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Old 06-05-2008, 08:22 PM   #1
Anu
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Hard Rock Park Can Cure the Anytime Blues

<img src="http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee136/anuransol/hard-rock-sml.jpg" alt="" />
<p class="MsoNormal"><strong>By Andrew William Smith, Editor</strong></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><strong>June 5, 2008</strong></p>
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<p class="MsoNormal">Rock and roll and the rollercoaster share a symbiotic relationship based on thrills, chills, and sheer, shameless fun for its own sake. Thanks to the brand-new Hard Rock Park, rock?s glory and the glee of rollercoasters have found a marriage of genius on 55 acres in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">The latest epicenter to brag of the Hard Rock brand brings the communal spirit of rock and roll to a spacious and sunny venue. The $400 million invested to create this playground of pure joy can be seen at every turn, especially in the astonishing attention given to design details. An entire delightful day this summer or coming fall could be devoted to exploring this dazzling place.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><!--more-->After ambling by the Amp?d Coffee shop and through the All Access entrance plaza marked by the main merch mecca (which most will visit on the way out), rockers face the first decision of the day at a fork in the road. Turn left to find Rock and Roll Heaven and turn right to explore Cool Country. Left seems logical for a clockwise tour of the roughly circular layout.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">At the amazing installation of stone that serves as an altar to rock and roll saints, sins of the flesh have been forgiven, and fans can pay their respects to the likes of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, James Marshall Hendrix, James Douglas Morrison, Jerome John Garcia, Kurt Donald Cobain, and oh-so-many more.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Not far past Reggae River Falls where young rockers rollick and refresh in a fountain-as-playground, we find Led Zeppelin: The Ride, easily the fiercest feature of the whole place. Conveniently located near some free lockers where riders can stash phones, purses, hats, and glasses before blowing their minds and bodies with sound and speed, this attraction showcases every flourish of imagination that makes the park great.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">To begin, the ride queue resembles a multimedia museum, rife with oversized album art, band trivia, and vintage footage of live Zeppelin. Before boarding the breathtaking coaster, the anticipation gets heightened by yet-another video installation, this time in a darkened-room made to resemble a concert hall. These few minutes of decadent fanfare are so phenomenal they might make the real Led-heads forget the forthcoming ascent up the sturdy, steel stairway to heaving (not!?but this ride is not recommended for the weak of stomach).</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee136/anuransol/Led_Zeppelin__T-0458_24763.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="402" /></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong>Led Zeppelin-The Ride</strong></em><em><strong></strong></em></p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Once fastened into the cars that await us in ride the station that resembles an actual zeppelin, we hear ?Whole Lotta Love? blast from the on-board speakers. Like most great coasters, it?s pretty much over before it begins, but the wicked loops and lightning lurches linger a little longer as you stumble down the exit stairs. One rider gasped that the force of the freefall forced a scream back into her throat as another said ?let?s go again? as he swayed to the sounds that were stuck in his body.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">But before making it back to the line, these patrons first got a taste of Hard Rock Park?s other-than-musical motive. In a marketing move that makes obvious financial sense, each major attraction includes a fully-stocked and appropriately-themed gift shop in its exit. You can?t get to the next ride without at least browsing the reasonably-priced swag.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Leaving heaven requires a stroll over the water. As if crossing a much bigger pond, this walk takes us to the English-themed neighborhood called The British Invasion. What an exciting place!</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">While visiting this miniature United Kingdom, tourists can see a Beatles cover band playing atop a double-decker bus, answer a ringing phone in a phone booth, take a walk across Abbey Road, ride a London taxi cab, bounce around the Punk Pit, or eat fish and chips and sip Bass Ale in the psychedelically-themed Carnaby Street Café. It?s easy to get lost on this magical mystery tour, and that?s even before mustering the courage to don the 3D glasses and get on what may be the most unusual theme-ride ever conceived.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">A completely chemical-free hallucination, Nights in White Satin is ?The Trip? it boasts to be. From the love beads and black light in the disorienting vortex that takes you to your car to the stunning visual and musical journey itself, this paradisiacal odyssey pulls no punches in its flashback appeal to aging hippies, their grown Gen X children, and their completely befuddled grandkids.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">After another consumer diversion for peace, love, and merchandise, trippers can come down in the Pinball Wizard Arcade or go feed the munchies at Alice?s Restaurant. In the diner designed by Arlo Guthrie, the décor keeps us in rock?s most fabled days. Any veteran of the late 1960s and early 1970s or student of that time period will marvel at the choice of art and artifact at the eatery where patrons can get anything they want.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">In addition to the rides, restaurants, and rock bands serenading passersby, each of the themed-sections of the park features an ambitious show. The Roadies Stunt Show in The British Invasion boasts unrelenting hilarity and acrobatic ability sure to produce smiles for all.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">After the British Invasion, the American-themed areas include Kids Rock! State Park, Born in the USA, and Cool Country. The latter features The Eagles Life In The Fast Lane coaster and the breezy Just A Swingin? ride from which you can enjoy the live music on the Cool Country Stage. Near the exit, The Whammy Bar is a full-service watering hole with a bikers? theme and visibly posted phone-numbers for the park?s own taxi service.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Visitors to Hard Rock Park in its virgin season may see some attractions closed for testing or still under construction. As with any new venture, it takes time to work out the kinks (not to be confused with The Kinks photo in the café). But the first brave attendees can count on finding short lines for rides (until the word gets out more about how completely fabulous this place is) and meeting some incredibly enthusiastic and attentive employees.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">The idea to feature touring bands in the park?s main amphitheatre and include these shows with the price of admission is one of the venue?s many visions sheer brilliance. The park?s gala opening events boasted shows by bands with their own rides, The Eagles and The Moody Blues.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Hopefully, Hard Rock Park will meet the kind of success that will allow it to expand its offerings over the years. The possibilities are endless for creating thrill rides based on rock?s greatest songs, and in the meantime, creating that wish-list is the perfect car game for the ride home.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">For years, fans of steep drops and stellar pop could study this summertime symbiosis on Ohio?s north coast where the epic speed of Cedar Point is just a close jaunt from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But now down south, by infusing rides galore with rock?s lore, Hard Rock has birthed the theme park of the music fan?s dreams.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong>Hard Rock Park opened in April 2008 and held its Grand Opening event in early June. </strong></em></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong>For more information, please visit http://www.hardrockpark.com/</strong></em></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong>Photos courtesy of Hard Rock Park.</strong></em></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee136/anuransol/Gibson_Guitar_I-0458_25362.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="600" /></p>
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:26 PM   #2
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HRP/Myrtle Beach is only about an hour south of me... I can't wait to get down there & check it out. I'm a roller coaster junkie.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:40 PM   #3
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wow, thanks for posting this article.
Great PR for the Park and MB, SC! It's nice to see MB getting some international publicity.
I live in MB and we have been very excited about the park.
I haven't experienced it yet but my kids said it was awesome!
I heard that the opening with The Eagles and The Moody Blues was something to experience.
I hope that this will draw big names but it is still a fairly small venue.
We have the House of Blues as well and they have some really good concerts.
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