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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2 responses to “Update: Merlin Entertainments

    • Thank you. I don’t think they realize I am able to see their responses TO EACH OTHER. Lol! I’m afraid I may have gotten the employee behind the counter in trouble! According to the emails I’m seeing them send to each other, someone will be calling me today…I will update again later.

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