UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Lee
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:18 pm

Ilovecoasters wrote:
Charging for a service that Tussauds managed to give, and not charge you almost £50 ...

Tussauds gave a better service than Merlin ever has, and charged half the price.


But they didn't charge half the price, did they? On ticket face value, yes. Contextually using indicators such as inflation, rising costs etc they certainly did not charge half.

The local pub charged £1.60 a pint around 6-7 years ago, it's now £2.50. Well above inflation. But that beer price includes the additional cost of an awful lot of outside influences.
Last edited by Lee on Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:29 pm

Lee wrote:
Ilovecoasters wrote:
Charging for a service that Tussauds managed to give, and not charge you almost £50 ...

Tussauds gave a better service than Merlin ever has, and charged half the price.


But they didn't charge half the price, did they? On ticket face value, yes. Contextually using indicators such as inflation, rising costs etc they certainly did not charge half.

The local pub charged £1.60 a pint around 6-7 years ago, it's now £2.50. Well above inflation. But that beer price includes the additional cost of an awful lot of outside influences.

I've been through this before. A ticket in 2000 was £14.95. In today's money that's still only £21.33
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:32 pm

The food aspect of this debate has reminded me of the countless occasions where I've seen guests at Merlin parks with containers of packed lunches, so this option is ideal if you want to save money.  Having said that, I think the food is generally reasonably priced as Lee said :)
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:34 pm

Ilovecoasters wrote:
Lee wrote:
Ilovecoasters wrote:
Charging for a service that Tussauds managed to give, and not charge you almost £50 ...

Tussauds gave a better service than Merlin ever has, and charged half the price.


But they didn't charge half the price, did they? On ticket face value, yes. Contextually using indicators such as inflation, rising costs etc they certainly did not charge half.

The local pub charged £1.60 a pint around 6-7 years ago, it's now £2.50. Well above inflation. But that beer price includes the additional cost of an awful lot of outside influences.

I've been through this before. A ticket in 2000 was £14.95. In today's money that's still only £21.33


And as I've said previously, you can't judge it solely based on inflation as its not the only factor that will be affecting operating costs.

Interestingly, you'll see below that the highest price increases aren't Merlin.

A TowersStreet Member wrote:
Year Price %
1980 £2.50
1981 £2.50 0.00%
1982 £3.00 20.00%
1983 £3.95 31.67%
1985 £4.99 26.33%
1986 £5.99 20.04%
1987 £7.99 33.39%
1988 £7.99 0.00%
1989 £8.99 12.52%
1990 £9.50 5.67%
1991 £9.50 0.00%
1992 £11.00 15.79%
1993 £13.00 18.18%
1994 £14.00 7.69%
1995 £14.00 0.00%
1996 £14.50 3.57%
1997 £18.50 27.59%
1998 £19.50 5.41%
1999 £19.50 0.00%
2000 £21.00 7.69%
2001 £22.00 4.76%
2002 £23.50 6.82%
2003 £23.50 0.00%
2004 £26.00 10.64%
2005 £28.00 7.69%
2006 £29.50 5.36%
2007 £32.00 8.47%
2008 £34.00 6.25%
2009 £36.00 5.88%
2010 £38.00 5.56%
2011 £39.00 2.63%
2012 £42.00 7.69%
2013 £46.50 10.71%
Last edited by Lee on Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:46 pm

Also you have to remember that Merlin is a business and its primary objective is to deliver returns to investors. They are under pressure to make X amount of profit and to do that the costs are passed onto the end user which is us as customers.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:48 pm

Ilovecoasters wrote:
I've been through this before. A ticket in 2000 was £14.95. In today's money that's still only £21.33


You must remember than since 2000 numerous rollercoasters and rides have been added, which not only have an initial cost, but also entail a large cost in running (including staffing) and maintaining them. The experience that The Alton Towers Resort now offer is vastly different to what it was back in 2000, and so expectedly there is going to be a significant price increase.

That is not to say that the prices aren't somewhat extortionate, but that comes as a result of Merlin near enough having a monopoly in the the UK theme park industry.

However, if we take into consideration the accepted fact that 2-4-1s are entirely part of Merlin's pricing strategy, then the real cost of a ticket is in effect half of the quoted price. This year's gate price is £48, half of this is £24 which isn't far off the £21.33 that you've mentioned. Taking this approach reveals that ticket prices haven't really increased that much more than inflation, with the extra increase justified by the attractions that Merlin has added since 2000.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:18 pm

Right people of the forum here's my opinion of merlin.......

As a company I do value what they have done for the leisure industry. now that all of the parks and attraction I visit are all covered under one pass. Go to sea life a lot so glad its all merged. Been an Annual Pass holder since 2000 and have seen a few changes some good and some not so good.

1) Discount on shopping and food - I do like this as I always get a few gifts and the discount has meant I have tried eating at new places within Alton Towers, tried woodcutters last season was a change from the Pizza Pasta Buffet.

2) Free Parking - I don't drive so its Train form Wolverhampton to stoke and then Bus from Stoke/Hanley to Alton Towers. When going with friends always saves a few pounds. I think I remember that a few years ago there were plans to charge Annual Pass Holders to park but due to the backlash it was changed back before the season happened.

3) Friends and Family discount - Good idea and I have used it a lot over the years.

Right that's my likes and now for my areas which I think I have seen changes and what I think of them

1) Changing of terms and Conditions with very short notice - I know that all companies state that terms and conditions can be changed at any given time as that's part of business. I always dread the Jan - Feb News feeds as I always think what is going to change this year and how is it going to affect the years trips.

2) Lack of communication - I have arrived at parks and asked games attendants Annual pass 2 games for 1 and I have had some real strange looks. Same with the Merlin Membership (got a membership as I don't have to renew at park every year and just let it run. I know it costs more but I do like the system)took my membership card to Alton Towers and I have had staff take the card away as it doesn't have expiry date on it.  I have also had staff ask me what the card is?? Surely when  a new item is launched a team briefing should be sent out or a formal e-mail.

3) The can I get Down Towers Street without being Stopped Game - You all know the drill, get through the gates and straight away "Guys want unlimited refills all day?"..... "Guys stand together we will take your picture"....I think I managed it twice last season of all the times I went. I know Businesses need to make money as without it you go out of business but sometimes it can be a bit "In your face" and aggressive.

4) Trying to get my partner and her family signed up to Merlin membership This year - been an absolute nightmare and have been told they have suspended them so we cant get them yet I have posted this in Merlin Annual Pass Topic. Cant afford over £500 all  in one go so membership is a better alternative. I even got told that I didn't know what to ask for by staff on telephone.... my reply was well I've been a member since you launched it and had 12 years worth of Annual passes previous.

4) Why isn't the Waterpark included in the Premium pass/membership? - seems strange that they gave over 30+ attraction included but you have to pay £12 or so to go the Waterpark? surely just add it on. I know due to the number of annual pass holder numbers it may be a bit crowded if lots of us turned up. maybe offer 1 - 3 free visits or something.

5) fast pass - free at Disney in September last year pretty much ends the point right there.

As a company I do like merlin I understand that companies need to make money in order to invest and survive. I have even managed to get  4 people to have premium Annual passes (soon to be 7 when the membership thing gets sorted). I have found the main Call centre staff to be very helpful and polite when booking friends and family tickets. I know with the recession times have changed and the economy was different back then compared to today so price increases are part of survival. I think that my opinion of them has slightly changed and they are not knowing what they are doing at the minute.

will I still continue with my Membership? definitely. I enjoy my days out and couldn't see myself anywhere else as they say once you've been bitten by the rollercoaster bug there no going back.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:43 pm

I spoke to my parents about when they use to take us 2 Alton Towers in the early 90's. She said that back then kids prices were upto 16 years old. On our first visit in 1993 there was 2 adults and 4 kids aged between 10&12 and they had free kids tickets for us 4 and we all joined the Henry Hound club and get more free tickets that we used for future visits.

No one at my work takes there kids to theme parks and they even say I should have growth out of them by now and how can you afford to go. The teenagers at my work would rather spend any spare cash on holidays,cars or nights out. They all say I rather spend £96 on a sun holiday with entertainment for a family of 4 for 5 days then 7.5 hrs in queues for a 2 min max ride.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:36 pm

Ilovecoasters wrote:
Lee wrote:
Ilovecoasters wrote:
Charging for a service that Tussauds managed to give, and not charge you almost £50 ...

Tussauds gave a better service than Merlin ever has, and charged half the price.


But they didn't charge half the price, did they? On ticket face value, yes. Contextually using indicators such as inflation, rising costs etc they certainly did not charge half.

The local pub charged £1.60 a pint around 6-7 years ago, it's now £2.50. Well above inflation. But that beer price includes the additional cost of an awful lot of outside influences.

I've been through this before. A ticket in 2000 was £14.95. In today's money that's still only £21.33


And with a 2 for 1 current price is £24, only £2.77 more than your £21.33 claim!
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:40 pm

Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

I wouldn't have a problem with paying £48 if it was just £48 but with £6 parking and all the extras they try to sell you which in Tussards day for free. Also I felt there was more rides and attractions I got my money's worth. There maybe 8 top coasters now but as the hours have been reduced you lucky if you get on all them in a day.


What did Tussaud's used to give for free?  I can't think of anything! And paid Fasttrack was introduced in around 2005 when Russell Barnes was director of AT before Merlin took over.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:42 pm

It's funny how people call Merlin, or Alton Towers money grabbing, when for several years the resort was actually operating at a financial loss. Even when taking in to account inflation, yeah, ticket prices are double what they were in 1994, but in 1994, the resort didn't have 20 years of investment to pay for onto of all the other operating costs.

Rides aren't just paid for in full using spare change from the grabber machines, they're financed with loans secured over several years. Interest and repayments paid on loans to fund investment often exceeds the actual money the park makes leading to the losses seen in recent years.

If you want a park that charges fairer pricing, then look towards the likes of Lightwater Valley or even the now defunct American Adventure. They're prime examples of what happens when you don't invest, it's just you need to accept that investment needs to be paid for and we're the ones paying.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:11 pm

jon18uk wrote:
Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

I wouldn't have a problem with paying £48 if it was just £48 but with £6 parking and all the extras they try to sell you which in Tussards day for free. Also I felt there was more rides and attractions I got my money's worth. There maybe 8 top coasters now but as the hours have been reduced you lucky if you get on all them in a day.


What did Tussaud's used to give for free?  I can't think of anything! And paid Fasttrack was introduced in around 2005 when Russell Barnes was director of AT before Merlin took over.


Children ages between 4 and 14 could join the Alton Towers fun club, this originally allowed them unlimited free access to the park when accompanied by an adult, but in later years, 4 free visits per year. Fun Club members were also sent regular mailings and discounts for park merchandise. Every member was given a membership card and passbook.
 
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Re: The new BBC Worldwide partnership- what might we see?

Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:52 pm

Sorry to dig this up, but I was thinking about a very improbable, but cool for Doctor Who fans, ride on the site of Charlie. This will never happen but here goes.  :)

The riders would board a boat/cart (either works here, in fact, I think a cart might be more "flexible") and be taken into a dark, cold, misty cryogenic chamber with twelve waxworks of the Doctor, one in each chamber (no War Doctor). A video screen would display a Time Lord (maybe a Timothy Dalton cameo as Rassilon:lol: ) informing riders the Doctor's timeline had been compromised and they must save him. As this happens, the doors of each chamber would open up and lighting effects would be used to make it look like the Doctors had disappeared, one by one. The riders would then go down a surprise drop in the floor, kind of like an even tamer Thi13teen, and onto the first scene; 76, Totter's Lane, on 23/11/1963. Two waxworks of Ian and Barbara. Quotes from an Unearthly Child would play as the gates of the junkyard slide open to reveal the TARDIS. The cart would then push through into the next scene, the chilly tomb of the Cybermen. As animatronic Cybermen climb out, the riders travel onto the next scene, dank caves. Silurians peer around each stalactite, as a waxwork of the Third Doctor, in full caving gear holding a torch, whizzes round, illuminating their features. Riders would then travel into Davros' lab on Skaro, with a waxwork recreation of this scene. Then onto the freighter from Earthshock, with this scene. Cybermen storm in, and riders make a hasty exit through to Hyperon Three, where a group of Vervoids release poisonous gas (smoke effects) onto the Sixth Doctor and Mel. Then on to the Psychic Circus, where the eerie Chief Clown and his robots lurch at the Seventh Doctor and Ace. It's then implied a canister of Nitro-9 is thrown by Ace, releasing smoke and possibly explosion effects. Then onto the most ambitious piece; Gallifrey in the midst of the Last Great Time War, where Daleks surround the Eighth Doctor with laser effects and smoke. Out of nowhere, two Daleks would pursue the cart/boat, causing riders to travel onto the next area, a "docking area" where they disembark and enter a fake lift, similar to the Great Glass Elevator in the current Charlie, but more along the lines of an actual lift in an industrial setting. Riders enter in from one set of lift doors, and, after a few moments, the other set open up, revealing the riders to be in the middle of the Auton invasion of Henrik's, with Autons and a waxwork of Rose. The doors would then snap shut quickly, followed by motion, rumbling effects. The doors then re-open onto the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS console room set (I've no idea how the changeover from Henrik's to the TARDIS would be achieved  :lol: ), where his companions are gathered around watching his aborted regeneration. Riders then walk through the dark mazes (not an actual maze, more a corridor with theming) from The Time of Angels. Everytime the lights flicker off, Weeping Angels, using 'Whack-A-Mole'-esque effects, disappear and pop up another area, giving the impression they are moving closer to riders (for those unfamiliar, Weeping Angels travel when one can't see them.) Riders hurry through here and into the final scene, the High Council of the Time Lords. Rassilon, from the opening video, appears once again thanking riders for their help. Archive footage shows the Doctor's returning to their TARDISes. Then, in the corner of the room, light effects make it appear the TARDIS has landed. The doors (actually a full length video screen) swing open to reveal the current TARDIS interior, with the Twelth Doctor and Clara inviting the passengers to come with them. The video screen then slides across to form an archway, where riders can walk into the gift shop and then leave the attraction.

So there we have it! Impossible and extremely fan indulgent, but fun for me to write.
Last edited by coat98 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:57 pm

Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

Children ages between 4 and 14 could join the Alton Towers fun club, this originally allowed them unlimited free access to the park when accompanied by an adult, but in later years, 4 free visits per year. Fun Club members were also sent regular mailings and discounts for park merchandise. Every member was given a membership card and passbook.


Sorry, I only started going regularly age 18, around 1999 so wasn't aware this used to exist. However kids can pretty much get unlimited free entry now if they like Kellogs cereals! :-)
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:06 pm

jon18uk wrote:
Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

Children ages between 4 and 14 could join the Alton Towers fun club, this originally allowed them unlimited free access to the park when accompanied by an adult, but in later years, 4 free visits per year. Fun Club members were also sent regular mailings and discounts for park merchandise. Every member was given a membership card and passbook.


Sorry, I only started going regularly age 18, around 1999 so wasn't aware this used to exist. However kids can pretty much get unlimited free entry now if they like Kellogs cereals! :-)


But the big different from nearly 20 years ago to now is back then with theses tickets kids got in free, i.e. When I went in 1994 with my parents, sister, my mate & my sister's mate only my parents paid to get in. So in 1994 my parents only paid £28. I don't know how much petrol cost back then but it was 70p a litre in 2000. Now kids are classed as adults over the age of 12, even with 2 for 1 it would cost £144 and then you got 2 cars £30 each with petrol and parking £6 each that's £216 for 1 day out. 
Last edited by Themeparksandy1981 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:17 pm

Legoland windsor is being left behind compared to the other Legoland parks.
Bigger newer rides.
This years new attraction, a repaired roof in the Legoland Hotel (the acroprops have finally gone)! They have taken out Pirates Training Camp a huge wooden play fort and replacing it with a newer simplified one (so parents can find and access kids)
All park hours are getting shorter even in summer, if you're lucky and Legoland is rammed they keep park open longer to help bleed the traffic out at night. 5 and 6 o'clock closing June and July is too early.If the weather is hot ad hoc extend the hours a hour to 7pm (long hot spells not random days as staff have to make plans too)and keep the main water rides open at least .
Last edited by Mark.aa on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:03 am

Mark.aa wrote:
Legoland windsor is being left behind compared to the other Legoland parks.
Bigger newer rides.
This years new attraction, a repaired roof in the Legoland Hotel (the acroprops have finally gone)! They have taken out Pirates Training Camp a huge wooden play fort and replacing it with a newer simplified one (so parents can find and access kids)
All park hours are getting shorter even in summer, if you're lucky and Legoland is rammed they keep park open longer to help bleed the traffic out at night. 5 and 6 o'clock closing June and July is too early.If the weather is hot ad hoc extend the hours a hour to 7pm (long hot spells not random days as staff have to make plans too)and keep the main water rides open at least.


Well this was the first park that Merlin owned anyway. I only been once and that was back In 2008 and no plans to go back as the prices were more than any other Merlin park for mainly kids rides. The Jungle Coaster was a joke and thankfully it been replaced with a hotel. I thought the park was well themed and we all enjoyed the rapids ride but to make Adults pay more than kids prices for family rides is taking the Mick. I think in 2008 was roughly the time I started falling out of love of Merlin as I not been back to Legoland,Chessington and all the London attractions since then. I last went to Thorpe park in 2011,Warwick Castle in 2012 and only went to Alton Towers last year cause of the sun free tickets. But on the other hand at Drayton Manor I been to every Firework event on the final day of the season since 2002. I know the coasters ain't on par with any of the Merlin big coasters but I always feel I get my money worth here and a good ride count. With the Uk still suffering from the Recession&Credit Crunch and families counting the pennies they look for places to go that is value for money. Instead of days out now&then they save up for 1 big family holiday a year. The family who live over the road to us have to go on camping holidays all the time to make ends meet.
Last edited by Themeparksandy1981 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:27 am

^I'm really sorry, I cannot agree.

Legoland Windsor has been ruined. I believe that the Jungle Coaster was the best ride there, and was one of my first "thrill" coasters. I really don't see how replacing their biggest coaster with an overpriced hotel is a good move.

There are now 5 attractions that I find fun at Legoland:
1. The Dragon - it's now the biggest ride there
2. Pirate Falls - it may be just a log flume, but it's one of the most thrilling rides there
3. Jolly Rocker - Pirate Ship
4. Viking River Splash - the best rapids in the UK!
5. Extreme Team Challenge - Like a more interesting Depth Charge

I miss the Jungle coaster, and would give anything to have it back.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:08 am

There were too many issues with the jungle coaster and noise though, the debacle of those heavy plastic cages on the ride was awful. Legoland needs to look at building more attractions but along the lines of Dragon Coaster and Atlantis, rides that everyone in the family can enjoy equally, not like driving school where anyone over 10 is excluded. I also wish Legoland would pay a lot more attention to Miniland, there is always several broken effects and I think last time I only saw one working vehicle!

But where Legoland parks are better than the other Merlin parks is the consistency across the park, everything is Lego branded, paper cups, carrier bags, menus etc
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:20 am

Atlantis - For the whole family?

There are very few fish, it's just an activity aimed at 3 year olds (true story - my mum took a two year old she childminds on this and they loved it, the rest of us were miffed that we'd queued 20 minutes for it).

You also don't go underwater ;)
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