Hard Rock Theme Park, Myrtle Beach, SC

Hard Rock Park: Overpriced, Disney Type Wannabe, Hard Rock misses the mark!

From jil hicks
Posted August 17, 2008 at 4:31 PM
This review is for the Hard Rock Theme Park in Myrtle Beach, SC. Travelers beware, this park is incredibly overpriced for what you get. My family and I were there this past Thursday night. (August 14, 2008) I realize the park is supposed to be comparable with a Disney World type theme park, but it is no where NEAR that level of a theme park. I think the city of Myrtle Beach needs to realize that people spend an awful lot of money just to TRAVEL to Myrtle Beach (many people from all over the country) and by the time they spend money on gas to get there, their lodging for a week and groceries, the average family is NOT going to turn around and spend another $250 just to come to a theme park that only offers 8 rides and a few shows. As a weary traveling consumer who comes to MB every year myself, I just want an economically priced amusement park that my children can enjoy for a few hours that doesn’t empty out my wallet completely just to get in. (LIKE the Pavilion that was torn down in 2006..THAT place was perfection!! Affordable prices, lots of rides. Torn down to build condos??? I drove by there last week and there’s nothing there but an empty lawn. What’s up with that?)
Anyways, the Hard Rock park only has about 8 rides and a few shows that are a little on the cheesy side. I felt downright sorry for the performers, so many of THEM performing for about 10 or 12 spectators at each showing. The carnival type games were ridiculously priced (again, especially after you’ve just paid upwards of $300 just to get IN). The food was overpriced too. I kept expecting rides around every corner but what I got was ordinary, made to look fancy and fun, blow ups for children to jump around in (Punk Pit Bounce House) and a room for shooting rubber balls at one another???? Disappointing. And shop after shop after shop of, again, overpriced t-shirts and knick knacks nobody wants to buy. The Bohemian Rhapsody Fireworks kept being advertised all around the park all evening. So, I thought at least my son might enjoy that. But, again, disappointment set in when the fireworks show only lasted about 4 minutes. The Maximum RPM coaster was shut down after we’d waited in line for about 30 minutes. And in the Nights in White Satin ride, there is no one to tell you where to go once you get in there. We entered to find two entry ways with 70’s beads hanging down but NO directions as to which entry way to go INTO to ride the ride. Luckily my husband just GUESSED correctly and we finally found the actual ride. Had we gone in the other entry way, there’s no telling what we would’ve found. (The ride operators taking their break maybe??) But again, NO directions as to where to go and what to do. We had to wing it on our own. The two ride operators at the little Taxi Cab ride were flirting and talking with each other more than they were paying attention to the riders and the ride.
So, from one traveling family to another, don’t bother with the Hard Rock Park. Its WAY WAY WAY overpriced for what you get. If they would drop their prices to about $25 a person for adults and maybe $15 for children, then this place might be worth it, but the way it is NOW….not so much!! Save your money and go to Family Kingdom!

From J Whetzel
Posted August 17, 2008 at 5:31 PM
Expensive bad food? Same as all parks. Disney quality? Give me a break. How long as Disney been around? Hard Rock Park has only been open for a few months, there's obviously not comparison. Of course it's going to look horrible compared to Disney. Overpriced? It's not too bad, but what isn't overpriced anymore? Lowering the prices would obviously work better, but I didn't find them too bad. Where else can you get the combination of rides, shows, street performers I guess they could be called, and concerts on some nights for one price? $50 for a one day ticket per person ($40 each for a family of four) versus $30 approximately for any of the shows along the Strand for 2 hours, I'd take the park. At least there you can stay all day and get your moneys worth. Family Kingdom is cheaper if you watch yourself. You have to pay per ride so it adds up quickly. Cheesy shows? Not the best I have ever seen, but they were not bad. I enjoyed them. Expecting rides around every corner? This is not meant to be a ride park like Carowinds (4 hours away) or Kings Dominion. Blow up houses and ball pit where you can shoot people with foam balls for children only? No, adults could go in too. Also, there is a sign out in front of the park that tells you what rides are closed.

I believe you went into the park (along with others) expecting too much of it. Prices are listed on the Internet for tickets and the rides are also listed. You should have done your research.

This park is a great asset to Myrtle Beach. However, it does need time to grow. Hopefully to the point where it could be Disney quality SOMEDAY. If you do your research and do not go into the park expecting too much of it, it is worth a trip. The park is clean and the friendliest staff I have ever encountered at a park of any sort.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted August 17, 2008 at 7:55 PM
Well, we all know it isn't doing well. Thats too bad because it seems to be a park full of interesting rides. Disney should open up its own Music Park, but Hard Rock beat them to it. I just find it interesting that it was raved on this site before it opened and when it opened, but now its so so on this site.

From Tim W
Posted August 17, 2008 at 8:19 PM
disney should build its own music park or land at least. But if they would thinking of making a deal with hard rock i wouldn't after what the first park has already gone through.

From Mark B.
Posted August 24, 2008 at 6:01 AM
As a Myrtle Beach resident, I can honestly say that the park is in real financial trouble. A good friend of mine's husband was just laid off from HRP along with approx. 200 other people in a variety of different positions. While the park is beautiful and certaintly unique, they desperately need to either add more rides and/or greatly lower the ticket price. While their prices are in line (expensive) with most other theme parks in the country for food, parking, merchandise, entrance fee, etc.; the problem is they don't even come close to offering enough entertainment to justify the ticket price. The only real way to maximize your value is to go on a day that a good band(hopefully) is playing in the evening and look at it as a two for one deal. The problem is it is really difficult, if not impossible, to spend more than a few hours much less an entire day at the park due to the serious shortage of rides and entertainment. The only ride anyone in my opinion would want to possibly ride more than once is the Led Zepplin roller coaster. The other handful, and I mean handful, of rides are pretty disappointing in comparison to most of today's modern theme park rides. I love the rock n' roll (and other types of music) concept but unfortunately it leaves a lot to be desired when applied to the attractions offered at the HRP. As a MB resident, I really want this park to succeed as our nearest alternative (Paramount's Carowinds in Charlotte, NC) is approx. 4 hours away but until they either add more rides or lower the price to get in, this family will continue (unfortunately) making the long trip to Charlotte. I hope the season pass holders are at least entitled to a partial refund!!! Good luck on that one.

From Derek Potter
Posted August 24, 2008 at 11:18 AM
I'm anxious to get down there to check this one out. I'm going down the last week of September to have a look for myself.

From Jeff M
Posted August 24, 2008 at 2:47 PM
I find the original post hard to take in. I have been to the park before it was open to the public. I'm sure they are hurting from their expectations, but I still feel that they have the right direction to head in. Time can only tell.

Derek, I also will be there @ the later half of Sept. on business. I wish to NOT go into details, but I'm curious as to whether or not you will be there during the same time? Maybe we can both offer our suggestions and experience of our visit?

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to add opinions, etc....

From Peter Stephens
Posted August 24, 2008 at 5:48 PM
My two kids and I went to HRP last Monday (first visit). We went down from Oak Island, NC where we were vacationing at the beach. We had a very good time. We stayed about six hours.

Led Zepplin is a very good coaster. The tall Zero-G-Roll is awesome and the LZ tunes pumped-in add to the experience. Having to watch the LZ biography every time you ride is absolutely horrible! If they would only switch off and play Black Dog or the last (fast) half of Stairway to Heaven or ANYTHING other than Whole Lotta Love, over and over and over. Lines were short or non-existent. After 4 rides, we would have gone again, but that bio was driving us crazy! As a ride, LZ is quite similar to Dominator at KD. LZ is smoother. Dominator is more intense, loud. LZ has the Zero-G-Roll, Dominator doesn't (but should). (I couldn't choose a favorite between the two, if asked.)

Life in the Fast Lane is pretty decent. It's a mine train ride with piped-in music. The theming is freaky. There are these mouse silhouettes moving on a wall...weird! Maximum RPM is cute and fun but short. (The karaoke girl makes the wait worth it!) Slippery When Wet was short and disappointing and not even very wet. That's about the extent of "thrill rides". There was a kiddie coaster which wasn't bad, also.

My kids absolutely loved Garage Jam. We were there almost an hour, blasting people with foam balls. Everyone seemed fine being pelted in various body parts by total strangers! Too funny! There were a few other fun rides; not much. We saw a couple of live performances which were enjoyable. The British Invasion section was the best themed area. The food at the Carnaby Street Cafe was pretty good; I recommend the prime rib au jus sandwich.

All-in-all we had fun and we were glad we went but there definitely wasn't "$150 worth of entertainment" plus food, souvenirs, etc. (for the 3 of us). We won't return unless new coasters are added.

One other matter that we noticed - the area around HRP is depressed and depressing. There are abandoned strip centers and a whole lot of asphalt going nowhere. The area is not attractive in any way. Oddly, there are other areas nearby that are well developed and reasonably attractive. I don't think the poor location will greatly hinder attendance, but it won't help, either.

Whoa...that's weird. I'm watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics right now and there's Whole Lotta Love AGAIN!!!!

From Derek Potter
Posted August 24, 2008 at 7:29 PM
The area around Hard Rock Park has been dead for quite a while. Only in the last couple of years has it gotten better. Several condos and hotels have been or are being built around the area, and I'm sure that it will improve with a little time. I'm pretty sure that the mall property belongs to the park, and a lot of the surrounding land does as well.

I know that Hard Rock has some troubles, but laying off employees at the end of the peak season isn't cause for a lot of alarm. Less hours open equals less employees needed. Although it's a bummer for those workers, it's surely a necessity right now. The park had an overambitious off-peak season schedule, which they have sensibly scaled back. Hopefully they've planned some expansion and are ready to grow the business.

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