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Merlin Annual Pass 2011 Restrictions

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Dunno where exactly to put this, but this needs a topic due to how important this is to some on here (I.e. Marc :))...LINK

In a recent deal for a Merlin Annual Pass, new terms and conditions have arose, highlighting changes in the current list of benefits for Standard Pass Holders.Coming as a shock to the Annual Pass community; Merlin have revealed that free parking shall no longer be available at any Merlin Attractions to Standard Annual Pass Holders. But that isn’t all that’s changing.During August; Annual Pass holders shall not be able to attend Legoland Windsor before 2pm. There is also no entry into any Blackpool attractions from the 22nd-31st of October.Judging by the hundreds of comments posted around the internet, and on the MAP Facebook Page, many people are not going to renew their pass this season, as they feel it is simply not worth the money any longer. Many feel that Merlin are simply being greedy, and not rewarding their loyal customers. How this will affect gate figures, nobody yet knows; however, we wouldn’t be surprised if Annual Pass sales fall dramatically, as many believe the idea of buying a ‘Premium’ Pass is not one to be considered.How do you feel about this decision? Angry? Dissapointed? Or maybe you don’t really mind?

Outrage has followed on the MAP Facebook page, but they have retorted that free parking will last until you get your 2011 Pass (Which for me is October, SWISH!)...But regardless, silly Merlin is SILLY...

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The Legoland restrictions are what get me. So many families buy MAPs to take their kids to Legoland in the summer. But with no entry until after 2pm during August... for some people there's hardly any point in going! That'll definitely decrease the amount of people interested in going and will bring down the numbers of people buying MAP. This restrictions take the p!ss.

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I suggest the TPM site updaters get a news article on the front page.It's on the home page on Towers Times - the more bad press the better here - although I know this is an official site, but still.At 15-20 visits to Merlin attractions per year, I am looking at increased costs of around £75-£100 per year...Disgusting way to reward the most loyal customers.

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As someone who owns a pass but doesn't use the car parks I couldn't actually care less. However I can understand some peoples anger. Getting used to such a fantastic perk I think this news was always going to be horrific to some pass holders. Due to the mass outcry on Facebook and on all the forums I can see the Merlin marketing team panicking and trying to come up with something to make the pass holders continue to go to the attraction. But yeah, it's an advantage that pass holders have just taken for granted. The passes themselves are still amazing value, how many times have you visited the attractions this year? How much would that have cost without a pass? Yeah, still epic value for money imo.I don't know why people are moaning about Legoland and Blackpool attractions though. Legoland's August restrictions will just be an extension to the already restricted London attractions during that month, which tbh is no big deal as they are horrible places to be in August as they are so busy. And regarding the Blackpool attractions...Oh nos no annual pass holder can go to Blackpool for ONE WEEK, what shall they do? :)

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I don't know why people are moaning about Legoland and Blackpool attractions though. Legoland's August restrictions will just be an extension to the already restricted London attractions during that month, which tbh is no big deal as they are horrible places to be in August as they are so busy. And regarding the Blackpool attractions...Oh nos no annual pass holder can go to Blackpool for ONE WEEK, what shall they do? :)

The week you can't do Blackpool is half term week... So it kinda follows patterns that are pre-existing... Lego... Is a silly idea, because of the nature of it being a theme park... It gets uber busy during summer, and only allowing AP holders in after 2 is incredibly random... It's like they're trying to do the whole London attraction 3pm thing they used to have (which worked better due to the nature of London and the fact the places were usually a lot deader after this time till closing), but not realising that it could easily make people not even bother...At least Chessie is easy for me to get to... Thorpe is however expensive to travel to via public transport and Alton is just bloody annoying to travel via public transport...About 30 quid it would've cost me this year with car related times, glad I make Chessie my most visited park...They will lose stuff over this unless they can sweeten the deal excessively...

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DERP DERP DERP HERP DE DERP HERP DE DERP DERP LOOK AT US WE'RE TOWER TIMES DERP HER DE DERP DERP HERP DERP DERP OMFG ALTON TOWERS DERP CAR PARKS DERP HERP HERP HERP DERP

I'm sorry, do you have a problem?I don't see anything wrong with fansites pulling together when things like this happen, myself. :)

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I don't know why people are moaning about Legoland and Blackpool attractions though. Legoland's August restrictions will just be an extension to the already restricted London attractions during that month, which tbh is no big deal as they are horrible places to be in August as they are so busy.

Erm, considering the summer hols are the main time when parents have the time to take their kids to a place like this, it's a very stupid idea. Just because you don't visit Legoland doesn't mean others don't either. Try looking past the nerds who visit mainly Thorpe Park (no offence Marc :)), Merlin have a much larger audience than fanboys and I know that lots of families are going to be highly disappointed with this restriction.

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People might not see much into the lego move now...but for all we know, it could be testing ground for trying that move at all parks.

If they did that, I would definitely not bother with it anymore...Not being able to do a birthday trip to Chessie? Sod off Merlin...

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Personally, I'm not that fussed about it.Do I use the car parks? Nope. So I don't care all that much. As for people who do, yes, I can see the point there as to just how much more it will cost. However, Merlin are a business, and if they decide that they can penny-pinch, then they will. What I am against is how parking can be, for example, paying for parking between two logs on a bit of gravel (a la Thorpe). That is silly. But that's a different story...The Blackpool thing isn't that much of a biggy. Yes, okay, you can't go during one of the half terms, but still, it's an ENTIRELY new attraction that's being added onto the Merlin pass for little extra. And yet people moan about not being able to go there with a pass for one week? Doesn't make much sense. The Lego thing is... interesting. I haven't been to Lego since I was... 6, so I don't care. But for families, that is a big deal. Maybe they should introduce a reduced cost rather than cutting out all entries entirely?A standard MAP costs about £150 and renewals are about £100. Quite a few probably get them from Tesco Vounchers (though they're value has decreased slightly, but again, another story...). To take myself as an example, I got mine half price in January. So, that's £75 for nearly 30 visits is Merlin attractions - about £2.50 each visit. If I was to add on parking for me, it would be... £2.50 a visit. Sure, if I used used the car park it would have cost a bit more, but still. I'm looking at under £10 a visit (not including petrol / merchandise buying and that). For the attractions themselves, is that really that bad? You get copious attractions, for unlimited amount of times, reduced merchandise prices, discounts, discounts for international Merlin parks, Passholder days, and much more. There's even a few non-Merlin perks from it. And remember, we're talking about a multi-national business here who, at the end of the day, want money.How people can complain when they get so much and have a bare little taken away is beyond me...

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How can you say that?When you drive, you will probably say different.Based on £100 for the pass.Based on 20 visits @ £5.00 per time is an additional £100.00!I already spend a lot on merchandise, food, drink etc.Although the pass is good value, if I had to pay £30 or so a time to visit- I would simply visit much less.

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This was posted on Lightwater Valley's official facebook page

Lightwater Valley Theme ParkWe value your business and think that parking your car should always be free of charge, don't you? If you drive all that way to see us it's the least we can do ...

Well...what does that prove Merlin? A park which has no where near as much money as your parks do is actually allowing free parking! What that tells us is that this park actually values their visitors over the money. You on the other hand value your visitors wallets more than anything! We are appalled! Lightwater deserve a round of applause but Merlin on the other hand, angry and violent demonstrations at the Merlin Headquarters like the student protests are what they deserve. I'm disgusted. The sooner they stop this nonsense the better.I hope you're reading this Merlin! :)

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.Based on £100 for the pass.Based on 20 visits @ £5.00 per time is an additional £100.00!

So, for 20 visits, you'd pay £200 - £10 a visit.How can you argue for against that? Yes, parking could double the costs, but it's still good value nonetheless.

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Do I use the car parks? Nope. So I don't care all that much.

So therefore you cannot comment, though Dan has already gone through why the car parking charge is stupid... It would've costed me over 30 quid just for this season if each car park was at a fiver... That's shocking considering I've already parted with a fair chunk of cash to the company (and have done for... god... nearly 10 years now)...Charging for parking can easily prevent extra guests who are doing a 'quick stop' at the park as well... Indeed, it is entirely likely that I, whilst travelling down from Stafford going around the M25 may be tempted by an hour or two at Thorpe or Chessie on a rather empty Friday... But would I want to do this if I was charged a fiver to leave? Unlikely as I'd prefer to make a day out of it (or get home and seek alternative transport)...

The Blackpool thing isn't that much of a biggy. Yes, okay, you can't go during one of the half terms, but still, it's an ENTIRELY new attraction that's being added onto the Merlin pass for little extra. And yet people moan about not being able to go there with a pass for one week? Doesn't make much sense.

Hardly anyone is commenting on Blackpool restrictions because they aren't are stupid as the car park ones and are essentially the same as current restrictions already existing...

You get copious attractions, for unlimited amount of times, reduced merchandise prices, discounts, discounts for international Merlin parks, Passholder days, and much more.

Currently all I use are food and merch discounts... Nothing else... This is because like many others I haven't the time or money required to go off to foreign parks... Especially when I have ones here where I can get in for free... So what do these international discounts do for me? Not that much...Passholder days... They got mixed reactions this year... But again, I might not be able (or wanting) to go to these...And the attractions are not available ALL the time... There are several pre-existing restrictions (London Summer anyone), which was poorly advertised and resulted in many unhappy customers... Same for Fright Nights...

There's even a few non-Merlin perks from it.

Yes, because I so want my Travis Parkins discount kept on there instead of free parking... I swear those non-Merlin offers are stupid as hell... I read through a leaflet of them at the Eye in the summer... They were so uninteresting and pointless... I don't know anyone who uses their AP for anything but Merlin related times...Why the days of unlimited entry at all attractions cannot come back I don't know...

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How can you say that?When you drive, you will probably say different.Based on £100 for the pass.Based on 20 visits @ £5.00 per time is an additional £100.00!

The standard Annual Passes were actually £150 last year, and blimey £5 for petrol? What sort of convenient world are you living in? To drive from where I am (which by car is only 45-60 minutes away) would probably cost a good £20 fill up to get there and back comfortably. It's an AWFUL lot more than £200 for a season.

How can you argue for against that? Yes, parking could double the costs, but it's still good value nonetheless.

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Thats me done I'm afraid. I've been an Annual pass holder since 2003 now and I cannot justify spending the money anymore when there are so little perks. I do feel a bit cheated on. I've saved a lot of money over the years, true. but every year its such a jump and when you account petrol costs, add on a whole heap of car parking costs and losing the right to visit theme parks during the whole day just means I can't be bothered with a company that doesn't actually care about its customers anymore.People are actually defending the car parking charge saying they don't use it. Crazy.

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Josh - based on your argument, the Merlin Annual Pass could cost £500.00 and it would still represent value to me. Technically - because 30 visits based on £500.00 is around £16.00 per visit.But there comes a limit, regardless, on how much people are willing to pay.If I was paying £10.00 per visit in cash as you have said - I would visit much, much less.

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I am also intrigued as to the argument that they will be adding new attractions. The Blackpool attractions don't get included on the pass till late summer at the moment so are they technically charging people for a period of the year that they can't benefit from the new attractions (assuming they renew at the beginning of the season)By having an AP you have this perception that you are getting in for free as no money is being handed over at the point of arrival. By adding a parking charge, it makes you feel like you are now paying to get in for something that you have already paid for hence people feeling ripped off.Paying to park at Thorpe is ridiculous. It is poorly designed, not suitable for purpose (tarmac please) with no sort of way to remember where you parked your car. I don't drive but I pretty much always go to the parks with someone who does. Once or twice a year isn't much but to get your money for the pass it very quickly mounts up. We probably all spend at least £5 when we are in the parks now but if we knew we had to pay for the parking, we won't spend much more as the cost of our day is always £5 more.

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In case anyone wants to know where people discovered the issue...

Paying to park at Thorpe is ridiculous. It is poorly designed, not suitable for purpose (tarmac please) with no sort of way to remember where you parked your car.

Same can be said of Chessie's Grass Car Park... Where I've only had the misfortune of parking once... You thought Thorpe's was confusing...

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If they did that, I would definitely not bother with it anymore...Not being able to do a birthday trip to Chessie? Sod off Merlin...

This wouldn't actually surprise me although in saying that Chessie seems to rely far more on Annual Pass holders then the other three parks.

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Well that's a bugger, just spent my tesco vouchers on a new standard annual pass! I'm pretty shocked at this tbh, and I doubt they will like the backlash, but ive allways said the premium pass dont offer enough over the standard one to be a worthwhile purchase over the standard, whilst I didn't expect this it may well do now.Will be interesting to see what's said tomorrow and the new price structuring they've mentioned.

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