that I could handle in a row. There is some force behind this coaster in those helices and some air on the hills, but with those trains, it is down right painful.

Next up we headed toward the Haunted Hotel dark ride… but it was down (we saw them actually walking people out of this ride through).

Not normally a person who rides “kiddie coasters”, since I was right by Little Eagle (which sits across the walk way from Haunted Hotel) I decided “why not” and hopped ar ride. Good attempt at theming / landscaping on this little coaster.

We decided to look around at some of the flat rides and hopped on….

Enterprise: First ride on one of these since Hersheypark removed their Cyclops. I always liked these, and this was no exception

Pirate: Good swinging ship… sat in the “stern” and got air on each swing

Calypso: I haven’t ridden any of these since a visit to Great Adventure in the 1970’s. This thing was like a scrambler gone mad! A very intense (and long) ride… this one made me dizzy.

The Log Flume was up next. A good little flume… great tunnel (with a dark drop) before the first lift.

I then decided to return to Hurricane and took one more ride up front. This time I sat on the left side of the train instead of the right and found it to be much more tolerable. My opinion of this coaster jumped much higher after this ride. I went through the queue for another ride, but when I got to the station, I saw that the train was stopped on the lift. Across the way I saw that Haunted Hotel was now running, so I got out of line and we headed over to the Hotel and found it to be a great dark ride… well themed, well maintained.

After a haunting ride in the Hotel, it was back to Hurricane for two more front seat rides.

Pavilion is a good little sea side park with a great coaster and dark ride. It’s a shame that its future is uncertain. Since the talk is that the park is in danger of being replaced by an upscale shopping area, I was expecting to see an upscale neighborhood surrounding it. There isn’t. Nothing wrong with the neighborhood, but it is your typical sea side neighborhood, nothing upscale about it. It would be a shame to lose this little park, especially Hurricane and Haunted Hotel.

Family Kingdom Amusement Park (Park #4 of our trip): Not quite as nice as its uptown neighbor Pavilion, Family Kingdom seems to offer more for the youngsters. Of course, it is not all for the kiddies. After all, this is the home of Swamp Fox. I heard great things about this coaster and I was really looking forward to it. I was a bit let down. It’s got air, but it is short. Oh well, it is still a good coaster… better than many. I hopped two rides on this one. I found it funny that, before entering you have to un-hook the chain that is in place of an air gate and then put it back in place after you pass through. I grabbed two rides on this (one front, one back) before moving on to the Log Flume.

An un assuming little ride, I was not expecting much from the flume. I was surprised. The first drop isn’t even in water but rather tracked and has a bit of a “hop” after it that sends you back into the trough with a bit of a splash. The main drop isn’t all that tall or steep, but what happens at the bottom surprised me. The splash that it made nearly soaked me through. Pulling back into the station, the op said that I could ride again if I wished since there was no one waiting. So I did… but I switched to the back seat (Michele, not wanting to get wet, opted not to ride this so I was on my own). I thought the front seat was wet… but the back was more so. I never had to change my clothes after a log flume ride until this one. My shirt was totally soaked so I went back to the car and grabbed a dry one out of the trunk of the car.

It was then back to Swamp Fox for 5 more rides. My initial “underwhelment” with this coaster eventually disappeared the more times I rode it and I began to appreciate just what all the talk was about. It is actually a great coaster. However, after my 5th ride in a row (7th total), the lines were getting long and it was nearing 8:30. We had planned on getting to Charleston SC that night, so I decided that it was time to head out and continue on down the coast.

Family Kingdom surprised me. I saw a picture of it (I forget where) from a few years back (there was an old sky ride / ski lift running through the park in that pic) and it looked kind of run down. What I found was a rather neat little park, typical of what you think the classic sea side park should be. *** Edited 6/29/2004 2:16:45 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
Thanks for the great TR! Nice to hear someone say something good about the Hurricane... I was wondering if it was as bad as people say. Now I have some hope! I also know what you mean about the "underwhelment" regarding the Swamp Fox disappearing after a few rides- seems to me that John Allen coasters take a while to grow on me and perhaps I'm not the only one?

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