The Hard Rock Park, located just outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is an interesting and fun diversion from the tourist trap that is Myrtle Beach. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE vacationing here in Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach, just two years ago, had two decent amusement parks and a couple of smaller, fair type parks. Last year, it lost not only the Pavilion, but also the Gran Prix amuesment strip and one smaller kiddie park. Pavilion had some of it’s attractions moved to the Broadway at the Beach shopping complex, but, sadly, Gran Prix is now a shopping center. Fortunately, the Myrtle Beach area now has a legitimate theme park: Hard Rock Park.
Hard Rock, as you might imagine, is themed around music. Rock and Roll, mostly. The park, located on the old Waccamaw Pottery, is a small-ish park. It has five rollercoasters and a nice assortment of flat rides. It also has a very trippy dark ride called ‘Nights in White Satin’. This is an experience. It was very odd and also kind of weird. I enjoyed it, but was left wondering ‘what the hello was that about?’ Every park goer has to experience it.
On this particular visit, the park was pretty empty. The British Invasion area was, perhaps, the most populated of the whole park with the Maximum RPM rollercoaster actually having a 20 minute wait—the only real wait that we saw. This rollercoaster features a ferris wheel-type lift mechanism. The train enters at the bottom, then it is transported up to the top, just like a ferris wheel.
Led Zeppelin was a great coaster, with a fairly steep lift hill and equally steep first drop, the Zep is a great coaster with many twists and turns. The train features on board music, on ride video and decent sized seats—something most coasters seem to lack. The coaster, even though it is new, is a bit on the rough side as well. I’m not sure if it was because I was in the first car or the ride is just that rough. The queue is something of a show in it’s self. You go through a fairly large queue line-which, clearly, shows the developers had anticipated large crowds (and the only queue line that I know of that worse, and under used, is the queue for the Hurler at Kings Dominion.) Once in the station, riders are whisked into a secondary line in which both entrances close up and you are presented with a five minute Led Zeppelin show. The show got old really quick. I found my self wanting the show to end so I could ride the bloody coaster. I’ve never been a big Led Zeppelin fan anyway, so this little show did not interest me.
The rest of the park is very well themed. Lots of interactive exhibits and nice little touches here and there. Overall, it is a pleasant place to visit though I don’t know that it is worth the normal price of admission. Even at the $45 reduced ticket, I’m not sure it is the best way to spend your money. If you like coasters-and I do-it was worth it for me. The coasters are good, even the kiddie coaster provided a bit of a thrill as it was fast and twisty.
I fear the park will not be around long. There were far more staff than guests, surely a bad thing. However, I’ve been to Kings Dominion a few times where the staff to guest ratio was just as bad and it is still there.