Greetings…you may call me…Keeper, for I am the keeper of theme park tales. I love theme parks. But what I love even more than theme parks are small attractions. The phrase “tourist trap” comes to mind but that has negative connotations. When I say tourist trap it’s only with love and affection. I’m the Goof in The Goofy Movie dragging the Mrs and daughter from Chester’s Possum Park to the biggest ball of string while they pretend to be interested. Myrtle Beach, SC…4 hours closer, less country music, and the same type of collection of attractions. In some cases different branches of the same very attractions in Pigeon Forge.The Mrs. agreed and we find ourselves ready to head out for our first out of state family adventure in over 20 years. We further decided that to counter the long drive after a grueling vacation schedule we will make a stop off in Savannah, GA for a night on the way home and possibly squeeze in some southern cookin’ and historical touring to cap off our adventure. The challenges for our adventure…the drive, a very short stay, no fully developed goals, and the biggest going to a beach town in peak season when I’m not even a beach goer. I suspect the girls may take a beach detour at some point while I chase down the biggest glob of silly putty or longest railroad spike or some other perceived treasure to add to my journey of adventure. The fun part on this journey is, you get to tag along too. Although reporting on everything will be impossible due to time constraints I plan on sending “postcards” of my mini-adventures so you can enjoy and discover along with us. As always, I will call em as I see em, the good and the bad along the way to give a flavor of an “away from the big boys” kinda trip. Whether the trip succeeds or fails remains to be seen but I imagine we have many adventures awaiting us, and as you know the journey to adventure is part of the fun cause….
I suppose this is a good a time as any to give you a bit of the lay of the land in MB. Most of the attractions we visited were centered in 3 zones. The boardwalk/beach area on Ocean Blvd; the Boardwalk at the Beach complex in Myrtle Beach; and The Barefoot Landing complex in North Myrtle Beach. Boardwalk at the Beach is the newer, bigger, complex that was built to capitalize on Barefoot Landings popularity. The boardwalk area, which in the past had a seedier reputation but recently went thru a major renovation to attract tourist including a stronger law enforcement presence, was always bustling with activity until after midnight. All three zones are close in miles but have incredible traffic between them. At times, due to reservations, we found ourselves forced to jet from one to the other…picture having to drive down International Drive on a Saturday night every time you want to move from one to the other. So with that in mind I suppose it makes sense to have a mirror maze at each location. A mirror maze is difficult to review…is it better if you get lost in it..or if you solve it quickly? Perhaps like most adventures..the enjoyment is in the journey.
The Backstage Mirror Maze at Boardwalk at the Beach was a success for us. It had a neat psychedelic vibe to it where the colors changed as you were maneuvering thru it. Our only experience prior to this with a mirror maze was a section of the now defunct Mystery Fun House…in there all you had to do was look at the base of the mirrors and you could easily see the proper path. Those amateur tricks don’t hold any water here. We stumbled like the blind clutching on to each other as one conga line. It was a quick but fun visit. They also have a laser maze we were not able to experience on our visit. You have to maneuver thru laser beams to reach the bank safe—a very cool concept.
Check out the official Backstage Mirror Maze website!
Over at the beach is the Ripley complex where 4 of the 5 Ripley attractions are. The Ripley Mirror Maze has a little different approach than Backstage. In an effort to no doubt save on labor costs them make you wear disposable food service gloves during your journey. In contrast when we approached Backstage one of the employees was polishing a mirror near the entrance. The gloves coupled with the lack of proper air conditioning in all of the Ripley’s beachfront property really takes away from this experience. They also offered extra glasses for 50 cents apiece …theme park goers will recognize them as being similar to ones used at Disney Hollywood Studios during Christmas time. The mirrors have no adornment like Backstage but just a line of red accent lights at the base. When you wear the glasses it’s a very disorienting experience but I do not like Ripley’s practice of always pushing add-ons at the box office of all their attractions. For a lousy 50 cents these should be included in the admission.
Check out the official Ripley’s website!
Our time ran out before we could visit Mirror Maze USA’s offering at Barefoot Landing (cause someone spend a bit too much time in the amazing magic shop next door), but from the outside I saw painted info on mirrors like you’d do with a “just married” car. It also has a laser maze option. Granted we did not visit but the impression it gave off was a cheaper, trashier version of the Backstage Mirror Maze at the bigger complex. But you can never tell completely with mirrors…they sometimes reflect and distort things, and sometimes even make your hands sweat but I suppose that makes the adventure all the more fun.
Check out more Mirror Maze Goodness:
Every Day’s An Adventure