Exactly one year after breaking ground on the world's first rock 'n' roll theme park, Hard Rock Park celebrated another milestone Friday (July 13), with the official topping ceremony for the Park's most anticipated attraction, Led Zeppelin - The Ride. The topping ceremony, which marks the completion of the highest lift hill for the signature roller coaster, kicks the Park into "construction overdrive."
"This coaster is so high; I'm sure we're waking up a few pilots," jokes Steven Goodwin, Hard Rock Park CEO. "I swear I've seen a couple of planes take notice already, not to mention the drivers on Rt. 501. We're at the point of development where everyone will be amazed with what will spring up next."
Easily viewed as far away as the three highway bridges that surround the Park, Led Zeppelin - The Ride will tower more than 150 feet into the sky (15 stories tall), serving as a landmark that will help travelers pinpoint Hard Rock Park whether arriving by air or land. The ride is most notable for the iconic relationship with band members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, who have contributed to all aspects of Led Zeppelin - The Ride, including the ride's name, logo and overall look and feel of the vehicles.
"A lot of planning and communication with the FAA has gone into this project," said David Reitterer, project manager for Hard Rock Park. "We are building this coaster just as high as they would allow, given the Park's proximity to Myrtle Beach International Airport."
Located in the Park's Rock & Roll Heaven zone, the signature steel roller coaster will thrill riders with a six and a half minute experience, partially over water. Reaching speeds of 65 mph, the coaster will boast six breathtaking inversions, the largest of which will be a 120-foot loop. Every moment of the ride, including thrilling drops and loops, is timed to LED ZEPPELIN's hit single "Whole Lotta Love", creating an unprecedented sensory experience and an adrenaline rush rivaled only by a live LED ZEPPELIN concert.
The experience will begin in a huge silver airship, which is designed to make guests feel as if they are stepping onto the cover of LED ZEPPELIN's debut album. Once inside, band-related murals and props will adorn the walls, while music and videos play throughout the queue, leading to a "studio" area where guests will be treated to a moving, multimedia show before climbing aboard the coaster. As the ride begins its initial ascent, excitement will build in time with "Whole Lotta Love", which is pumped into each car, thanks to a high-fidelity on-board audio system.
This summer, visitors to Myrtle Beach can get a sneak peek of Led Zeppelin - The Ride, as well as many more rides and attractions at the Hard Rock Park Backstage Tour, the Park's official preview center. The Backstage Tour is open daily to the public, free of charge, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Hard Rock Park will be an approximately 140-acre theme park boasting more than 40 attractions for rockers of all ages, including roller coasters, shows, children's play areas, restaurants, cafes and retail stores, a multi-purpose live music amphitheatre, and ultra-modern sound system specifically developed for the project, creating a totally immersive full-day experience.
Check out photos at Led-Zeppelin.com.