TV report fuels rumors of Hard Rock Park demise
Rumors Circulate About Hard Rock Park Future
, from WPDE-TV. My transcript:
Rumors about the Grand Strand's first rock and roll theme park are spread-ing all over town. Many have heard that Hard Rock Park is going broke, or that it will become part of a casino project. The theme park's CEO, Steve Goodwin, has gone on record in the past saying it has been a really tough summer for the attraction. However, beyond that admission, not much else has been confirmed. But, the rumors are flying, and, right now, the skeptics are in charge.
Local business leaders and industry insiders want Hard Rock Park to succeed, but theme park consultant Dennis Speigel says the park's developers picked a bad summer to open because of high gas prices and a slow economy. Speigel also said the park's high ticket prices and very aggressive projection of three million visitors their first year did not help the matter.
"Very few parks, with the exception of Disney World, and possibly Universal, have ever achieved that number," he said. The park's days and hours of operation have been cut back, and their web site has no concerts scheduled af-ter August 30th. According to the rumor mills, that could mean the park will close this fall. But, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean said while foot traffic at the park is disappointing, no one on the outside knows the true story.
Dean said that the skeptics who did not believe Myrtle Beach was ready for a big theme park are having their day. But that it's way too early to talk about Hard Rock Park's demise.
"Obviously, they may not hit the projections they were hoping for this summer, but I think the longer term story has yet to be written," he said. Hard Rock Park has not released attendance numbers, citing competitive reasons.
It's a very sad thing to hear. I've been to the park and I loved it. It was very clean and entertaining. They have everything from a funny signs to coasters to kiddie rides to some of the best shows I have ever seen.
I find this very hard to believe
They could not have picked a worse economic year in which to open a new theme park. Only Disney and Universal seem to be making money right now (Cedar Fair just announced $30 million in losses over the first half of the year, and Six Flags has never made money), and most of the Orlando money is coming from foreign travelers taking advantage of the weak dollar.
It really turned out to be a horrible year for Hard Rock to open. The economy hasn't been the greatest for many businesses this year, let alone the tourism industry. I'm still convinced that a good theme park can fly high in Myrtle Beach, however there are a few things that Hard Rock should keep in mind.
We're headed out on our family vacation in 7 days and we'll be at a beach south of Cape Fear. We are planning on spending a day at HRP. I guess I should be looking forward to a small crowd, but I hate to see the park in trouble and cutting-back in services and hours, already. I think the previous comments are very accurate. The Myrtle Beach crowd is, in fact, of a general lower income than most other beach areas. Perhaps HRP could market the day-trip idea to folks (like us) who vacation within 100 miles (Wilmington Beaches, Charleston Beaches, even down toward HHI). SC is not a rich or highly populated state and (as HRP obviously knows) the park must count almost entirely on vacationers. Beyond gas prices and ticket prices, I would submit that many (including my family) considered waiting a couple of years until they add another high-end coaster. (I think they really only have a couple, at this point.) But, maybe coaster enthusiasts better get on down there and take a ride on Led Zepplin before it hits the auction block! Anyway, there will be five tickets sold in about ten days and I'll check back with a "review".
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