Update: Merlin Entertainments

Thank you ladies for your comments and concerns. After digging a little I realized that the Lego Group is not the sole owner or operator of the Legoland discovery centers and more importantly, the Lego Group has nothing to do with this policy (no adults without a child)! I felt the need to change my title for my last blog due to my this new information. I want to update you all on this situation so here is what my day was like yesterday. I called several different phone numbers listed on the Merlin Entertainments website. They are a British company so I called every US number they offered. I finally got a hold of a woman who couldn’t really answer any of my questions. She was very kind and actually sympathetic to our situation. She took my name and number and claimed she would pass it on to the manager at the Dallas location. (The Dallas number just rang and rang for me all morning). Apparently she did pass on my info because I got a call about 15 minutes later. This man wasn’t as sympathetic but he was kind and polite. I asked him very bluntly why adults aren’t permitted without children. His response was something like “The whole concept for the Discovery Centers is for adults to interact with children. There isn’t anything in here for adults. It is all geared towards small children”.  I didn’t even waste my time arguing this statement. Instead I got busy writing an email to anyone in the company that would listen! About 25 different people actually. Here is what I wrote…

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 To Whom It May Concern,
Hello, My name is Anabea and I would like to share with you a great concern of mine. I feel as though my husband and I have been deceived and discriminated against. We visited the Legoland Discovery Center in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The gentleman behind the counter turned us away because we did not have a child with us. Here are my feelings about this situation.
First, I would like to point out that this policy is not mentioned in the proper place(s) on your website. I understand it is somewhere in the FAQs section if your potential customers are willing to dig for a while. Why is this policy hidden? We were able to get the information we needed off of the home page except this policy. We saw the location, approximate ticket price and some available activities. We had no reason to search all corners of the site. Why is this info not on the front page? Many people drive hundreds of miles to see this attraction. Some of us would like to know ahead of time that we will be discriminated against before we drive all that way. Another piece of information that would be nice for customers to know, is the fact that Legoland is NOT fully owned or operated by the Lego Group! (The fine print at the bottom of the page, where Merlin Entertainments is mentioned, should NOT count unless ALL of your online visitors are marketing experts or lawyers!) Wow! I am glad I kept my cool long enough to investigate this horrible experience! If someone would pay attention to the Legoland’s online reviews you would realize that this piece of info would easily bring your cute 2 stars up a little!! Some of the complaints I read were from customers who were not satisfied with the Lego sets available for purchase in the gift shop. Looks like they were expecting to see a Lego Store inside! Ya know, because the sign says LEGO! All of this “missing” information looks like intentional deception! I find this misleading method of marketing to be very shady!
Second, I made several phone calls when my husband and I got home from vacation. I was trying to find out if there was a logical reason why adults are not allowed to enter without a child. It took me all day to get a real person on the phone. I would like to mention that a lady named Becky from the Chicago location was the first to answer my call. She was very kind and tried to be as helpful as she could. She didn’t have many answers for me but she took my name and number and said she would pass it on to Bill Coker at the Dallas center. To my surprise, he called within the next 30 minutes. I appreciate her patience and kindness. Mr. Coker tried to be helpful as well and was also kind and polite. Unfortunately he didn’t have many more answers for me. When I asked the reason for the policy he said something to the effect of “The concept behind the discovery centers is for adults to interact with children. There is nothing in the Dallas center for adults, everything is geared towards small children”. I have several problems with that answer. When my husband and I did our limited research on this center before leaving for vacation we did not see anything on the website that insinuated there was NOTHING for us there. In fact, we saw 3D movies, 4D movies, Star Wars stuff, a gift shop and more. In addition we looked up a few youtube videos while gathering information. In one particular video we saw a beautiful lego construction of the city of Dallas. Please show me a “small child” (as Mr. Coker described it) that gives a hoot about that structure. Maybe the people moving inside the buildings or any noises it might make would catch a child’s attention. Most of them would probably not appreciate the rest of it. So how in the world were we supposed to know none of that was geared towards adults? Actually since we never got the opportunity to see the inside, I still don’t know there is “nothing for adults”. I’m interested to know, who defines what is “geared for adults”? Isn’t this on some level a matter of opinion? For example, there is a children’s place around here that is full of inflatable slides and such. Those slides have weight limits. That’s basically all that is in this building. There is no question that they are for children only. That is fact not opinion!! The only thing adults can enjoy is the food court! I could easily understand a facility like that having this “no adults without a child” policy. Even if this facility placed such a policy, it would only be fair if there was an exception for the adults who don’t have children of their own and are attending a birthday party. Mr. Coker also mentioned that there is “adult day” once a month. Wow, how sweet is that! Those of us without children of our own get a whole day? Yay! Are you kidding me? That’s another piece of information that would have given us a clue about this policy had it been easily visible on the website!
I do understand there are obvious reasons for taking precaution at a facility with so many children around. The most important thing when running a business like that is the safety of the kids. Injuries, missing children…etc must be prevented with every effort possible. I worked with children for approximately 18 years! I have been in charge of enforcing several safety rules to protect my students. That being said, I know that turning away a paying couple just because they have no children with them is NOT the only option here. So if these safety concerns are the reason for this damn rule, how about some sort of wrist bands or ID check. It is possible to economically print out a wrist band with the customer’s name and maybe even the number of children they entered with, on it. If done properly, I would be willing to leave my driver’s license at the front desk if that’s where the tour ends. Everyone checks in upon entering and everyone has to check out before exiting! Safe and practical!
This situation is very frustrating to me! My husband and I went out of our way to see this attraction on our way home from vacation. The traffic, the parking; all for nothing! I can only imagine how many other adults/couples out there have had a similar experience. Something has to be done about this. I do feel like this is a form of discrimination and it doesn’t have to be! I will be waiting to hear from someone regarding this matter soon. Thank you for your time.
Anabea (one of MANY adults, without a child, who loves Legos)
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I replaced my real name with my blog name just for the purpose of this blog. Anyhow, I received about 6 automatic replies. Many of the recipients are on some kind of leave right now. The upside to this is that in the automatic reply I got, these recipients provided more contacts to reach out to while they are out. So I had 12 more emails to send my letter to! One of the email addresses I used was to the customer feedback for Merlin Entertainments. The automatic reply I received from this one said they would review my feedback and respond within 10 business days. Here’s hoping someone is willing to listen…
Much Love!

 

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Fuck you Merlin Entertainment (runs legoland discovery centers)!

I wish we could have reacted like this…

doublefacepalm

“I am not going to let this ruin our whole vacation”. I had to keep repeating this to myself yesterday afternoon. PC and I went on an amazing vacation last week. (technically we are still on vacation but at home now) We went on a road trip that included staying in these amazing wild wild west themed cabins. We stayed in the saloon. We went mining/digging for diamonds, crystals, quartz, and more. Neither of us had done anything like this before. Matter of fact, we had never had jobs that allowed much vacation time. It was gorgeous! We weren’t rushed. Our itinerary wasn’t written in stone. We literally did what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted. I was looking forward to getting home and blogging about our experiences on the road but then one of our last have-to-do stops went terribly wrong…

We were driving south through Texas around the Dallas area and we were very excited to visit the Discovery Lego Land in Grapevine Tx, just outside Fort Worth. I had been looking forward to this part of our vacation! Yes I am a kid at heart and always will be!! Don’t judge, please and thank you. 🙂  We had also decided this is where we would grab the souvenirs for our nieces and nephews. The places we had been throughout the trip didn’t offer the kind of stuff the kiddos in our family would have been excited to get, well not all of them anyways (due to their variable ages)

Let’s get straight to the point…. We are now standing at the counter of lego land and here’s how it went down…

Me:  2 adults please

Employee: Do you have children with you?

Me: Nope just us,  <-insert half smile, half grin, half let me in already expression.

Employee: I’m sorry, you can’t go in without a child.

Me: Stunned and speechless at this point. I thought the employee was going to cry.

Employee: I’m so sorry. I can call the manager if you want. He might be willing to walk you through part of the tour.

Me: That’s ok. Thank you.

PC grabbed my hand  and we walked out in silence. I fought back the tears as long as I could. We started walking thru the mall (where lego land is located) and found a bench to sit on for minute while we composed ourselves. And by “compose” I mean so I could cry. My heart was broken. I have been discriminated against several times in my life. Maybe discriminated isn’t the right word, maybe stereotyped/judged? I will save those details for another time. I never considered someone would turn me away, EVEN IF I AM OFFERING TO PAY FOR A SERVICE, because I have no kids. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand this man had no clue if we had kids at home or not. Technically we weren’t turned away because we don’t have our own children, we just didn’t have them with us. But that’s not what I “heard” the second he said we couldn’t go in. I was grateful we had saved this stop for the end of the road trip. I don’t know if I would have been able to move on from that emotionally enough to enjoy the vacation. That would have been a tragedy! We never vacation and this one was indescribable!

I am angry.

I am sad.

I am motivated.

There has to be something I can do about this. I am trying to ignore my emotions long enough to think of a logical reason for why this establishment would have this restriction. I believe they have rides for the kids inside. They have to know that we understand we wouldn’t be able to ride them. I would have been willing to pay the same price as everyone else even if I wouldn’t be getting the exact same experience. They didn’t even have a gift shop available before you go into the “attraction”. So NO gifts for the kiddos in our family! If anyone on here knows something I don’t about Lego land and this rule, please let me know. I will be going to the top of the ladder with this. And soon.

Much Love.

A different feeling

cysts

 

These were my thoughts all day yesterday!!!

So yesterday my nephew was admitted to the hospital for appendicitis. By 3:45pm he was having surgery. He was a very brave little boy through out the whole process. He was pretty hungry by mid day but that was the only thing he really ever “complained” about all day. I was glad to be there for him and my sis in law. However…

This hospital is known for its labor and delivery ward. Ya know, the kind of hospital that plays music on the intercom every time a baby is born. My nephew is young so he was in the pediatric part of each department (ER, pre-op, post-op…etc). In recovery we were surrounded by young children who had just surgery. I believe my nephew’s surgery was the least “serious” of all of them at the time.

For the first time so far through this journey I didn’t feel angry about my infertility. I actually felt incompetent. I felt like I didn’t belong. I was surrounded by large belly bumps, worried parents, sick children and baby stuff EVERYWHERE! I was suddenly aware of my physical shortcomings. I am having a hard time putting my feelings into words right now, not that I’m usually good with words. I just felt like I didn’t belong at all! It was a weird feeling to say the least. I just sat there wondering if I should even be there. Then I would think “Why would I not be here just because I’m not a parent. That doesn’t even make sense. My childfree life has nothing to do with this little boy and his appendix”. I knew my thoughts were silly. I stayed anyways. I can only hope my family couldn’t tell I was struggling. I am sure it crossed their minds just because they are aware of my situation but I hope I didn’t give them any reason while I was there to worry about anything but the nephew. At one point while still in the ER my nephew started feeling “sideways” (as he put it) thanks to the pain meds. My sis in law then began to share her c-section experiences (she had a c-section with both of her boys).  She was telling us about how the pain med she was on made her feel “sideways” too. That conversation lasted a while. Again, I was just thinking i will never have a “story” like that to tell. Ever. Ever. Maybe the finality of it all is hitting me. I have been leaning towards the decision to move on from this infertile journey and embrace my childfree life. I think I might be going through the grieving process now before I make this announcement to my friends and family. I want PC and I to be completely happy with this decision before we share. I will get there. And I am sure I will blog about this decision more in the future.

Bottom line…I’m glad my nephew is recovering well!!

Much Love.

Resolve

I seem to make important decisions well when I am stressed. I think I wait until that stress level is at its peak to decide I have to do something about it. I need meaning in my life, direction, purpose. I have come to that point now and I think I have an answer!

My sister’s wedding is fast approaching. I do not remember at this time if I have mentioned her wedding before but it is a very stressful situation for me. Her and I do not get along to say the least. I have said this before, I do not feel comfortable airing other’s dirty laundry. I don’t mind airing my own but when the other person is unaware, I do not feel it is always the right thing to do. Although my sister is my one exception to this rule I will spare you all the details. The one fact that I will share is that she has found a way to jab me one last time, and this time the jab and pain will last for a while! She lives in a different town than I, we do not talk on the phone, we only communicate when my mother is involved or when her daughter is. (the most amazing niece in the WORLD!!!) Point is my sister decided to get remarried (3rd marriage) this year… She is getting married on my anniversary! That’s tacky even for her. Yes, PC and I have celebrated the same anniversary date for 18 years this year. We started dating, got engaged, got married and then got remarried all on this day. And now my sister is getting married on this day too. You should have heard the excuses she gave me for why it HAD to be this one day! It was originally scheduled for summertime. Not only that but after all the HELL she has put me through for so many years (in addition to the last incident about 2 years ago that caused me to cut her and many others out of my life) she asked me to OFFICIATE this wedding! Ha, she is fruitier (is that a word?) than I thought.  Ok, not really, I knew she was this kind of crazy but no one else wants to believe it or gives a damn. Her actions have always been excused, forgiven and if you ask any psych they will tell you she has been encouraged and enabled! Matter of fact my therapist just gave me a book to read yesterday that is focused on helping family members deal with her kind of mental illness. Hopefully this book has some insight for me. Anyhow, I thought I would be ok with this situation. It’s not really the wedding date that is stressing me out. It’s hard to continually watch her pay ZERO consequences for her actions. The family (aware of all she has done and said all her life!!!) is supporting her in every way and attending this wedding. They are even contacting me to see if I can help with their hotel arrangements and such! It would be nice for some of my family ok how about JUST ONE OF THEM, to stand up for me, or in my corner at least, and say something. 2 years ago I told PC I wasn’t concerned about how the rest of the family handled the new information we had learned about her. I won’t be mad at them for sticking by her side as usual and I expected them not to be mad at me for deciding not to be a part of it anymore. For whatever reason that is not the case! They are mad at me for not going to the wedding and for not wanting anything to do with her ever again, and I am FURIOUS that no ones cares about the pain she has caused. Moving right along, This is the raised stress level that has caused me to take action in my life. 

I have had my eye on the RESOLVE website for a couple of years now. I have even seen some of you guys mention this organization in your blogs. I don’t remember who and what was said tho. So what I have learned recently is that in my state there is no RESOLVE support group in my town. I sent an email to them tonight about volunteering and possibly starting a peer led support group in San Antonio. This is a very big city and I know there have to be hundreds of women who could benefit from a little local support. I am feeling very excited about this actually. This could be my new  passion. I wish teaching wasn’t so painful for me, I would do that or something similar for the rest of my life! I had dreams of teaching parenting  classes or maybe becoming a doula (the only thing that stopped the doula process was finances at the time). I  have felt very strongly about educating young parents! I may still pursue one of those roads at some point but I don’t think now is the time to travel those. Helping others in this infertility journey would be very rewarding to me and I hope to hear from them soon. This decision is not based on my struggles with my family alone. It has little to do with them except maybe the urge to take my happiness back into my own hands. I do not know anyone in real life going through anything similar to my situation. I wonder how many women in my town are saying the same thing!! Hopefully I hear something soon. I will keep you guys updated.

Much Love

The power of a hobby.

Women in our position often get lots of advice. Not only the “how to get pregnant” suggestions but many ideas to help cope. To us most of them sound like crap-for lack of better word. I found myself rolling my eyes so often I was giving myself headaches. The one suggestion that stayed with me was the idea of a hobby. Well I was not happy to hear this suggestion so often. I thought, yeah right, a hobby is going to make this all better huh?? I will forget all about my problems if I find one?? Somehow my body will produce a human being if I start collecting something or take guitar lessons??? Still I kept thinking I could really use some sort of distraction so I caved and found me a hobby, something I never would have considered in a million years. It absolutely did not make everything better nor did it help me produce a human but I am still glad I have it. I can escape! All by myself, at home in my pj’s, music blaring for several hours at a time or even just for one hour, if I choose.

 

 

 

antique

I make jewelry using pre-loved belt buckles and materials. My hobby was a combination of an accident and the need to be thrifty that year for Christmas. I left my last job in August 2011 not long before Christmas time so I decided to DIY most of my gift. After cleaning out my closet one night I came across a handful of belts, some of them had come with an outfit but had never been worn. I don’t wear belts. I started to feel bad throwing them out because the buckles were beautiful. One thought after another-“seems like a waste, the buckles are beautiful”, “I don’t need the belt at all tho”, “since I don’t wear belts, can I wear these buckles some other way?”, fast forward to the light bulb moment – I can make necklaces out of them!!! And my hobby/business was born. I made 2 as Christmas gifts and as a result of the amazing reactions of the recipients/friend’s/family, my business and hobby was born!

HOW TO CHOOSE AN EFFECTIVE HOBBY:

The kind of hobby that I believe can be the most effective is a new, exciting, not so much up your usual alley, will certainly require some learning/research, something you don’t even think you will be good at kinda hobby!! I have never been a jewelry maker. I have never been a “girly girl” for that matter. Jeans and a tee are my favorite outfit, I don’t own one pair of high heels and you have to be a special kinda crazy to bother me during football season! My jewelry interest is limited to pieces of jewelry from my nana (who owned an antique jewelry shop) and my engagement and wedding ring. But making jewelry, now that’s another ball game folks! In addition to the excitement of just making it, I am aware while stringing every bead, each piece is unique and absolutely one of a kind! I do not duplicate or manufacture. So far I don’t even order my buckles in bulk online, so each belt buckle is hand picked and unique from one another. Back in September of 2011 if you googled “belt buckle necklace” there were NO results!!! Today, there are many! I really thought I was on the verge of something big but everyone caught on faster than I could grow. Not the point-even tho I am no longer the only one doing this specific DIY project, I still enjoy the process. So ladies, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone! Try something new. The benefits are greater when you don’t break the bank for this hobby, don’t get your hopes up (like I did lol) and honestly give it your 100 percent. It doesn’t have to turn into a business (that’s where the hopes began floating up for me) but it’s like having a craving. If you have ever been a smoker or a drinker, you know what that kind of craving is like. You have a bad day at work and can’t wait to get outside for a cigarette. Or the week sucked so I’m going out tonight for a stiff drink. Somehow I have “trained” (that may not be the right word for what I’m trying to say here) myself to crave the satisfaction when I’m feeling down. The satisfaction of a finished product, possible profit and more along with the pride I feel when it turns out to actually be a pretty necklace. Instead of stepping outside for a smoke – which I quit doing for health/fertility reasons already – I go to my desk, turn the music on and start putting things together. The satisfaction I feel when I have that completed necklace in my hands creates a happiness (even if temporary) that I would not have otherwise had that day. Not a bad habit to have if I do say so myself. If you have a hobby that has been helpful, please feel free to share. You never know who might be searching for an idea and you just might one they need!!

Happy Friday all, MUCH LOVE!

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