Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Photo Tour of Hard Rock Park Pt. 1

With the sale of Hard Rock Park now official and plans to reopen underway, now seems like a fair time to look back at the park during it's first season of operation. Especially since the park will probably see a slew of changes when it reopens this summer.

Scott and Carol had the opportunity to visit the park this past year were able to get some really great shots of the park. We'll start our look back at the park today with this first set.

I like to say we have to start at the start - and with that let's first look at the park's entry land - the All Access Entry Plaza.

The entrance plaza for the park, which in a layout design sense is reminiscent of Island's of Adventure's Port of Entry, features this beautiful decorative gates at the park's entrance. Talk about a photo op! Actually, Hard Rock Park is full of plenty of great little spots for interesting photos.

Here's the car that Scott & Carol took to the park. Okay, no, that's not true - but it's pretty neat, eh?

Once you get inside the gates the All Access Entry Plaza features the common food and merchandise locations of most them parks. But with names like "Amp'd Up Coffee," "I Want Candy," and "The Whammy Bar" you can really hit home the rock'n'roll theming of the property.

Another Islands of Adventure similarity - guests pass under this toward the end of the entry plaza and can read this Nirvana quote that sets the tone of the day's adventures... just like IOA's "The Adventure Begins."

Now here's an intense pin collection for those of you who collect Hard Rock pins. Are there that many Hard Rock Cafes? Or are there duplicates? I can't say.

The park also proudly displays the original ground breaking ceremony guitar-shovel. It's only fitting that Hard Rock's shovel was also a rockin' guitar, right?

The theme park is centered around a lagoon, which provides a wonderful collection of photo opportunities. Above we see the park's massive 90 ft. tall Gibson guitar logo statue. And that structure underneath it is an official Gibson store.

Like I said - you can get some really nice shots from around the lagoon. This is looking back at the All Access Entry Plaza from afar.

And naturally the park really 'glows' at night - lame pun intended. The lagoon featured a Bohemian Rhapsody show each night that had fireworks and more choreographed to the classic song.

Lots of pretty neon to be seen in the All Access Entry Plaza at night as well - the Origins Theater with the nice glowing marquee shows a "12-minute journey back to 1972 in London England, home of the very first Hard Rock Cafe. As we travel forward through time ... the sights and sounds of each time period sets the mood for each decade in a story that pays tribute to the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll."

Don't worry though, ride fans, the next segment of the tour starts the scream machines!