That's a shame you had that experience. I've not had one the last year, but didn't really experience anything like that. We did always take our own food, so never had that specific issue. 😔
That was the plan. We had them a few times several years ago when my in-laws and wifes friends were starting to visit after we got married. Didn't work out much more expensive then paying for the sights and we got to use them for the rest of the year. Eventually everyone had seen all the Merlin sights, so we didn't get them anymore. It was only 2 years ago when my daughter turned 3 we got them again, thinking she could enjoy the rides/etc at that age. I work for myself, my wife works part time and we don't live far from the parks so we went off peak. It was a massive disappointment. After several visits to Legoland we gave up. Most days it was rammed. On the days you got lucky and it was quiet they shut lots of things down. Meaning despite being significantly less people there were still long queues for F&B and the few decent rides that were open. Chessington was a bit better, but still a disappointment. Again they only opened everything and fully staffed when the park was full. Off-peak times lots of things were closed and they were short of staff. It took an hour to get bloody doughnuts for example. Only a couple of outlets were open. The staff broke one of the machines after queuing and sent everyone to the other shack. Can't comment on Thorpe park as not much for her age group there. The London attractions were ok, but have limited repeat value. Sea Life was probably the best in that respect as it provides some quiet time during a day out in London. I appreciate what you're saying and I would have agreed with you in the past as we made good use of the passes off peak. But after our experience 2 years ago it was a waste of time and money. The off-peak days there simply wasn't enough to make it worthwhile and you still ended up queuing :/ Peak we actually just walked out of Lego land after realising it would take 2 hours to even get a bite to eat. I said to my wife we'd have been better off forming an orderly queue in our garden for a few hours and setting fire to the money. At least we would have avoided the traffic home.
If you have the pass you can just keep going back. Doesn't matter if you only do a few things each visit. Just chill and have fun. I love the passes for that. Removes all the stresses and disappointments.
Shops and work are a necessity.