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This year, we decided to take Legoland Florida Resort’s awesome Black Friday deal on their annual passes. We saved money, but also encountered a couple of issues along the way. Without further ado, here is my honest review of the Merlin Awesomer Pass!
The Black Friday Weekend Sale
During the 2017 Black Friday weekend, I purchased online the Merlin Awesomer Pass for $99 (valued regularly at $149). With tax, each Awesomer Pass came out to $105.43 total.
I thought this was a pretty good deal because it included a bunch of parks and attractions, free parking, and kids under 3 are still free, which means I did not have to buy a separate pass for my toddler.
Unlimited Admission to Six Theme Parks and Attractions for a Year
The Florida Merlin Awesomer Pass gets you 12 months of unlimited admission to the following:
- Legoland Florida Resort
- Legoland Florida Water Park
- The Orlando Eye
- Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
- Madame Tussauds Orlando
- Legoland Discovery Center (Atlanta, GA)
Other Benefits of the Awesomer Pass
Specifically for Legoland Florida Resort, Awesomer Pass members get:
- Free parking (save on the daily self-parking rate of $17)
- $15 discount on guest tickets to Legoland Florida
- 10% off dining, retail, Premium Play passes, and select VIP experiences
- 10% off Legoland Hotel and Legoland Beach Retreat stays
- Four collectible Lego bricks throughout the year (collect at Annual Pass Center)
At the other Orlando attractions, Awesomer Pass members benefit from:
- Free parking (this is actually for every visitor to I-Drive 360)
- 10% off retail purchases
- 10% off photography packages
Issue #1: Unable to Redeem Voucher at Legoland Florida Resort
The main reason I am writing this post is to let those thinking of buying a Merlin Awesomer Pass about issues you may encounter. We encountered a couple of dilemmas when trying to redeem our vouchers for the annual passes that are worth telling.
We purchased the Awesomer Passes online during the 2017 Black Friday sale, but did not end up going to Legoland Florida Resort until the end of December. When we purchased them, we were emailed vouchers to print out and bring on our visit to redeem for the actual passes.
On our first visit to Legoland, we lined up under the sign stating “Vouchers.” When we tried to collect our annual passes, the person working behind the window stated that they were unable to issue the Awesomer Pass to us because we had purchased them from The Orlando Eye. I explained that we purchased them online as part of the Black Friday Sale and nowhere did it specify that it was specifically from The Orlando Eye.
The person then told us the reason she could not issue the Awesomer Passes was because the code on our vouchers started with a “1,” and that Legoland codes started with a “3.” She proceeded to give us complimentary tickets for the day, however, so that we could enter the park.
Still peeved at this issue and wanting to collect my collectible Lego bricks as part of being an Awesomer passholder, we went into the park and immediately lined up at the Annual Pass office.
There, they tried to scan us in again, but the vouchers could not be found. The lady told us we just needed to just get them at The Orlando Eye, but she did give us two collectible bricks and the “welcome kit,” which was nothing but a brochure explaining the benefits of the Awesomer Pass.
We enjoyed the rest of the day at Legoland, knowing we would have to make a visit to The Orlando Eye soon, which leads me to my second negative experience.
You may also like: My Review of Legoland Florida Resort
Issue #2: Unclear Language on Date Validity
Word for word, here are the instructions printed on our vouchers:
“The Annual Pass you purchased is subject to the following terms and conditions. Please bring photo ID to the admissions desk at time of redemption. If these items are not presented live at time of redemption, the annual pass cannot be issued. Member must be present to receive annual pass. Your annual pass is valid for one year from date of issuance. For general inquiries regarding your booking, please visit our website or you can click here for Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds, or Sea Life Orlando.”
Okay, so after the dilemma at Legoland, we went to The Orlando Eye on New Year’s Day. There, they were finally able to take our photos and issue us our annual passes.
However, we noticed that the expiration date printed on our annual passes was 12/01/2018. Whaaat?!
How come we already lost an entire month?
We went back to the ticket counter and inquired about this. The girl working there told us the 12 months started on the day we purchased the annual pass. As she was saying this, she looked down to realize that we had purchased our annual pass on Black Friday, 11/24/2017.
Well, the expiration date of 12/01/2018 would not be 1 year from the date of purchase, would it?
She then quickly made up some excuse that they made the start date 12/01/2017 because it was about a week after the date of purchase.
At this point, she was not making any sense.
I think we had caught her flubbing.
We told her the fine print stated the annual passes are valid for one year from the date of issuance, not the date of purchase. And, because we were redeeming our vouchers today, today would be the date of issuance.
To avoid the situation escalating, she said she would get her manager.
When she left the counter, there were other employees standing around listening to our fiasco. One employee came up to us and apologized, stating that it was early on New Year’s Day and everyone was still trying to “wake up” and “get it together.”
The manager finally arrived and told us she was going to make a one-time exception for us and allow the start date to be changed to 01/01/2018 with an expiration date of 01/01/2019. She told us, though, that the start date really should have been the date of purchase.
Again, nowhere on the instructions does it state this, so I wanted everyone to be aware of the vague and unclear language regarding the Awesomer Pass vouchers! Apparently, the 12 months starts the day you purchase it, not the date of your first visit, so please be aware!
(If any representatives from Merlin Entertainment Group are reading this post on the Awesomer Pass, please reach out to me at email@example.com to clarify this information for the benefit of my readers.)
The Awesomer Pass is a great way to enjoy Legoland Florida as well as the I-Drive 360 attractions year-round. If you go often, this will definitely save you money.
Next year, however, and especially because of the issues I encountered when redeeming the Awesomer Pass, I will probably forego renewing this pass in favor of a more honest, straightforward, hassle-free annual pass to another theme park.