Although this is all now official and done and dusted from a business point of view, I wouldn't expect Tussaud's signs to be ripped down from their attractions just yet!
There's a lot of things to consider when rebranding. Cost is an obvious factor, there's a hell of a lot of signs and promotional material to replace in each park!
The main factor to consider is the public. The change would have to be introduced slowly but surely. For example, you've got a large number of visitors may not be aware of the change. A quick rebrand would cause confusion with the general public wondering if their annual passes are still valid, whether their vouchers, clubcard deals are still valid etc.
I'm with Nick guessing that we'll see some form of rebranding during the closed season, with maybe slight changes over the coming months. We'll probably see some sort of letter or e-mail coming out to annual pass holders shortly setting out changes (if any of course) to where their passes are accepted etc.
It'll be interesting to see how different any logos are. Will we see a slight change from Tussaud's being on there to it becoming Merlin, or will Tussauds just be removed altogether? It's interesting that Madame Tussauds has changed their logo recently to the red and gold. I wonder if this is because the yellow and blue was seen as too similar to the colours used in Merlin's logo?
Having a quick look at the website, it's interesting to see that there's some linkups with the Sea Life Centre and Legoland. I wonder if this is a sign of things to come?
One thing that has to be considered however, is that although we are seeing a new company being in overall control of the group, DIC still own a 20% stake in it. That's a hefty percentage, so they certainly have major input into the operations and decisions of the enlarged Merlin Entertainments.
Although in terms of an overall re-brand, it can be costly and is very wise to implement it stage by stage however in this case it is probably best to get it over and done with. If Alton Towers we're changing it's name then yeah, it would need to be carefully planned but nothing park side will change other than the name of the parks owner.
Customers associate with the brand, and that is still very much Alton Towers, or Chessington, or Thorpe. Tussauds here is just the name behind the brand - and in general joes eye a very insignificant part. The only place it would need tact is Madame Tussuads, but that is remaining the same so again, no need to tread carefully.