Legoland, Madame Tussauds Among Amusement Parks to Experiment with Uber-Style Surge Pricing

Amusement parks are the latest businesses to adopt Uber-style surge pricing, after fast food chain Wendy’s announced—and then quickly walked back—its plan to experiment with peak-time pricingFinancial Times reported.

Fun-fair conglomerate Merlin Entertainment—which owns Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, as well as the Legoland, Peppa Pig, and Sea Life theme parks—announced on Wednesday that it plans to adopt so-called “dynamic pricing” at its top 20 global attractions by the end of this year. It will roll out in American parks by the end of 2025.

Scott O’Neil, Merlin’s CEO, called the dynamic pricing model “very intuitive.” Under the new pricing, it will cost more to attend one of the theme parks on a peak summer weekend than it would on a rainy, off-season day.

The move is a bid on behalf of Merlin Entertainment to juice income amidst waning guest numbers, which have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, they reported 62.1 million annual guests across all of their 141 global locations, significantly down from the 67 million reported in 2019. The firm also incurred a pre-tax loss of nearly $270 million, which it attributed to Legoland locations in New York and South Korea built during the pandemic.

Wendy’s was met with swift backlash when it announced its own dynamic pricing model last month. Though the model has long been employed by Uber and other ride-share companies, it’s only recently begun to creep into other types of business models.

It’s unclear how Merlin Entertainment plans to structure its new pricing plan. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Men’s Journal.