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WTF Merlin?

Smithy

Well-Known Member
nadroJ said:
It was people in my office who were like 'Oh my god, let's go Thorpe again!' and one guy was like 'I don't want to go back unless they have a new ride' so I told them about the new for 2015 attraction and literally I have never seen excitement die from a conversation like that <//3. I completely disagree that it fits Thorpe's clientele perfectly, Thorpe's current clientele are big thrill lovers and whilst this is clearly them try to go in a family direction there are a million less **** ways to do it. It's shoddy. I wonder if 2015 sees Thorpe not do as well as previous years (with hardly anything new to offer I can't see there being a massive leap in gate figures) and then watch how they turn around and blame the I'm A Celeb attraction.
Maybe I'm wrong then, I had Thorpe's clientele (what a lovely word that is, I should use it more) down as the sort who use BANTER seriously, think Ant & Dec are the best thing since sliced bread and watch Take Me Out every week. The attraction itself I'm not too familar with, I just think the IP isn't a necessarily bad one for them.
 

caffeine_demon

Well-Known Member
owentaylor121 said:
I'm not talking about rides breaking down, I'm talking about the operations and how they are run, one train operations in a park like Thorpe is not acceptable.
I'd agree there - if the queue is over say, 10 minutes - there should be 2 trains on, unless there's a good reason

then again - thorpe aren't the only offenders - tripsdrilll had one train on karacho and oakwood are masters of crap ops!
 

gavin

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Crazycoaster said:
Yeah the Legolands are popular right now, but that's because Lego is popular, not the parks. They have a serious investment opportunity in terms of the Lego Movie, but all they'll invest in is a basic 4D movie.
Which will just go into the existing 4D theatres and added to the rotation. Legoland Florida is a f**king embarrassment. AN EMBARRASSMENT. They have the audacity to charge close to Disney/Universal prices for some inherited/relocated rides and a run-down craphole of a park.

They also have the nerve to spend every available second selling their upcoming hotel, from adverts prior to the 4D shows to ride op announcements on the flying island. It's so quintessentially Merlin, while also totally not seeming to understand the local market of excessively high-quality attractions. Dreadful.
 

Nemesis Inferno

Well-Known Member
nadroJ said:
^In my opinion Alton is one of the best theme parks in the world, and when I complain about them it's usually only silly niggly things (Nemesis River of Blood for example). Generally speaking though they're fab, it's Chessington and Thorpe that bear the brunt of the neglect.
Towers does have a fair amount also in a bit of a state though (Towers Street, Charlie, Dark Forest, Nemesis monster)...

The River of Blood thing has come from issues in regards to the dye being dumped into local water supplies or sommat like that, I forget the exact reasoning, but there was so mess-up with the staff and as a result no more dye can be used...

Smithy said:
nadroJ said:
It was people in my office who were like 'Oh my god, let's go Thorpe again!' and one guy was like 'I don't want to go back unless they have a new ride' so I told them about the new for 2015 attraction and literally I have never seen excitement die from a conversation like that <//3. I completely disagree that it fits Thorpe's clientele perfectly, Thorpe's current clientele are big thrill lovers and whilst this is clearly them try to go in a family direction there are a million less **** ways to do it. It's shoddy. I wonder if 2015 sees Thorpe not do as well as previous years (with hardly anything new to offer I can't see there being a massive leap in gate figures) and then watch how they turn around and blame the I'm A Celeb attraction.
Maybe I'm wrong then, I had Thorpe's clientele (what a lovely word that is, I should use it more) down as the sort who use BANTER seriously, think Ant & Dec are the best thing since sliced bread and watch Take Me Out every week. The attraction itself I'm not too familar with, I just think the IP isn't a necessarily bad one for them.
You are correct Smithy, although Thorpe still seemingly want to move away from that (hence the recent brand change and redesign of map/signs/etc), but naturally, things won't change overnight, and because that's the case and Merlin are EXTREMELY short-termist in their plans we get a park that has zero direction or idea of where it wants to go...

Thorpe as well don't seem to realise that they do have a bit of a perception amongst the family market they're trying to target, especially after years of telling them to **** off to Chessie/Legoland...
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
gavin said:
Crazycoaster said:
Yeah the Legolands are popular right now, but that's because Lego is popular, not the parks. They have a serious investment opportunity in terms of the Lego Movie, but all they'll invest in is a basic 4D movie.
Which will just go into the existing 4D theatres and added to the rotation. Legoland Florida is a f**king embarrassment. AN EMBARRASSMENT. They have the audacity to charge close to Disney/Universal prices for some inherited/relocated rides and a run-down craphole of a park.

They also have the nerve to spend every available second selling their upcoming hotel, from adverts prior to the 4D shows to ride op announcements on the flying island. It's so quintessentially Merlin, while also totally not seeming to understand the local market of excessively high-quality attractions. Dreadful.
Their international drive complex follows this pattern too. From what I have seen the attractions there are going to be no different from your average city sea life or waxworks despite their proximity to some of the world's top attractions. They've got the wheel but even that's not particularly exciting. As someone said earlier, it's just so copy and paste. For a company obsessed with marketing world firsts it's quite a bizarre.
 

Nemesis Inferno

Well-Known Member
Their Midway viewpoint runs so differently from the parks... Especially given how cheap the Midway attractions are in comparison to put down, the running costs aren't as high and they can pretty much charge whatever they want... The pretty much use the Midway as a way of cheaply gathering extra income as a result, lot cheaper just to constantly reuse the concepts/buy in bulk...

Why anyone would want to go a ferris wheel and see downtown Orlando is beyond me though...
 

spicy

Active Member
As far as the UK parks are concerned, it isn't a recent thing. In my opinion the parks have never been managed as well as they were back in the 90's in the early Tussaud's days when we saw such high quality additions particularly at CWoA and AT such as Transylvania, Mystic East, Katanga Canyon, Gloomy Wood, Forbidden Valley. These were highly themed areas with some great attractions that still stand today.
Even the smaller coasters back then were heavily themed, the original Rattlesnake themeing was amazing with animatronic Mexicans, rattlesnakes, caves, the queue was a delight. Over the years though we have just seen it all removed or left to rot. Its such a shame.

The best area Thorpe ever got anywhere near the quality of those I've mentioned was Amity Cove.

In the later Tussaud's days they eventually stopped investing so heavily in themeing and we ended up with Air hardly themed and not fitting into Forbidden Valley etc. That was the start of the decline..

Tussaud's was at its worst when we saw Spinball and Rita literally plonked down with no long term thought at all. Just to keep gate figures steady and AT still suffers with a Dark Forest theme that was never really going to work with Rita racing through it, and Spinball looking ugly in front of the towers with plans to move it elsewhere still in the pipeline.

Merlin have since came in and are still an improvement on those late Tussaud's days but have never reached the heights of those early Tussaud's days. They have tried with areas such as The Swarm island, Wild Asia, Dark Forest but these are just no where near the same quality despite their best efforts.

It also seems like they are now giving up on investing in CWoA altogether if they don't plan on rethemeing Dragon Falls and actually removing it. Starts to stink of the late Tussaud's days of just keeping gate figures where they want them with minimum investment.

Where the parks are currently heading, who knows? I'm not sure Merlin even know. But as long as they keep their profits up whilst basically monopolising the UK industry, I'm sure they will continue to run the parks how they are at the moment. Which looks like there are no real long term plans in place at all and decisions are made short term.

It is just annoying that we have to accept that we will never get anything on the same quality as Disney or Universal whilst Merlin are running the parks. They just don't seem capable of doing it. That's why most of us suspect the dark ride for Thorpe isn't going to be very good at all.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
spicy said:
It is just annoying that we have to accept that we will never get anything on the same quality as Disney or Universal whilst Merlin are running the parks. They just don't seem capable of doing it. That's why most of us suspect the dark ride for Thorpe isn't going to be very good at all.
I'm not asking for Disney or Universal quality, I'm asking for them to actually give a **** and take pride in the attractions that they choose to put into their parks. Take any of the other 'lead' European parks (because a comparison to Disney/Universal is unrealistic in my opinion) and tell me that the Merlin parks (perhaps with the exception of Alton) can be proud of their investments in the last 5 years in comparison to the likes of Phantasialand, Toverland or Djurs Sommerland. If they say they are then they're lying. It's disgraceful.
 

Barnsey

New Member
Here's hoping Paramount London does indeed go ahead and is built of satisfactory scale and quality, then hopefully a lot of the British public who are too reluctant to leave the country will be like "Ohhhhh I see".

Surely the UK Merlin parks have to be the only parks in the World to use a year round 2 for 1 offer for entry? Just lower the flippin prices! (I know I know it's all psychological and does well to entice the clientele...)
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
The confusion with Blade at Alton Towers this season only seems to add more peculiarity to Merlin's decisions. Maybe it will all make sense soon...maybe.
 

Dar

Member
Towers have a severely reduced operating budget, to increase profit. Allegedly. Blade is just the first victim of this according to TST.
 

Dar

Member
nadroJ said:
^And apparently SubTerra is only running on busy days from 12pm now....with no actors..
Really?! Whilst not surprising, *cough*SAW:Alive*cough*, it's still a bit of a slap in the face.

I've said before, I'm sure Merlin are seeing how far they can go before bringing spending up to the bare minimum they can get away with. You can already see the effects of this in the backlash to the annual pass "sale".
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
Blade is easily explainable IMO. Half term was technically last season, where as march probably means reviewed procedures, etc. It's not worth the effort when no ones riding it, but for half term regardless of my last season theory, they probably needed a line up of flat rides in the event of being too cold for coasters.

Sub Terras operation isn't surprising, but it does make I'm a celeb... even weirder.

Imo , it'd obvious that the attraction budgets being so low is causing them to seek creative solutions to that. Time and time again they go the actor route, effectively fobbing costs over to the park, who have to hire actors out of a staff budget that was likely not increased enough this season. With low ridership on off peak days, why bother with it?

More costly long term, but it allows them to meet budgets. Its dumb. Why no one higher up has noticed and told them to stop doing it is beyond me.

Its not just actor led though, they keep designing attractions that require unnecessarily high numbers of staff in general.
 

Alex23

New Member
Sorry to quote something from ages ago but wasn't the IPO 10% not 30%?

Ian said:
Interesting.

CVC, Blackstone launch up to $1bn share sale in UK's Merlin
LONDON, March 2 Mon Mar 2, 2015 11:21pm IST

(Reuters) - Private equity firms CVC and Blackstone have launched the sale of all of their remaining shares in UK company Merlin Entertainments .

Deutsche Bank, which is running the sale, said on Monday that it was selling 156,541,347 shares in the theme park resort company via an accelerated bookbuild.

A source familiar with the matter said the shares were being sold at a range of 417-426.50 pence a share. At the upper end of the price range the placement would be valued at 667.6 million pounds. ($1.03 billion) ($1 = 0.6512 British Pounds) (Reporting by Freya Berry; editing by Pamela Barbaglia)
http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/03/0 ... QG20150302

Blackstone and CVC's combined shareholding is 62%. That doesn't meant that somebody else could come in and take over Merlin. Only 30% of Merlin is floated on the LSE.
 

Ian

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Alex23 said:
Sorry to quote something from ages ago but wasn't the IPO 10% not 30%?

Ian said:
Interesting.

CVC, Blackstone launch up to $1bn share sale in UK's Merlin
LONDON, March 2 Mon Mar 2, 2015 11:21pm IST

(Reuters) - Private equity firms CVC and Blackstone have launched the sale of all of their remaining shares in UK company Merlin Entertainments .

Deutsche Bank, which is running the sale, said on Monday that it was selling 156,541,347 shares in the theme park resort company via an accelerated bookbuild.

A source familiar with the matter said the shares were being sold at a range of 417-426.50 pence a share. At the upper end of the price range the placement would be valued at 667.6 million pounds. ($1.03 billion) ($1 = 0.6512 British Pounds) (Reporting by Freya Berry; editing by Pamela Barbaglia)
http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/03/0 ... QG20150302

Blackstone and CVC's combined shareholding is 62%. That doesn't meant that somebody else could come in and take over Merlin. Only 30% of Merlin is floated on the LSE.
Tbh, I don't know the exact figure. I did a bit of Googling before posting and discovered the number ranged between 15-30%, so I plumped for the big number.

In their intention to float announcement, they said "at least 20%": http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exch ... 47315.html

I have no idea what percentage was/is floated but if somebody can post that information, it will bring us all up to speed.
 

Alex23

New Member
Anyone know how the IPO worked in terms of who's shares were floated?

From doing a quick company search you cant tell who owns what shares although there was a court in Feb 14 relating to the shares.
 

furie

SBOPD
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peep said:
I think I can already describe the experience.

10:30 a.m. Arrive
11:15 a.m. Finally reach the front of the queue for the designated ticket time.
12:15 p.m. Leave the Dreamworks shop/waiting area for your designated tour time.
12:40 p.m. Reach front of the queue for blue screen photo opportunity.
13:10 p.m. Enter "fun" London Bus themed 4D cinema.
13:25 p.m. Be all "ooohed" out.
13:50 p.m. Reach front of cattle pen to let you into the attraction.
14:30 p.m. Loose it and start punching people because every attraction is surrounded by 200 people who won't get out of the way for you and your family to see it.
14:45 p.m. Sit in the security office where you can pay for your mugshot after they've taken it (amusingly titled "I lost my rag at [insert Merlin attraction here]")
15:15 p.m. released into shop arrest for 60 minutes of enforced detention in the Dreamworks shop.
16:15 p.m. Leave shop for home.
17:00 p.m. Reach the front of the queue for the blue screen exit photo "Here we are, enjoying leaving Shrekland!"
17:35 p.m. Get on a real London bus that smells less of piss than the 4D one and is considerably cheaper, less crowded and useful.

Merlin response: "The Merlin Shrek attraction offers a full day of family entertainment guaranteed!"

;)
 
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