Myrtle Beach 2019

19MyrtleBannerMyrtle Beach | Photos | Videos


September 8-12, 2019
Myrtle Beach SC

As a child, I couldn’t wait to go to the beach every summer. Growing up, Myrtle Beach had it all-Beaches, Amusement Parks, Water Parks, Nite Life, Shows, Food, and more. And nearly every year growing up we spent a week there.

I don’t visit Myrtle Beach as often. They tore out one of my favorite amusement parks, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, leaving an empty plot of land there for nearly 15 years at this point. Then there was a large theme park built, Hard Rock Park. I didn’t get to visit until it’s second and final year, after it had made the switch to Freestyle Music Park, with much of the original theme already removed.

But I had a week off, and my original plans were put on hold due to work obligations, so I decided to travel to the beach. I didn’t plan on doing much. The only amusement park left, the Family Kingdom, would be closed during my visit, and since a hurricane had just came through, this made planning difficult. However, a couple of days after the storm passed I made reservations at the Crown Reef Waterpark & Resort for a few days. The entire city was dead for the first 3 days due to so many cancelling out due to the storm. That was actually nice.

Continue reading

Freestyle Music Park 2009

09FreestyleBanner.jpgFreestyle Music Park | Photos | Videos


May 24, 2009
Myrtle Beach SC

The next morning we woke up, got ready, and headed out to Mammy’s Kitchen for breakfast. After breakfast we headed to Freestyle Music Park, a new park credit for both of us. There was a decent amount of cars there for a slow Sunday morning when almost everyone else was leaving the area. After slathering ourselves up with sunscreen (Matt is very sensitive, and I was burnt from Saturday) we paid for a ticket and headed inside. Only one ride was listed as closed, the Soak’d water coaster.

The park was very nice. I immediately noticed things that were missing from pictures from the previous year by the new owners. We walked thru Myrtle’s Beach first skipping the biggest coaster there, The Time Machine. Both of us were far more interested in Round About. So we headed to the Across The Pond area and got in line for Round About getting a backseat ride.

Round AboutThis was the coaster that gave the park a lot of problems in it’s inaugural year but we never saw it have any issues all day as it ran very consistently. The Ferris Wheel lift mechanism was novel and kind of unnerving, but in a fun way. Once you’re at the top you head down the first drop, which was rather steep and loads of fun. Sadly, this was mostly a one trick pony roller coaster. The lift and first drop were great, but the rest of the ride, while smooth and gentle, didn’t do very much. Fun, but I’d really like to see what an established park looking for a thrill ride and not a family coaster could do with one of these. Sadly the onboard soundtrack was not working.

Continue reading

Myrtle Beach 2009

09MBBanner.jpgFamily Kingdom | Photos | Videos


May 23 & 24, 2009
Myrtle Beach SC

Day 1

The last time I was at Myrtle Beach prior to this trip was in September of 2006 for the final operating day of the classic Myrtle Beach Pavilion. A sad day, and a large part of the reason I hadn’t been back since. However, 2008was the inaugural season for Hard Rock Park, a new theme park which I’d been following the planning and construction of for quite a while. I had wanted to go in it’s first year of operation but never made it down to Myrtle Beach in 2008. Imagine my surprise when, after just a few months into its first season, the park abruptly closed and declared bankruptcy.

This could have been the end of the park, but thankfully a new owner stepped in for the 2009 season, even if they had to change the name and much of the theming as well as rip out lots of other theming. I didn’t want to miss my 2nd chance at visiting the park.  Unfortunately the second season would be the last season for the park which has since had all of it’s rides moved to other parks and the site has since been demolished.

I decided to take off on Friday just before Memorial Day Weekend and offered to take my grandmother down to her house in Salisbury NC since I would be staying there overnight on Thursday. The trip to North Carolina was quick and uneventful and on Friday morning I was up early and ready to head further south. The ride to Myrtle Beach was pleasant. I did get slightly turned around a couple of times but still made very good time even with stopping for gas and a few pictures at the infamous South of the Border tourist trap.

Continue reading

Myrtle Beach 2006

MB06Banner.pngFamily Kingdom | Pavilion | Photos


September 28 & 29, 2006
Myrtle Beach SC
Pavilion Last Ride

Waking up on Thursday morning I got my things together, ran some errands, and headed south. This was my only major trip planned for the year, and it was a mixture of excitement and sadness because this would be the last time I would visit the legendary Myrtle Beach Pavilion. The drive from my home in southern West Virginia to Myrtle Beach was around 7 hours. Thankfully Janet Jackson had released her then latest album that week, so I planned to give it a full listen on my way south. The weather was rather dreary, but I knew that reports were for sun in Myrtle Beach thru the weekend.

About 90 minutes in to the ride I stopped in Wythville, VA since gas was only $2.08 to fill up and get some food. I wouldn’t stop again until North Carolina to get some directions, and then South Carolina for gas. Just outside of Myrtle Beach, on US 501, something in the other lane caught my eye. The Wacky Worm station and train from the now closed Grand Prix was on the back of a truck being transported elsewhere. I had seen pictures of the track packed up. I guess someone bought it. I had left around 10 AM and expected to arrive in Myrtle Beach around 5 PM and surely enough, at about 5:30 I was pulling in to the parking lot of the Hotel. I had spent the last 3 hours looking forward to arriving and relaxing in the room for a bit. That, however, would not be the case once I arrived.

Once I arrived it seemed as though everyone was having some type of problem with the staff. Sea Crest is a very nice ocean front property where we have stayed for at least 10 years. My parents would be arriving there the day I was leaving, and my mother had made my reservations as well since we were going at almost the same time. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the reservation.

Continue reading

Family Kingdom 2004

September 20, 2004
Family Kingdom Amusement Park
Myrtle Beach, SC

The sun had set, which was great because I haven’t ridden Swamp Fox in almost 10 years and couldn’t remember the last I’d had night rides. A Chance Slingshot, a Log Flume that looked like fun, and another Sally Dark ride had all been aded since I’d been to the park. For those of you unfamiliar with the Family Kingdom, or for those that haven’t been there in a long long time, let me give you a bit of history. What was once known as both the Grand Strand amusement park as well as the Swamp Fox Pavilion has undergone a lot of changes over the years. I don’t even remember the park before it re-opened after Hurricane Hugo, but Hugo did major damage to the Swamp Fox in 1989, and the coaster was rebuilt.

This is a classic John Allen Figure 8 seaside coaster with 2 PTC trains, though one must’ve been hidden for the off-season, as it wasn’t in the station. Even though they have 2 trains, the park only ever runs one. I can still remember my first ride on Swamp Fox. It is a really great wooden coaster. The park has been opened consistently since the early 90s, and has added and switched out some of their other rides. It has mostly all fair style rides, as well as Sally’s first interactive Dark Ride, a nice carousel, and a decent selection of flats. The park used to sit beside what was once known as “The Fun Spot Fun Park”, a very carnie feeling go-cart park that had a couple kiddy flats and a Ferris wheel, but Family Kingdom bought them out and expanded across the little river. This area is now mostly the kids section, with the Chance Slingshot, Pistolero Roundup (the Sally Dark Ride), Go-Carts, and the Log Flume.

I walked in and bought my all day wrist band then headed straight to Swamp Fox. If you’ve never been on this coaster, it has the oddest station. I guess they never get really long lines as there isn’t anywhere for a long line to go. It has a load and unload station, and on this nite, only had one operator running the ride. As I was getting in line for the back there were two twentysomething girls getting off of the ride and telling me that the back was “Just Brutal! The front is nothing compared to the back”. I smiled and said I knew, and then boarded the ride.

Continue reading

Myrtle Beach & Grand Prix 2004

September 19-22, 2004
Myrtle Beach, SC
Photo Album


Myrtle Beach 2004

For many years Myrtle Beach was my favorite place to visit for vacation. It had everything I want to do; roller coasters, swimming, restaurants, night life, you name it. As a kid my family went every year. My most recent visit had been in 2002. As it was late in the season, it was much different visit than I was used to but I had a lot of fun. I decided to take some time from my new job and head to the beach with my family. Because of a previous engagement, we would be leaving for Salisbury, North Carolina on Friday, September 17 and staying the nite.

Because of Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, Ivan, Bonnie, and Janeen, I was very afraid we were going to be rained out as it started raining late Thursday evening at home, and continued thru our trip to NC. I was happy, though, to see beautiful blue skies when I woke up Saturday morning. We left Salisbury around 4:30 pm and headed south. It was about a 4 hour trip including our stop at Pizza Hut in South Carolina for dinner, but we made it to the Holiday Inn (now Sea Crest) Hotel we were staying at around 9:00 pm that evening.

After checking in and taking our luggage up to the suite, I promptly changed clothes and headed out for a nite on the town. I hadn’t really been out since moving back home, so I was happy to finally be getting dressed up for a reason. I cruised around downtown for a bit which, though it was the off season, was still fairly active as it was the weekend. I didn’t want to arrive at the club too early, so I cruised some more around Myrtle Beach. Then at around 11:30 pm I headed for Club Kryptonite, the hot new club at Broadway at the Beach. I forgot my flyer to get me in for two bucks, so I ended up paying $10. It was “Coyote Ugly Night” so there were loads of girls on boxes and up on the bar dancing and pouring drinks. The DJ was great, loads of good music, and the crowd fun. Getting back to the room, I took a shower and went to sleep.

Continue reading

Myrtle Beach Pavilion 2004

BANNER

Myrtle Beach Pavilion | Photos | Videos


September 19, 2004
Myrtle Beach SC

Since the park was closing early today I thought I’d better get there around opening, get my arm band, and ride rides. I woke up a little after 1pm, changed into my swimming trunks so I could do the water rides, and headed down town. It wasn’t very crowded and the park was in its usual post-season state of deadness. Everything was up and running with the exception of the Carousel and the Top Spin. This is the way all parks should be ran, however, when it comes to cleanliness. There were more handymen around sweeping and cleaning than there were park goers! And as far as I can remember it’s always been that way.

I love a nice, relaxing day at a sea side park. There was a strong ocean breeze and some of the ops were running the rides like crazy since it was so dead at the park. My first order of business was that big heap of steel and wood that is known as Hurricane Category 5. There are a lot of people that said this is the worst there was when it came to roughness. Yes it is rough, but not roughest by far.

The Pavilion staff does a good job at keeping their rides up and running at capacity for the time they are open, but this was the park’s first wooden coaster in many years, and I think they just don’t know how to maintain it that well. That, and those trains suck.

Continue reading