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Hard Rock / Freestyle Music Park Discussion Thread


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^A perfect example of why the park is going to fail. How could you drop the ball on something like that?

 

Another question for locals: are they actually partnering with other hotels, agressively advertising, etc?

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Mission Success: I made it to Freestyle Music Park 6/8. The park made for me: the Hard Rock Cafe pin collecting fan and rollercoaster enthusiast I am, I finally got to visit. : ) I rode The Time Machine 7 times and got every decade but the 80's. That B&M whips through the course though it has B&M Hyper valley shakes. I think it's the closest B&M to an outside of Orlando Incredible Hulk, especially with the super cobra roll, two loops, and a helix over the final brake run. The last corkscrew still is a strong one.

 

After about 3pm watching the Ice Show my friend and I went to Family Kingdom, Pavilion Nostalgia, and came back for the fireworks. They're nice. I really wanted to see the giant guitar light up. I just wish it was still Hard Rock. They really need a huge billboard on 501 with an arrow pointing to the park. At least Medieval Times is still there proving it can stand the test of time in that complex. That's encouraging though it's in a whole different industry.

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When I got there I was lucky to see about 15 cars at opening at 11. Once in the park when I was in Across the Pond I finally saw some families arrive to ride the Cabs. When we went to the Adrenaline show at 1 I could see from both pathways through Myrtle's Beach and the Across the Pond bridge people converging on the show. There were people in the park, not jam packed, but I liked seeing the family demographic represented. All the coasters were walk ons. In the evening is when I saw full trains on The Time Machine. My friend and I went to the Cool Country ice show at 3 and then left to go to Family Kingdom/Boardwalk at the Beach before we returned for evening Time Machine runs and the Fireworks. Great fireworks show. I'm glad to see the guitar all lit up. I just wish it was the Hard Rock logo. At closing there was at least 30 cars.

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This presents a sort of conundrum:

 

Drive 7 hours to visit this park before it ceases to exist....

 

Or drive to some other, more deserving, little park that could use the business to stick around for a while--and maybe deserves the attention more.

 

/Hmmm....

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I was there yesterday, there were more people than I had seen anyother time. Asked a worker in Penny Lanes, if business is doing better. He said, yeah and they were prepared to buy the park at double the cost so cash is fine.

Also said they were going to build a floorless B&M next year, Why do I feel like he dont have a clue what he was talking about?

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I was seriously lost walking up to the loading station of Monstars of Rock.

 

There is an excavator digging in Kids in America. Another friend of mine has gone there this weekend. Last weekend, going to FMP was the springboard for my trip through the South, getting FK, Carowinds, SFOG, AA, Lake Winnie up to Holiday World, SFKK, and KI to close the week. I got pics of Hard Rock Parkway and a FMP park shirt to mark my milestone of reaching this rock park.

 

I'm not sure when the SC schools were out but the next day when my friend and I went to Carowinds he explained that the NC schools were not out yet. There were not many people at Carowinds on an early June Tuesday.

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Attendance lower than owners hoped

 

Attendance lower than owners hoped

By Joel Allen

Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 5:06 p.m.

 

 

A Myrtle Beach theme park opens with a splash, makes big plans for the future and then sees attendance fall short of expectations. Sounds like Hard Rock Park last year, but it's Freestyle Music Park this year.

 

Four weeks after opening, Freestyle officials say attendance is not as good as they had hoped.

 

One of Freestyle's competitors, Six Flags, declared bankruptcy last week. That shows these are hard times for the theme park industry. But Freestyle officials say their story will not be Hard Rock Park, the sequel.

 

We visited the park Thursday, a sunny day in mid-June, when you might expect to see big crowds. Instead, the attraction called Myrtle's Beach looks pretty sparse and the roller coasters have empty seats.

 

Now, that's great for the guests, but park officials were hoping for better. "We've seen a build on attendance and while it's not maybe as high as we expected, we're encouraged by the growth," said John Stine, Freestyle Music Park, Marketing Director.

 

Stine says, nine weeks into the Freestyle name and four weeks after opening, it's too early to draw conclusions. While attendance is disappointing, Stine says the park's new owners will not be like their predecessors - open one season, and then go broke. "We're here for the long haul. As a matter of fact, we're already working hard on our 2010 season."

 

Freestyle faced some major challenges: the highly-publicized bankruptcy of the previous owners and a location hidden behind an empty outlet mall. But Stine says the park is addressing those issues by stepping up its marketing campaign and dressing up the park.

 

Stine says when following behind something that failed the first time, is never easy. "The other side of the coin is, we got a park that's just absolutely spectacular, we got a great destination here and we know that we got, that's a great mix for, that spells success."

 

Stine says they are seeing attendance build every day and hope the opening of Fantasy Harbour Bridge later this summer will help attract more visitors.

 

FPI-MB Entertainment bought the park in February for $25 million, after Hard Rock Park went bankrupt last September. Hard Rock Park cost $400 million to build.

http://www.carolinalive.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=314661

 

FPI-MB may be padded for a year or so, but if this poor attendance keeps up, they won't possibly be able to stay afloat... I guess I'm glad that I'll be visiting the park next week, that way I can see it before it becomes the next Geauga Lake...

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The park still has the Elvis stained glass window that I believe I saw at the now closed Hard Rock Cafe Dallas.

 

Edit: Google imaging it: The Dallas one had Elvis sitting on a throne. Unless it's another window from that restaurant that's not it. I saw an Elvis stained glass window from a Nagoya, Japan location that looks more similar to the FMP one.

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So I've read through this whole thread and I've got an observation. From my point of view the curious thing is the location. It seems to me that there is a high concentration of parks in the S.E. U.S.. So to put a park with so little going for it smack dab right in the middle of this seems a bit ridiculous to me. I live in the Seattle area and I think this area screams for a park of at least this magnitude. Heck even the Rock 'n' Roll theme would work well IMO. I kept reading Las Vegas over and over again as a possible better locale, so I thought I would throw something a little different into the discussion. What do you guys think??

 

P.S. Sorry for the rambling. I'm new to this posting stuff, but I love this site!

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"The other side of the coin is, we got a park that's just absolutely spectacular, we got a great destination here and we know that we got, that's a great mix for, that spells success."

 

If the park is so great, why isn't anyone going?

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Well really. I've been as it was HRP and FSMP. I really enjoyed it both times. Some more coasters and thrill rides and a actually Entertaining dark ride could be added, as well as promotions deals and more advertisement could be added. Really i'm not going to be a pessimistic person like some people on the boards, but i see hope and a good future for the park.

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^ I really don't think any of us are being as pessimistic as we are being realistic.

 

To be quite honest, I think the park is nice, as do many others on this forum, but most of us just don't think it was a smart move (mainly putting it in Myrtle Beach) nor do we think the park will survive.

 

Historically, we've been pretty much right on about everything we've said so far regarding HRFSMP. Shame other people don't pay closer attention. We could have saved them millions!

 

So please don't mistake us being negative for what is actually just many of us using common sense and stating our opinions based on that.

 

--Robb

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Freestyle Music Park upbeat in tough year

Posted on Wed, Jun. 24, 2009

Attendance up at former rock park, but high hurdles remain

By Mike Cherney

mcherney@thesunnews.com

Myrtle Beach | Officials with Freestyle Music Park said Tuesday that attendance has been growing since the park reopened a month ago under a new name, but some industry observers say the park still faces considerable challenges.

 

John Stine, sales and marketing director for the park, said he is pleased so far with the attendance figures, though he did not give specifics. He said attendance was not lower than last year, when the park operated as Hard Rock Park, but declined to say anything further.

 

"Considering the fact that we announced our name in the second week of April, and literally five weeks later we opened our doors and we got everything in place, and how things are evolving, we're very pleased with how we're going forward," Stine said.

 

Still, some visitors to the park, located off U.S. 501 west of the Intracoastal Waterway, say it does not seem any busier than last year. The $400 million park, which debuted in April 2008, closed in bankruptcy in September after a lackluster first season. FPI MB Entertainment, which now owns the park, bought it for $25 million in February and changed its name.

 

"I'd like to see them get busier, but as somebody that goes to the park, I'm never going to complain when I have a three-minute to five-minute wait to get on a ride," said Janice Croswhite, 47, who has visited the park twice this year with her 12-year-old daughter, Annika. "I love Disney World, but good God, you spend 45 minutes in line."

 

The park reopened in a tough economic climate. With travelers forgoing their vacations or cutting their trips short, theme parks in vacation destinations like Myrtle Beach could suffer from fewer people visiting the area.

 

"I don't think anybody, unless they've got a major expansion, is expecting a boom year this summer," said John Gerner, the managing director of Leisure Business Advisors, a Richmond, Va.-based consulting firm. "They're just hunkering down and trying to hold on to what they have."

 

A lot of theme parks are offering discounts to get visitors through their gates, and Freestyle Music Park is no exception. The park has given discounts for members of the military and public safety services, for Carolinas residents, for dads on Father's Day and for students with good grades.

 

Stine said the park had mapped out those discounts - and some future ones - before the park reopened at the end of May. Stine said sales have been strong for the park's evening ticket, which is $24.95 for adults past 5 p.m. as opposed to an all-day adult ticket for $39.95.

 

"As we do these promotions, we'll learn from them, and some are going to work better than others," Stine said. "This is a building year for us, and we're moving forward and we're learning as we go in many respects."

 

The park's inaugural season as Freestyle Music Park comes as Six Flags, which operates 20 theme parks across North America, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, citing more than $2 billion in debt. The company has said the daily operations of its park would not be affected.

 

That doesn't mean that Freestyle Music Park, or other theme parks, will follow the same route, experts said.

 

Six Flags' debt stemmed from park acquisitions in previous years; FPI MBE, in contrast, purchased its park out of bankruptcy at a significant discount.

 

"These guys have a better chance when they only have a $25 million investment as opposed to the [original owners] that had the $400 million investment," said Rich Hair, the former general manager of Hersheypark in Pennsylvania and a former vice president of amusements and attractions for Burroughs & Chapin Co.

 

"There's a lot of park experience in the current ownership and management, but I wish they had laid a little bit more money out to start this season," Hair said.

 

Baker Leisure Group, a consulting and management firm for themed attractions that has been around for more than 20 years, is a partner in FPI MBE.

 

In court documents filed as part of a legal battle over intellectual property rights with the original owners of the park, FPI MBE officials said they had spent $3 million rebranding the park. Hair suggested the park needs to double the number of rides, currently at around 20, to attract enough visitors. It would cost tens of millions, he said.

 

Ultimately, Gerner said, it is still too early to tell how successful the park will be. For many parks, the busiest months of the season are July and August, and it remains to be seen whether the park, in a location that is off Myrtle Beach's main drag, can effectively compete with what draws visitors to Myrtle Beach in the first place.

 

"You've got a tourist destination that's very much beach-oriented for the young people, and you're competing with the beach, that's for free and very unique," Gerner said. "You have people that come from places that already have theme parks."

http://www.thesunnews.com/news/local/story/951478.html

 

This is a complete 360 from what the previous article mentioned...

 

Oh, and I'm happy to announce that Freestyle Music Park has finally ditched their blog setup for their website and have moved completely to a new system: http://freestylemusicpark.com/. Interestingly enough, the new site hints at a free iPhone app for the park, and features a comprehensive set of descriptions for the park's shows, restaurants and attractions. At least on this end, they seem to be getting something right.

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So I've read through this whole thread and I've got an observation. From my point of view the curious thing is the location. It seems to me that there is a high concentration of parks in the S.E. U.S.. So to put a park with so little going for it smack dab right in the middle of this seems a bit ridiculous to me. I live in the Seattle area and I think this area screams for a park of at least this magnitude. Heck even the Rock 'n' Roll theme would work well IMO. I kept reading Las Vegas over and over again as a possible better locale, so I thought I would throw something a little different into the discussion. What do you guys think??

 

P.S. Sorry for the rambling. I'm new to this posting stuff, but I love this site!

 

Seattle would actually would be a better fit of this kind of park than Las Vegas. I know Vegas has grown a LOT in recent years but Las Vegas is also in a deep recession. Yes I know the country as a whole is in a recession but Vegas is a bit worse off than many other places. Can we say foreclosures? I still remember watching a few years back those late night ads on local VIRGINIA TV from the Clark County/Las Vegas, Nevada real estate folks telling people how they should move to Vegas where everyone can buy a house without credit, even without a job lined up in that area. Wonder how many of those people who took up the offer still have their homes? Any of them still working?

 

Anyway maybe such a park would work in Las Vegas but the timing I believe wouldn't be right if anyone would want to build such a thing in that city right now.

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Other than to gamble and barhop I don't see my reason to go back to Vegas. More attractions are closed, stalled. Looking at the flood of new houses in 2006 I'm not surprised it's amongst the nation's largest suffering areas in this recession.

 

Now I'm working my opposite word of mouth on this place, telling people I've been to FMP.

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^ Vegas has a *LOT* more to offer than just gambling and bar hopping. I could easily go there 2 or 3 times and year and never once gamble or drink and have an amazing time.

 

If you all you saw in Vegas was gambling and bars then you somehow missed Las Vegas.

 

--Robb

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