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Hard Rock / Freestyle Music Park Discussion Thread


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^ But the people on this site are the exception, not the rule.

 

Most people on TPR would most likely spend the $40 to get into the park if they were in the area. Some would not.

 

Even if all 29,328 registered members of TPR went to the park this year and paid the full $40 price, it would only bring in $1,173,120.

 

Not enough to keep the park open.

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Since I live close to Myrtle Beach I have followed the Hard Rock Park saga from the very beginning and of course bought season passes and visited many times before it bit the dust.

 

It was easy to foresee after the first month or so that they would not make it. With a well publicized ton of debt and the park deserted they did not have a prayer.

 

My belief is that they messed up by not understanding the way Myrtle Beach visitors spend their vacation. They come here for the beach first and foremost. So most days they spend their time on the beach. After they get sunburned they spend other days at indoor attractions or at least where it is cool and out of the sun. Hard Rock missed the boat on this completely. The place is smoldering hot and humid during the day and they are going to have to figure a way to add some indoor attractions or at least get some shade going or they will never have many daytime visitors.

 

Its the evenings when people are looking for something to do with their families. Hard Rock was a great place to spend an evening out. The problem was that it was too expensive for a family to spend an evening there especially with the additional parking cost and the high food prices. I think if they put together a package that included dinner and maybe even free drink refills at a reasonable price they might get these tourists to come and visit. All the locals need is reasonably priced admission and season ticket prices and they to will come.

 

Personally I hope it works out and I can't wait to return.

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I will take oakislander's idea and run with it even more.

This park should ONLY have evening hours. Open at 5pm and close at midnight (maybe 1am on Saturdays in the heart of summer).

 

I have been a Myrtle Beach regular since the mid-80's and the facts are there. People go to this place for the beach and golf. Husbands take their families, they play golf all day while the wife takes the kids to the ocean. This usually happens every single day of their vacation (whether it's four days or a week). The mini-golf and the seafood buffets don't even open during the day, reason being: no business.

 

For FMP to succeed maybe they need to follow this similar pattern. Charge a $20-25 entrance fee and have evening hours only. Run a shuttle up and down the main beach road and carry people to and from the park all evening, or call the park from your hotel and arrange a shuttle stop. The City of Myrtle Beach would probably promote this as a way to keep teens from cruising the beach road all night and reducing underage drinking, troublemaking, and even traffic. Offer some package deals to the larger, family-oriented hotels that includes a pre-paid admission to FMP for each family member for 1 or 2 nights worth of entry over the course of their stay (easily figured in to the room rate for a 4-7 night stay. FMP could even get this money whether the vacationers used the tickets or not.) This would also include shuttle transportation to and from each participating hotel. The Pavilion was always considered something to do after the sun went down and that is what lead to it's long life (eventually land values brought on its demise, I guess).

 

FMP can possibly survive, become a family vacation BENEFIT ("Honey, let's let FMP babysit tonight and we'll do our own thing") and possibly over the long haul, with large ride reinvestments, they can build a reputation as a destination spot all it's own, if that's their true goal.

 

The fact that they got the place for a song (pun), evening hours only means less operating costs. Throw in some built-in attendance/ticket sales, and they can possibly turn a profit and expand quickly. The only way I can imagine HRP could've survived was if South Carolina passed a casino gambling law and they built a huge on-site hotel and casino. Even then, the theme park wasn't guaranteed to be successful.

 

Why doesn't anybody see this? Any amount of research into the average Myrtle Beach vacationer should have been able to see this. I guess the original planners had dilusional visions of granduer, or something.

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^My (albeit very limited) understanding of Hard Rock Park is that the place failed as an outlet mall, thus leaving the owners of the attractions also on the property scrambling to survive. Their solution was to bilk investors out of $400 million to build Hard Rock Park. After seeing how they operated the park, I don't really believe the original planners ever intended to do anything other than cash out and run. So crucial information like the place being a "night time town" that even a first time visitor to the area like myself noticed was never really important to them.

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IMO they lost a lot with losing the Hard Rock name. They need a "thing" of its own that makes people want to go there. If they had some good concerts and could get them broadcast on VH1 or something every once in awhile, if you think about it "Live from Hard Rock Park, the Stones!" with the Led Zepplin coaster whizzing in the background people would want to go there. It seems to me they just made a theme park and slapped the Hard Rock name on it and didnt give it any special trait or charector that got its name out there, they shouldve focused more on special events/entertainment. The park needs more personality and publicity. And I agree they definitley need shuttles and overall better cooperation with hotels.

 

I think they totally missed the boat with the name, who the hell wants to go to "Freestyle Music Park?" To me when people see that brochure in the hotel it went from being "Hard Rock has a theme park? That sounds cool!" to being another "Meh another tourist trap that looks overpriced/waste of time."

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Why doesn't anybody see this? Any amount of research into the average Myrtle Beach vacationer should have been able to see this. I guess the original planners had dilusional visions of granduer, or something.

 

Hopefully the new owners have learned from the mistakes of the past and will make this park work. I think we will start to see how well they "get it" this week as they unveil what they have accomplished so far.

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My question is for anyone who has been to the park during the day. Having been to Myrtle many times, I just can't see anyone visiting this place during daylight hours. Do they get ANY all-day visitors?

 

Why not place the park in a true position to succeed and open it from say ... 5pm to 12am. Charge a sensible evening rate (say $25 Adult) and offer general admission for those non-rides. Limited hours could keep down costs while the cheaper rate helps pack the place. I know we as enthusiasts don't like crowded parks but it helps build visitor confidence in the park.

 

Face it, the non-riders don't want to go to this park because of the price and they will keep everyone else at Broadway on the Beach, Ripleys or Putt Putt.

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My question is for anyone who has been to the park during the day. Having been to Myrtle many times, I just can't see anyone visiting this place during daylight hours. Do they get ANY all-day visitors?

 

We had season passes and very rarely went during the day, but the times we did it was a ghost town. The park is going to need a major makeover to make it a viable daytime attraction.

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^Larry and I were on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend last year, and the longest wait we experienced was for dinner--not because the line was that long, the service was simply that bad.

 

But you could practically walk on to most of the rides during the day.

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all that needs to happen to make it an all day attraction is a few more quality attractions and shows and people in the park.

 

I think larger crowds would really change this park. The biggest complaint you hear is that there was not enough to do. When you can do everything in the park in under a few hours it would seem that way, but it was because you never had to wait for anything. If the crowds come that will require you to spend more time there and give the perception of more entertainment for your money.

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My question is for anyone who has been to the park during the day. Having been to Myrtle many times, I just can't see anyone visiting this place during daylight hours. Do they get ANY all-day visitors?

 

We had season passes and very rarely went during the day, but the times we did it was a ghost town. The park is going to need a major makeover to make it a viable daytime attraction.

 

I'm not even sure a makeover would do it. I think the whole thing is that it just simply can't survive as a daytime attraction.

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BTW, water park is my solution to everything.

I wholeheartedly agree.

 

In fact, this would be the perfect location to make my idea come to fruition. There needs to be a place with just water rides. Someplace that incorporates all your typical water slides with every type of amusement park water ride as well.

 

Just sell off the coasters and flats, and put in a world class water park along with a rapids ride, a log flume, a splashdown boat, one of those inverted water coaster thingys like Hershey still has, etc. etc. So basically, instead of wandering around your typical amusement park soaking wet, and in shoes that slosh, now you have the best of both worlds in one place....and you never have to worry about what clothes you're wearing.

 

Freestyle Water World. There. Done.

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Fascinating conversation, I just caught up with the whole thread... a couple comments:

 

- The $40 price tag will only work if the deals that they work out with the resorts are super cheap, and if they can flood locals with coupons for the area. As has been pointed out, a $40 price tag won't get most vacationers to change their mind about their plans, and let's face it -- no one going to Myrtle Beach currently with the exception of the people on this board is going to visit FMP. In fact, most of those vacationers have not even heard of it (too bad Hard Rock didn't stick, as they have heard of that).

 

So the price tag has to be so ridiculously good that a family will skip their already made plans to instead go to this park. And without an established brand name, it's going to be really tough to pull them in. Think about it: if someone goes to Tampa and sees Busch Gardens or LA and sees Disneyland, they have probably heard the brand name. But, if you are a Myrtle Beach visitor and hear about this "Freestyle Music Park", price is the *only* way to entice you to go, and unless it is ridiculously cheap I don't see that working with non-locals.

 

As for the locals, if you went last year what is the draw to return, and if you didn't go last year, what is drawing you to it now?

 

- About the name... they decided to use a name that is going to be used to brand an indoor ski hill in Russia?! Makes sense for a ski hill, but it is an unestablished "brand". It's like if Muscle Park would have bought the park and renamed it "Muscle Music Park", no one would go, "Oh yeah, they're part of the Muscle Park chain from Japan!" The ski hill it makes sense for, but the brand doesn't have an identity and will only confuse people in the market.

 

- Finally, the complaint of not enough to do is a valid one, and it isn't just because the average crowd sizes were tiny... For a park to establish itself as a good park, it needs things that people want to do, things that people want to do again, and things that people can do when not waiting for rides.

 

HRP didn't fail as an experience because the crowds weren't big enough to make it seem like a full day, HRP failed because once people got in the door with the possible exception of LZ, people didn't want to do things again after having done it once, and there wasn't enough non-ride stuff to hold their interest.

 

---

 

So far, as far as I can tell the new management has not fixed the "too little to do" problem, and has created two new problems to overcome. I can't see this going too well.

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I think the whole thing boils down to marketing your product. What kind of brand marketing did Hard Rock Park do? I would love to hear from the locals about this. Did they establish any kind of name for themselves within the community, or towards visitors? Right now I think they will have to be very creative with their advertising, since I don't think they have a successful product, but they have to try to convey it. The world isn't a "Build it and they will come" place anymore.

 

And I don't really agree with the waterpark thing in this kind of situation. Hershey - yes. But in this situation, the beach is the main water attraction and it is hard to get people away from that.

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HRP didn't fail as an experience because the crowds weren't big enough to make it seem like a full day, HRP failed because once people got in the door with the possible exception of LZ, people didn't want to do things again after having done it once, and there wasn't enough non-ride stuff to hold their interest.

 

I think that the biggest reason for failure is not a lack of attractions, but an over-estimation of the people who visit Myrtle Beach.

 

Nobody visiting Myrtle puts big bucks up for a theme park ticket. If they did, they wouldn't be at Myrtle Beach.

 

Not to say that a theme park can't survive there, I just don't think a $40-50 themer is the ticket.

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While I agree with a lot of what has been said so far - having a night time ticket, more water rides, I do not really think that price is that much of an issue as most of you seem to think.

 

Let's look at some of the many other attractions at the Beach to do:

 

Myrtle Waves (Water Park) - $30

MagiQuest - (Interactive park think Harry Potter) - $34.99 for 90 mintues

Nascar Speedpark (GoKart Racing) - $32

Pavilion Nostalgia Park (Amusment type rides) - 9 Ride Tickets $20.00 & 25 Ride Tickets $50.00

Ripley's Aquarium - $18.99

 

That's just a few of the many attractions, not to mention dinner shows like Medieval Times, Dixie Stampede etc. So as you can see the park is pretty much inline with many of the attractions in Myrtle Beach. The only extra is the parking fee - which maybe they could drop. I think the biggest problem is competing with all those other attractions - along with the beach, and golf.

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The more I think about it (and I will admit I don't really know the underlying economic factors at play) I really think the way to go right now would be a charge per ride system. Have the park cost $10 to get inside, and then have an additional charge per ride. Maybe sell a wrist band for unlimited rides for $30 (all these prices can be played with, they're just examples I'm throwing out there). Maybe if they did that they could get people in the gate to at least see the park. In 5 years or so if they've got a base group of visitors, then transition over to an all inclusive admission and ride price.

 

Best thing to do now is just sit back and wait to see if the park does offer some really good deals to try to get people in there. More then anything right now they need to focus on getting people through the front door at all necessary costs. This park is going to really have to work double time now to prove itself or it has no hope.

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Being that everyone thinks Freestyle is doomed for failure in one year, why not name it 'One Hit Wonder Park' instead?

 

Just think of all of the possibilities...

 

* Led Zeppelin - The Ride renamed after the Norman Greenbaum 1970 hit 'Spirit in the Sky'

 

* Moody Blues: 'Nights in White Satin' dark ride themed to Paper Lace's #1 smash: 'The Night Chicago Died'

 

* 'Maximum RPM' is now 'Pilot of the Airwaves' based on the Charlie Dore song that taught AM radio a lesson back in the 80's.

 

* 'Slippery When Wet' is now Rick Derringer's 'Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo'

 

* 'Shake, Rattle & Roll' with Bill Haley and the Comets? Not when you could have a themed coaster to Billy Joe & The Checkmates: 'Percolator (Twist)'!

 

* And of course...the new B&M dueling coasters: 'Metal Church vs. Stryper' (Heaven & Hell)!

 

 

I think this would be perfect for the park not to mention the exclusive rights to use the songs and band logo's would be killer cheap!

 

Imagine the profits, people!!

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Fun Fact: Norman Greenbaum has managed to live off the royalties from "Spirit In The Sky" since the '70's. That song gets used a lot in various TV shows and films.

 

dt

 

That sounds a LOT like Bill Prettyman and the band Looking Glass ( they gave us the tune "Brandy".

 

In the early 70s Prettyman was a big shot at Washington DC's WPGC radio and one day Prettyman found a 45 of an unknown group called Looking Glass and a tune called "Brandy". Prettyman gave the ok for his station to play it and the song became a smash. Looking Glass the band felt they would have more hits so out of kindness they turned over all the rights to Bill Prettyman. Anyway in the end..Looking Glass became a one hit wonder and Bill Prettyman took the cash he made from "Brandy" and ended buying a bunch of radio stations in Maryland and West Virginia such as WICO-FM/AM in the Salisbury-Ocean City,MD market.

 

About ten years ago Prettyman sold most of his stations to other radio companies I believe for $200 million and he is still making money today off of "Brandy".

 

As much money as Bill Prettyman had made over the years, hell he could have bought this place and all of the parks in Ocean City,MD ( his hometown ) like Trimpers and Jolly Roger...and he would still have several millions in his bank account.

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