Of course, long-time readers of this site will know that the investors behind Hard Rock Park weren't the sharpest tools in the shed, lashing out at TPI for calling B.S. on the park's inflated attendance projections.
Hmmm, let's see. Who turned out to be right, and who turned out to be wrong?
I don't think so.
When the talk started about the closing, I really didn't believe it, because I thought there was truly no way the park's mgt could have believed they'd have some major profits the very first season. I figured it was hype, and hoped that it would stir some interest in the park.
I hope they do figure out how to re-open. Myrtle Beach was something of a repeat destination for my family when I was a kid, and though I'm sure it's changed a lot since then, it's a great beach with a great state park (nice cheap way to stay, either camp or stay in a lodge if you can get one), and plenty of resorts, too. HRP sounds like it was/is a nice addition to the area's offerings. Not a destination park itself (yet), maybe, but a nice day when you need a break from the sand and surf.
My family and I were planning to attend HRP next Friday (October 3rd). So much for those plans. Oh well. Saving money is a good thing, right?
Like a lot of others, I find this hard to believe for the same reasons as everyone else. Why would you open a theme park (or any business) without having adequate funds? It just doesn't make sense. Perhaps someone needs to go back to business school and update their degree.
In other news, I'm not too shocked on account of this year's economic disasters. When the cost of living goes up and the wages remain the same, people are going to cut back on their spending (obviously).
The promotional campaign alone would remind people that HRP is closed and that the sponsoring park remains open for business, potentially influencing tourists' decisions for this year and next.
It'd be a tough blow to HRP's chances for recovery, but this is a competitive business.
The theme works well for a WHOLE park. There is such a wide variety of rock music or music in general that makes it work.
I can see the mistake of anticipating more visitors per year than what they got. Considering Myrtle Beach is one of the top tourist destinations and doing research to see how many people typically go to amusement parks, the projections can be understandable. If you consider how many people were now closer to an amusement park (Carowinds is 4 hours from MB) and the number of tourists that go to MB, the projections are relatively acceptable. It was an understandable mistake (to those who think it through), but at least they will open up next year.
Great park, go to it if you get the chance in 09.
HRP is an excellent park, I visited last May. While it is short on attractions they excel in delivering excellent guest service, keeping the park clean, hosting great live entertainment, and keeping a great theme throughout the park. I encourage all of you who aren't within a few hours drive to make a trip to Myrtle Beach and see this park for yourself when it reopens in Spring '09.
I stand by my claim that I've made on the TPI message boards that I think Myrtle Beach has the makings of a great theme park destination similar to Southern California and Central Florida. I am confident that HRP management will learn from their mistakes and have a stronger product in the future.
Yes, the economy but if your park is run well, it has done well. Cedar Fair reported increases in attendance for this year. Heck, Disney keeps increasing prices - not a sign of a struggling park.
I really do still want to ride some of those coasters!
Personally I think, even though there would be much more competition, the park would have done better if it would have been a collaborative installment of Universal Orlando and Hard Rock on the Universal Resort grounds in Florida.Attendance for sure would have been better since when you are planing your vacation to Orlando and planing on visiting Disney and Universal, you might as well stop by the Hard Rock Park which in this case would have been a third park at Universal Resort. The location would have been more relevant, and the idea would stay relevant.
Take a look at Universal Orlando, they are putting in a new roller coaster in Universal, and what is the theme? Music
I don't know that my idea would do as good as I think it would, but I believe it sure would have done better than the Myrtle Beach location.
It's just sad to see a potentially great park go under.
Another thing to consider: Obviously, what HRP offered this year wasn't enough to keep the park out of the hole. And if anyone thinks next year's economy will be better than this year's, well, sorry, but I hope you brought enough of what you're drinking to share.
So HRP needs a new top-shelf attraction to draw bigger crowds next year, if it is to reopen successfully. But parks in Chapter 11 tend not to have access to the capital they need to build such attractions.
Looks like this one might be done. So... where does the Led Zep B&M end up?
Trip report coming soon.
It amazes me that many roller coaster parks actually close for the Winter when the weather is great, closed on weekdays when the weather is awesome. And close permanently because not enough people showed up...
But Disneyland is open every day, too crowded most of those days, and no one builds parks with quality rides like Disneyland except Disney. Why does no one get that???
Why cant anyone figure out that Disneyland is the most popular park because of really awesome slow rides, dark rides, huge rides with realistic animatronics, good music, and effects throughout? It boggles my mind!!!
The park is not all rock. There is a section for country also. The theme does work for a whole park considering there are so many themes you can use for rock music. Not to mention, so many generations of rock too. Out of curiosity, can you please explain how the comparison between HRP and Disney is even a fair comparison?
The Hard Rock Park was a good "start" of a theme park. Where (I think) management and marketing went wrong, though...
1. They didn't market at ALL in Myrtle Beach's "drive-in" markets. Folks who visit Myrtle Beach come from Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, SC, Augusta and Savannah, Ga., Charlotte, Fayatteville, Raleigh and Greensboro, NC, plus a LARGE contingent of folks from West Verginia and western Pennsylvania. There was no marketing of the park in these markets, until it was too late into the travel season. Knowing the Myrtle Beach tourism market better would've helped.
2. They snubbed the local community far too much; not having a local discount and cutting the hours of local kids working there BEFORE cutting international kids was horrible p.r. Having a "sneak preview" weekend where locals could see the unfinished park (with MANY un-rideable rides) for "only" $40 in late April did nothing to convince locals that the park was worth $40 admission - let ALONE the $50 ticket the HRP was hell-bent on charging.
3. Which leads us to the price-tag; $50 per person per-day was WAY too much for a theme park without a larger compliment of rides and attractions; and I'm not just talking about rollercoasters, either. I could SEE $50 per person per day if each day there was a major concert act performing in the venue each day, too. That IS, after all part of the "theme" of the "theme park," right? Which leads me to entertainment...
4. There weren't enough big-name acts brought into the park to convince the everyday tourist that $50 was a worthy price of admission. This year's lineup included (not counting the $250 Eagles or Moody Blues dates, because those were seperate events with higher ticket fees)... K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Sister Hazle, Kid Rock, Bowling For Soup. My memory doesn't allow me to remember ALL the "marginal" or "big name" acts they brought, but I'm not forgetting many. They missed out on hosting the VANS Warped Tour when it was available for 'em, and I'd heard through the grapevine that the HRP turned them down because they didn't think they'd be able to handle a large-scale concert like that. Excuse me? That's what your "theme" park was supposed to be all about. Rock. Music. Entertainment. Folks gladly paid $50 and more to go to concerts - TENS of thousands attended the Warped Tour in Charlotte. The HRP never once (that I can recall) had a "tens of thousands" day this summer, though they "projected" 20,000 per day capabilities.
The park itself, isn't all that bad, really. There are enough rides for kids and teens, and it could stand to add another marquee coaster or two (another $20-40 million for such rides would TRULY upgrade the place), but all-in-all, the rides were good, and the shows were, too. But the HRP kept reminding us they were't a "ride" park, but a "theme" park, and that being the case, there wasn't enough "rock" in the Hard "Rock" Park to live up to their "theme."
I hope they bounce back and find the infusion of cash they need to bring this park up-to-snuff; they have a good product that needs to be just a "little" better, I think; their marketing COMPLETELY let them down, though, and their management should listen more to those who know better than they do in matters like 'what works in Myrtle Beach,' 'where Myrtle Beach visitors come from,' 'what ticket fees work and what fees don't,' and most importantly, listen to your theme park veterans on-staff. Many who knew this park's shortcomings all along are no longer with you, but they were sounding the alarms early on, and most of them were ignored or pushed out of the way.
Best of luck!