Days Out, Home, Outdoors, Theme Parks

Making the most of our Annual Merlin Passes!

Merlin Passes - Eden on a ride

The Merlin Passes

So this year I’ve saved up all of my Tesco clubcard points to get Annual Merlin Passes. We also paid the £50 extra to upgrade them to premium passes! You can also purchase them direct from their website and occasionally have discounts throughout the year. This means we can visit 32 attractions in the UK free for a year!

These include:

Alton Towers Resort

Chessington World of Adventures Resort

LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

THORPE PARK Resort

The London Eye

Dream world Tours – Shrek Adventure London to name but a few!

Perks

You also get 20% off food and purchases at the parks and 50% off friends and family tickets! Which is a brilliant saving in itself. With the premium pass we can also use them across all dates in the six weeks holidays and we get free parking at some of the attractions!

I feel like I am now on a mission to make the most from the passes and pack in as much as we can.

Legoland

Our first trip using our Merlin Passes was to Legoland! I’ve always wanted to take Eden. Every time it’s advertised on the telly Eden has asked to go, so this was our priority.

We went on a weekend so did expect it to be busy. It was also a Star Wars themed day so I imagine busier than usual. This didn’t seem to be much of a problem though. Many of the queues had Lego to play with while you waited, so even though there were queues, Eden was entertained. If she wasn’t playing with Lego she was meeting new friends to play with.

Merlin Passes - Eden with lego family characters
By far our favourite rides were The Dragon, a super fun (but not too scary) roller coaster and Fairy Tale Brook. A lovely little river ride with Lego characters bringing the fairytales to life. Eden loved spotting all the characters she recognised.

Merlin Passes eden on boat ride with seven dwarves

Merlin Passes eden on boat ride with seven dwarves

Merlin Passes Eden on a ride
We also really enjoyed walking around seeing the Lego model village, exploring all of the different countries. It was a nice relaxing downtime, rather than going on ride after ride.

Merlin Passes view Lego model villageMerlin Passes  Lego model villageMerlin Passes Model of London in Lego
We found plenty of options to eat and snack around the park. Most importantly a good Costa coffee to keep our energy supplies up! In all we had a great day at Legoland and are actually going back again this weekend.

Merlin Passes  Lego book What Secrets awaitMerlin Passes  Eden and Lego friends
Chessington World of Adventures

Next we popped along to Chessington World of Adventures at the end of the kids half term. I was so excited to introduce Eden to the Vampire Ride. I prayed that she would be tall enough to go on it! She is quite a dare devil and doesn’t seem to be the least bit afraid of any rides.

Unfortunately due to an accident en route we arrived a bit later than expected around 11.45am. We were hoping that as the majority of schools had returned to school that day that it would be quiet. Sadly not! Queue times for the more popular rides were 65-75mins.

It’s a real shame they don’t offer time based tickets like they do at somewhere like Disneyland Paris. You go take a ticket and return when it’s your time slot and enter via fastrack queue. In the end we decided to bite the bullet and purchase fastrack passes. It cost an additional £36 for 3 of us to go on just two rides. If you had already paid park entry, it can work out quite expensive.

Fast Track Passes

We bought a fast track pass for the new Gruffalo ride which worked really well and we passed the 60 minute queue and were on the ride within about 10-15 mins, absolutely worth it. Unfortunately even with the fastrack pass we still queued for 30mins for the Vampire ride. Totally worth the wait though. Eden absolutely loved it. It was actually so much faster than I remembered it being, although it was maybe 15 years ago!

Merlin Passes Gruffalo river ride

Merlin Passes Gruffalo river ride

Merlin Passes Vampire ride at ChessingtonMerlin Passes Chessington world of adventures vampire ride
We did find that some of the queue times estimated were a little way off and were longer than anticipated. So we didn’t get to go on as many rides as we would have liked. Those we did go on, we enjoyed tremendously.

Food

We ate a great restaurant in the park, a BBQ Smokehouse. The food was BBQ meats and they even had Sweet Potato fries as a side. So eating Low carb wasn’t a problem here. I normally struggle to find LCHF friendly foods on days out. The meal was amazing, served in a basket but tasted delicious! We all really enjoyed it!

Merlin Passes BBQ food

Merlin Passes chessington snake
The park has really changed over the years and it is really well themed throughout. We did find the map really confusing and quite difficult to read but we loved the app that gave you directions and up to the minute queue times!

We also enjoyed visiting all the animals, especially at the petting farm and seeing them on Zafari!

Merlin Passes rhino on zafari
The next adventure

Next up on our Merlin Pass adventure will be Shrek Adventure in London, a blog post will follow. We also have a hotel booked for the Summer holidays so we can visit Alton Towers. Very exciting and so far the Merlin Passes have been a great investment!

Eden is wearing at Legoland a Zigzag coat by Mimpi, yellow top and cardigan from Mothercare, jean dress from Primark and Teal sparkle Converse trainers.

Eden is wearing at Chessington Mini ZZZ rainbow anorak from TK Maxx, top and leggings from Next and Teal Sparkle Trainers from Converse.

Thank you for reading ‘Making the most of our Annual Merlin Passes!’.

Em x

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