Merlin Entertainments has announced that its ‘standard’ Annual Pass will no longer allow entry to its UK theme parks during weekends in peak summer periods.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in August, as well as 1 and 2 September next year will now be excluded from the standard Merlin Annual Pass.
The changes apply to passes purchased or renewed after 28 November this year, and to Merlin’s major theme parks Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park.
The changes also affect Warwick Castle, which is operated under Merlin’s ‘resort theme parks’ group of attractions.
The company said that standard pass holders would be able to access the attractions on the affected dates at a discounted cost compared with the normal admission.
Share price crash
Merlin’s ‘premium’ annual pass will still allow theme park entry throughout the season, but its price will rise by £10.
The company said that the price of its standard pass will be frozen, and new terms and conditions will be revealed on 28 November.
The changes come almost a month after Merlin issued a trading statement describing “storms” which must be “navigated around”.
Shares in the company fell by almost 20% on 17 October, with chief executive Nick Varney indicating that savings would be made at the resort theme parks, whose revenues have fallen by 2.1%.