Quite a lofty goal.
That would put the HRP ahead of the Universal Orlando parks and SeaWorld Orlando, despite being in a more northern market.
Looking at the top seasonal parks, Canada's Wonderland and Kings Island do in the mid-three-million range, which on a eight-month, 240-day calendar would average about a touch under 15,000 per day.
Now, if you go weekends only from March-May and September-October, with seven days from June-August -- a more traditional seasonal park sked -- that gives you about a 135-day schedule. At 30,000 per day, that'd give you about four million a year. Ambitious, but if they are looking to lead the seasonal parks, that'd be the goal I'd shoot for.
Personally, I'd think a Myrtle Beach park could operate on more days than that, but clearly those additional days would be lighter attendance than the core summer months and shoulder weekends. So if the park added those days, one would presume the average daily attendance would decline, even as overall attendance increases.
But the park does look interesting, I hope I will have the chance of visiting some day.
I don't expect this park to be a total theme park like a Disney. Will there be themed attractions? yes, but I'm not setting the bar so high for a 400 million dollar price tag. I do expect a good product though, and I think we will see a mixture of themed attractions and thrill rides, and probably a hotel a couple of years after opening.
30,000 visitors per day is a bit lofty, and while it's not at all out of the question for months like June/July/August, I don't see them maintaining a strong attendance base in the fall months. Most Myrtle Beach attractions curl up and die toward the end of September, and stay that way until around Spring Break the following year...save the holiday season. My prediction? I see a strong 6 million attendance figure for 2008. Thats figuring for an early spring soft opening, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year's events, and a load of ticket deals with different resorts. When Myrtle Beach makes itself a more viable destination during the nonsummer months (and it's working on that) and Hard Rock expands and builds a hotel or two on the property, then we could see those attendance figures go into the 8 million mark. Who knows though, perhaps they will reach those numbers. That would be one crowded park.
Make no mistake, however, my fingers are decidedly crossex and I wish them much success!
This park is going to do extremely well for many years if it capitalizes on two things:
1. Golfers are GoldWhile the summer months cater to beach-going families, the other 9 months of the year see millions of golfers flock to the "golf captial of the world." If the park is aiming to be a 12 month operation they need to find a way to coax the golfers away from the courses.
2. Keep the Honeymoon GoingAs we all know the honeymoon period for a new park can fade pretty quickly if you don't add any major new rides in the first 5-7 years of operation (take Islands of Adventure for example). If HRP keeps things fresh for the first decade their attendance will stay consistant.
Of course we do not know about land costs or state subsidies that may or may not be involved, but it you look around at other recent new builds a figure closer to 1Bil is more reasonable to do it correctly.
Think about it, they have to create from scratch all the basic infrastructure just to support the projected 30k a day visiting..sewage, parking, traffic control, security, first aid, labor, management,INSURANCE! At start up these can not come out of projected earnings but from capital on hand.
People have said it took Disney close to 1Bil to create California Adventure...on land they already owned and with much of the necessities and know how already in place..and look at what a half assed place it still is.
I fear with only 400Mil in their pockets we are going to be seeing alot of off the shelf carnival rides, piss poor themeing, marginal training and management and maybe one or two off the rack "flagship" rides.
As far as those who feel that the park will open with very little, look at what Universal did with Islands of Adventure. While IOA was built for twice what this park is being built for, IOA included two hotels, parking garages, and a likely higher price for land. This park is opening initially without a hotel, even though one is on the drawing board, parking lots instead of garages, and on land that probably came pretty cheap considering it housed an abandoned and deteriorating outlet mall. I think at first, the park will be lacking in the ride department, but every park that has opened in the past 20 years has been short on rides. IOA, DAK, MGM, DCA, DSP, and HKDL have all opened with few rides and attractions. It takes time to grow a park, and Hard Rock Park just like every other park will have to grow. Also remember, Disney and Universal spend a lot of time and money on R&D (research and development), hence why both have started cloning attractions to save money. Hard Rock will likely take existing ride systems and spend some money to enhance them to give guests a more complete experience. I don't expect to see any rides in this park that we haven't seen before, but I do expect to see a level of detail and themeing in this park that we see from Universal, Disney, and Busch.
I Respond: I agree. And, as a result, I also don't expect the HRP to see 30,000 guests a day.
Side note: The artist's renditions on the park page here at TPI have been floating around for some time. They were published in the Orlando Sentinel in 2003.
Russel states that this is because they are opening lean, no hotel, no parking structure, on cheap land. He also states that IOA and Disney spent twice the 400mil amount because they needed more R&D.
Lets just examine this a bit.
Ca.Adventure cost about 1Bil according to rumor and accountant information...and this was on land already paid for decades ago...with R&D carried out by a pre-existing in house staff. Hard Rock will not only have to buy the land and pay for removal and clean up of existing structures and infrastructure(not cheap in this day of asbestos fines)but, as I stated, also create from scratch everything needed..including an R&D deptartment and fund their development activites.
Another thing that worries is the time frame being discussed..less than 24 months. 24 months means that there is very little room for conceptual error. This means everything has to work the first time..no rewrites, no adjustments, no beta locations or mock-ups. Not only is there no time for adjusting, with only 400Mil there is no money.
Do not get me wrong..I wish them well and the concept has potential, I just think they are trying to do it on the cheap and relying on the Hard Rock name alone to get people thru the gates.
But here are my thoughts on Myrtle Beach...I used to live in South Carolina. Although I'm from Chicago and eventually moved to Florida (post S.C.) I went to high school, college there; my entire immediate family lives there; (I now live in Los Angeles)...Myrtle Beach is not the midwestern families' playground, as has been suggested...EVERYONE who lives in the South will tell you...it's the REDNECK RIVIERA...don't get me wrong. I love rednecks (all my brothers, cousins, etc). And I'm not saying this to besmirch anyone. I'm just trying to explain that Myrtle Beach is MAINLY a locals' hangout (local being the southern states within half a day's driving distance). My friends and I would often drive down for weekends. My family. Everyone I knew. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that it's some huge tourist draw for the midwest, the upper eastern seaboard, etc. When I lived in Chicago, we went to Florida. So did everyone else up there. Myrtle Beach has a long way to go before it snags the Orlando-bound tourists off of I-75/I-85.
THAT BEING SAID, I think Myrtle Beach is long overdue for a theme park like this...who knows, some success by Hard Rock might entice Dollywood to expand to a second southern locale. Myrtle Beach has really grown since my high school days, I know. It's quickly becoming more upscale (especially north Myrtle Beach). HOWEVER, I don't think Myrtle Beach visitors go to Myrtle Beach expecting to pay large amounts of money, whereas Orlando visitors sometimes save for years to afford the ridiculous gouging at the theme parks. Maybe HARD ROCK is the catalyst needed to transform Myrtle Beach from it's weekend-getaway repuation into a week-long destination vacation. How great would it be to develop theme parks and high-level theme attractions along a family beach destination. I think this is GREAT!!!! If Disney/Universal/Busch had any sense, they'd swoop in and buy up some of that cheap South Carolina land and start staking out their own properties. When I think of "the next Orlando," I used to think that Southern California was the only possible candidate. However, I think Myrtle Beach is ripe for that spot.
IF (and this is a big IF), they can attract more than the the weekend day-trippers who spend very little money. And that 30,000 number. RIDICULOUS. Those are Disney/Universal (well, only Disney) numbers.
So, we'll see if this is a catalyst. But for now, let's hope it's just done well.
I can almost assure you that Herschend Family Entertainment (Dollywood's operators) have no plans of building new parks anywhere.
I would agree that the last, and only time I visited Myrtle Beach about 10 years ago, it was still a "redneck" destination, but I could see it changing then. Just look at the Hard Rock Cafe in Myrtle Beach, which was pretty new what I was last there. It's probably the coolest one on the planet, and quite possible the coolest looking themed restaurant in the world! The place is quickly changing its image, and Hard Rock Park is just another step to making Myrtle Beach more than just a regional tourist destination.
I think everyone's getting hung up on the numbers. Yes, $400 million for an entire theme park sounds low, and a projected 30k visitors a day seems high, but lets not look past the fact that this is the first totally new theme park to be built in the United States in quite some time, and in a completely new and untapped market.
This park won't be a 12 month operation, not yet anyway... and I can't see the city not pitching in on some of those basic services that will have to be established. 400 million for a 150 acre park with no hotel is not a bad start at all, so I wouldn't dwell on the figure. It will be a hit.
If that was the case, then it might be reasonable to infer that one could get a California Adventure-grade park with around $400 million.
But then, even Disney can't get 30K a day with its California Adventure-grade park, and that's with Disneyland hauling 10+ million visitors within walking distance of that park every year.
I'm also convinced that building a theme park in South Carolina can be done for a FRACTION of the California costs, so maybe we will be getting an impressive park after all...it's just hard to visualize, though, when Disney spends over $100 million on Mission Space alone. How much was everest? Wasn't that even more?
I think there is an old Market Watch article somewhere that pegs the cost of the actual 55 acres of the park itself at about 700Mil.
So even if the number is closer to that 700mil..it was only for 55 aces, not the 140+ that Hard Rock is promising. The remainder of the old 100 acre parking lot was used for downtown Disney, Grand Californian, and the Esplanade.
And look at the pitiful mess that 700 got Disney. How much more did they spend to bring in ToT? 75-100Mil? As J. Dana says Disney spent 100Mil on Mission Space, IOA spent over that for Spiderman. So we can assume that there will be no big star attraction in this park. We must also keep in mind that Disney has been doing this for ever, and knows how to maximize every cent. HR will have one heck of a steep learning cuve, and I see massive cost over runs if they DO decide to do it right, and pure carnival cheese should they try to stay on such a tiny budget.
And, we are all correct in that there is just no way they will see 30K Visitors a day. The area is NOT a National/International tourist Mecca, the areas Median Income and population density are lower than you find in S.Cal which means fewer people with fewer bucks for that $40-60 ticket.
In some ways things are beginning to make more sense to me now. the 30K a day visitor estimate is pure Marketing fluff meant to get attention..as it surely has.
The 400Mil tells us the REAL story, that figure was the most the bean counters would give based upon ROI projections, which I am sure is based upon far more realistic attendance figures and per person spending projections, anymore and the thing simply would not pencil out.
So I think what we will now get is something akin to a six flags Amusement park with some Rock and ROll themes, rather than a Disney-esque Theme Park like the Marketing hacks would like us to believe.
And as I said before..I wish them well and if I am ever rolling through SC I'll stop by, but unless we are very very wrong I won't be changing my Orlando or Anaheim plans anytime soon.
1. The 30,000 visitors a day is noted in the press release as "up to 30,000..." That means that park designers do not expect the park to draw an average of 30k per day, but they do expect the park to be able to draw up to that amount of visitors per day. That means 30,000 is the park's capacity and/or what the park would expect to draw on busy weekends and holidays.
2. The $400 million, which everyone seems to be getting stuck on, is for a park built on land that has already been developed. The location of the park in on land that formerly served as an outlet mall. The land already has infrastructure (electricity, sewer, water, and more than adequite storm drainage), and park designers are planning on using a number of the existing structures for service buildings, storage, etc...
I think the only reason the park's cost was released was because of the size of the investment in the state of South Carolina. The state is very proud of this investment, and hopes this is a sign of things to come for Myrtle Beach and the rest of the state. Most theme parks avoid releasing financial figures and balance sheets, so lets not jump to conclusions when assuming this theme park will be underfunded.
$400 million just for the rides and theming (since the land and most of the infrastructure is not included in that figure) sounds like potentially a pretty good park to me.