The owner of UK attractions including LEGOLAND Windsor, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, SEA LIFE and many more is to take over Cadbury World in a 50-year deal. The Worlds 2nd biggest Theme park Corporation (after Disney) is to acquire the operations and brand licences for the £6m Cadbury World attraction in Birmingham.
Europe’s biggest theme park operator
Merlin Entertainments, Europe’s biggest theme park operator, which was taken private in a £6bn deal two years ago, has confirmed a deal to acquire the operations and brand licences for the attraction at the chocolate-maker’s Bournville factory in the West Midlands.
Cadbury World was opened at the chocolate maker’s Bourneville factory site in 1990 at the cost of around £6 million. The attraction currently attracts over 600,000 people each year, making it one of the West Midlands’ most popular attractions.
Under the deal, Merlin Entertainments, whose portfolio also includes the London Eye and The Bear Grylls Adventure, will take on Cadbury World’s 150 employees and hold brand rights usage in the UK.
“We have long-admired Cadbury as the nation’s favourite chocolate brand and have already successfully worked together across a range of experiential activities and retail spaces in our UK theme parks,” said Mark Fisher, the chief development officer at Merlin Entertainments.
Merlin has plans to invest in developing the attraction, which includes the world’s biggest Cadbury shop and an “unmissable 4D chocolate adventure”, ahead of Cadbury’s bicentenary in 2024. Cadbury started in Birmingham in 1824 and moved manufacturing to Bournville in 1879.
Merlin Entertainments Attractions
The theme park group, which was founded in 1999, operates more than 130 attractions, along with hotels and holiday villages, in 24 countries. In the UK, its businesses also include Chessington World of Adventures, Blackpool Tower and Dungeons attractions in London and other cities.
UK Attractions owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments include:
Merlin Entertainments midway attractions are often grouped together in major cities, for example in Central London you will find:
* The London Eye
* Madame Tussauds
* The London Dungeon
* Shreks Adventure
* SEA LIFE London Aquarium
In Manchester’s Trafford Centre (a large indoor shopping centre and leisure complex), you will find two of Merlin Entertainments Midway attractions located alongside each other:
* Legoland Discovery Centre
* Manchester Sea Life Centre