The Awesomer Pass is supposed to provide guests of LegoLand Florida the following benefits (as printed on the card and advertised online on the park website.)
*Enjoy unlimited visits to LEGOLAND Florida Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Water Park, The Orlando Eye, SEA LIFE
Orlando, Madame Tussauds Orlando and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta (No blackout dates)!
*Brand new collectible welcome kit (only available if purchased at LEGOLAND Florida Resort)
*Discounts on retail purchases, food & drinks, LEGOLAND Hotel stays, and much more!
I highlighted the free parking as this was one of many issues for my family and I last night when we arrived at LegoLand Florida. We were told by Tammy the parking attendant that we needed to pay the $9 to park and then visit customer service to receive our refund. Meanwhile, the receipt that was printed for us a bit later during our encounter with Tammy states “NO REFUNDS.” (see pic later in story.) When we asked her why (as this has never been the case we used our passes all summer and enjoyed the benefit of free parking and clearly our pass has the words free parking printed on the back as one of our benefits for being a AWESOMER pass holder,) she explained “because you did not purchase the ticket at this park. You do not get this benefit.” We purchased the passes at the Orlando Eye which is a Merlin Entertainment Park and an added benefit of the pass, and yet it is not valid? Let’s think about this for a minute…and I’ll use an example we are all familiar with…so if I purchased a Disney World Annual Pass at Magic Kingdom it is not valid at Epcot? /// And what if I went to AAA and purchased my pass would it be no good at any of the Merlin parks? And better yet what if we had the Awesomest Pass that includes all Merlin Entertainment Parks in the US and we go to Atlanta on a family vacation, the pass is not accepted because it was purchased in Florida? After several minutes of trying to understand why we could not use the pass for our free parking and rationalize the situation, we asked Tammy to call a manager. Tammy picked up the phone and these are the words that came out of her mouth…”I already know the answer to this question, but I will ask anyway because they are insisting I ask…” Wow, great way to speak about your guest Tammy and the level of service declined from there. Tammy laughed while she was on the phone with the “manager” about us and the situation. I guess we are the dumb ones, right Tammy? Tammy insisted that the new policy was to charge the parking fee and refund the customer at customer service regardless of the pass offering free parking, because the pass is different. Tammy, does this even make any sense to you? We did the math for you…if 200 Awesomer passholders came to the park every day LegoLand Florida would have to refund $1800 each day. Not to mention waste valuable time of fun standing in a line to get a refund for “FREE PARKING.” Paying for parking and getting a refund is not free parking. And what about the poor soul that didn’t bring cash for parking because he is entitled to free parking (not handing over money to the attendant in order to park) what happens then….So…we asked for a manager to come to the gate and we waited. We waited twenty minutes and no manager ever arrived. In the middle of all this aggravation I remembered that I had purchased my pass at the park and she scanned the card and allowed us to enter, saying “yup that one worked, cause it was purchased here NOT The Orlando Eye. This is a true Awesomer Pass.” (Keep in mind the passes are exactly the same.) Here see for yourself, tell me what is so different about these Awesomer Passes?
The Awesomer Pass that was purchased at the Orlando Eye:
(I have covered personal information for security reasons)
and The Awesomer Pass that was purchased at LegoLand Florida Entertainment Park:
(I have covered personal information for security reasons)
At this point we were very angry by the lack of service provided by Tammy, being harassed at the parking gate, being denied our free parking benefit on our Awesomer passes, and the time that was wasted. We arrived at the parking gate at 505pm and was not allowed to enter the gate until 5:59pm.
Here is our receipt: see it is stamped 5:59pm. The park closes at 8 by the way and we live a lil over an hour away and wanted to enjoy the festivities before the New Year. The hidden benefits of an Awesomer Passholder at LegoLand includes immense aggravation and anxiety which by the way was emerging in all 7 of us from the youngest to the oldest at heart. Not a good way to start off, and yet LegoLand Florida was not done with us just yet.
An added benefit of having an Awesomer pass– the special commemorative bricks that are offered during special events throughout the year. We received a starter set for each pass purchased (yes, at the Orlando Eye) and all bricks that were given out during 2015. The only brick that was left to collect and one of the many reasons we ventured out so late to LegoLand was the Christmas brick. When we asked the rep in customer service for our bricks, she scanned our passes and said, “because the pass was purchased at The Orlando Eye you are not entitled to this benefit. Regardless if it is an Awesomer Pass it was not something you are offered. The Awesomer benefits are only offered when you purchase it on park grounds.” Woahhhhh hold the phone! Seriously?! I just can’t wrap my brain around all this nonsense. The manager stated, “just give to her, before this blows up.” IN FRONT OF ME!!! People I can hear you! I am right here!!! Where is the customer service??? No satisfaction at all. I walked out of customer service and explained to my sister the issue. We walked back in and asked if there was a way to fix the passes so that we do not have any further issues. We explained the issues we had so far and the attendant took our passes and stated we had to exit the park and go to a ticket window. MORE TIME WASTED! The attendants absorbed another hour of our time re-keying personal information and taking new pictures to print new passes. When the passes were printed there was an error and the expiration date was extended by a couple of months and the attendant had to start all over with keying in the personal data and taking pictures for the pass. An extended expiration would have actually been a great way to compensate for their errors and all the time that they wasted. Not to mention the terrible service we endured. I asked for a manager. The manager walked over spoke a few words to the attendant, never spoke to me or the other adults in my party and walked away. I asked the ticket attendant what she was going to do with the error passes that had pictures of my children and she stated they would be shredded. I asked her to destroy them in front of me as they had photo’s of my children on them. Angela laughed and started to cut up the passes. She thought it was ridiculous I wanted them destroyed in front of me. The other ticket attendant started to explain that the system has not been upgraded so we must keep our old passes and the new passes in order to use them at the different parks. It was now 6:48pm and we had not yet enjoyed our time together in the park that once was our favorite. At this point I was more interested in going home and never returning. When I asked how we would be compensated for all the wasted time the attendant gave me two ride exit passes to be used at two rides for only 6 people (we were a party of 7.)
She also stated that it takes about an hour for everyone to exit the park at which time we could enjoy the rides as we are working our way towards the front. NOT TRUE! The rides shut down at 8 when the park closes and inoperable. Although we wanted to leave as we had, had enough we entered the park at 6:58pm. With only one hour left to enjoy the park, 4 disappointed children, and three very angry adults we rode two rides and watched the fireworks. That was all we had time to do. Two hours of fun was stolen from us by the employees that represent Merlin Entertainment. Employee’s that failed to deliver quality service and handle our concerns promptly. There was no satisfaction to be had. We all went home annoyed with the night and frustration over the fake benefits of the not so awesome Awesomer pass. We are still awaiting to discover how LegoLand Florida will make up for this terrible experience and the time and memories that were taken from us last night.
7 disappointed and frazzled Awesomer Pass Holders that have been visiting and supporting LegoLand Florida since it opened.
Have you had an issue at a Merlin Entertainment Park? Please share your experience below. We are hoping that corporate will read our issues and correct them, so that future guests will not have these experiences. Perhaps if we choose to return we may have the opportunity to enjoy our family time rather then be harassed and mistreated by employees over benefits that we have paid for and are entitled to and were denied.
I have heard from a rep at LEGOLAND FL who showed genuine concern for the above mentioned issues. The challenges I faced with the AWESOMER PASS have been an ongoing problem and the team is working diligently to correct them to ensure all future guests a more AWESOME experience. In fact, I was informed that the powers to be were getting together to discuss my email. It did take about a week to get a response and I had to send my message a few times. However, I did get their attention and they guaranteed me these kinks would be work out. My family and I have been invited back to the park and will be giving LEGOLAND FL the opportunity to wow us.
So…we gave it another round. It was very strange to head to a park that I had to practically drag my kids to. The previous experience was still so very fresh in their minds and they were dreading the day. When we arrived to the gate I thought just for fun to use the LegoLand Awesomer Pass that I purchased at the Orlando Eye. This is the same pass we used initially that spawned the issues we had the last visit. This time the “Gate Keeper” keyed in the numbers on the back of the pass (as we had asked the attendant to do last time…and she refused…yes this was where Tammy started to go wrong…remember Tammy?) Magically the keypad worked and we were told to have an Awesome Day! Wow! Free Parking!!!! We did not have to exchange money and wait in a long line in order to get a refund as we were told by Tammy. Funny, this was how we had entered the park hundreds of times before we crossed paths with Tammy.
Once we were parked we had to stand in a very long line for bag checks and to be wanded. Due to tightening of security due to terrorist threats I can respect the bag checks. I do not think the wanding is necessary. I also think that the bag check should be done closer to the park entrance where there is more space. LegoLand Florida should set up a bag line and a no bags line and they could benefit by using more “Model Citizens” to move the line faster. We waited in line for nearly 30 minutes about 30 minutes after the park opened just to get through security.
Once we were finally in the park we headed to customer service. Where we caught the model citizens by surprise. They had no clue who we were or why we were there. This was disappointing to me as the “guest recovery” was set up by the Resort Duty Manager, Product Excellence weeks ago. So to go in only to be asked…who did you say you were? and what are you here to pick up? and we were not informed nor were we prepared for you. This was not wowing to me. Finally after 5 minutes of massive confusion, we were given Premium Play Bands for each member of my party. These bands work kind of like a Fast Pass at Disney, riders enter rides through a special entrance on most rides. There are just a handful of rides that require you to enter through the exit. They also come with a mystery minifigure. For the most part on a busy day they are pretty Awesome and save you time allowing you to go through the park quickly and if your time allows you can go through the park multiple times. BUT they do come at an extreme price–$85 per Premium Band!!! This is a bit much for my budget, but if you are like Trump this would be pocket change to ya! Also a big downer: ride attendants will separate your group. We were a party of 7…4 children and 3 adults and the attendants continued to separate the adults and children. Naturally the children wanted to ride together and not with the adults but the parties should be kept together and not separated– this does take away from family fun and is a safety concern. Not to mention your guest is paying $85 per band, they have the right to expect to stay together…honestly your guest is paying to stay together! lol wow. The kids did also receive some play money to spend in the stores and were able to take home a treasure.
Well, we did encounter a few more hiccups. But I can say at the end of the day we did leave with a smile and there were no major anxiety attacks this visit.