Drayton Manor Theme Park
|Slogan||"Total family entertainment"|
|Location||Near Tamworth, Staffordshire, England|
|Opened||16 October 1949|
Drayton Manor ParkDrayton Manor Family Theme Park
Theme park: mid March to early November (regular); late November to January (Drayton's Magical Christmas); selected days in February (February Half Term) and in March (Thomas Weekends)Zoo: All year round
|Area||280 acres (110 ha)|
The park covers 280 acres (110 ha) of which about 113 acres are in use, and hosts about 1.5 million people each year. Rides at the park include The Shockwave, Europe's only stand up coaster, and Apocalypse, a five-sided drop tower. The park's maximum daily capacity is 15,000 guests, which is set with guest experience and traffic congestion in mind.
The park has three entrances (Main Entrance, Entrance 1 and Entrance 2). Entrance 1 is also accessible by Arriva Midlands Bus 110 and is 900 metres south of the Fazeley bus stop via Drayton Manor Drive.
Drayton Manor Theme Park is open daily from mid March through early November and on selected days in late November to January (Drayton's Magical Christmas: Thomas Land, Ben 10, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball and the Zoo only), in February (February Half Term: Thomas Land, Ben 10, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball and the Zoo only) and in March (Thomas Weekends: Thomas Land and the Zoo only).
During the main season, gates opens at 9:30 a.m., rides starts at 10:30 a.m. and close at a minimum of 5 p.m. (as late as 6 p.m. during summer school holidays). Special opening hours apply outside the main season.
- 1 History
- 2 The Park
- 3 Zoo
- 4 Drayton Manor Hotel
- 5 Events
- 6 Future projects
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The land on which the theme park was built belonged to the Peel family, but the mansion (built in 1790) had been reduced to ruins when the British Army requisitioned it as a training post during World War II. After the war, entrepreneurs George and Vera Bryan borrowed £6,000 and bought the land (and the 17 huts that the army had constructed during their stay). They opened a small amusement park with just a handful of children's rides in 1949. In 1954 Mrs Molly Badham (who later opened the nearby Twycross Zoo) joined forces with the Bryans and opened a small zoo to complement the fun park. The amusement park grew slowly in the 1950s, '60s and '70s but in the late '80s the park began to install bigger and more thrilling rides to attract customers from all over the United Kingdom. Drayton Manor Theme Park is today the fifth most popular theme park in the UK and still managed by Colin Bryan.
Main Plaza is main entrance to the park.
Thomas Land is the park's children's area and draws inspiration from Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends who are quite familiar to both readers of the books and the TV-series. This area, which was called Robinson's Land until 2007, has many rides and attractions that appeal to children. It also host the world's largest Thomas Land Shop with the world's largest selection of Thomas & Friends clothing, accessories, toys, books, games, DVDs, memorabilia, collectibles and Thomas Land merchandise.
Action Park does not really have any discernible theme to it apart from the number of thrill rides it has on offer - hence the name Action Park. Main attractions include: the roller coaster Shockwave, the giant gyro swing Maelstrom, the roller coaster G Force and the river rapids ride Splash Canyon.
Aerial Park also serves as the park's main throughway, flanked by rides, restaurants and stores. The rides are mostly characterized by their aerial nature - hence the name Aerial Park. Cartoon Network Street is the new name given to the part of the street where the roller coaster that opened in 2011 Ben 10 - Ultimate Mission can be found. Entrance 1 (next door to the hotel) is located here as well. Main attractions include: the drop tower Apocalypse, the mad house The Haunting, the inverted giant swing Pandemonium and aforementioned Ben 10 - Ultimate Mission. It also host UK's only Cartoon Network Shop.
Fisherman's Wharf is situated next to the lake - hence the name Fisherman's Wharf even though (apart from the Lighthouse) theming is not the area's strong suit. Attractions include: the super splash Stormforce 10 and the swinging ship The Bounty.
The Zoo and Dinotrail offer respite from the amusement park rides; the 15-acre walkthrough zoo (which is open all year) has quite a few animal enclosures with over 100 different species of animals on display including tigers, meerkats, penguins, parrots, reptiles, owls etc. There is also a Discovery Museum, and then there is a walkthrough Dinosaurland with life-size models of dinosaurs to intrigue and enthral the kids.
Farmer McColl's Farm is an extension of the zoo, but it specialises in domestic farm animals. There is also a Discover Thomas and Friends Exhibition, an outdoor activity area, exotic animal reserve, and Bryan's Slot Machine Museum.
Just outside the park is Peel Plaza where guests can play Miniature Golf. It also has a Caravan and Camp site.
|1||The Shock Wave||Standing Up Rollercoaster||1994||Intamin||Action Park||A stand-up roller coaster that reaches speeds of 53 mph (85km) on a 1640 ft long track (500m) and a height of 120 ft (36m) with 4 inversions (loop, zero g-roll, double corkscrew); height limit 1,4m.|
|2||G Force||Steel Sit Down||2005||Mauer Söhne||Action Park||A X-Car steel roller coaster that reaches speeds of 43 mph (70km) on a 1263 ft long track (385m) and a height of 82 ft (25m) with 3 inversions (loop, bent Cuban eight); height limit 1,3m.|
|3||Ben 10 – Ultimate Mission||Steel Sit Down||2011||Vekoma||Aerial Park||A junior boomerang coaster that reaches speeds of 37 mph (62km) on a 590 ft long track (180m) and a height of 65 ft (20m); height limit 1m.|
|4||Buffalo Mountain Coaster||Steel Sit Down||1987||Zamperla||Aerial Park||A family roller coaster that goes over the lake for added effect; height limit none / 1,2m alone.|
|5||Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster||Steel Sit Down||2008||Gerstlauer||Thomas Land||A junior coaster in Thomas Land; height limit 0,9m / 1,2m alone.|
|6||Apocalypse||2000||Aerial Park||Intamin||A stand-up and sit-down drop tower with a 48 m (157 ft) drop. This ride reaches speeds up to 22 metres per second (72 ft/s) and produces forces up to 4g; height limit 1,2m.|
|7||Maelstrom||2002||Action Park||Intamin||A gyro swing ride, it has 32 outward-facing seats on a circular gondola; height limit 1,3m.|
|8||Pandemonium||2004||Aerial Park||Fabbri||A 360° swinging inverter ride; height limit 1,2m|
|9||Stormforce 10||1999||Fisherman's Wharf||ABC Rides||A 500m long spillwater ride which it goes forward and has a 16m backwards drop; height limit 1,2m.|
|10||Splash Canyon||1993||Action Park||Intamin||A 4-passenger boat on a 455m long river rapids ride;
0.9 meters with an Adult / 1.1 meters alone
|11||1990||Pirate Cove||Mack Ride||An indoor dark boat ride which features pirates (similar theme to Pirates Of The Caribbean in Disney Parks); height limit none /1m alone.|
|12||Wild West Shoot Out||2000||I.E. Park||Aerial Park||An indoor laser shoot out ride with a Wild West theme; height limit 1m.|
|13||The Haunting||1996||Vekoma||Aerial Park||A mad house where mist gathers at the front door to the old and haunted house; height limit 1m.|
|14||4D Cinema||2009||Simworx||Aerial Park||A cinema which shows one film every year.|
|15||Drunken Barrels||2006||Intamin||Aerial Park||Spinning barrels ride; height limit 1m.|
|16||The Bounty||2007||Intamin||Fisherman's Dwarf||A swinging Pirate ship; height limit 1,2m.|
|17||Flying Dutchman||1983||Intamin||Aerial Park||A wave swinger ride; height limit 1m.|
|18||Drayton Queen Boat||1992||The lake||A boat on a lake which takes you on a cruise.|
|19||Big Wheel||1986||Helmut Hauser||Aerial Park||A ferris Wheel.|
|20||Jolly Buccaneer||1992||Zamperla||Pirate Cove||A Regatta ride with a pirate theme; height limit 1m.|
|21||Vintage Carousel||1950||Savage's||Fisherman's Dwarf||A merry go round; height limit none / 90cm alone|
|22||Chair Lift||1964||British Chairlifts||Action Park||The chair lift offers a view from the entrance to the back of the park; height limit none / 16 years alone.|
|23||Polperro Express||1971||Severn Lamb||Fisherman's Wharf||A 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge train ride that goes around the park via Splash Canyon & Shockwave.|
|24||Dodgems||1990||Reverchon||Pirate Cove||Bumper Cars; height limit 1m|
A woman died on The maelstrom ride, which is a large gyro swing, swinging people 20ft in the air. The mother of two collapsed on the ride. Paramedics were not able to revive her from a suspected heart attack. The ride closed for several hours whilst the appropriate actions were taken before being reopened around 3pm for the rest of the day with new members of staff, with the police not treating the death as suspicious.
Set in 3 acres (12,000 m2) of parkland, Thomas Land was re-themed with plenty of new children's rides in 2008, previously it had been called Robinson's Land. In addition to the rides, there are 3 daily live shows, the Discover Thomas & Friends Exhibition, the Thomas Land Shop and an indoor and an outdoor play area for kids.
|25||Knapford Station||2008||Metallbau Emmeln (in partnership with Mega Bloks)||Take Thomas the Tank Engine, Annie & Clarabel or Percy, or Rosie on a 15-minute journey from Knapford Station to Tidmouth Hault, to Knapford Cafe & Patio, Discover Thomas and Friends Exhibition, Terence's Driving School, Spencer's Activity Park, entrance to the Zoo, DinoTrail and Farmer McColl's Farm. See James resting on the siding. Riders under 1 metre must be accompanied by an adult.|
|26||Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster||2008||Gerstlauer||A 220 metre roller coaster that runs up and over Thomas Land. Riders must be over 0.9 metres to ride and riders under 1.2 metres must be accompanied by an adult. (see roller coasters for details)|
|27||Diesel's Locomotion Mayhem||2008||Zamperla||Join Iron Bert, Rusty, Mavis, Salty, Dennis and Diesel on a journey of near misses. Riders under 1.2 metres must be accompanied by an adult.|
|28||Jeremy's Flying Academy||2008||Zamperla||Fly high with Jeremy and control your flight over Sodor. Riders under 1 metre must be accompanied by an adult. Only two adults per jet.|
|29||Terence's Driving School||2008||SB International||Dive your own Terence around the yard; Riders must be between 1 metres and 1.3 metres to ride.|
|30||Crazy Bertie Bus||2008||Zamperla (in partnership with Arriva)||Climb on board and enjoy a crazy journey with Bertie. Riders under 0.95 metres must be accompanied by an adult. Only one adult per row.|
|31||Harold's Helicopter Tours||2008||Zamperla||Fly with Harold. See Edward, Henry, Gordon, Toby & Rosie for photo opportunities. Riders under 1.05 metres must be accompanied by an adult. Only 2 adults per helicopter.|
|32||Rockin' Bulstrode & Sodor Docks||2008||Zamperla||Climb on board & have a rockin' ride as it rotates you 360 degrees. Riders under 1.05 metres must be accompanied by an adult. Only one adult per row.|
|33||Cranky's Drop Tower||2008||Zamperla||Drop & bounce from 8 metres high. Riders must be at least 0.95 metres tall to ride.|
|34||Sodor's Classic Cars||1986||Steer your restored 40-year old Ford vintage cars through tunnels, garage and a barn. No height restriction but only one adult per car.|
|35||Lady's Carousel||2008||Zamperla||A gentle ride on Lady's engine, for the very small. Riders under 0.9 metres must be accompanied by an adult. Only one adult per carriage or engine.|
|36||Blue Mountain Engines||2011||Join our 4 new engines as you go round & round in a gentle ride for the very small.|
|37||Emily´s Adventure Play||2008||in partnership with Busy Bees||Scramble up and down in this large indoor playground.|
|38||Spencer´s Outdoor Activity Park||2008||A Spencer-themed outdoor play area, located next to the Dino Trail in the Zoo.|
|39||Winston´s Whistle-Stop Tour||2013||A Winston-themed monorail ride, providing an aerial tour of Thomas Land. The ride opened on 19 July 2013.|
Discover Thomas & Friends Exhibition
Located in Farmer McColls Farm. In early 2009, HIT Entertainment announced that the original models from the Thomas & Friends television series would be put on display at Thomas Land in an exhibit called "Discover Thomas & Friends", as production was to move to Canada, now that the series is to be animated with CGI. The models were then put on display in 2010. So far, the layout features Great Waterton, a town that first appeared in "The Great Discovery", the Fishing Village and Brendam Docks. Many other buildings have been seen from previous seasons from the show, such as "Neptune's Refreshments", "Ben's Books", Toby's Shed and Bluff's Cove signal box. Models have also appeared in the workshop, including: Bulgy, Terence, Trevor, Elizabeth, Butch, 3 Horrid Lorries, a canal boat, A Tug boat (Top Hat), A Harbour Ship (Izzy Gomez), 2 red and white express carriages, 2 green and cream express carriages, Thomas, Edward, Toby, Stepney, Rosie, Harvey, Bulstrode, Toad the brake van (faceless), and various trucks.
Thomas Land Shop
The ultimate place in which to remember Thomas & Friends. Probably the largest selection of Thomas & Friends toys, games, memorabilia and collectibles you will discover under one roof. Take a piece of the magic home with you. Open daily.
Past rides & attractions
|1||Log Flume||1981||1998||Reverchon||The original Log Flume replaced by Stormforce 10.|
|2||Klondike Gold Mine (Python Coaster)||1984||2004||Pinfari||A Pinfari roller coaster was relocated to Hayling Island & replaced by G-Force.|
|4||Jumbo Jet||1981||1983||Schwarzkopf||A City Jet coaster replaced by Python Looping Coaster.|
|5||Super Dragon||1984||2007||Pinfari||A Pinfari MD31 coaster. Was relocated to Hayling Island & replaced by Troublesome Trucks.|
|6||Haunted Crypt||c.1970s||2001||A ghost train ride was replaced by indoor play area.|
|7||Paratower||1982||1997||Nauta Bussink||A Parachute Tower.|
|8||Black Revolver||1980||2010||Jackson||An enclosed waltzer.|
|9||Sombrero||1998||2010||Soriani & Moser||A Polyp ride replaced by Ben 10: Ultimate Mission.|
|10||Jungle Cruise||1976||2001||Alan Hawes/Self-Built||A river raft ride replaced by Excalibur.|
|11||Excalibur||2003||2011||BEAR||Tow boat ride|
|12||Sky Flyer||1989||2003||Vekoma||Vekoma Skyflyer, opened by Doctor Who John Pertwee.|
|13||Tea Cups||1988||2004||Zamperla||A Tea Cups ride replaced by G-Force.|
|14||Pirate Ship||1982||2003||HUSS||A Pirate Ship replaced by G-Force.|
|15||Snake Train||1950||1995||Self-Built||A land train replaced by The Haunting.|
|16||Cyclone||2003||2005||HUSS||An Enterprise ride, relocated to Thorpe Park.|
|17||Cine 180||1985||2003||Omnivision||A 3D Cinema.|
|20||Octopus||1984||1997||Soriani & Moser||Polyp ride.|
|22||Junior Carousel||1986||2007||Modern Products||A Carousel.|
|24||Junior Combat Star||1986||1997||Modern Products||Junior Jets.|
|25||Cadbury's Junior Pirate Ship||1986||2007||Modern Products||Junior Pirate Ship.|
|26||Kiddie Concorde Jets||1986||1997||Modern Products||Junior Jets.|
|27||Lunar Carousel||1986||2007||I.E. Park||Carousel|
|30||Red Baron||1986||1997||Soriani & Moser||Junior Jets.|
|33||Mini Balloons||1998||2007||Zamperla||Samba Balloons.|
|34||Arriva Crazy Bus||1998||2007||Zamperla||Crazy Bus.|
|35||Whirly Copter Wheel||1998||2007||Zamperla||Junior Ferris Wheel.|
Excalibur — Tow boat ride.
Drayton Manor is also home to a 15-acre (6 ha) zoo. It contains over 100 species from all over the world. It is also the only part of Drayton Manor that is open 365 days of the year.
Drayton Manor Hotel
In February 2009 revised plans for a hotel at Drayton Manor were submitted to Lichfield District Council. Planning permission for the hotel was granted in 2007 though the applicants felt that the scheme could benefit from further improvements without increasing the site area required.
The 4-star hotel with 150 well-appointed contemporary guest rooms including 11 Thomas & Friends themed bedrooms is designed to primarily meet the demand from park visitors as the theme park is attracting families from all over the UK, particularly since the arrival of Thomas Land.
The Drayton Manor Hotel opened Monday 15 August 2011. Set against Entrance 1, it features innovative bedroom designs that allow double rooms to be enlarged to family rooms. There are a Parkview conference and banqueting suite and 3 modern meeting rooms to cater for weddings, business events and conferences. And for the children, and those that are young at heart, there are the video games room and the Thomas & Friends Theatre.
The park holds many events throughout the year including fundraising for Birmingham's children's hospital and musical projects, plus the annual fireworks event taking place on the lake.
In 2005, Drayton Manor had an official press release on their plans to build a water park to accompany their planned hotel to create a resort for the park, much like Alton Towers have done. Part of this proposed development included a water park called 'Stormalong Bay' and containing several attractions such as water slides. The hotel has been planned for over 10 years and has been granted planning permission. With construction starting in early 2010, the hotel opened in August 2011. The plans for the water park have been declined due to the scale of the development.
The plans for expansion will happen around the year 2021 +. The area marked out for expansion will be around the Zoo area. Drayton Manor Theme Park predict that more roller-coaster type rides will fill this space in the foreseeable future. The Plans have been submitted to Lichfield District Council.
In 2012, the park has introduced a car parking fee of £3 per car. this applies to everyone except season pass holders, who can buy a season car park pass which costs £15. Annual pass holders are not charged.
The Winston Ride has been found to have Green & White Track and the track can be seen on the Drayton Manor Polberro Express train. The latest ride of Thomas Land. Coming Summer 2013.
- "Shockwave". draytonmanor.co.uk. Drayton manor. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Apocalypse". draytonmanor.co.uk. Drayton manor. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "G-Force". draytonmanor.co.uk. Drayton manor. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Tourist and Enthusiast Railways - West Midlands
- "New Ride at Thomas Land". familydays.org.uk. Family Days UK. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Griffin, John (2005). "Theme park splashes out on attraction". Birmingham Evening Mail. Retrieved 2006-03-24.
- "Waterpark Postponed". ThemeParks-UK. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- "Drayton Manor Future". Screamscape. 2008. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
- "Plans for Drayton Manor submitted to Lichfield District Council" (PDF). Lichfield District Council. 2005. Retrieved 2006-03-29.
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