Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Myrtle Beach SC -- Home of Themed Everything

November 29, 2007

I’m riding here in the turbo prop plane from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta, where the pilot just announced that the vibration we might be feeling on the left side of the plane stems from the fact that the landing gear wouldn’t retract when we took off from the airport. “Nothing to worry about,” though. Apparently it’s down and locked – just causing us to go a little slower. Lovely.
Myrtle Beach was one interesting place – a blend of Branson MO, Pigeon Forge TN, and Vegas (without the gambling) all rolled into one. It’s one really tricked out themed “family” vacation place. From 1958-2006 there as a downtown beachside amusement area called “The Pavilion” that apparently has closed and, according to one card “made way for development.” Nobody I talked to seemed real clear on what’s going up in its place, but there is much talk of the new amusement park being built by the Hard Rock Café.

In a two-mile stretch from my hotel heading toward the beach I passed at least 4 heavily themed (pirates, ocean, fun) miniature golf courses. And this ain’t yo’ mama’s putt-putt golf. Everything’s motorized and mechanized and built up high – pirates and ships and windmills and on and on and on. This is in and amongst the NASCAR restaurant (pictured above), the Hard Rock Café restaurant, the Planet Hollywood Restaurant (pictured above), Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Kingdom Family Amusement Park, the Ripley’s Aquarium, Ripley’s House of Terror, and Ripley’s regular Believe-It-Or-Not Museum. Whew.

I’m not real sure what “family entertainment” actually means, but apparently it has a lot to do with crass commercialism and the ability to spend a month’s mortgage in about a 2-block area.

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