Hello readers in coasterland. Itís Wes Connell, back again for another feature of a park in my area, the Southeast United States.
This time around Iím taking a look at a relatively new park to the area: O.D. Pavilion, located in North Myrtle Beach, SC.
September of 2006, a huge loss was felt by many in the region when the institution known as Myrtle Beach Pavilion closed forever. It is still a sore subject for me personally, as the investment the company promised, as of yet has still never taken place. The Pavilionís location is still an empty grass field.
O.D. Pavilion opened just a few years after Myrtle Beach Pavilionís demise in August of 2009. The park is a seasonal Oceanside park and operates from Memorial Day until Labor Day, 5:00 pm to Midnight every day.
I headed down to the park on a day trip from Charlotte, NC where I live, with the goal of picking up two credits so that when I make my fall trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, I should be able to get my 200th coaster credit.
The park is small, and feels a bit like a traveling fair probably because the company that runs it actually runs fairs and the rides apparently are part of their inventory. From my understanding, the company will actually rotate rides in and out of the park every few years, or at least it seems that way. When the park opened in 2009 it only had a small Orient Express kiddie coaster. This year the park opened with a Wacky Worm, Go Gator (an engine-driven powered coaster) and the big boy of the lot a Zyklon/Galaxi style coaster.
As I donít count powered coasters as a credit myself personally, I wasnít even going to worry about riding Go Gator. From the looks though, it may be that only children can ride it anyway.
I arrived at the park early and took some photos and wandered around the downtown area, since I had never been downtown at North Myrtle.
Back in the day, Myrtle Beach Pavilion was an un-gated park and you could just wander in and out of the park at-will. O.D. Pavilion is this way as well. I almost felt strange just walking through a park, when it wasnít even open yet. I almost expected Cedar Fair security to come after me at any moment (inside joke, if you want to know the story send me a private message).
The day was hot and humid, but later in the day storms built along the coast which dropped the temperature 10 degrees and brought in a nice sea breeze. I had missed the beach, always love being there.
During my initial walk-around, I saw that the Wacky Worm train was actually covered up, almost like it was in its cocoon. I couldnít help but laugh a little.
Later in the day when I rode the coaster, I discovered that as I rode up the lift hill, I would enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the beach just next door. Definitely the best view Iíve ever seen from a Wacky Worm.
The operator for the Wacky Worm was very friendly, and not at all like your typical carnie. There were a few that I would put in that category of being a little strange, but most of the operators were nice, including the woman with only one arm. Iím not joking, and Iím not making fun of the disabled, itís just to look at her youíre thinking ďscary carnie!Ē, but she wasnít that way at all. She actually was running Go Gator and really nice to the kids.
After getting my initial pictures, checking out some of the local shops, the cheap beachwear, some local thrift stores and getting a great lunch at the Hot Diggity Diner, which is in the middle of the park I was ready to ride some rides! I have to give a quick shout-out to Hot Diggity Diner, which had a great hotdog special and the food was very tasty, and my whole meal was less than $5 before tax! The place has been struggling apparently, so show them some love if you visit the park.
The Galaxi-style coaster was a fun classic coaster. The operator actually jumped in the back seat when I was riding by myself which is something that definitely has never happened at a corporate park for me. It has a nice big drop and some air for at least a second or two. The interesting thing is that Myrtle Beach Pavilion used to have one of these models, but I never rode it.
The rides overall have that carnie feel to them although they felt safe even with a bit of a rough patina to them.
I checked out the flats, including a gravitron, scrambler, pirate ship and despite my attempts I never was able to ride the Ferris wheel, because there werenít enough riders to balance out the ride. Mostly the park-goers seemed to be families on vacation, with small children checking out the kiddie rides, which there are many. In all, the park features over 20 rides and attractions. Not bad for such a small footprint.
North Myrtle is much more a family beach than the touristier Myrtle Beach. There arenít tons of shops, but the parking is free and the mood is relaxed as beach-goers stroll around doing as little as possible in the heat.
I really enjoyed my visit to this new little park, Iím glad that Family Kingdom isnít going to be the last of dying breed and now there is another beachside park on the Grand Strand. Thanks for reading. For more information visit the parkís website.
Here are a few photos from Wes's trip!