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Hard Rock / Freestyle Music Park Discussion Thread


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One thing I noticed looking up Baker Leisure Group...

 

This Steve Baker guy and his "extensive amusement industry experience" comes mostly in sales and marketing. Looking at the website, it appears the most experience the company has operating a park here is Water Country USA before it was owned by Busch. Of course there is also their ill-fated one year run at trying to save Cypress Gardens (which isn't highlighted on their website). Everything else is "consulting" or marketing/branding/sales related stuff.

 

Not quite sure what to make of that.

 

Regardless, with everything that is known so far...I'm still not confident. Lots of missteps for a group trying to correct the mistakes of the previous group. The quote about a half day experience being worth $40, the question of whether or not the dark ride will reopen, the questionable name, a website that doesn't even have an "opening soon!" message, a failed attempt at saving Cypress Gardens on their record (which I'm sure wasn't all their fault...but it's on their resume nonetheless, so you have to wonder what role they played in the failure), a loss in the courtroom to the former owners which potentially affects their finances/marketing plans, and lots of talk with no announced action thus far.

 

In fairness, a lot of what I just said can (and hopefully will) change over the next few months. But there's no doubt in my mind they are facing an uphill battle where there is still a huge chance of failure. But they always say "no risk, no reward", and at the price they paid...it's worth a shot. At the very least they can fail and sell the assets to recoup most (if not all?) of their money.

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1. Nowhere did I say that this park is anywhere near the caliber of BGE. I merely said that on paper, they have a similar amount of rides...both coasters and flats. Yes, BGE has shows too, but we don't have any idea what kind of show line up this park may or may not have this season.

 

2. As for "$40 for a bunch of coasters and nothing else"...I say, SFGA charges $50+ for a bunch of coasters (that you can't even ride all of which on a normal summer day without spending more for the FastPass due to operations) and rides for little kids with almost nothing in between and gets away with it. Again, I am NOT saying this park is on par with SFGA or other major parks, just that they wouldn't be the first to "overcharge" for what you get.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY

3. For all we know, $40 may be the bare minimum the park can charge and still turn a profit, considering utility costs, property taxes, average wages, average income of a family in the area, and a variety of other factors that no one ever really thinks of, specific to the region. This can have a large affect on things like ticket prices...look at how Cedar Point is less expensive than SFGA when they have MORE rides (and thus more staff to pay and utility usage). Yes, $40 may be a lot for what the park has to offer in comparison to other parks, but perhaps if they were to charge $30 they'd be operating at a loss, which is certainly not a way for any business to be successful in any measurement of "success."

 

Yes, the park may be destined to failure because of its location, lineup, or what have you. I don't think it'll make it beyond this season, either. But, from the company's perspective, they got themselves in a situation (that I'm sure they haven't fully realized yet) and are doing what they can to turn a buck. FPC at least gets some respect for me for that.

 

Of course, I'm going to be lambasted because I go against the will of the almighty Alvey.

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Is $40 too much? Well, for who? Is there anyone on this board who wouldn't pay it?

 

As for the GP, who may not quite be up on who is running the park or what their experience is (or even what's actually in the park). it's hard to say. A lot of "price setting" is based on psychology. You don't want to appear that you're not worth an investment.

 

I think $40 is fine, as long as there are lots of coupons (so people think they're getting a deal) and deep discounts for locals (who will naturally be more skeptical).

 

I really don't think these guys will be weighed down by Hard Rock Park's failure when it comes to tourists. No one but us has ever even heard of the place!

 

/Not predicting success.

//Just surprised at how many people are sure that they'll fail.

///Honestly, I could make money with this thing, and I'm retarded.

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^^You got "lambasted" because this is what your post actually said:

 

They've got just about as many rides as BGE, and that's $60. I think $40 is reasonable for the lineup they have.

 

Price is just as much a result of local economies/cost-of-living as it is quantity/quality of rides.

 

It certainly wasn't very clear to anyone that you said "on paper" they have a similar amount of rides. You also didn't make it very clear what you meant by cost of living.

 

So you'll have to forgive us for not reading between the lines and figuring out things you never actually posted.

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I think $40 is fine, as long as there are lots of coupons (so people think they're getting a deal) and deep discounts for locals (who will naturally be more skeptical).

 

 

Agreed. As long as they offer some type of coupon, I think 30-35 bucks for adult is reasonable.

 

People are saying that they don't have a water park...but water parks that only offer water rides are about 30-35 bucks for admission. Some families aren't into water rides (for whatever reason)...so then this park is good for them.

 

And there are folks comparing the park to a six flags...my question (b/c I've never been to HRP) is: do they charge for parking? How much does a meal/snacks typically cost?

 

SF is cheaper, but they have a reputation of being very expensive once your trapped in the gate. If it ends up costing more then $100 extra for lunch for a family...then it isn't worth it.

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^ And, while I hate to keep harping on this, Six Flags is hardly an ideal business model.

 

Let's compare the park to Disney's Hollywood Studios, which is nearly twice the price and only has one coaster.

 

/Totally being a jackass on that one, and I know it.

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MOST IMPORTANTLY

3. For all we know, $40 may be the bare minimum the park can charge and still turn a profit, considering utility costs, property taxes, average wages, average income of a family in the area, and a variety of other factors that no one ever really thinks of, specific to the region. This can have a large affect on things like ticket prices...look at how Cedar Point is less expensive than SFGA when they have MORE rides (and thus more staff to pay and utility usage). Yes, $40 may be a lot for what the park has to offer in comparison to other parks, but perhaps if they were to charge $30 they'd be operating at a loss, which is certainly not a way for any business to be successful in any measurement of "success."

 

Under normal circumstances your post would make sense. But there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind.

 

1) You do realize that most businesses don't turn a profit for at least 2 years. This is built into the business plan, or at least it should be. As a new business, or a growing business, you accept that fact.

 

2) This wasn't a successful park they are taking over here. The word of mouth on the park isn't great. They should be doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get people into the parks, give them an experience that they will tell their friends about and get people into the park.

 

3) The parks you compare them to (Cedar Point, SFGAdv) already have a loyal fanbase, are nationally known and have been established for many, MANY years. Do you really think they started off that way??? (the answer is no BTW). I'll guarantee if you look at those parks first years they didn't turn a profit and didn't charge the equivalent of $40 for admission.

 

4) History doesn't serve the new owners well. Cypress Gardens could have worked, SHOULD have worked, but yet again they priced it over and above what people were actually willing to pay.

 

5) Hard Rock is a nationally recognized name and they couldn't get people into the park. "Freestyle" whatever park means nothing. Without something big this park is going to fail unless they can get people to come and see what's already there.

 

6) It's not about "going against the almighty Alvey" it's about looking at tried and true business practices and going against everything that they tell you. We are in a recession, the worst financial situation since the 1930's. Your not going to get people outside of the local area to come. Even with a "local discount" it's not going to be enough.

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Of course, I'm going to be lambasted because I go against the will of the almighty Alvey.

 

The idea that someone on this forum isn't allowed to have a different opinion than mine is laughable. You just don't like the fact that I had a different opinion than you or the "comedic" approach in which I wrote my response. That's not my fault. What I wrote was mostly in jest. Have a sense of humor, man, it's part of the disclaimer of this website:

 

Disclaimer! You need a sense of humor to view our site,

if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back now!

 

Also, I'm not a f**kng mind-reader, dude. You didn't say 99% of this in your original post so how am I supposed to know what you're thinking while you posted something?

 

Hey! Here's an idea! You want people to know what you mean? POST IT!

 

Once again here is a perfect example of someone who didn't take personal responibility for THEIR action.

 

You posted something that was unclear, and quite obviously so by EVERYONE's comments (yet you unfairly singled me out, thanks dude) and when you come back to explain yourself, you choose to take a potshot at ME instead of realizing that had you actually posted this in the first place, you wouldn't have received the response you did.

 

And somehow that is now *MY* fault? Sorry, pal. It don't work that way.

 

Let's just take a moment to think about something...how many of us *REALLY* care about how much the park charges? Seriously? Do we really care? No. Part of TPR is the "discussion" and we are having fun discussing stuff. Do we really give two s**ts about most of what we talk about? Probably not. But that's also part of the *FUN* of the website.

 

Honestly, I have no plans at all to go back to HRFSMP even to get that one last credit that I missed. So why do I care how much the charge for admission? I don't. But I'm having a GREAT TIME discussing it! They could charge $100 per person for all I care, and I wish they would! That would be even MORE entertaining for us to talk about!

 

That's what you have to realize. Many of us just talking about stuff because we can and because it's fun to do so. Once you start getting bent of of shape over something that is said here, that's when you need to take a step back, read the disclaimer again, and realize this is all just for fun, no matter how much it may look like we argue with each other.

 

--Robb "Don't take what I say too seriously...ever." Alvey

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Many of us just talking about stuff because we can and because it's fun to do so.

 

This is a great point. If we were really such geniuses, we'd all be running our own parks by now.

 

/However, everyone but me is wrong.

//Especially that Alvey guy.

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I really wondering about charging a base price of $40 and then under cutting it with discounts. What this is making me really question is who are they trying to get through the gates. Are they going for the locals? Are they going from people within say a 100 mile radius from the park? Are they trying to get people to come from the other side of the country, other side of the world?

 

If the park is mainly going to be promoted to locals for the first few years (I'm looking short term here, not long term) discounts on season passes might be the way to go. Charge $40 for a ticket or $50-60 for a season pass (with a coupon book full of extras). Something like that might have a better chance to attract locals, and then revenue could be generated inside the park through sales of food, drinks and the such.

 

If the park is looking to bring in people from Ubeckistan (most random country mentioned on TPR today? I think so.) then it would make more sense to charge a higher ticket price. If you're going to spend $2000 in travel just to see the park, you're not going to change your mind over a $10-20 difference in ticket prices.

 

Basically my point is that with the prices they're charging I'm having a hard time trying to figure out any direction. Who are they trying to get through that gate. $75 for a season pass is a little steep. If I was running the park I think I would discount the season passes before the general admission tickets. Give the local crowd a chance to get used to the park, and from there slowly expand into a regional, and finally a national level park. With that said it just seems like the prices they are charging is going to price a lot of people out. $75 is a lot to spend on season pass at a time like this and I simply don't see them moving, especially to a park that people give such poor reviews.

 

I hope they do get this place turned around, I really do, but I personally can't see it.

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Let's just take a moment to think about something...how many of us *REALLY* care about how much the park charges? Seriously? Do we really care? No. Part of TPR is the "discussion" and we are having fun discussing stuff. Do we really give two s**ts about most of what we talk about? Probably not. But that's also part of the *FUN* of the website.

 

Honestly, I have no plans at all to go back to HRFSMP even to get that one last credit that I missed. So why do I care how much the charge for admission? I don't. But I'm having a GREAT TIME discussing it! They could charge $100 per person for all I care, and I wish they would! That would be even MORE entertaining for us to talk about!

 

Quoted for truth.

 

I think this HRP/FSMP discussion has been very much fun. It's like a long, drawn out train wreck. It's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year 'round.

 

I mean basically ALL of us want this park to succeed. Who wants parks to fail? I hope they turn the place around into the kind of park I'd actually WANT to drive all the way to South Carolina to visit.

 

Would I pay $40 for FSMP? Yes, of course. I paid about that much to visit crappy Marineland. But would I go out of my way to visit FSMP? In its current state, no.

 

Obviously we're not all Walt Disneys or anything, but the smart money right now is on this ship not turning around without some bolder maneuvers being tried. Myrtle Beach has killed two parks recently and it could easily kill again!

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Is $40 too much? Well, for who? Is there anyone on this board who wouldn't pay it?

Erik, I'm not entirely certain that I'm interpreting your quote correctly or not considering a level of sarcasm, but I'll go ahead and raise my hand.

 

Here's the way I look at the park. It's in one of those "out of the way" regional vacation destinations that are geared toward specific offerings (i.e. the beach, and golf). If I was to visit Myrtle Beach, it'd be for one of those two things first and foremost. Then I'd consider whether a trip to the park for $40 was warranted (I realize that on a board of coaster enthusiasts, that's basically a minority view - the planning for most usually occurs the opposite way).

 

Based on what I've seen and read, $40 for a very low level credit run with bad food, no shade, and only some clever and unique features such as the "guitar fountain" (which, btw, will it still play Stairway, if anything?) is simply not worth it.

 

For comparison, I can think of at least 6, maybe 7 places that would fall under the Myrtle Beach "category." That being, one of those non-Orlando/"big city" type locations that has enough activities outside of one day at the park. Of course, this is all subject to one's personal interests, but bear with me. I'll try to make sense of it.

 

* Knoebels - Sure, Hershey, Dorney, and GADV are within reasonable driving distance, but considering its spot, tucked away in the woods, I could easily relax in the Poconos and just visit Knoebels.

 

* Silverwood - Is there any other park with at least two quality coasters that is any more "out of the way" than this one? As a fan of the great outdoors, I'm sure it's beautiful in the area, and it would be a great drive down to Yellowstone from here.

 

* Lagoon - Even though my real interest in visiting the Salt Lake area would be skiing and the park probably woudn't be open (?), I'm sure there's other points of interest there that could keep me occupied. I suppose this would also be within range of a Yellowstone visit as well.

 

* World's of Fun - Okay, I guess Kansas City isn't exactly a vacation hotspot, but at least WOF has a better ride lineup than FSMP ever will..... I hear the BBQ is pretty good in K.C. as well.

 

* Playland - The location is obvious, but I hear Coaster is probably worth a $40 admission alone.

 

* West Edmonton Mall - Besides being a hockey fan and wanting to see a game in Edmonton, you have the mall to explore......which means you'll find Galaxyland.

 

* Dollywood - This one should be fairly obvious. The Smoky Mountains are a great supplement to an already great theme park.

 

 

So, after I add it all up, most of those places have at least something that I'd have reason to visit before considering an amusement park trip. And all of them have a park that seems to be 100 times better than FSMP.

In summary, I have no desire to ever visit FSMP. I hope that all made at least a little sense.

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Allen brought up a great point: who the hell are they targeting? Is there really a large enough local population? Is $40 really the right price point to get people away from their resorts?

 

It'll be interesting to see what discounts/partnerships they are able to come up with...

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Let's just take a moment to think about something...how many of us *REALLY* care about how much the park charges? Seriously? Do we really care? No. Part of TPR is the "discussion" and we are having fun discussing stuff. Do we really give two s**ts about most of what we talk about? Probably not. But that's also part of the *FUN* of the website.

 

Honestly, I have no plans at all to go back to HRFSMP even to get that one last credit that I missed. So why do I care how much the charge for admission? I don't. But I'm having a GREAT TIME discussing it! They could charge $100 per person for all I care, and I wish they would! That would be even MORE entertaining for us to talk about!

 

Quoted for truth.

 

I think this HRP/FSMP discussion has been very much fun. It's like a long, drawn out train wreck. It's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year 'round.

 

I mean basically ALL of us want this park to succeed. Who wants parks to fail? I hope they turn the place around into the kind of park I'd actually WANT to drive all the way to South Carolina to visit.

And again this is all very true. Deep down, none of us want the park to fail, but it's great fun discussing all the outcomes that *could* happen!

 

Worst case senario is we see Sept 2008 all over again in a few months.

 

Best case scenario here is that we're all wrong, the park does INSANELY well, and they end up building 10 Intamin hypers and 40 Intamin Plug N Play woodies!

 

--Robb "That's what I'm hoping for!" Alvey

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Allen brought up a great point: who the hell are they targeting? Is there really a large enough local population? Is $40 really the right price point to get people away from their resorts?

 

It'll be interesting to see what discounts/partnerships they are able to come up with...

This is a good point. We live in an area where almost all families always mention one of five locations to go during any school vacation break: Panama City, FL, the southeast coast of Georgia (St. Simons Island, Tybee Island, Savannah), Pigeon Forge, Orlando, or Myrtle Beach, because they're all within a day's drive. I'd be willing to bet that 90+% of the people in this region have NO CLUE about Hard Rock Park/ FSMP.

 

Somehow I doubt that's going to change any.

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Is $40 really the right price point to get people away from their resorts?

I think the question is more like

 

"Is $150 - $200 really the right price point to get a family away from their resorts?"

 

Because that's pretty much what it's going to cost a family of four by the time you factor in parking, gas, food, drinks or any kind of souvenier item purchased to leave that resort where you've mentally "parked" yourself for the week to get up and make an effort to go do an area attraction that is NOT in walking distance.

 

There is no question that people on this forum would pay the $40, but the question really isn't targeted to any of us.

 

--Robb

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Is $40 too much? Well, for who? Is there anyone on this board who wouldn't pay it?

 

Erik, I'm not entirely certain that I'm interpreting your quote correctly or not considering a level of sarcasm, but I'll go ahead and raise my hand.

 

No sarcasm intended (for once). Let me add some words to the question and see if that changes anything: Is there anyone on this board who wouldn't pay $40 for this park, but would pay $20 or $30?

 

Personally, I never visited HRP and I probably won't visit FMP anytime soon, simply because the park is too far away and not appealing enough for me to make the pilgrimage. But if I was in Myrtle Beach anyway, and could somehow find the time? I would absolutely go--even if it cost $60--just to satisfy my own curiosity.

 

If I'm interpreting you correctly, you wouldn't. But is that really because $40 is too expensive, or because the park doesn't appeal to you at all (at any price)? Because those are different things, I think.

 

/Not a credit whore, but I imagine most who are would pay that much for a new Miner Mike.

//"AllenA07" makes some good points about the AP price, though.

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If I'm interpreting you correctly, you wouldn't. But is that really because $40 is too expensive, or because the park doesn't appeal to you at all (at any price)? Because those are different things, I think.

It's a combination of both, I suppose. What's weird is that initially I thought this park would be incredible since I liked the concept. However, everything up to this point leads to to believe I'm not going to receive any entertainment worthy of a $40 admission charge. I'm not sure how else to explain it really, but I can't help but feel "meh" about the whole place.

 

With that said, an afternoon rate of $20? Perhaps that's reasonable for a credit run with time to get back to the beach for some good seafood.

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Some interesting (and funny) ideas being thrown about in this topic.

 

One thing that caught my attention, however, was the $40 price tag being defended as "maybe that's how much they have to charge to turn a profit".

 

Maybe... but doubtful. And no successful business adjusts its profit numbers based on admission price. What I'm saying is... the price of a ticket isn't going to be what makes you your income. Its the overall admissions income. And that's based on more than just ticket price.

 

If a park charges $40 for tickets and that price persuades 1000 people to come to the park... 40 x 1000 = $40,000.

 

If a park charges $30 for tickets, and that price persuades 1400 people to come to the park... 30 x 1400 = $42,000.

 

The cheaper price actually gives the park more income based on the larger number of guests it attracts.

 

Add in the fact that all those extra guests in the park means extra money being spent on food/drink/souvenirs... and it quickly adds up.

 

I think when people in this topic laugh at/grow outraged at the $40 standard ticket price, its because they feel that price is too high to attract the number of visitors the park needs. You have to balance ticket price with the number of people willing to buy at that price. And a larger price doesn't translate to to successful business or covering expenses, unless people will pay that price.

 

I think what people in this topic are saying, is that for an area that's not been kind to the amusement park industry, and for a park that got some bad publicity in the last year... $40 is likely too steep to bring in a large crowd. And without the crowds, the park will likely fail.

 

Robb said it best, does the park warrant $200+ for a day out for the family? Cuz with ticket prices that high, add in parking, a gift, and dinner in the park... and there's no way a family of four gets a day at FMP for less than $200. Which is fine, if you're an established park, with good publicity, a built in fanbase etc. But FMP is not that.

 

But lower that ticket price to say $30 for adults, maybe $10 for kids, and now, you can spend a day for probably around $150. This is gonna be much more enticing to people.

 

And right now, that's what the park needs. In my opinion, if they want to steady the ship, FMP needs to entice lots of people who hadn't planned on visiting the park to go ahead and visit. It doesn't need to bankrupt the small crowd who was already planning on coming.

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I think this is one of the better discussions on the board.

 

You have to remember, a lot of us have worked or currently work at parks. Some in a management position. And there are a fair number of people here that have or do work in the entertainment industry. So some of us do have the background to take a look at plans for a park like this and make intelligent comments about them.

 

I have always felt that there is not enough critical commentary on this industry. A lot of parks could benefit from some outside opinions from knowledgeable people. I really think this Freestyle park is the case. Robb has said the park has contacted him (and I think we can all agree that Robb knows what he's talking about when it comes to this industry), and hopefully the people managing the park will really think about who they're trying to appeal to and decide what the best way is going to be to attract those people and build their business.

 

For me personally, I don't know that I'd pay $40 to get in the park. The place in its current state doesn't really appeal to me. I really doubt that I'd find myself in the area anyway. I have never been to the MB area, but I'm not much of a "sit on a beach full of other people" type of person. I have occasionally thought about maybe sometime taking a trip there when staying at my Outer Banks house, but since I can't really think of anything in the MB area that screams to me "must do", it just never happens. I really think that Freestyle needs to offer a lot of coupons and deals for the locals and the local visitors, as they are very unlikely to draw people from out of the area with their current attraction offerings.

 

And some shade and water attractions would be a really good idea. I still can't believe they opened the place without some significant attractions that would allow people to cool off during the day. Did not anyone take a look at some sort of weather report when building the place. This still makes no sense to me.

 

Anyway, this is all my dumb opinion. And I think we can all agree that I am dumb...

 

dt

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I think another good 'solution' to the ticket prices would be to offer another option for people visiting the park who don't want to ride.

 

IMO, Beech Bend has the perfect setup. They charge $8.00 or so for general admission, OR, $25 or so for an all-day armband (rides).

 

If this option was available at FMP for non-riders, I could see the park pulling lots more people through the gates.

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Anyway, this is all my dumb opinion. And I think we can all agree that I am dumb...

 

I don't agree with that.

 

I think I was on the "$40.00 isn't so bad" side of the discussion, but between Tchu's post and yours, I'm just about convinced that I was wrong.

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