Drayton Manor Theme Park

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Drayton Manor Theme Park
DraytonManorLogo.png
Slogan "Total family entertainment"
Location Near Tamworth, Staffordshire, England
Coordinates 52°36′39″N 1°42′48″W / 52.61083°N 1.71333°W / 52.61083; -1.71333Coordinates: 52°36′39″N 1°42′48″W / 52.61083°N 1.71333°W / 52.61083; -1.71333
Opened 16 October 1949
Previous names

Drayton Manor Park

Drayton Manor Family Theme Park
Operating season

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)
Rides
Total 33
Roller coasters 7
Water rides 5
Website www.draytonmanor.co.uk

Drayton Manor theme park, resort, and zoo is in the grounds of the former Drayton Manor, in Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire, England.

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,[1] and Apocalypse, a five-sided drop tower.[2] 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 [1] and is 900 metres south of the Fazeley bus stop via Drayton Manor Drive.

Drayton Manor Theme Park is open daily from mid March to 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.

History[edit]

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

The Park[edit]

Drayton Manor Theme Park is divided into 7 areas: Thomas Land, Action Park, Aerial Park, Fisherman's Wharf, Pirate Cove, The Zoo and Dinotrail, Farmer McColl's Farm.

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[citation needed].

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: Europe's only stand up roller coaster;|The Shock Wave, a giant gyro swing known as Maelstrom, the X Car roller coaster G Force, the river rapids ride Splash Canyon and Air race

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.

Pirate Cove is loosely themed as a Pirate haven, with one appropriately themed ride: the dark ride Pirate Adventure

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.

Roller coasters[edit]

# Name Style Opened Manufacturer Themed Area Description
1 The Shock Wave Standing Up Rollercoaster 1994 Intamin Action Park A stand-up roller coaster that reaches speeds of 53 mph (85 km) 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.[1]
2 G Force Steel Sit Down 2005 Mauer Söhne Action Park A X-Car steel roller coaster that reaches speeds of 43 mph (70 km) 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]
3 Ben 10 – Ultimate Mission Steel Sit Down 2011 Vekoma Aerial Park A junior boomerang coaster that reaches speeds of 37 mph (62 km) 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.

Thrill rides[edit]

# Name Opened Themed Land Manufacturer Description
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.[2]
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 Air Race 2014 Action Park Zamperla

Water rides[edit]

# Name Opened Themed Land Manufacturer Description
9 Stormforce 10 1999 Fisherman's Wharf BEAR 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 Pirate Adventure 1990 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.

Other rides[edit]

# Name Opened Manufacturer Themed Land Description
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 Wharf 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 Wharf A merry go round; height limit none / 90 cm 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[4] train ride that goes around the park via Splash Canyon & Shockwave.
24 Dodgems 1990 Reverchon Pirate Cove Bumper Cars; height limit 1m

Thomas Land[edit]

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.

# Name Opened Manufacturer Description
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.[5]

Discover Thomas & Friends Exhibition[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

# Name Opened Closed Manufacturer Description
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.
18 Balloon Race 1987 1997 Zamperla
19 Quasar 1985 1986 A.R.M.
20 Octopus 1984 1997 Soriani & Moser Polyp ride.
21 Rowing Boats 1950 c.1997
22 Junior Carousel 1986 2007 Modern Products A Carousel.
23 Flying Jumbos 1998 2007 Zamperla Jets.
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
28 Giant Slide 1985 2002 Astroglide.
29 Cleo 1986 1997 Modern Products
30 Red Baron 1986 1997 Soriani & Moser Junior Jets.
31 Ladybirds 1986 2007 Modern Products
32 Frog Hopper 1998 2007 Zamperla
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.

Zoo[edit]

Drayton Manor Zoo

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 all year round (apart from Christmas Day).

Drayton Manor Hotel[edit]

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.

Events[edit]

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.

The Park will also be home to Miss Community UK Grand Finals in 2016. This National UK Pageant focused on community and charity work will finish at the Wonderful Drayton Manor Theme Park[6]

Future projects[edit]

In 2005, Drayton Manor had an official press release[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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. Since 2013, season pass holders no longer pay extra for parking either.

Winston Ride[edit]

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. this ride opened in summer 2013

Air Race[edit]

In 2014, a new ride has been built. Based on the popular Air Race ride, this will turn riders through a 360 degree loop in both directions. It has been reported that it cost around £1.2 million.

Incidents[edit]

Maelstrom[edit]

On August 3, 2012, a mother-of-two died of a cardiac arrest after coming off the Maelstrom ride seconds after coming off the ride. A message from her daughter read "RIP Momma, Love You." The ride was also closed for several hours for inspection.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Shockwave". draytonmanor.co.uk. Drayton manor. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Apocalypse". draytonmanor.co.uk. Drayton manor. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "G-Force". draytonmanor.co.uk. Drayton manor. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Tourist and Enthusiast Railways - West Midlands
  5. ^ "New Ride at Thomas Land". familydays.org.uk. Family Days UK. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.misscommunityuk.co.uk
  7. ^ Griffin, John (2005). "Theme park splashes out on attraction". Birmingham Evening Mail. Retrieved 2006-03-24. 
  8. ^ "Waterpark Postponed". ThemeParks-UK. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  9. ^ "Drayton Manor Future". Screamscape. 2008. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  10. ^ "Plans for Drayton Manor submitted to Lichfield District Council" (PDF). Lichfield District Council. 2005. Retrieved 2006-03-29. 


External links[edit]

Drayton Manor Theme Park at DMOZ