So we have had one in the past and it was great! I was living in Winchester and Martin up north, which meant that we had access to pretty much all the parks and attractions easily (or at least without a hotel).
We actually only wanted to go for a little trip to the Blackpool tower and go to the circus, but after pricing it up we decided that we may as well get a Merlin Annual Pass and then we can keep going back. Merlin Annual Passes are great because they include (and are not limited to); Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Dungeons, Sealife centres, Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, London eye and many more places.
Previously we went to Legoland, what must have been, about 5 or 6 times – it was our favourite place to go! It is definitely not just for kids! After visiting 3 times the passes have paid for themselves. We also went to Blackpool quite a lot, and Alton Towers a couple of times.
There are a couple of ways to not have to pay full price for a Merlin Annual Pass (which start at around £179). The first way is if you wait till around December time then they tend to have a sale on and they are usually around £120 for the standard tickets. The reason for the sale in December is because there aren’t many people going to theme parks etc in the winter, however there are a lot of indoor activites such as Blackpool Tower, the Dungeons, Sealife centres and Madame Tussauds. The second way – the way we used this time- is to purchase a Gourmet Society card (for £1) and then call up ‘Merlin’ and say that you have a Gourmet Society card voucher and you get it 20% off, which made them £143.20.
So if like us you just want your card and start using it before the sale starts then at least you can still get a discount.
“A Merlin Annual Pass opens the door to 32 magical worlds across the UK, so wherever you live, you’re guaranteed to have the ultimate passport to fun!” – Merlin Website.
There are three different types of pass; standard, premium and VIP. If you have a look on the website they each have different specifications such as including parking, fast track passes, drinks capsules and more. As you can imagine the standard pass does have restrictions such as new years day, special fright nights, near Halloween for the dungeons etc. All of this information is on the pass website, the VIP passes are on a waiting list as there are only so many allowed at any given time so you would have to wait for someone to give theirs u before you can get yours.
The VIP pass didn’t actually exist last time we had our passes. Both last time and this time we have opted for the standard pass as the restrictions do not bother us at all, and we don’t mind paying for parking as it is only at a couple of the attractions.
To collect your tickets you will be asked where you would like to pick them up. You simply pick an attraction and turn up there the next day to collect them. WARNING: you will have to have a photo taken so be prepared when you arrive to stand in-front of a webcam – and it will not be from a flattering angle! Annoyingly my hair just would not do what I wanted the day I got my pass so I have a messed up fringe and my face blends in with my neck, but what can you do?.
As soon as you have filled in your details, had your photo taken and the card has been printed then you are free to explore Merlins worlds. Have fun and enjoy! They are great for kids and for adults. We go just the two of us and always have a fantastic time!!