This just in: Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is exactly 150-feet tall. It is also made of steel… and it’s located in the rock-tastic metropolis of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The “Stairway” in question is actually a theme-park roller coaster; more specifically, it’s the latest addition to the Hard Rock Cafe’s massive amusement park. Slated to open in spring 2008, the 140-acre Hard Rock Park
is the “single largest tourism investment in South Carolina’s history.” That's press-release jargon for really expensive
, as this tourism investment is currently running a tab of $400 million. Equal parts amusement park (rides, amphitheaters, play areas, etc.) interactive museum (including exhibitions on the British Invasion and '70s rock), and bizarre musical sideshow (a stunt show devoted to roadies?! a country themed ice show?!), Hard Rock will also
boast an “ultra-modern sound system specifically developed for the project, creating a totally immersive full day experience.” Even so, perhaps the park's greatest feature is Mount Rockmore, a 250-ton sand sculture that reinterprets Mount Rushmore. Instead of featuring the faces of U.S. presidents, Rockmore bears the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Elvis Presley.
Not much else is known about the Zeppelin ride, but park developers are working with the surviving members of the band to determine the ride’s logo, structure, and shape of the vehicles (blimps, anyone?). “Whole Lotta Love” has already been selected as the coaster’s theme song, which will orchestrate the ride via those aforementioned “ultra-modern” speakers. The orchestrated ride will be similar to Aerosmith’s coaster
at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida… only with a very long drum solo and slightly higher vocals. Other rides include the Magic Mushroom Garden (described as "the world's largest black light poster," whatever that's supposed to mean), Reggae River Falls, and the Muddin' Monster Race (which seems to involve a car ride and lots of Woodstock-evoking mud).