Even if Merlin hadn't bought Tussauds I think we would have people nowadays talking about the "corporate stain" of the Tussauds group. There has been a focus on the profits of the group since Charterhouse bought the group in 1999, then Dubai Investment Capital bought the group in 2007 before Blackstone bought Tussauds and merged it with Merlin. The investment in the parks around 2007 was already very poor. Its not Merlin, its any owner that concentrates too much on profits and cuts rather than investment to get returns, doesn't matter if its investment capital or shareholders. Hopefully now the owners of Merlin are back to Blackstone and Kirkbi we may see the right sort of investment again. The leadership of Alton Towers definitely seem to be trying recently, Smiler was almost great and Wickerman is fantastic. It just seems that Chessington is focusing too much on small-scale rides and Alton Towers on large-scale when both parks need a bit of both! For me Wickerman brought a lot of "magic" into the park and so did CBeebies five years ago. Its just a shame that the cuts following the Smiler incident have caused off-peak days to be so limited. But as a TL;DR, even without Merlin and Tussauds merging, I think we would still of had complaints about profiteering in the parks as this started 12-15 years ago.