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RobF

Merlin Entertainments

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The thing with Disney is, part of what you are paying for is the line "I've been to Disney world." Doesn't ring true with Thorpe or any Merlin park really. No matter what Merlin say about being second only to Disney, in quality they are far behind! Merlin is only on the way to number one because of attendance figures because you can't go into any large town these days without a midway attraction. They may become number one in attendance figures but they sure won't be becoming number one in quality for a long time.

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One of our goals is to be better than disney this is know within merlin as catching the mouse we are trying to build our portfolio and world class rides to catch the mouse and merlin to then become number one

They should just stick with aiming to be number one for attendance. They will never match the quality of a Disney product if they continue building things like Angry Bird Land or Scorpion Express. Hell they can't even match the majority of quality parks in Europe, they haven't a chance of catching Disney.

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you're not a very good businessman I'm afraid.

I mean, based on what you've written alone shows that you don't have a clue.

I'm sorry Benin, but go educate yourself.

You need to read carefully dear ;)

Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimised by Regina George Flipper.

I'm no businessman but high attendance is not sustainable if the attraction is low quality. Word of mouth alone will destroy you.

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Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimised by Regina George Flipper.

Benin gets as good as he gives.

Again, Disney is number one based on gate figures; and thats what Merlin are trying to be. It's about decent rides that entice people to come, just like Worthy has stated.

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Benin gets as good as he gives.

Again, Disney is number one based on gate figures; and thats what Merlin are trying to be. It's about decent rides that entice people to come, just like Worthy has stated.

Merlin can never therefore be number one, as at least Disney have the quality to back up their numbers...

Numbers wise, Disney have 5 sites currently, of which there are 11 parks (2 Calif, 4 Florida, 2 Paris, 2 Tokyo and Hong Kong), Merlin are only number 2 due to the sheer number of attractions they own (including Midway, but only 6 theme parks or 'resorts' as they call them)...

Indeed, if Disney don't produce high quality attractions, people won't visit in their droves, as evidenced by Walt Disney Studios and California Adventure (prior to the mass revamp) attendances in comparative terms to their neighbouring parks... WDS in 2012 got 7 million fewer guests, and prior to 2009 didn't even break 3 million compared to 12 million at Magic Kingdom... So even when Disney have done things on the cheap they have seen that people either don't like it, or expect it from them (though WHY Dinoland USA exists is anyone's guess)...

To get the guests, you need to provide world class attractions for them, which is what Disney have always attempted to do (again, they've made plenty of mistakes, but at least they haven't produced Storm Surge or Scorpion Express)...

And even then, Merlin don't even exist in the top 5 of the most visited parks in Europe, which says a lot really as to their method of being 'the best'... Quantity over Quality, which is a sad endicment of how Merlin's business method works (see also, 6-9 Shrek attractions, because the entire world deserves them)...

As of 2012 though, Disney as a whole greeted 126,479,000 people, in comparison to Merlin's lowly total of 54,000,000... Which is granted better than Universal (34,515,000), but they only have 5 parks in that case... Merlin have a LONG way to go before they can hit Disney's numbers AND quality...

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Who's got £500 to blow?

http://www.merlinannualpass.co.uk/vip.aspx

1,000 available to purchase on Wednesday 18th June only, for 3 hours only (6pm - 9pm). Because it's exclusive and VIP and that.

Biggest perks are clearly the unlimited fastrack everywhere, as well as free global attraction entry. There's also unlimited drinks, and parking...

Not for me, but I think they'll sell!

The V.I.P. Merlin Annual Pass – the most powerful magic ever seen in Merlin’s 31 Worlds and the final word in exclusive, extraordinary experiences. Want to be a part of the UK attractions most elite V.I.P. club?

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Merlin Entertainments has today (30 June) unveiled plans for a high-profile development in the world’s second biggest theme park market, with the launch of its first Legoland in Japan.

The new park, to be located in the central city of Nagoya, will cost around ¥32bn (US$315m, €231m, £185m) in total and adds to UK-based Merlin’s existing portfolio of six Legoland parks in five countries.

First identified as a preferred site in late 2011, Legoland Japan will be opened in Q2 2017 under Merlin’s ‘operated and leased’ model, with the infrastructure being funded by a third party. Merlin will directly invest around ¥9.2bn (US$90m, €66m, £53m) in the park over the next three years and lease the balance of the assets from a company owned by KIRKBI Invest A/S (a subsidiary of investment and holding company KIRKBI A/S which has a 75 per cent ownership share in the Lego Group and a 29.9 per cent shareholding in Merlin).

KIRKBI’s investment, which is separate to that of Merlin’s, will be funded through a combination of equity and external debt provided by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Merlin’s investment is expected to deliver returns consistent with the group’s stated pre-tax cash ROIC (Return on invested Capital) target of 20 per cent.

Merlin is looking to build on the success of its existing Legoland Discovery Centre in Tokyo. With the Japanese theme park market – the largest in Asia – valued at approximately US$6.8bn (€5bn, £4bn) and Lego brand awareness in the country already high, Merlin expects to attract a broad market, with a particular focus on young families.

Legoland Japan will be of similar scale to the recently opened Legoland parks in Malaysia and Florida and is expected to employ up to 1,000 staff. The Legoland Park Operating Group enjoyed 14.2 per cent revenue growth in 2013 – delivering over US$596 (€436m, £350m) in revenue with an EBITDA margin of 36 per cent – and Merlin sees the roll out of new Legoland parks as one of the key growth drivers of the business.

“The park will make a significant contribution to the growth of the Merlin group from opening in the second quarter of 2017, as well as supporting our continued geographic diversification,” said Merlin CEO Nick Varney.

“Long term, we continue to believe that there is significant opportunity for the Legoland brand, with the potential for up to 20 parks across the world and we remain committed to our target of opening a new park every two to three years.”

 

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Typical Merlin... From Theme park logic on facebook:

 

 

News: Merlin up there prices in Theme Park division ahead of summer season.

Merlin Entertainments have followed previous seasons by increasing there prices across the Theme Park Division. See below

Alton Towers has increased its gate admission price by £1.20 to £49.20

Thorpe Park has also increased it's prices from £48 to now £49.99

Chessington has gone from £44 on the day to now £45

Legoland Windsor is the odd attraction out with no price increase with the price remaining £46.80

Please Note: * All prices are on the day Adult prices
* Increases compared on 2013 ticket prices

The latest increase isn't really that surprising as near enough every year since Merlin Entertainments took over from Tussauds there has been price hikes across there attractions.

What's your thoughts on this latest increase?

 

My thoughts... How on earth is Thorpe Park more expensive to get into then Alton Towers!!??

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Typical Merlin... From Theme park logic on facebook:

 

 

My thoughts... How on earth is Thorpe Park more expensive to get into then Alton Towers!!??

£49.99?!!!  Surely that has to be a joke?!

 

I love how a Thorpe Park season pass is still only £48, new slogan will be cheaper than visiting once! Big question is, will or more like when will they break the £50 barrier.

Oh come on, it is £50 now, I mean what is 1p?  

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£49.99?!!!  Surely that has to be a joke?!

 
 

Oh come on, it is £50 now, I mean what is 1p?  

Yep, it's listed as £49.99 on the website for on the day tickets.

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They're very slow. These were raised over a month ago.

 

It's actually cheaper to buy a Thorpe Season Pass than a full price day ticket - the season pass is £48 (or annual pass for £58!)

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I think £50 is too much for one day entry to Thorpe, even with the 2 4 1 and season pass offers.

I'm strongly against mid season price increases, especially as nothing new has been added to the parks and almost every other uk park (outside of Merlin) charges around half of their prices. £49.99 is such a cheek to not crossing the £50 barrier on Metlins part. Howling before the £60 crossing?

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Current entry to Europa Park currently works out at £28.54. Just thought I'd throw a bit of price perspective in there for everyone.  ^_^

Another reason that Europa is my number 1 park compared to merlin...

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We all know Merlin's logic with theme park entry prices - have a ridiculously high on-the-gate price to encourage people to book online or use 2-for-1s.  So, in some respects, the price for Thorpe (that Merlin expect people to pay) is £25-27.  It's weird really, but you can sorta see their reasoning behind it (making guests book online makes it easier to predict gate figures and such, 2-for-1s help make people think they're getting a better deal).  There's obviously a huge push to try and get people to get season passes too - make people think 'Well, we've got a season pass, why not go back?' - so it's an interesting strategy, even if it's not the best one.

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Although it seems high...A Concert costs £50 - £70 per ticket...and in effect that is what Thorpe Park is (in some odd sense) 

I am not surprised...but I must admit if I was having to pay with no Annual Pass, I would be tempted to pay a little bit more and have a holiday abroad and enjoy Port Aventura or something like that!...However I do not feel this will discourage most guests...A lot of people can no longer afford abroad holidays the way they used to, and in fact Day trips are becoming far more popular...and thus it is still cheaper than going on a full holiday...something that is within sensible price range. At the moment at least Merlin are not pricing themselves out...but could be on the cusp unless Minimum Wages are increased to counter balance this.  

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Also for comparison a 1 day/2 park ticket to DLP is £54.24 and for that the park is open 10am until 11pm, (10am - 9pm for Studios) with so much more to do and free fastpass...

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For those that might be interested - an interview of Nick Varney by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association held last month can be found on Vimeo.

 

For all that some moan about Merlin attractions, the company is clearly a success story: Nick mentions that they have been able to post "double digit growth, year on year, for the past 14 years" - pretty impressive, especially given the recession from 2008 onwards.

 

He also mentions their success lying in being "efficient" at capital expenditure spend (v.s. Disney where the word might be more like "extravagant") and the relative importance of IP licensing - he claims Alton Towers has grown in visitor numbers this year with CBeebies Land, even v.s. the year before when a major coaster was launched ("we got a really good deal with the BBC").

 

Sounds like the Merlin strategy over the medium term though is to continue to install clones of their Lego/Midway brands in new/emerging markets... (e.g. Legoland Dubai, Madame Tussauds Singapore, etc, etc, etc.)

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Well of course they are a success, simply because they've opened up 20 million Midway attractions in 5 years (might be slightly over-exaggerating)...

 

Thing is, being 'efficient' in a Merlin way results in the state of the current parks... Operationally, they are an absolute mess and mostly need the 'extravagance' that Disney have... Indeed, their 'efficient' spending in a prime reason behind their own growth and success, because of the minimal expediture for maximum income and short-term success...

 

Between having £30m or £200m on a dark ride, you can probably guess which is the most likely to ooze complete quality... Hell if a ride like Tower of Terror is an extravagance then it's one I could do with a lot more regularly...

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