Thursday’s second editorial expands a bit on the blog post of last week, wondering if this proposed Asian Wonder Land will actually succeed:
News that a coalition of folks hope to build a new Asian Wonder Land in Myrtle Beach has left us scratching our heads. Don’t be mistaken. A $15 million to $20 million investment would be great for the city. And it’s always good news when a new attraction comes to town. But $25 a person for a lantern display, cultural exhibits and educational opportunities?
We wish its promoters nothing but the best, and if they can get it off the ground, we’ll be among the first through the torii gates and into the pagoda. But this one feels a little dicier than most. It’s hard to imagine many visitors taking to this idea. We just hope that those doing the work learn from the lesson of the contractors who worked on Hard Rock and Freestyle Music Park and ask to be paid up front.
We’ve been burned too many times before to take such announcements at face value. Before the recent failed theme parks that had promised to revitalize the Fantasy Harbour area, there was the failed Fantasy Harbour, with its Magic on Ice, Gatlin brothers theater, Crook and Chase theater, Ice Castle Theatre, All American Music Theatre, Ronnie Milsap Theatre, and the big-top Cercle Theatre, none of which lasted more than a few years.
Elsewhere in the area we’ve watched failed plans for an Art Linkletter Planetarium, a butterfly pavilion, the Atlantic Center Arena and the Magic Harbor Amusement Park, among others. More recently, Celebration Music Theatre called it quits in Surfside Beach, and plans for the long-awaited Pat Boone theater seem to be on life support.
That’s not to say that attractions can’t survive in our area, or even thrive. Many have been around for decades. But it’s a hard row to hoe, with more failures than successes. Our visitors and residents are an unsentimental lot when it comes to their entertainment dollars. If a show or attraction isn’t a good value or doesn’t live up to its billing, it will collapse faster than a paper umbrella in a typhoon. And those behind the proposed Asian Wonder Land had better be prepared for that eventuality.