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Dom
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:37 pm

I think that is a very respectful thing of the Orlando Eye to do. Its nice to see them using such an iconic structure in this way.
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Owen
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:39 pm

Currently unknown to where it may be for it if it is the real deal, this image of a parcel has appeared in a Facebook group.

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Personally I just see this being a minor sponsorship/promotion deal for the movie in SeaLife, much like Thorpe Park dos with the Angey Birds Movie.

As we don't know anything yet, the best thing to do is just keep swimming until something pops up!
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lewis97
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:55 pm

It was announced a few days ago that a number of SeaLife centres will have Finding Dory events over the summer period which appears to involve some sort of educational trail with these deliveries likely to be display pieces.
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Owen
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri May 12, 2017 4:35 pm

Merlin have officially announced its previously rumoured pin collectors scheme across all attractions.

Pin Badge Collecting Etiqutte.

The post mentions a 'Starter Pack' and how that there will be limited edition pin badges available from stores and from online competitions!

Time to get collecting!
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Ladyofthelake
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri May 12, 2017 5:01 pm

Interesting to see Merlin launching a more formal pin collecting scheme. Hopefully this will mean we'll see a much bigger range across the parks going forward.

One thing that does concern me slightly is how they are going to control the limited editions when they are released. I've known people buy between 10-20 of one pin, sometimes clearing the remaining stock in an outlet so they can then sell them on EBay. For limited editions Merlin perhaps need to adopt a Disney stye approach where they're only available from till points and restricted to 2 per customer.
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Robert.W
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Mon May 15, 2017 1:54 am

This is why I thought it would be a better idea to offer them on sale at the ride photo booths so that only people who had rode the ride could buy them.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Mon May 22, 2017 8:52 pm

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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:22 pm

Didn't know where to put this but as you can get on this with a merl in pass saw this on the news
http://news.sky.com/story/jurassic-skyl ... r-11022261
 
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lewis97
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:18 am

Today's Trading & Strategy Update, has seen a number of key announcements from Merlin.

Reallocation of capital
Firstly, is a reallocation of capital from new investments in both Midway Attractions and the Resort Theme Parks to a 'Productivity Agenda' and additional accommodation at the resorts (interestingly it was suggested that they'd eventually like 1000 rooms at each resort). During the presentation, Nick Varney seemed to place more of an emphasis on the midway capex being reduced rather than the theme parks, and also highlighted that this represents yearly capital investment being reduced from £150m to around £125m. The 'Productivity Agenda' includes things like back office efficiencies and increased automation, like the addition of the self-service ticket machines which have been trialled at the London Eye.

Going forward, whilst our long-standing Six Strategic Growth Drivers remain unchanged, we will be reallocating planned capital investments from the Existing Estate into an accelerated accommodation roll out and a Productivity Agenda. Specifically:
  • Intention to reduce Existing Estate capex by approximately £100 million over the period 2018-21, predominantly from the Midway Attractions and Resort Theme Parks Operating Groups, with investment in Health and Safety and Repairs and Maintenance unaffected.
  • Approximately £30 million investment in a Productivity Agenda, the initial benefits of which are expected from late 2019 onwards.
  • Acceleration in accommodation roll out, with 2,000 rooms expected over the 2018-21 period (2,000 over 2016-20 previously).


New Intellectual Property partnerships
Merlin continue to pursue IP-based experiences, with the announcement of future Bear Grylls and Peppa Pig attractions - I have posted more details about 'The Bear Grylls Experience' midway brand in the Birmingham attraction's topic. As for Peppa Pig, it is highlighted that Merlin's deal covers all countries apart from the UK, so the two theme park areas which have been announced for 2018 will presumably be in Gardaland and Heide Park. It appears the brand will also be applied to midway attractions, with the first "standalone attraction" opening in 2019 - during the presentation, Nick Varney stated that these would initially be 'interactive, soft-play experiences' but then also said that there was the potential for 'mid-sized theme parks' (like LEGOLAND) further down the line.


Merlin today announces it has entered into two global exclusive IP partnerships to develop location based entertainment:
  • Bear Grylls - Partnering with the world-famous survival expert, international TV host and bestselling author, ‘The Bear Grylls Adventure’ will be targeted at the adventure-based experiences market, with the first attraction to open in Birmingham, UK, in 2018.
  • Peppa Pig – A multi-territory agreement with Entertainment One (eOne) to open Peppa Pig themed attractions and accommodation. Peppa Pig is one of the world’s leading pre-school brand properties with over 1,000 licensees across 60 countries. The deal which excludes the UK gives Merlin exclusivity in all territories other than China, where the licence is granted on a non-exclusive basis.

LEGOLAND developments
It was also announced that a 'The LEGO Movie Land' will be added to all LEGOLAND parks from 2019, with the accompanying visual perhaps giving some hint as to what attractions may be included:

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Share price
Today's update has seen Merlin's share price significantly fall (initially down 20%) to pretty much the same level as this time in 2015 following the impact of The Smiler incident, completely wiping out the growth that the last two years has seen...

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Bert2theSpark
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:26 pm

Huh, That's odd, I wonder what caused Merlin's stock to fall, I mean The themes parks have been doing well, But I guess it's the midways that have a fallen atttendence this time. Could it be because of the increase of terrorist attacks?
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:42 pm

Bert2theSpark wrote:
Huh, That's odd, I wonder what caused Merlin's stock to fall, I mean The themes parks have been doing well, But I guess it's the midways that have a fallen atttendence this time. Could it be because of the increase of terrorist attacks?

They reported only 0.3% like for like growth in revenue, with, like for like, midway seeing a 1.0% decline and Resort Theme Parks a 2.1% decline which was then balanced out by 3.4% growth in LEGOLAND parks. Although Merlin have argued that the declines in two of their operating groups are down to structural and market-wide issues, rather than problems with their operation of them, there may be some scepticism over this and the prospect of less revenue, regardless of reasoning, is hard to see as a positive. There do also appear to be some investor concerns about the reallocation of capital away from Existing Estate, in relation to how that could affect attendance in the long term.

The share price has somewhat risen over the course of the day, but it is still a fair way below the level it closed at yesterday.
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Count-Vonduel
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:54 pm

...Hello!...

So who wants to take bets on how long before the company collapses?

They are still building hotels by the way!
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:31 pm

Interesting how Merlin always blame external factors for poor performance. Never themselves...
 
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Chris
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:05 am

Having read the report and watched the presentation, I am generally concerned about the future of the parks.

I'll be quite honest - I don't care much for Merlin's Midway attractions. For me, they are a 'do once and don't bother again' type experience. Generally they don't change from year to year (well maybe a new waxwork here and there), and don't appeal to thrillseekers anyway.

The theme parks don't seem to be a priority of their business objective anymore. Due to the investor run business model they have, it seems like anything which runs the risk of not bringing in a decent return is not considered, and it baffles me how they can propose adding more accomodation when they cannot fill the existing products. A prime example is opening a new hotel at ATR, and another one closes for the majority of the season. I understand they are still recovering from the Smiler incident drop in attendence, however it is the defeatest attitude which I find frustrating.

I don't recall the weather being that bad this year, and have the terror attacks really knocked public confidence that much? You don't see football stadiums half empty do you. Brighton Pride had its biggest year ever. Adele sold out every single show. It's like Estate Agents blaming Brexit for not being able to sell houses. If anything, Brexit should have helped the company as more people are staying in the UK for holidays due to the weaker pound.

If they plan to cut capex budgets even further, then it may be a miserable few years. The parks all have had respectable rides closed, are staffed to absolute minimum, and are in dire need of an overhaul in places. Why does Thorpe's entrance look like a tarmac dump? Why does Alton have half the ride offering it did ten years ago? Why is Colossos at Heide Park shut?

Until Merlin start investing in their offering, customer experience and operations, they are not going to see a rise in attendence. They can blame the weather all they want.. but their attitude does not seem to wash with consumers who are just going elsewhere.
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Robert.W
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:29 am

Schneck wrote:
Interesting how Merlin always blame external factors for poor performance. Never themselves...

Yes, but technically there are external factors like the rise in terror attacks, not just in the UK, but around Europe, which has undoubtedly had an effect on many different attractions, many of them being Merlin ones, and when so many of one company's attractions suffer a small impact, the overall blow looks even worse. 

Considering everything, Merlin I think have coped well, but I do agree with many of the things Chris said in his post, and that Merlin also have made mistakes, so there are really a mix of internal and external factors that have gotten Merlin to this position and I do hope they will now discuss what they can change within the company, even if external factors cannot be changed.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:43 am

Honestly Merlin are acting a bit pathetic about this at the moment. I mean I get that terror attacks have stopped people traveling to London, but that's one of many, many pies that Merlin have their fingers in, and if they want people to start traveling to their parks, they need to make sure that instead of 1 new attraction, first of all you need to clean the park up, and I'm sorry, but while I love Alton Towers, it can be a bit of a dump on some days. In my opinion, that's a massive factor that caused Paultons Park to overtake Towers as the UK's favourite theme park a couple of years back. I mean, they're the world's 2nd biggest leisure operator in the world, surely they can buy a couple of bins to put in the smiler queue line, and maybe a few more litter pickers.

The sad thing is, Merlin don't seem to realise that until they sort out the most basic things they're never going to get the results they want to, but guests don't wait around for people to get their act together, they're going to spend their money somewhere else.
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Morgan
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:17 pm

I'm very disappointed that they're choosing to build MORE accommodation when there's barely enough at Towers to keep me there for a day as it is. Aside from the Big 6 and Hex, there's not much else to keep a thrillseeker interested more than a few hours. It's less of an issue at Thorpe but it's slowly becoming one with the amount of rides that are starting to close. It's a shame to see these parks being run like this, if I paid the full admission price I'd be even more annoyed.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:53 pm

It looks like Mandyland will really be leading the way in terms of UK theme parks before too long.

I prefer it to the Merlin parks already before yet more cuts come to them.
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Owen
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:00 pm

MakoMania wrote:
It looks like Mandyland will really be leading the way in terms of UK theme parks before too long.

I prefer it to the Merlin parks already before yet more cuts come to them.


I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:14 pm

Blackpool is in my opinion more of an "amusement park" than a "theme park". It's got loads of heritage rides, and Merlin parks don't. My guess is that if they continue to add more amazing additions, like I'm sure icon will be, Merlin will actually have done good UK competition, but sadly I can't see that happening for about 10-15 years
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