There will be a music theme park on South Carolina’s coast this summer, but it won’t bear the Hard Rock name.
FPI MB Entertainment said Thursday that the 55-acre park it purchased out of bankruptcy earlier this year will reopen Memorial Day weekend as Freestyle Music Park.
FPI MBE bought the park out of bankruptcy for $25 million. Last month, a federal bankruptcy judge refused to finalize the sale, saying its original founders retain rights to some of the original creative touches.
The $400 million park opened last year and is the single largest tourism investment in South Carolina history. It closed in September when owner HRP Myrtle Beach Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection.
Myrtle Beach’s Hard Rock Park Bankrupt and Closing After First Season
As reported by UltimateRollercoaster.com:
After a disappointing first summer, the music has been silenced at the new Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, at least temporarily.
Parent company, Myrtle Beach Holdings, LLC, announced yesterday that they will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the theme park will close for the remainder of the 2008 season effective immediately.
“The downturn in overall consumer spending combined with rising fuel costs have had a significant impact on tourism in Myrtle Beach and other markets, said Chief Executive Officer Steven Goodwin. “Additionally, the frozen credit markets and the unprecedented volatility in the global financial markets has severely limited our ability to line up the planned financial resources needed to execute our summer marketing plan and adequately promote the Park.”
Myrtle Beach Holding is hoping this process will give them the opportunity to restructure its balance sheet and reduce its debt to ensure the future health and sustainability of the company.
“I would like to thank our employees, annual pass holders, visitors, vendors, sponsors and all of the other great people that were essential in making our inaugural season happen, added Goodwin. “Visitors to Hard Rock Park overwhelmingly compare their experience to the best that major theme parks have to offer and we look forward to continued success as a first class entertainment destination in the years to come.”
Rumors of the parks troubles have been circulating for weeks, but the first signs were apparent when the park announced it was laying off employees more than a month ago. Adding to the problems, one of the park’s major roller coasters, Maximum RPM, temporarily closed and due to the ride manufacturer disabling the ride due to delinquent payment.
Guests visiting Hard Rock Park this summer reported finding empty midways and little to no queue lines for major attractions.
The park had projected that it would attract approximately three million guests in its first year. Big name performers were part of the failed plan to fill the theme park.
See related: www.hardrockpark.com
What does a hard rock music junkie, like myself do on vacation? I visit the brand new $400 million dollar Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The same folks that operate the Hard Rock Cafe, built this new theme park on the site of a closed down outlet mall in Myrtle Beach. The park opened in April, and had its Grand Opening in June 2008.
My wife and I enjoy visiting the Hard Rock Cafe when we get the opportunity to travel, so we thought the Hard Rock Park had to be pretty awesome.
In some ways, the Hard Rock Park, is just that, awesome. In other ways, it is quite lackluster.
The Hard Rock Park gets it right when it comes to the music themes. Just like their famous eateries, this park’s 55 acres are filled to the max with the hard rock theme. The British Invasion, and Abbey Road was one of my favorite areas. There are three other themed areas, Rock and Roll Heaven, Born in the USA, and Cool Country.
The park’s brand new Roller Coaster, Led Zeppelin the ride, is a pretty cool steel coaster with 6 inversions. (See Video Below). This is easily the best ride in the park. The rest of the park has a few rides scattered amongst its themed areas. Maximum RPM (not working when we were in the park), Knight of White Satin, the ride (a total snooze fest in 3-D), London Cab Ride (similar to the Scrambler), Slippery When Wet ( a hanging coaster like ride, designed to get you soaked), Just a Swingin’ (swing ride). I may have missed one or two rides, but that is basically it. There is a water area, for those who brought their suits can get soaked. (You will need it on a hot South Carolia summer day.)
If you enjoy live shows at a park, HRP has a few those for you to take in. If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of shops to check out the rock themed merchandise. The restaurants in the park have good food, but it is pricey, even for theme park food. Sadly, their is no Hard Rock Cafe, in the Hard Rock Park, that would have been a nice bonus.
On the day we visited the Hard Rock Park, there were an amazing low amount of visitors, and we could get on any ride within just a few minutes (including the Led Zeppelin roller coaster).
The park does have a large pavillion for live concerts. This gives HRP a load of potential. It is going to take a lot more than KC and the Sunshine band to draw a large crowd.
The Bottomline: Hard Rock Park is a beautiful park, and it is well put together. The admission ($50.00 per person) is far too steep for a park offering such little amusement. There are not enough rides to keep you occupied for a very long period of time. In 3-4 hours and you can do everything this park has to offer. If you are a roller coaster afficianado like myself, you will be greatly disappointed. Unless, you plan to ride, Led Zeppelin the ride, 10 or more times, I doubt you will get your money’s worth at the park. If you have a family of four, you can get a 4 pack of tickets for $40.00 bucks. That offers little solace to those having to pay full price. With about 10 – 12 more rides, this place could be spectacular. As it stands today, the Hard Rock Park doesn’t offer enough thrills or amusement for its entry price.