UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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awsomelycoolboy
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:57 pm

For the sake of how much? £2/£1 for a coffee. I'd doesn't matter, but I agree, VIP should get more discounts
 
Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:09 pm

V to the I to the P wrote:
They said management had told them VIP just meant unlimited fast past nothing more. Very inconsistent from all the other staff. Also refills 50% of the time was told you had to pay 75p and repeatedly had to correct them.


Well the only real difference between them is the unlimited fast track so I kinda agree, some employee's will take that information on board from management as if it was taken directly from the bible. Whereas some will take that extra initiative, all depends on who is working that day on which attraction. It's a nice bonus to be able to go to the exit but I don't think it should be expected all the time.

As for the refills, I'm also tired of correcting them so I always show show them the VIP card before handing over my container.
 
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Hazard
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:31 pm

In regards to the hotel I got given 25% off on Wednesday evening just gone although did ring up around 7pm and travelled up quite late so they may have been more willing to do a deal seeing as they probably wasn't going to sell many (if any) at that point. Didn't want to be cheeky and ask but I wonder whether they would even upgrade your room at no extra cost on a quiet evening.

Also for what its worth we were allowed to park in the VIP parking at the front of the Alton Towers hotel, but obviously in a space that isn't reserved for someone else.
 
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Dan
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:39 pm

V to the I to the P wrote:
We are going thorpe park in August are the summer nights included with VIP


They are indeed
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Hazard
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:40 pm

Dan.N wrote:
V to the I to the P wrote:
We are going thorpe park in August are the summer nights included with VIP


They are indeed


Do you need to book or do you just show up?

And also if the event is sold out then can VIP still get into the park?
 
pob
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:43 pm

The VIP passes are advertised as including ultimate fastrack so that is what I would expect. If you've been allowed to use the exits that is a bonus but I wouldn't expect or demand it. Most rides have pretty good fast track systems. The only one I don't like is Rita as it always takes ages but I've always found the loading of Rita to be slow. The Nemesis fastrack merges close enough to the station - I really don't think you need to use the entrance.

Been to Thorpe Park today - 170 miles each way. The whole VIP experience was quite varied. On arrival we reported to the business reception as we were told to do. No one there to great us despite us bring on time. After 15 mins someone came and explained that they weren't the right person but would take us elsewhere to meet them. We were taken back outside to the annual pass building in the car park. After another 5 minutes the right person arrived (not the named person we had expected but still a VIP host). We said hello and she asked if we had our paperwork. I said that we already had our passes and just needed the wristbands. Looking sheepish she then said that she could take us straight into the park then! We were taken back through business reception to the fastrack kiosk just inside the park. She went into the kiosk and returned with 3 normal ultimate fastracks wristbands. I asked why they weren't the VIP ones to which she responded that they have them but they are not happy with the way they look do weren't using them.

Off we then went to explore the park. Our first stop was Colossus - fastback queue was closed so we went via the shop and exit. On arrival at the station we were told that we should have used the fastrack queue - when I explained that it was closed and showed her my VIP card she looked a bit shocked. She then disappeared for over 5 minutes leaving us stood there (I'm guessing she went to unlock the gate to the fastrack queue). When she finally returned she let us ride - shame she didn't let us ride before disappearing but not a major worry.

Next stop Nemesis inferno - fastrack queue closed again so entered via shop/exit. On arriving at the station there was a group of 7 boys in front of us that were taking a lot of sorting out. They each had individual fastrack coupons. For some reason train and train was leaving the station and the staff weren't putting them on. As we were 8 back in the queue we were basically ignored for 15 minutes. Once the boys were sorted and a member of staff finally asked why we were at the exit I showed by VIP card and he let us straight onto the next train.

At Saw the fastrack entrance was open but the member of staff who was letting people into the building ignored us for 5 minutes and let a couple of batches from the main queue into the building first. Still didn't take long overall though.

X was next - as this doesn't have a fastrack entrance you have to enter via the exit. My son loves this ride and he had about 5 goes in a row as you could just get off, walk through the door and get straight back on.

Stealth and Swarm were easier - fastrack queue open and once VIP card was shown we were straight into the batching area. Although a long walk to get off Stealth and go back through the fastrack entrance it was still possible to have multiple rides quite quickly. My wife did ask a staff member if was possible to just rejoin the queue by the bag drop counter rather than walk around again. He replied that he couldn't allow it as there were a lot of customers with fastrack tickets on that day. He did say that if the park was less busy he would be allowed to do so but they needed to be fair to all fastrack holders.

The only person that really acknowledged the VIP passes when we showed them was at Storm Surge. He asked why we weren't wearing our lanyards and how the passes were working out for us.

Overall a good day in that we god on lots of rides, but the organisation especially with getting into the park and collecting wristbands needs improving. I think to make life easier they should have the fastrack queues open at all times as using the exits is always the easiest option - I hate having to fight my way past guests coming the other way. I don't expect to be able to get on rides instantly, that isn't what the fastrack system is advertised as and a couple of minute gap between rides is actually handy to give my senses a rest.

I only had 1 drinks refill and she didn't attempt to charge for it.

The final downside came when we left the park - I scanned by VIP pass at the carpark barrier and it said access denied. I staff member came over, gave a puzzled look at my card and then lifted the barrier.

I'm at Alton again on Friday - will see how it compares.
 
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Hazard
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:51 pm

A lot of what is mentioned seemed pretty similar to my experience at Thorpe the other day, my card did work on the car park scanner when leaving though but didn't scan into Alton Towers the following day when I went but wasn't a big issue as the staff were happy to let us in.

I still don't understand why Thorpe didn't give out a VIP wristband like they have to some in this thread as I also got a Ultimate Wristband which kind of defeats the object of the VIP if staff don't know who is VIP. I think Thorpe need to re-train staff on what VIP is and what the cards/wristbands look like. I have emailed merlin giving feedback so await to see what they say.
 
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:23 pm

Yea you'll regularly see Shawn there at the turnstiles unless he's out vlogging at other parks. He's such a happy chap. Can't wait to go AT again midweek, need to ride oblivion :(
 
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Dan
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:29 pm

One thing I'm wondering is on any subsequent visit to an attraction after collecting your pass do you have to notify them you're going? Or is it simply a case of entering the park and going to Guest Services and getting a wristband?
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nuttyslack
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:31 pm

Dan.N wrote:
One thing I'm wondering is on any subsequent visit to an attraction after collecting your pass do you have to notify them you're going? Or is it simply a case of entering the park and going to Guest Services and getting a wristband?


when we visited alton again after collecting our passes we showed them to the attendant at the turnstiles and they got a vip host to take us to the box office for our vip wristband.
 
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:33 pm

You just scan your card for entry, go to services and they issue a new wristband and container if you haven't got one or lost it. Don't need to give them any prior notice.
 
nuttyslack
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:36 pm

Most of the staff at Alton for the drinks refills dont know you get them free, we just showed them our VIP card and said they are free, they said ok and filled our container.

I hope that they get things sorted at Thorpe Park, we go in 3 weeks time.

Anyone used their pass at Chessington, Legoland, or Blackpool to see what the VIP experience is like.
 
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:27 pm

Hey all,

Day at Thorpe park.

Started off fantastic, received a call back after using the website booking. Met the host at the yellow doors, she already had our VIP passes and drinks bottles (during phone call she asked if we wanted our photo's updated or mot, we said no and she said that meant she could just print them off ready as we were already premium holders).

Walked through the VIP gate, and taken down to get our wristbands, again "ultimate" wristbands, not VIP. The girl behind the counter said once only for detonator but our VIP stepped in and explained that you can fastrack again just by using you VIP card, said thank you and any issues please let them know.

Must admit the staff were more friendly than usual, especially storm surge, rumba rapids, the swarm, loggers leap & X. Those teams were fantastic, swarm the guy notice our VIP's round our necks and moved us straight through the gate (while normal fast track waited) and wished us a good day! Now I don't expect that everyday but that is a spontaneous piece of VIP treatment and it was appreciated.

Inferno what a nightmare, went to the exit and was told to use the fastrack, used the fastrack and wanted the front so it added another 20mins to the time. Another staff member apologised when I queried the exit policy and said your a VIP, use the exit line and then tell us where you want to sit.

Drinks refills at different stations was the same each time, that's 75p please, erm no it's free with VIP.

It's the little details that are letting the VIP at Thorpe down, please inform all staff, do it each morning in the briefings until the message gets through. Personally the staff that are aware are making a better effort than they would in the past and those rides were great, a simple "hello, how is your day going" goes a long way!

Will pop in a few times over the next few weeks so fingers crossed it will improve.

Of course email the VIP team as well.
 
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awsomelycoolboy
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:56 pm

nuttyslack wrote:
Most of the staff at Alton for the drinks refills dont know you get them free, we just showed them our VIP card and said they are free, they said ok and filled our container.

I hope that they get things sorted at Thorpe Park, we go in 3 weeks time.

Anyone used their pass at Chessington, Legoland, or Blackpool to see what the VIP experience is like.


Blackpool isn't Merlin. Or is it?
 
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:58 pm

Merlin own the Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Dungeon, Blackpool Madam Tussauds, and Sealife Blackpool :)
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:47 am

It sounds like Thorpe are slowly beginning to get better. I'm actually glad i complained after i went.
 
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:19 pm

Dom wrote:
It sounds like Thorpe are slowly beginning to get better. I'm actually glad i complained after i went.


I was getting that anxious feeling after all the reports about Thorpe, but I was pleasantly surprised apart from those few issues. Of course as said before they can only improve if people let them know what's going wrong & also what's going right, so thanks for your complaint to them!

The wristband is annoying although I was pleased our host stepped in and said if you want a repeat ride then just use your VIP card, although it's being picky the VIP pass is advertised and sold as unlimited fastrack and clearly 1 shot only on detonator is a restriction which goes against what the VIP is about.

We're going back next Saturday late afternoon and staying for summer nights so see if things have improved again.

Are people who repeat visit booking their trips or just turning up?

thanks
 
Kirsty25

Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:08 pm

There is no "unlimited" fastrack for Detonator though. You were given the highest level of fastrack the park offers which is what I believe the purpose of VIP is (with regards to the fastrack)
 
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:34 pm

Kirsty25 wrote:
There is no "unlimited" fastrack for Detonator though. You were given the highest level of fastrack the park offers which is what I believe the purpose of VIP is (with regards to the fastrack)


A couple of posters have said they've been given the VIP wristbands which had no restrictions attached to them however Thorpe have decided not to use them as they don't like how they look. So the correct wristbands for VIP are there but aren't being given out.

As I posted the VIP host told us if we wanted more than one shot, to just show our VIP cards and the ride host will accept it.

Thanks.
 
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newrider
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Re: The Merlin Annual Pass

Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:54 pm

Mine came this morning and we're also in the 570's. I only rushed to buy as I thought someone on here said there was only 45 left, guess they missed the 0 out.

That was me, and I was definitely told on the phone that there were 45 left - no question of a missing zero!

Mine is numbered 530, so either I was fibbed to, or she "missed the zero out" when she read it on the screen. I'm not disappointed as I would have bought it anyway, but I apologise for passing on the misinformation! Will I at least get a commission on the ones I flogged? ;)

I can assure you, however, that you won't regret it!

My first experience of the pass was at Thorpe Park today. Like "pob", the named person wasn't there to greet me, but someone else appeared soon enough. I also got the 'Ultimate Fastrack' bands (labelled as such too) - although unlike other reports, I was explicitly told (more than once) that the 'Detonator' fastrack was unlimited. I didn't actually go on Detonator (it's not my favourite ride, and rebranding it as something to do with Angry Birds when it has a 1.3m height restriction is absurd, but I digress), so don't know how that would have played out!

I asked about the pre-booking, and I honestly couldn't see too many advantages. You're allowed to park in The Shark car park without prebooking (and I can hardly see it becoming full), and you're equally entitled too all the other privileges too. I gather the only thing prebooking gets you is a 10-minute time waster in the Business Reception centre. That said, the Unlimited Fastrack wristbands are meant to be picked up from the Fastrack line, which can have a hefty line... so it could end up being worth it for that. Maybe it's different/more worthwhile at Alton Towers?

I have really very few complaints. Ultimately, as we knew from the start, "Ultimate Fastpass", the preferred parking and free quencher refills, are the only tangible/promised benefits in the UK, and I received all those with no problem whatsoever. There were several times when the staff went above and beyond - the pass was commented on by someone in the Swarm shop, and I would say the Fastrack ride greeters were just a little more friendly than usual (although that's so nebulous!). I know people have commented on the lack of the VIP wristbands, but I don't think it matters that much - the lanyard makes it plenty obvious!

To those disappointed they didn't receive Front Row treatment, I think this may be partly due to how the TP queues are laid out. Front Row queueing isn't really controlled by the ride hosts on any of the rides, and often the front row is actually blocked off. Interested by comments of people going in via the Exit... it's not clear to me if that's a published perk or not! I went through the edit on X, but I think that's just how all fastracks work on that ride these days.

I saw another person wearing a VIP lanyward in the THE SWARM queue in the afternoon - we passed each other a knowing glance! LOL. Overall though, I had a fantastic day. The only disappointment was that Stealth was closed... and a fiasco at the car park barrier (they need to do something with these scanners as it seems others were also having problems).

My next experience will be at Chessington, probably. I was given a bit of 'attitude' when I went to ride Vampire on my own last time ("you can't have a row on your own... you'll have to ask that lady over there if they mind sitting next to you..." awkward!) So if it eliminates that little unpleasantness, it'll be worth it on its own. I think with a VIP pass the least I deserve is my own row, if they don't want to organise seating me next to someone.

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