LEGOLAND Windsor UK Reopening 2021 – Is it Worth it? What has changed? VLOG

What is LEGOLAND Windsor UK like now it has reopened for the first time in 2021 with covid 19 measures in place? We will check out what is new, whats different, whats open, what’s not, the construction underway for the new rides coming in 2021. We will check out the restored Miniland, changes to LEGO retail at the park, and also give some hints and tips to get the most value out of your day. We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and first hand experience as a family.

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:48 Overview
1:38 What’s Open / What’s Not / What’s Closed
2:52 New and Different
5:17 Mythica
6:15 Miniland Restoration & Refresh & New
7:22 LEGO Retail
9:06 Hints & Tips
10:28 Is It Worth it?
12:19 Summing Up

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is LEGOLAND Windsor UK like now it has reopened for the first time in 2021 with covid 19 measures in place? We will check out what is new, what’s different, what’s open, what’s not, the construction underway for the new rides coming later in 2021. We will check out the restored Miniland, changes to LEGO retail at the park, and also give some hints and tips to get the most value out of your day. We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

OVERVIEW

We went to LEGOLAND UK on Monday April 12th, 2021, which was the first time it had been opened since easing of lockdown measures. Check the timecode below to jump to your section of interest as we will cover what is and isn’t open, what’s new and different, the new Mythica 2021 rides currently under construction, the restored Miniland and new features, changes to the LEGO stores in the park and hints and tips.

This was a crazy drive to LEGOLAND Windsor as it was actually snowing. Snow in London is rare enough, let alone in April. Certainly, made the M25 a scary proposition but we got there in double in the normal time.

Entrance to the park is the same as last years post covid measures, trying to be socially distanced in the queue (although car parking was however you wanted). The usual security bag check followed by some temperature guns. We got here at about 945am for a 10am opening and was pretty much straight through.

What’s Open / What’s Not / What’s Closed

All the indoor rides are basically closed so things like the Haunted House are obviously indoor and closed. And even the submarines, they don’t even let you up there, its barricaded off. So you can also see to the hotels are closed and probably won’t be opening til May sometime.

The outdoor rides are open so ones like the boats and cars. Ok, so the LEGO Ninjago ride is closed, the Ninjago shop is open, and come further around Destiny’s Bounty ride is open at the moment. So this is new and will be interesting to see what it opens up to be.

Laser Raiders and the Game Zone is closed, but most of the others like Aerial Nomads and the Thunder Blazer is open.

Pirate Shores is pretty busy with the playground of course being open and also to your rocking ship there, and the pirate falls as well (Screaming!!).

Knight’s Kingdom has a few things open, like Merlins Challenge, Dragons Apprentice and The Dragon. Spinning Spider is open and operational.

Viking River Splash is operational.

New and Different

Now for a quick overview on what is new and different.

As you come in they have completely rejigged this area hear with this new minifigure sculpture there. And they have chopped this up and changed it. There use to be a little coffee shop here. A nice little character build that the kids can also sit in.

A tree made out of lots of little bits of Technic at the top, as you come down more bricks, and inside here little miniature displays, that is in the top and the sides.

And all through out the park you’ve got this little spots to stand on when in queues to maintain your 2m social distance.

The old sort of build center is now the Rebuild the World Planet, which is not open at the moment. But they have finally got rid of the awning which use to have the Star Wars Millenium Falcon there.

This has been refreshed, it use to be the Banjo Player.

By the fire academy you’ve got this new water fountain sprouting coming out of the fire hydrant made out of LEGO bricks, which is new.

Outside the 4D cinema you have some new giraffes.

A new train conductor on the station.

A new bright, pink and purple colour scheme on the panda there, sitting in amongst the bamboo.

If you can’t have a unicorn, the next best thing is a rainbow coloured zebra.

Seeing LEGOLAND with a little bit of snow. Even LEGO Mount Rushmore has a bit of snow on it.

And some other little subtle changes like the cars, you use to go in and they would have them in a room showing them a movie on how to run and drive it. Where as now they just let them go straight through.

As obviously they don’t want them, parents and people crowding in a confirmed space.

And everyone over the age of 11 wearing a face mask.

And in the Duplo Valley playground they have closed down the LEGO shops and looks like it is going to be a coffee shop at some stage.

Heartlake café area all been given a fresh coat of paint. Looking nice and spiffy.

So down in Heartlake city in terms of the shows they are trying to get you to leave gaps between groups which has been marked out.

You can sort of see marked all the way around so you can do the whole socially distancing thing. But unfortunately at the moment there are no shows running.

Sweet shop has been revamped.

There were a few people using the ride and reserve, but not too many.

A lot of your take away food type places are open but your restaurants are not.

And the pizza pasta place has become fully takeaway, all the tables and chairs have been taken out. And there is seating outside for the Pizza and Pasta you pick up.

Mythica

In terms of the on going construction, you’ve got the area down by the squid surfers. The restaurant is obviously being redone , its still boarded off there.

So you can see a few of the new drop towers that are coming in there, another new arch into the general sort of area.

So you can see just through there is says “Creature Encounters” and in the back they have been building.

Originally in the planning permission it was outlined to be a LEGO Movie Cinema. I think they are going to change that to something else now as the LEGO second movie didn’t do too well. So its going to be a massive theatre of some description. That should be coming very soon.

So the new area just off Heartlake looks like it is going to be about Mythica theming, which they were doing contents and things for over the winter period. So the new Mythica area, looks like you’ve got a children’s playground here with the slide coming down there, the restaurant is now the new Hungry Troll and some of the new LEGO models look pretty cool.

Looks like one of the new drop rides are going to be called “Fire and Ice”.

Miniland Restoration & Refresh & New

LEGO Miniland, lets check out what new things have been added and revamped and refreshed.

NASA has been refreshed with some new little men down there and a couple of boosters and a space shuttle, and so on.

A few more rockets like the real John F. Kennedy Space Centre

Getting a lot of restoration work being carried out. So, in and around the docks that has all been restored there, and some of the ships in brighter, whiter colours. Even in the back here some of the cruise line ships like the Bella one over there.

The Dragstrip one the building has been refreshed. Obviously, the drag strip itself is not here but that was looking pretty tired and did need some work.

The European section has had a lot of restoration. A lot of these buildings were really showing signs of wear and everything like that and sun discolouration. Where as now, bright and crisp, particularly a lot of the reds and whites

New upgraded Waterloo station in the London Section.

A couple of lost sheep have appeared.

Big Ben clock face looks like it has been given a bit of a refresh as well, all nice and crisp and sparkly.

LEGO Retail

Just off the main entrance where they use to have the little shop, that is now gone and looks like they have been consolidating a number of shops through out the park.

So, where you use to also have the café there, that’s been removed and they have completely refurbished this, which use to be “Big Shop”. So now that is all completely LEGO retail.

The interior retail space has been completely redone and given a nice, fresh coat of paint, completely changed the layout and organization.

Interesting to see the build models on top and not behind glass. Obviously behind glass there is a bit more of an ability to deal with theft.

Of course all your Star Wars stuff is altogether and looks interesting with the black and white boxes.

Coming around to the check outs, so hopefully more organized and in a more consistent sort of away.

Check outs, new models in there, going around, Technic section and all away across and through the back.

Interesting new little layout for the Build your Own little minifigures and then going across to Mosaic Maker. Use to be only in the main flag ship Leicester Square store in London.

Then you’ve got this Pick & Build sort of section which is kinda like a Pick a Brick but slightly different.

Apparently later in the year they are going to have your own customize minifig where you’ll be able to print on the torsos your own design and so that will be interesting.

And they are calling it the “Personalisation Studio”.

Probably the only retail store that has Vidiyo at full retail price of £18. And here you have a magnifying glass to try to see the value in Vidiyo.

Down near Heartlake there is a new way to do virtual shopping. Scan the code, use the password, enter in what you want to buy and collect later on.

Hints & Tips

Some quick hints and tips to get the most out of your day and not get blown away by the expense.

Given that the hotels are closed, it is worthwhile getting here a little bit early, so then you can go through and quickly do a couple of rides  before any queues get out of control.

With the hotels being closed, there is no early access for others to get in, so if you are in first, you can be first, as the lines do get progressively longer during the day.

Also, if you are booking online more than 7 days in advance, you get further discounts and usually definitely if you book the day before. If you book on the day, online its usually full price, whereas if you do the day before online, it can be 50% cheaper and a more reasonable sort of price.

If you pay for the Pizza and Pasta online, there can be up to a £5 discount as opposed to paying at the til. If you pay your parking online, that can also be a pound or so off without having to queue and deal with the hassle of the parking ticket machines.

At the end of the day, the queue to get into the shop is crazy. So either do it during the day, or we just came up from the Ninjago shop down where the Ninjago ride is and there was nobody in there. So, if Ninjago is your jam, get it from down there and don’t queue up, up here.

While they do have the Reserve and Ride, the old Qbot, it didn’t feel too bad today. Other times we have been here and there will be lots of people being able to use them and jump the queue. Whereas today there was only a few times people were doing that.

So, the other side of that is if you do want to get onto the rides, its probably value for money in that the queues aren’t all that long.

Is It Worth it?

So is LEGOLAND in 2021 worth a visit? I think it is going to be one of those things that really depends. When we originally booked our tickets, we didn’t know that the indoor rides were all going to be closed.

So being nice English weather, I think if you get a really rainy day or like that, then standing out in the rain for the open air rides is going to be real issue and a bit tricky. On the flip side of that, it might actually mean that people don’t actually come.

We have quite a good day. Seeing we’ve been able to get onto quite a number of rides and the ride queue lengths have only been about 30 to 35 minutes at the worst of times. So it hasn’t felt bad like what it did last summer, and there are links around the video where you can see that.

The only thing I would qualify it with is you are still paying full price tickets which can be a bit of a sting in the tail.

However if you are after a lot of the indoor rides, Ninjago, Haunted House, those sorts of things then probably wait until May or late May when they open up.

Otherwise, they have done a few upgrades and refreshes over winter but nothing that I’d say to definitely come back and check out.

If anything, maybe towards the end of May when they open up the Mythica, that might be better value to come then and see things.

We let our Merlin Annual passes expire last session as they have dramatically increased the price structure of the Merlin Annual pass and really isn’t value for money anymore. Check out this review where we discuss this in depth (link around the video).

Numbers wise it hasn’t felt too bad, whether or not that is because this has been the first day, and this morning it was snowing and people didn’t want to end up coming along, or whether they haven’t quite figured out it is open yet and things like that.

So, if the numbers get worse, which they did last season, then it might not be as enjoyable.  

Hopefully, the park numbers can stay down to what they were today. But unfortunately, I have a funny feeling they will go back up like what they did last time /year.

In terms of social distancing, most people seem to be following it with lots of masks with lots of people, so it is good that way.

Still there is some who won’t, while you have the 2-meter dots on the floor, there are sometimes people who don’t pay a huge amount of attention to that. So, it can be a little frustrating.

Over we had a good day and the kids really enjoyed themselves and we were able to get on lots of rides that we outdoors so enjoy a bit of the sunshine.

Summing Up

So that is it from us here at Family Bricks. If you want to check out a full walk through of the park in a couple of minutes, click the video here. Alternatively, if you want to see another video on How to Save Money at LEGOLAND, check out this video. Alternatively, here is a walk through of LEGOLAND Dubai.

That is it from us here at Family Bricks. Thanks very much for watching. Please like, share, and subscribe.

Until next time when we talk about all things LEGO and Lifestyle.

Iron Man Custom MOC vs LEGO Iron Man Helmet 76165. Which is better? Review Time lapse Speed Builds

In this video we are going to look at the official LEGO Iron Man Helmet set 76165 vs a custom MOC design by ZetoVince that is available for sale on rebrickable.com.

Head to Head, how do they fair, which one is better and will come out on top? We will look at each and even a few surprises the custom fan design MOC has. Both models will have a quick time lapse speed build as well so you can get a sense of how they differ in construction.

At first glance, which do you prefer? The fan design or the official LEGO design?

Affiliate Links:
LEGO 76165 Marvel Iron Man Helmet Display Building Set https://amzn.to/3klEOmV

Instructions for ZetoVince’s Iron Man MOC can be found on rebrickable.com:

https://rebrickable.com/mocs/MOC-49601/ZetoVince/iron-man-helmet/#details

LEGO Telsa Cybertruck MOC from Ford Mustang set 10265. Review & Time lapse Alternative Speed-build

In this video we are going to look at this custom MOC Telsa Cybertruck that is built exclusively from the pieces in this LEGO Ford Mustang set 10265 that was released in 2019. This alternative build b-model was created by fan designer geraldcacas and instructions can be purchased from rebrickable.com

https://rebrickable.com/mocs/MOC-37419/geraldcacas/cybertruck-alternate-build-of-ford-mustang-10265-set/#details

We will also give a quick review in terms of build experience, displayability and playability. We will also give a quick time-lapse speed build so you can get a sense of how the set goes together. Is this set worth building?

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:50 Overview of Rebricking & Scale
1:40 Features
3:20 Build Experience
3:40 Displayability, Playability & Value for Money
4:25 Time Lapse Speed build
7:00 Summing Up

#review #LEGO #cybertruck #telsa #motor #model #elonmusk #truck #musk #legoart #legobricks #legoman #legolife #legobuilder #legocreations #legoinstragram #legofan #legocommunity #legofun #legomania #legostagram #homewithkids #boredkids #legovideo #legoquickreview #macatsim

LEGO Porsche 911 MOC from Ford Mustang set 10265. Review & Time lapse Alternative Speed-build

In this video we are going to look at this custom MOC Porsche 911 that is built exclusively from the pieces in this LEGO Ford Mustang set 10265 that was released in 2019. This alternative build b-model was created by fan designer ale0794 and instructions can be purchased from rebrickable.com

https://rebrickable.com/mocs/MOC-34163/ale0794/10265-porche-911-turbo-b-model

We will also give a quick review in terms of build experience, displayability and playability. We will also give a quick time-lapse speed build so you can get a sense of how the set goes together. Is this set worth building?

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:50 Overview of Rebricking & Scale
1:24 Features
2:30 Build Experience
4:25 Build Improvement Suggestion
6:43 Time Lapse Speed build
9:00 Summing Up

#review #LEGO #porsche #porsche911 #porscheclub #porschelife #porsche918 #porschedesign #porscheclassic #porscheturbo #porschelove #PorscheGT3 #porschepanamera #porschecayenne #porschecarrera #porsche964 #porschefans #porschecayman #porsche356 #PorscheGT3RS #porsche911turbo #porscheracing #PorschePix #porscheporn #porschegram #porscheartdaily #porschemacan #porsches #porschelovers

EPIC Mistake?! LEGO Porsche 911 GT3 RS Review – Still Good After 5 YEARS?! Set 42056

In this video we are going to look at the LEGO Porsche 911 GT3 RS that was released in 2016, and its major mistake. It was the first in the new waves of branded, elaborate supercar Technic builds. How does it hold up 5 years down the line?

We will also give a quick review in terms of build experience, value for money, displayability and playability. We also turn over one issue about the build that LEGO appear to have gotten wrong. The gearbox issue.

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:43 Overview
2:55 Box & Packaging – First Black Box?!
4:15 Instruction Manual, History of Porsche & Designers
7:15 Build Experience
8:50 Value for Money
9:21 Playability
10:00 Displayability
11:30 1 Page Review Summary
12:30 How Does it Hold up 5 Years On?!

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

LEGO Monorail 6399 Airport Shuttle: Why So EPIC? Complete Guide, Review, Time Lapse Speed build

What’s the big deal with LEGO Monorail and what makes it so EPIC? In this video we are going have a comprehensive look at LEGO Monorail Airport Shuttle set 6399 released in 1990. We will look at what makes it so great, the mechanics of how it works, and a quick buyer’s guide on the rarer and expensive parts.

We will also give a quick review in terms of build experience, value for money, displayability and playability, and finally finish off with a time lapse speed build and commentary.

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction
0:46 Overview
1:23 What is included in the set?
3:00 Buyers Guide – Key Pieces & Rough Prices
5:20 How does LEGO Monorail Mechanics Work?
9:00 Integrating into LEGO Cities & Monorail Track Design
10:24 Monorail Carriages – Power & Connections
11:20 Monorail vs LEGO Train Track
12:55 Why Doesn’t LEGO Bring Monorail Back?
13:50 Quick Review – Build Experience
14:50 Playability
15:18 Value for Money
15:45 Displayability
16:22 Review 1 Page Summary / Overview
16:40 Time-lapse Speed Build & Commentary
19:14 Summing Up

#monorail #legomonorail #airportshuttle #legovintage #legorarity #monorails #monorailtrack#review #LEGO #legoart #legobricks #legoman #legolife #legobuilder #legocreations #legoinstragram #legofan #legocommunity #legofun #legomania #legostagram #kidsplay #kidsplaying #kidsplaytime #keepingkidsbusy #funwithkids #boredkids #legovideo #legoquickreview

DO NOT BUY MERLIN ENTERTAINMENT DISCOVERY, GOLD & PLATINUM ANNUAL PASSES before seeing this video!

DO NOT BUY MERLIN ENTERTAINMENT DISCOVERY, GOLD & PLATINUM ANNUAL PASSES before seeing this video! These passes are effectively the rebranded Merlin Entertainment Standard and Premiere annual passes of days gone by.

We’ve used annual Merlin Passes in both pre and post covid world and can see the difference. The main issue is what you discover after you’ve purchased your passes that you wish you knew before you purchased your passes. By watching this video, you’ll be able to see a couple of these key considerations and discover that what is written on the tin, may in fact not be the case.

Merlin Entertainment Passes give access to:
LEGOLAND Windsor Resort UK
LEGOLAND Discovery Centres
The London Eye
SEA LIFE Centres
Thorpe Park Resort
Alton Towers Resort
Blackpool Tower
Chessington World of Adventures
Madame Tussauds
Shreks Adventure
The London Dungeon (and other Dungeons)
Warwick Castle

Time codes to the Video:

0:00 Introduction
1:00 New Discovery, Gold & Platinum Annual Passes vs Old Standard & Premium Passes
2:45 Questionable Customer Feedback
3:35 What they don’t tell you that you wish you knew
4:00 “Throttling” / “Capping” Annual Passes – Problems booking annual tickets
5:15 Merlin Entertainments Double Dipping on Customers
5:45 Non-Disclosure of Ticket Allocation Opaque Process
6:35 No Annual Members Access vs Non-Annual Full Price Access
7:05 Queue Times at LEGOLAND Getting Longer – Removal of Hotel Priority Ride Hour
8:50 What Access do you Truly Have to Attractions?
9:28 Undefined and Ambiguous Terms & Conditions
12:00 Short Term Gains at Long Term Expense – Alienating Current Customers
13:13 Is It Worth It?
14:30 Alternative Attractions
14:48 Summing Up

#review #merlinannualpass #altontowersresort #sealife #londoneye #thorpepark #blackpooltower #chessingtonworldofadventures #madametussauds #shreksadventure #warwickcastle #londondungeon #merlinentertainments #merlinpass #LEGOLANDWindsor #LEGO #themepark #worththemoney #queuetimes #fasttrack #LEGOLAND #Themepark #Miniland #HauntedHouseMonsterParty #DaysOut #DaysOutWithKids #Playground #keepingkidsbusy #funwithkids #homewithkids

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. In this video we are going to ask if the newly rebranded Merlin Entertainment Annual Discovery, Gold and Platinum passes are worth it? We’ve used annual Merlin Passes in both pre and post covid world and can see the difference.

The main issue is what you discover after you’ve purchased your passes that you wish you knew before you purchased your passes. By watching this video, you’ll be able to see a couple of these key considerations and discover that what is written on the tin, may in fact not be the case.

Originally we purchased a Merlin Premium passes in May 2019 so got to experience the attractions in both pre and post covid environments, up until November 2020 (due to corona virus, the passes were extended by 5 months beyond their initial 12 month period due to attractions being closed during lockdown).

We have a number of videos on Merlin Entertainment attractions, what they were like post covid, and full time lapse walk throughs of a number of attractions. Check out our Merlin Entertainment Attractions play list for these videos linked around this video.

New – Discovery, Gold and Platinum Annual Merlin Entertainment Passes

Just this week Merlin have announced new passes and changed their offering. Their passes use to be called a standard pass, premium pass and VIP pass. The VIP pass is pretty much gone. The standard pass use to offer access except for school holidays and bank holidays. The premium pass pretty much had access all year round.

There were additional benefits to the passes which use to include 20% off food outlets within the parks, some free parking options and a number of £15 tickets for friends and family. These were largely icing on the cake as the key aspect you are paying for is access to get in the front door at attractions.

Now, the new range of Merlin Entertainment passes are called Discovery, Gold and Platinum.

The discovery pass is new and seems to offer 180 days Monday to Friday, excluding weekends and school holidays. So effectively appealing to nursery kids and family who can go during the week during slow times.

Gold pass appears to offer most days excluding bank holidays and other key dates. It is somewhat equivalent to the old standard pass but slightly  different.

The platinum pass seems to not have any date exclusions, can be offered year round. It is pretty much the equivalent of the old premium pass. The old premium pass was in the ball park of £170 a year (depending upon whether new or renewal). The new equivalent is £239 which is a 40% price increase, or a 76% price increase if you look at the post introductory price of £299.00). This is massive for effectively the same thing – granted there are some tweaks around the edges but largely the same.

The usual marketing trick of repacking something old, with a few changes so it is something new and they can distance themselves from this massive price increases and confuse the issue with it being an allegedly new product.

Questionable Customer Feedback

In Merlin’s communications they have made reference to these changes are based upon customer feedback. I do think this is disingenuous. On September 18th, 2020, we received their survey and filled it out. It was 12 questions and would offer you a choice between an A option and a B option, and was heavily skewed.

It was literally do you want horrible option A, which is a significantly restricted access to a single attraction for an expensive price, or horrible option B which is access to all parks at a significantly expensive price with numerous exclusions? You were choosing the lessor of 2 evils in essence. What they really needed was a 3rd option C allowing you not to choose either cause they were both unpalatable. But this didn’t happen.

There was no place in the survey to provide any written feedback so came across to us they have already pre-determined significant price rises and it was just what form that would take and/or what would draw the least resistance and backlash from customers.

What they don’t tell you that you wish you knew?

Have you ever purchased something and then gone to use it to discover all the little caveats and effective restrictions you weren’t really told about upfront. Or directed to the small print where there is an exemption that you weren’t told existed up front with rubbery marketing wording that is presented to be implied one thing but then actually means something else. For mine, these new Merlin Passes have a couple of these and they are significant  .

The biggest single issue we’ve experience in the post covid experience is the actual booking of tickets, This is where it becomes really murky, and where what’s written on the tin, doesn’t meet up with reality.

“Throttling” / “Capping” Annual Passes – Problems Booking Annual Tickets

The issue is around what we like to call “capping” or “throttling” of annual pass numbers to the park. Numerous times since covid, we’ve found attractions allegedly completely booked out and nothing available to Merlin Annual pass holders. However, if you were to go to the attraction website and wanted to pay full price for the day as a completely new customer, you could buy tickets without a problem.

Initially when attractions reopened July 4th, 2020, after the national lockdown, numbers were definitely restricted at attractions – but we also found shortened trading hours, many park specific attractions closed etc. See this video for what LEGOLAND was like shortly after reopening  in mid July 2020. Effectively you were getting less for the same money, so the question of value starts to arise.

By the end of summer 2020 however, you wouldn’t even know there is a pandemic and park numbers felt pretty much back to normal. You can see our subsequent LEGOLAND video for details on this. We experienced the same thing at Chessington World of Adventures and have produced a video on that at the time as well.

Merlin Entertainment “Double Dipping”

We found this throttling of annual pass holders across the board at the London based Merlin attractions – LEGOLAND, Chessington, The Aquarium, London Eye etc. To us it felt very much like double dipping by Merlin. People have paid in advance for their annual passes then, struggle to use them as Merlin show preference to non-annual passholders who want to pay.

So annual passholders have paid and not gotten what they had paid for, while Merlin in essence go and resell an annual passholders spot for a second time to a new customer. This completely undermines and destroys the value of an annual pass. Great for Merlin as they effectively get paid twice for only delivering the 1 service or product.

Non-Disclosure of Ticket Allocation

This is part of the process that is opaque. It really needs to be disclosed what percentage of daily tickets are allocated to annual members vs non annual members. Is it 10%, 50%, 80% of the daily park capacity? Pre-covid this wasn’t an issue. But in a post covid world, that allocation fundamentally affects if/how you can use your annual pass, hence its value/viability and what it is you are actually purchasing.

Even though you’ve purchased an annual pass, through Merlin Pass ticket allocation, Merlin can throttle the value of what you are paying for and you don’t actually know what you are paying for in essence. This for us was one of the single biggest factors in deciding not to renew our passes – we have no idea of what we are paying for. What an annual pass means in a post covid world is different to in a precovid world and it is going to take people getting burned by this to realise.

No Annual Members Access vs Non-Annual Full Price Access

It was always really frustrating to find days we wanted to go to attractions there was no Merlin Pass ticket allocation available. But for those very days Merlin passholders couldn’t get tickets, if we wanted to purchase tickets as one offs and pay full price, not a problem. Pre covid we’d never been denied access on any day that we chose to go, including peak times during summer school holidays.

Without some sort of disclosure of annual pass ticket holder allocation, from the outset you are sold a product that can never be honored, or the product sold can never live up to how it has been sold, and is sold under false pretenses.

Queue Times at LEGOLAND Getting Longer – Removal of Hotel Priority Ride Hour

We have pretty much been to LEGOLAND every October half term break for the last 3 or 4 years. This year, the queues throughout the day on major rides were the longest we’d ever seen. They were pretty much 90 minutes throughout the entire day, from opening time to closing time. In our 3 minute full tour video of LEGOLAND from Summer 2019 we made reference to going early being a great tip. Now it doesn’t matter. The first and last hour of opening don’t see dramatically shorter queues anymore.

One reason is people staying in the LEGOLAND hotels use to get early access and be able to ride for the first hour of the day before general crowds, as the rides would start at 9am. Now they get early access to stand in the queue from 09:30am and the rides don’t start til 10am. In essence, you get early access to stand in a queue for 30 minutes. This then has a domino effect blowing out queue times for the entire whole day. 

Merlin are obviously doing this as they can save an hour of staff wages across the park at the expense of blowing out queue times. This was a last-minute change made to hotels several days before the October 2020 half term holidays without any compensation or offset. So many people booking a hotel stay have had one of their main benefits taken away, early access to actually being on the rides, that came with staying at the hotel.

During summer 2020, Merlin also charged annual pass holders an additional £1 per ticket to book. I understand this stops people booking and taking other people’s opportunity to visit and then don’t show up, but it was an additional cost none the less.

For any annual pass holder who visited the park having paid this additional surcharge (which could be argued was outside the terms and conditions of the annual pass) should have gotten a voucher to use in the park, refund or something as a goodwill gesture. In the end, it was just another revenue stream for Merlin, over and above what you thought you’d already paid for (and in any other circumstance, would have been).

This is the other problem is beyond not knowing what access you truly do have to attractions, the variations being made to the passes feel very much like what you think you are buying and what you end up getting are two different things.

Now you have to book so far in advance, the weather becomes a real lottery and makes planning for the day that much more difficult. Previously you could get a week or so out, see what the weather is like and then plan according. You could go a day earlier or later depending upon the circumstances. School holidays we’ve found you now have to book at least a month in advance for any hope of getting a date you want. Now if you are stuck with a date that is raining, with little kids, what really are your alternatives?

Short Term Gains at Long Term Expense – Alienating Current Customers

We understand trading conditions have been tough but the solution opted for here is to massively increase prices while significantly reducing the value and experience of the product. This is very short term thinking and detrimental to the long term. The old saying, “once bitten, twice shy” springs to mind.

Merlin are probably anticipating that with no foreign travel available, everyone will be having staycations so extract maximum value from customers who probably won’t be long term customers as once they can travel again, they will.

The problem becomes in alienating your otherwise long-term customer who won’t return in 2-3 years time when things return to normal. We were a little surprised that in the lead up to our annual passes expiring and even after that had happen, there wasn’t an email or an offer to try to get us to renew. It can be said that attracting a new customer can cost 10 times what it takes to keep an existing one, so on the surface doesn’t make sense.

Maybe Merlin know with a local captive market that can’t travel, they are going to have strong demand for their passes. Why would they want to take a returning customer at a discount when they can have a new customer at a significantly higher full price? I get the sense they aren’t calculating the lifetime value of customers and interested in maximizing the short term, at the expense of the long term.

So overall, is it worth it?

From our point of view and what we’ve experience, on paper sounds brilliant, but the reality is very different. There is no point having an annual pass if due to opaque throttling by Merlin, you can never really use the thing. If you can’t get in the door, what is offered past the door has no relevance.

In a pre-covid world, the annual passes were great value. You only needed to go 3 or 4 times in a year to be in front. Having the passes also made you more inclined to visit attractions or if you did go, and felt like half a day was enough, you wouldn’t have a problem leaving a little early as you knew you had value out of the day.

In previous years we certainly made the most of the passes visiting most attractions multiple times a year and really enjoying.

In a post-covid world, having the ticket allocation throttled means it is too unpredictable and no point paying for something you can’t use. If it was a matter that once the ticket allocation is exhausted on a day for everyone, annual and non-annual members alike, on a first come, first served basis, you might think fair enough. But that isn’t how it works.

Imagine you are at the LEGOLAND gates, or any other Merlin Attraction and being told you can’t get in with your annual pass as it is full. But someone rocks up after you, pays full price at the ticket office and then can walk through the turnstiles, but you can’t. In the real world that wouldn’t be tolerated but somehow by shifting the ticket booking system online, that is exactly what is happening.

Having paid your annual membership, that leaves an incredibly sour taste in your mouth.

Alternative Attractions

We won’t be renewing and haven’t. We will look at alternatives, such as castles and non-Merlin attractions (click around the video for some of these other options), as these are proving to be much better value. When times are difficult, businesses that thrive are the ones that offer value. We think Merlin has lost sight of this and only thinking in terms of short-term wins.

Summing Up

If you’ve gotten something out of this video, don’t be afraid to hit that thumbs up button. Here are some videos on Castles outside the Merlin Entertainment ecosystem that have been great value. Here is a playlist of Merlin Entertainment attractions and quick full walk throughs. Alternatively, here is what LEGOLAND was like at the end of summer 2020. Thanks very much for watching. That’s all from us here at Family Bricks and do consider subscribing to the channel.

AMONG US Mashup

AMONG US - Various Altogether Working 01 50 percent
AMONG US – Various Altogether Working 01 50 percent

Had a recent You Say I Draw Livestream and put together this group of Among Us Characters

How many of them can you name?

List of Characters

Spawn

Kermit the Frog

Mickey Mouse

Indiana Jones

Buzz Lightyear

Woody

Optimus Prime

Skelator

He-man

Shawn the Sheep

Batman

Steve / Minecraft

Sonic the Hedgehog

Super Mario Brothers

Morty

Rick

Chewbacca

Emilie – ReZero

Bart Simpson

Gromit

Wallace

Pikachu

SpongeBob SquarePants

Mr Spock – Star Trek Motion Picture

Superman

Blue Among Us

Xenomorph

Ghostbuster

Aiger Akabane

Groot

Paddington Bear

Lara Croft

Asoka Tano

Mandolorain

The Child / Baby Yoda / Grogu

ET

Marty McFly

Doc Emmett Brown

Elsa

Hellboy

Fred Flintstone

Green Power Ranger

Deadpool

Wonder Woman

Princess Leia

Clone Trooper

Chicken Fall Guy

Iron Man

Wakko Animaniacs

Fry Futurama

Pink Panther

Pac-man

Spartan Halo

Flash

Queen Elizabeth II

Slimer

Winnie the Pooh

Casper

Gruffalo

Aquaman

Leonardo

Michelangelo

Raphael

Donatello

Frosty the Snowman

Santa

Grinch

Ginger Bread Man

Elf

Ways to Save Money at Amazon | Amazon Hacks | Amazon tips and tricks | Keepa.com

In this video we will show you one of the key ways to save money at Amazon.com and get products for the best possible prices. We use this all the time and saved thousands from Amazon. Its also great as applies to Amazon globally so not just limited to amazon.com or amazon.co.uk or amazon.ca

This is done largely with https://keepa.com/ and what is shown here is done with the free version as at time of recording.

#amazon #amazonas #amazonprime #amazonia #amazonmusic #amazonseller #amazonfba #amazonite #amazonkindle #amazonhandmade #amazone #amazonbooks #amazondeals #amazona #amazonmp3 #AmazonPrincess #Amazonparrot #AmazonBestSeller #amazonrainforest #amazonecho #amazonian #AmazonIndia #amazonmerch #amazons #amazonriver #amazonfashionweek #amazonalexa #amazonwoman #Amazonfashion #mattelder

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here and in this video we will show you one of the key ways to save money at Amazon and get products for the best possible prices. We use this all the time and saved thousands from Amazon. Its also great as applies to Amazon globally so not just limited to amazon.com or amazon.co.uk or amazon.ca .

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this Youtube video, we’ll will look after you.

Keepa.com

So the way we are going to find good deals on amazon and ensuring we are getting the best price is with keepa.com . Its two things, both a website and also a pluggin. So first of all we will have a look at the actual website itself, go to keepa.com.

As you can see it is available for most browsers extensions. What is really good about it is down here you can see, its keeping track of all the different prices across all the different amazon websites. So US, UK, Germany and all that sort of thing. So it is monitoring about 1.5 billion products.

So when you first come here you need to select the amazon that your interested in. It comes up with a default of amazon.com So for us we need to change to the UK , so it is going to be uk.co. So switch across to that.

Searching for a Product

Then what you can do is go to your search functionality, and you enter in what you are looking for. In this case I’m going to be looking for the Beexcellent Gaming Headset. So just click on there and it will bring up all the listing results that is has found on the products list on amazon. So we want to go down to this green one down here.

Which is the Gaming headset and tells you that it is £24.99 , colours, different codes. So if you actually click on the link itself, it then brings up this price graph history. So you can sort of see for this one here it is tracking the price. It generally comes up with the last 3 months as the default view. So you can switch it to the last month, back to 3 months, or a year or the “All” is for however long it has been listed across the whole amazon website. But we will just stick to the 3 months for the time being.

You can see here that it is listed at £24.99. And then as you go into the past here, in late October , it is £21 and it is jumping up and down. And then down here you have the red dots which shows when it was listed as lightning deals. So it was listed as a lightning deal as £18.69 for however long that was and you can see over the last 3 months it has been listed there 3 times. Or if you go out to the last year, you can see it has been listed about 5 times.

So it gives you a sense of where the prices is going and where it has been historically. So you can see that £24.99 is kind a reasonable sort of price. Certainly it has been lower. If you can catch it as a lightning deal that would be great. And then as we headed into lockdown you can really see the price spiked and come back down.

And it will also show over here the colours codes. If it is an amazon product it will have and amazon orange line so you can see that, and then “new” and “used”, which you can turn on and off just by clicking the buttons there. Its not showing up on here as it looks like it is only been listed by a reseller.

Maximum Price You Want to Pay

So what we can do is we might be looking at this and don’t want to pay the £24.99, but we can’t just keep on coming back and checking when is it going to get down to £21, when is a lightning deal or something like that. So the way that you do that is go across to this tab here “Track Product”.

And what you can do is enter in the minimum price you’d want to be notified that the price has dropped below that. So in this case we will go through and enter £20.00 on Amazon or the “New” one done by a 3rd party, and enter in £20.00 there as well, cause either / or.

It will give you some information as well, generally in terms of what the current price is, when it has been discounted and by how much , the averages over the last 90 days and so on and so forth. And then you can specific how long you want to track for. So you can go anywhere from 2 weeks up to 10 years, and then you press “Start Tracking”.

And when you press “Start Tracking”, it will then ask you to log into your account. We just go up here and you login and register. The usual sort of thing of entering your email and confirming it, and then you start tracking it.

Keepa on Amazon

Now that’s all very well and good but it might be painful to be on amazon and always having to coming back to Keepa each time and trying to go backwards and forwards. So what they also have too is the extensions.

So if you go to main page for the add ons / plugins / whatever depending upon your browser. So they have the main ones here. So in the case I’m using Chrome so if you wanted to then install your plugin you go and click on the Chrome store, and it comes up in a new brower window.

I’ve already got it installed but normally there would be a button here to install the add on, extension, plugin / whatever it is. So once you’ve done that, we come over to Amazon and enter the same thing in terms of that “Beexcellent Gaming Headset for Xbox 1”. And then we will go through and find that green one again here.

You can see on amazon how it is tagging it as one of its best sellers. And then you can come in and see this here. This comes up as your normal sort of page and what happens is if you just scroll down just a little bit, it will then put that keepa graph actually on the page itself, so you can then really see inline what the graphs and what the price history has been.

I know sometimes depending upon the browser and the machine it might come up as actually just a keepa button there and you might have to click on it and bring it up. Generally the graph will only come up when you scoll down and you have to leave it and wait for a sec, and then it will be like it is refreshing and getting the data sometimes.

Pretty much all the same functionality as what we saw on the website so you can see the time going back out , see all the lightning deals there, and this is where it starts to get interesting. It is saying that it is £24.99 there, but then if we go up here, it has the recommended retail price and it is crossed out and it is £34.00.

Is the RRP Misleading?!

So it is saying that it was £34.00 and now it is £24.99. And this is where it can be a little misleading and this is also too where it can be really good for the graphs and have a look. You can see prior to it being £24.99, no it was actually cheaper than that, and you actually have to go back to the beginning of June to actually get that £34.99 price.

So that is where it is really good , cause I’ve noticed this quite a bit on the amazon products, when you are looking at it, it will have a high recommended retail price (RRP) , which it either hasn’t been or it hasn’t been recently. And this is a really good example, you have to go back, what is that, almost 4-5 months to get that recommended retail price (RRP).

So if you just looked at this blind and go “oh, it was £34.99 and it has been reduced down to £24.99”. Whereas in actually fact 3 weeks ago it was £21.99, and then it has gone up in price. So it is just something to help you be aware of that.

Across All Amazon Product Categories

And the same sort of thing you can go in here and track the product and get it when it is a good deal. It works across all the products on the amazon website. So here I’ve got some hardware which in this case is a Von Haus 44 multi drawer which I use for sorting and storing LEGO, and you can check a video here about how I do that. And you can see I’ve purchased this about 10 times and the last time I’ve made a purchase was earlier in the year.

And you can see at the moment it is £37.99 and you scroll down and you get the keepa graph and in this case the last year. Generally always paying about the £25-£30 for it and sort of see that recently it has been relatively highly price. And it isn’t til you go back to the beginning of the year, funnily enough pre lockdown when the prices seemed to be more around that £25-30 mark.

And again if you go out to the “All” view, it has been available for 1760 days, so basically since about 2016. And you can see just a general trend upwards, and allowing for inflation. Originally you could pick it up quite a bit for $18-19.

Registering a Keepa Account and Tracking

So once you’ve registered for your keepa account which is free, you can login in and actually come over here to “Track” , and see exactly all the different products you are tracking. So if you go “Tracking Overview” here, it will then bring up all the products that I am tracking.

So in this instance I’ve got about 35 different items I’m keeping a track of. So there are some things I get quite a bit like art supplies and materials. So if you scroll down you can see one of the things I’m keeping track of is a Prismacolour Marker 72 markert set, which is an item I like to buy from time to time. It is one of those recurring things.

However, the price can vary quite wildly. Even just looking at it in the last 3 months, you’ve got it here at one stage it was £313.00 , the it was £260.00 bascially, and at the moment it is down to £202.00. And then if you go out to the year view, you can see for quite a while, pretty much since lockdown started, it was up around over £300.00. So that is a huge variation in terms of it was £300.00 pounds then, and now it is like £202.00. So it is quite a huge variety and gap in there.

So as you can sorta see there, the dotted line is my desired price. So when it goes less than £225.00 I’ll get an email which will say “hey, this has now dropped below that desired price” and you can jump on it straight away.

Sometimes when these prices drop, if it is a deal or something like that, lots of people will get those alerts, people will be going through on the websites or it pops up in different other websites as being on sale and you need to be quick sometimes to jump onto these.

When is this Ideal to Use?

So this works really, really well for products which either which  you are interested in getting but you don’t need them right away so you can just wait for a little bit to see what happens, or other consumable products you’ll get quite regularly from time to time.

I hope you found that useful and if you have, and learnt something from it then, certainly give that thumbs up button there. We’ve always found it a great tool as sometimes you are on the amazon website and you are looking at something that is on sale and you’ll look at the recommended retail price and looks like a great deal. But then when you use the keepa you can actually see no wait a minute, that recommended retail price is not accurate, it doesn’t reflect the current situation. And you feel much better that no wait a minute, I’m not being dupped here or mislead.

Its always great when you are keeping track of an item you want to purchase at some stage, you get that email saying that it has gone below your desired price level, you can jump on it straight away and pick it up knowing that you got it for a good price or below the upper limit of what you’d like to pay for it.

And the other thing with getting all these alerts is you don’t constantly have to be going back and checking the website and things like that. And particularly with some of the lightning deals, they might only pop up for a couple of hours, and if you are quick and on top of it, you can get it for a really good price.

Summing Up

Thanks very much for watching. That’s all from us here at Family Bricks. If you like what you see and want to be able to pick up tips and tricks on how to save money, consider subscribing to the channel. Here is a video showing you how to save money at LEGOLAND. Or here is a video showing you a quick walkthrough of the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels. Or a video on Pet Portrait artworks.

Alton Towers Accommodation & Hotels Review Splash Landings CBeeBies Land Luxury Treehouse Stargazing

In this video, we are going to review the accommodation in and around Alton Towers. This will include Alton Towers Hotel, Splash Landings Hotel, CBeeBies Land Hotel, Woodland Lodges, Luxury Treehouses, Stargazing Pods and the Hilton at St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent. We will try to give a comprehensive overview as getting complete information is a bit of a challenge.

We will touch upon where the accommodation is located in relation to the park and the general area. We’ll look briefly at getting around including the monorail (or lack there of) and Sky Ride (with current restrictions), and what that means overall.

Further information on the Holiday Homes / Airbnb / Short Term Lets can be found at http://www.macatsim.com/

Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).

Time codes to the Video:
0:00 Introduction – Alton Towers Resort UK Accommodation
0:43 Map Overview of Alton Towers Resorts Accommodation
1:38 Google Maps Accommodation & Park Overview
3:42 Alton Towers Hotel Review
5:16 Splash Landings Hotel & Waterpark
5:35 CBeebies Land Hotel – Alton Towers Resort
5:51 Luxury Treehouses
6:09 Woodland Lodges
6:23 Stargazing Pods
6:39 Hilton Hotel at St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent Review
8:30 Summing Up

#altontowersresort #splashlandings #stargazingpods #rollercoaster #themepark #wickermanride #scarefest #hiltonmemories #nationalrollercoasterday #competition #rollercoasterday #halloween #uk #luxurytreehouse #woodlandlodges #happy #fun #coaster #cbeebiesland #ride #wickerman #parkaholicnaeuropa #amazing #thrilling #madetothrill #amusementpark #photographer #altontowershotel #scaremaze #altontowersscarefest

Transcript from the Show

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here and in this video, we are going to review the accommodation in and around Alton Towers. This will include Alton Towers Hotel, Splash Landings Hotel, CBeeBies Land Hotel, Woodland Lodges, Luxury Treehouses, Stargazing Pods and the Hilton at St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent. We will try to give a comprehensive overview as getting complete information is a bit of a challenge.

This video is bought to you bay Macatsim Holiday Homes in Margate and Broadstairs. Great for a week’s holiday or a weekend escape, being just over an hour east of London, UK. Treat yourself to amazing sunsets, a LEGO wall or great food. Visit www.macatsim.com and mention this YouTube video, we’ll will look after you.

Map Overview

Ok we are just going to start off with this map as a bit of an overview. So you can sort of see here this is the Splash Landings Hotel , which then has the waterpark there. This is the Alton Towers Hotel and then in the back of that there you have CbeeBies Land Hotel , over here is the 5 Enchanted Luxury Treehouses and over here you have the enchanted village.

Now on this map because it is 2018, it doesn’t have in this area here, the stargazing pods. And then over here you have the golf and the monorail. Now  I get that this is an infographic but this showing here the amusement park is much further straight off to the right of screen. So it is a little bit misleading thinking that it is you know right behind and everything like that when its actually not.

Google Maps

And that is what you are going to find with this. Trying to get up to date information is actually quite a bit of a challenge. So if we have a look on Google, the satellite view, you can sort of see this is it rotated 180 degrees. So you have the Splash Landings Hotel here, The Alton Towers Hotel here, the CBeeBies Land Hotel is down here, the enchanted village luxury ones there, the enchanted village and the stargazing pods are actually in this field as they only built them a year or so ago. And this treetop one is not shown at all.

Then you have the golf over here and the monorail station there. But just to give you a bit of an idea of size, to walk from the Alton Towers Hotel where we stayed, in and around and through here and come through the carpark to the side entrance there, it is about 8minute walk. So if you are over in one of these ones here, you need to be allowing 15 minutes or so.

Difficult Getting Around

Recently the monorail station is actually closed, so it makes it really difficult to get around the park cause normally the monorail can take you straight to the front entrance. The park is really spread out and if we zoom out a little bit you can see this is then the rest of the park. You normally come in here which is the side entrance for the hotel guests.

You come in and get the skyride which comes up here to the main castle building itself or then straight across here. And this is the main entrance. The problem with covid is you use to be able get on it and go to the main entrance. Now you can only get on it and go in this direction.

So if you are staying with kids in the CBeeBies Hotel or something like that, the main CBeeBies Land is over by the main entrance, which is over here. Which is a fair walk across there. Part of the reason they have the cable cars is this is actually a gorge straight through here so getting over to one of these areas is not as simple as it might look like. So that just gives you a bit of an overview of where the hotels are in relation to the actual park itself.

For a full walkthrough and tour of the actual park and the hotel area, click around the screen and you’ll see a video on that.

Alton Towers Hotel

We stayed at Alton Towers Hotel which has an explorer’s theme. The room had a good layout with a Moon base theme. Included was a full English breakfast buffet that had a good selection and never felt overcrowded. There is also a restaurant but need to watch out for not being open for food service.

You have to order through the app but won’t block you from ordering when it is closed. Only way we found out cause couldn’t get the app to take Merlin discount and then told by staff that actually not preparing food, even though the app will let you order it.

When go in, you will have a temperature check you and they give a wrist band, which you may have to show later.

There is a side access to Splash Landings waterpark, this is an additional charge. Only disconcerting aspect is possible to go from Splash landings, in through the back to get to Alton Towers Hotel without a swipe card.

You also get 9 holes of Extraordinary Golf for each night that you stayed – its ok but starting to show signs of age and could use a bit of a facelift. And free parking is also included.

As with all the accommodation, you have to prebook. Depending upon the time of year, might need to do this well in advance,  particularly if you want to get a specific type of themed room.

Inside the Moon Themed Room

OK, so we have the room, which has a double bed, out to the view, which as you come back into the family room, so you also have kids beds themed out in steampunk/moon

There is also an Xbox in the room with a LEGO Marvel SuperHeroes game.

There is also a general courtyard and garden space. Would imagine in the warmer months of the year this would be quite pleasant and there was a tiny playground with equipment.

Splash Landings Hotel

Next Hotel over is the Splash Landings Hotel which has the water park in it, closest to the park side entrance and now closed monorail. It has a Caribbean theme, and rooms can be Beachcomber, Ice Age or Pirate Room. It also has entertainment, buffet breakfast, golf rounds and free parking included. Don’t think access to the water park is included but worth double checking.

CBeeBies Land Hotel

CBeeBies Land Hotel Obviously targeted a younger ages, there are live shows and special games. Themed rooms include Bugbies, Octonauts, Swashbuckle or In the Night Garden. There is a buffet breakfast at the Windmill Restaurant.

Luxury Treehouses

Luxury Treehouses are ironically one of the furthest from the entrance but can have a special buggy service. Each sleeps up to 8 people, has a small kitchen or takeaway service. Each has its own hot tub overlooking the forest. VIP Parking is included with each having its own personalized name plate. Other meals are shared with Crooked Spoon restaurant

Woodland Lodges

Woodland Lodges are private luxury cabins each with their own deck. Can’t help but think of hobbits and middle earth when I see these – must be the round doors. Each log cabin has a separate kids sleeping area. The Crooked Spoon is used for breakfast and meals.

Stargazing Pods

Stargazing Pods are very minimalist and cater for those on a budget. You can sleep up to 4 in a pod with communal showers. A complimentary breakfast on the go is provided and like all other accommodation at Alton Towers, early access to the park is provided. There is even a central playground for the kids to explore.

Hilton at St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent

And then there is the Hilton hotel about 35 minutes away that we stayed at for one night, Home of England sports clubs. So whenever they are playing , they can train at the facilities down here. They also have a pool which we went into and you have to book that, and it is really limited slots, so you have to call at 6:30 in the morning to book a slot.

But as with other things, if you are paying additional/full price, you’ll find you can get in and more slots are available. So it isn’t too bad as there was only about 4 groups of people in there the whole time.

Hilton Family Room … Bit Small

And this is the family room. Basic enough, a little bit on the same size for a Hilton and then on the outside you can see through to the different sports grounds, fields that they have.

The bathroom is tight and sort of squishy. You do have a continental breakfast but they will serve it to you down here in the restaurant.

So the Hilton at St George’s Park, it was adequate for what it was, little bit on the small side and a little bit on the expensive side and obviously just making the best that they can with the corona virus situation.

Hilton on a Map

So the Hilton at St George’s is here, and it is about a 20 mile drive or 37  or 40 minutes to do it. The thing we did find is that because all these are little country roads and back lanes, is that a number of them were closed for maintenance. So then the GPS didn’t pick it up so you are circling back around and everything like that.

So if you are trying to hit a time to get to Alton Towers, just be aware that some of these roads and things might be closed so you might be doubling back and around. So Allow for additional time. Its sort of north of Birmingham. We went up there a day early from London so that we could maximise our time in the park.

Summing Up

If you’ve enjoyed and / or gotten something out of this video, then hit that thumbs up button and or consider subscribing. Would you go? If you’ve been to one of these hotels, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below.

Thanks very much for watching. If you are interested in having a full park time lapse walkthrough of Alton Towers and picking up some tips to maximise your day, check out this video here. For a review of the 3 Mazes and Darkest Depths experience, click this video here. Otherwise this video has a similar time lapse tour of the whole of LEGOLAND. Or finally this video will give a time lapse tour of Chessington World of Adventures.

That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.