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Merlin Annual Pass

It might make it more expensive but people get more for their money with just one pass. If the standard was £100 and the Premium was £200, making on pass between £150 and £160 means that people don't have to pay much more to get a lot more than they had before, and people who already had the premium pass make a big saving. I think that's quite reasonable.

Edit: To quote the Standard Exclusions:
Standard Pass Exclusions
Standard Merlin Annual Passes do not include:

August entry to London attractions
Entry to The EDF Energy London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, the London Dungeon and the SEA LIFE London Aquarium during August

Entry to the London Dungeon from 29 to 31 October
View exclusions on our Terms & Conditions page.

Entry to the EDF Energy London Eye on 14 February or 29 to 31 October
View exclusions on our Terms & Conditions page.

Entry to Fright Nights and other events at THORPE PARK without a fee
For Standard Passholders, a £5 event fee may apply

Entry to The Castle Dungeon and Merlin - The Dragon Tower at Warwick Castle
Entry to the Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower from 27th July to 12th August

Please be aware that The London Dungeon is closed from the 31st January due to relocation. It will be re-open to Passholders from 11th March 2013 in it's new place next to The EDF Energy London Eye!

If you are planning to visit during these times, then we recommend you buy a Premium Pass, they don't have any exclusions other than being limited to when the attractions are open of course!

Scrapping or changing the individual passes might be a good idea though.
I'm sure most standard pass holders WOULD be peeved at being forced to pay £50 or £60 more for a pass, but gaining those questionable benefits.
Tom said:
I'm sure most standard pass holders WOULD be peeved at being forced to pay £50 or £60 more for a pass, but gaining those questionable benefits.

Say you go to Towers 10 times that year though, that £50/60 would've been spent on parking charges...

Currently, the tiered system is confusing enough, one thing we don't need is even more...
How is gaining all of that + free parking for much less than what people usually have to pay for that not reasonable? The Merlin passes already offer really great value and giving people more for not much more money isn't like they'd be robbed.

It might not be a polished idea but I still think that making the pass system more simple rather than adding yet more things to consider would be better.
You only need to look back at the backlash a couple of years back when the Premium Pass was introduced and the subsequent restrictions added to what then became the standard pass, such as not including free parking, to see how well people take to large price increases. I.E, it is not a very popular move.

Granted the scenario was slightly different to what is being suggested here. In that case, it was effectively a huge price increase by stealth, given you had the choice of staying with your current pass but have a load more restrictions or pay significantly more for pretty much the same. On the plus side, at least the powers that be went back and looked at it again and adjusted prices accordingly.

It does seem though that many of those (certainly on TST),who opt for the standard pass don't normally drive. Normally using public transport, or travel with others, so any move back to one type of pass with the added sting of a 50-60% increase would be difficult to swallow.

I don't like the idea of a Platinum pass being brought up again as I feel that will lead to restrictions being placed on to the premium pass then, such as excluded dates, only 1/2 price parking etc.

The current system is OK, two types of passes. Having to many variables with a wealth of different passes just leads to confusion and annoyance to both guest and staff.
The arguments over value (I'm concious of which we've had many times before), are flawed. In virtually all cases you are subconciously trying to drive up your perceived value of a product you have already bought. Quoting the number of times you go and totalling up entry prices to come to the conclusion of value is not accurate. Very few people would visit many times per year, even with 2 for 1 vouchers etc.

A sense of value coming from unrealistic comparisons, is misplaced in my opinion. If you are happy with the pass and the price you paid, that is value enough - but the monetary value, that is an entirely different argument.
The pass is there for people that do visit lots of Merlin attractions though. Even the non-enthusiasts that I know who own one use it a lot. Of course, basing this off people that visit 15 attractions or more isn't right, but the increase in price from the standard to a pass priced between that and a Premium would mean that you'd still have value for money after only visiting one or two more attractions, not 10 more. It's up to you to use it more if you buy it and then only use it three times. It doesn't take many visits before you've had your money's worth out of them.
I think Merlin like the Standard Pass because it gives them a headline price they can use across all their promotional material that will draw people in.
It works pretty well having standard and premium.

Some people want basic products, and some people want more. Some people don't want to pay for benefits they don't use, some people want everything and willing to pay extra for it.

It's the same as having basic lasange, normal lasange and premium lasange. Why not just replace them all with one lasange? ;)

I think the system works well as it is. I wouldn't want any more options to what they already have (I think having individual passes confuse things more than MAP does), hence why I disliked every suggestion on their little questionnaire.
BigAl said:
Could both Merlin Passes not be replaced for one simple pass? The pass would be priced between the Standard and Premium (but with the cost leaning towards the Premium). People get more for their money with the pass but Merlin make back what they loose by people no longer spending less on the standard.

I don't think this is a good idea, purely because I think the restrictions on standard passes are absolutely necessary, especially at Midway attractions. The queues at London cluster attractions in the Summer holidays, for example, can already be long - imagine adding hundreds more people (free) each day. The same can be said for Thorpe Park at Fright Nights.

Another point about the passes, couldn't something be done about the multiple prices too? Instead of having one price for an individual and then a price for a family 3 or 4 or 5, just have one price. What if you're a single parent looking after one child, or a family that consists of more than 5 members?

A family of 6 can just be two families of 3. 7 can be a family of 4 and a family of 3, etc. Interesting, too, that up to three people per family can now be adults - I'm fairly sure it was only two per family before.
I received my Spring 2013 edition of the MAP magazine today and noticed that there is a new passholders perk. Free coffee after 3pm (well either tea, coffee or hot chocolate). The offer is available at Burger Kitchen in CCL at Towers, Calypso BBQ at Thorpe, Original Sandwich Company at Chessie, Harbourside Coffee Co. at Legoland and The Coach-House at Warwick Castle.

And on the subject of the magazine, they have removed all adverts for non-Merlin products. Previously almost every other page was an advert.

That... sounds to good to be true. There must be a catch, surely?
I bet there's a "fair usage" policy that limits you to only using it once at each park or something.
They were apparently running this on Sunday in CCL Burger Kitchen from what I heard people talking about :)
It does state that fair usage policy applies, but it does not say what the policy is. I'd imagine it means you can't go and get a free drink multiple times after 3pm, which is fair enough. I'd imagine you'll be allowed one per visit which is fine by me!

Clearly I wasn't reading the MAP magazine as much as I should have done, but one per visit seems fair in my eyes. Nice idea too. :)
Fantastic! :D (Don't think I've received this issue of the mag yet :()

This is a really lovely little perk that many people (myself included) will use a lot and which shouldn't really cost the parks that much - love it :)

Fair usage will just be to cover their backs in case someone sat in Burger Kitchen from 3-9pm on a Scarefest night ordering constant cups!
I've never received a copy of the magazine through the post since it started - has any other MAP holders had this issue? :/
This issue is only the second one I have received. It seems a bit hit and miss whether or not you get one. Not that I'm remotely bothered about it, of course. Any news worth hearing is always posted right here before I ever get the mag :p
Adam James said:
I've never received a copy of the magazine through the post since it started - has any other MAP holders had this issue? :/
This is the first copy I've received, I missed last years editions