Using this topic for a general post / comment / rant about the Merlin resorts and their car parks.
Went to two parks today, Chessington and Thorpe Park, I left both at reasonably off-peak times and in both cases I had issues being able to leave the park because the gates were jammed with cars having issues getting out of the car park.
In Chessington's case, it took nearly 20 minutes to get off-site at 2pm because the back gates were not manned. Guests managed to get to them and not have either a token, credit card or annual pass to use and then got stuck and blocked in by the cars behind. When staff did eventually arrive, there was a bit of an argument, essentially revolving around the car stuck had cash, but of course there was no facility to pay cash. There were only about 10 cars there at the time.
At Thorpe there were also delays and people stuck. In one case I saw a car just sat there with windows up at the barrier, I'm not quite sure what was going on there.
Something seems to have changed since last year. Having the machines accept credit card is a pain because it's extremely slow. Whilst removing the staff from the gate who could do last minute cash purchases, or manually open the barriers if they were struggling to read annual passes isn't helping either.
Saw a pretty bad video from last week at Thorpe Park, with just people getting angry in the car park and constant horns going on. With the parks going to a great deal of effort to ensure guests have a good day, but then end it with chaos at the car park barriers, just seems crazy.