Drayton Manor Theme Park

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Drayton Manor
DraytonManorLogo.png
Location Drayton Bassett, Tamworth, 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
Owner Colin Bryan (Manager)
Opened 16 October 1949
Previous names

Drayton Manor Park

Drayton Manor Park and Zoo

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 40
Roller coasters 5
Water rides 2 (one closed for the 2018 season)
Website draytonmanor.co.uk

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

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. It is the fourth largest amusement park in the UK by land area at 110 hectacres.

History[edit]

The land on which the theme park was built belonged to the Peel family, but the mansion (built in 1835) had been reduced to ruins by 1926. 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, 1960s and 1970s but in the late 1980s 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.

Areas of the park[edit]

Drayton Manor Theme Park is divided into eight areas, namely the Main Plaza which is the entrance to the park, and seven themed zones:

  • Thomas Land is an area themed around the television series Thomas and Friends. This area, which until 2007 was called Robinsons Land and sponsored by the Robinsons drink brand, has many rides and attractions that appeal to children.
  • Action Park is home to a number of thrill rides. Its attractions include the standup roller coaster Shockwave, the giant gyro swing Maelstrom, the X Car roller coaster G Force, the river rapids ride Splash Canyon, and Zamperla's Air Race ride.
  • Aerial Park also serves as the park's main throughway, flanked by rides, restaurants and stores. The rides are mostly characterised 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 Accelerator 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, the teacup style Drunken Barrels, the laser shooting game Sherrif's Showdown, a swing style ride the Flying Dutchman, the Buffalo Coaster, and the aforementioned Accelerator roller coaster. It also hosts the UK's only Cartoon Network Shop.
  • Fisherman's Wharf is situated next to the lake and has the theme of a Cornish seaside village. Attractions include the flume ride Stormforce 10, the Polperro Express, the Carousel, and The Bounty Pirate Ship.
  • Pirate Cove is themed as a pirate haven and features The Jolly Buccaneer and the Dodgems.
  • The Zoo and Dinotrail offer respite from the amusement park rides. The fifteen-acre walkthrough zoo, open all year, has over one hundred different species of animals on display including tigers, meerkats, penguins, parrots, reptiles, owls, etc. There is also a Discovery Museum and a walkthrough Dinosaur Land with life-size models of dinosaurs.
  • Farmer McColl's Farm is also themed after Thomas and Friends and named for a character from the show. Attractions include the Discover Thomas and Friends Exhibition, Spencer's adventure play, Mrs Kindly's Cafe, Terence's Driving School, Bryan's Slot Machine Museum, and a station for the Thomas, Rosie, and Percy engine tours.

Just outside the park is Peel Plaza where guests can play miniature golf. It also has a caravan and camping site and a four-star hotel that has fifteen Thomas and Friends themed rooms.

Roller coasters[edit]

# Name Style Opened Manufacturer Themed Area Status Description Replaced
1 Shockwave Stand-Up Rollercoaster 1994 Intamin Action Park Operating A stand-up rollercoaster that reaches speeds of 53 mph (85 km) on a 1640 ft long track (500m) and a height of "almost" 120 ft (36m) with 4 inversions (loop, zero gravity-roll, double corkscrew); height limit 1.4m.[1] It is the only stand-up roller coaster in Europe and the only one with a zero-gravity roll in the world. N/A
2 G Force Steel Sit Down 2005 Maurer Söhne Action Park Operating The world's first X-Car steel rollercoaster with a unique Loop inversion lift hill 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 1.35m.[3] Klondike Gold Mine Python Coaster
3 Accelerator Steel Sit Down 2011 Vekoma Aerial Park Operating 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 and rider must be over 4 years old. Rethemed from Ben 10: Ultimate Mission, which, in turn, replaced Sombrero.
4 Buffalo Mountain Coaster Steel Sit Down 1987 Zamperla Aerial Park Operating A family powered rollercoaster that goes over the lake for added effect; height limit none / 1.0m alone. Refurbished by Severn Lamb Ltd. N/A
5 Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster Steel Sit Down 2008 Gerstlauer Thomas Land Operating A junior coaster in Thomas Land; height limit 1m / 1.2m alone. Super Dragon

Thrill rides[edit]

# Name Opened Themed Land Opened By Manufacturer Description Replaced
6 Apocalypse 2000 Aerial Park B*Witched Intamin A stand-up and sit-down drop tower with a 177 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 for sit down and 1.4m stand up.[2] It was the first stand-up tower drop in the world. this is also the only ride that can be seen outside of the park and around parts of Tamworth N/A
7 Maelstrom 2002 Action Park Hearsay Intamin A gyro swing ride, it has 32 outward-facing seats on a circular gondola; height limit 1.3m. Balloon Race
8 Pandemonium 2004 Aerial Park Fabbri A 360° swinging inverter ride; height limit 1.4m, 2.0m max Sky Flyer
9 The Bounty 2007 Fishermans Wharf Intamin A swinging Pirate ship that swings to an angle of 75 degrees; height limit 1.2m. N/A
9 Air Race 2014 Action Park The Vamps Zamperla An aeroplane ride where you experience many inversions; Height limit 1.2 Black Revolver

Water rides[edit]

# Name Opened Themed Land Manufacturer Description Replaced
10 Stormforce 10 1999 Fisherman's Wharf BEAR GmbH A 500m long reverse flume ride which is based on the RNLI and has a 9m backwards drop. Farmer Studios worked on the station theme. Height limit 1.2m. Log Flume
11 Splash Canyon 1993 Action Park Intamin A 6-passenger boat on a 455m long river rapids ride;

0.9 metres with an Adult / 1.1 metres alone.

Currently closed due to incident on 9 May 2017.

N/A

Other rides[edit]

# Name Opened Manufacturer Themed Land Description Replaced
13 Sherriff's Showdown 2000 I.E. Park Aerial Park An indoor laser shoot out ride with a Wild West theme; height limit 1m. Jungle Palladium/Rethemed from Golden Nuggets Wild West Shootout in 2018 with target system and scenic enhancements
14 The Haunting 1996 Vekoma Aerial Park A mad house where mist gathers at the front door to the old and haunted Vicarige; height limit 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult. Refurbished in 2016. Snake Train and the Haunted House Starring Dr Ex
15 4D Cinema 2009 Simworx Aerial Park A cinema which shows a short film (which gets changed every few years). Currently showing Ice age: no Time for nuts 4D And Ice age: A mammoth christmas (At it's magical Christmas event) Jubilee Circus
16 Drunken Barrels 2006 Intamin Aerial Park A teacup style spinning barrels ride on a circular platform that has an extending arm that lifts the platform up to 45 degrees; height limit 1m. Cyclone
17 Flying Dutchman 1983 Intamin Aerial Park A wave swinger ride; height limit 1m. N/A
18 Jolly Buccaneer 1992 Mack Rides Pirate Cove A spinning boat ride with a pirate theme; height limit 1m. N/A
19 Vintage Carousel 1898 Savage Fisherman's Wharf Built in 1898 and came to Drayton Manor in 1958.

Refurbished by John H Rundle. Ltd in 2013. A merry go round; height limit none / 90 cm alone

N/A
20 Polperro Express Railway 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. Rio Grande
21 Dodgems Ahoy 1990 Supercar Leisure (Track) & I.E. Park (Cars) Pirate Cove Bumper Cars; height limit 1.2m with an adult, 1.45m & over 12 to drive Original Dodgems And Free Radio Dodgems

Thomas Land[edit]

Thomas Land was re-themed with plenty of new children's rides in 2008, previously it had been called Robinson's Land (an area that was sponsored by the drink company).In addition to the rides, there are daily live shows (with a photo opportunity after it has finished, the Discover Thomas & Friends Exhibition, the Thomas Land Shop and an indoor and an outdoor play area for kids. There have also been new rides and attractions added to Thomas land after it was built and a 40% expansion in 2015.

# Name Opened Manufacturer Description Replaced
23 Thomas, Rosie and Percy engine tours 2008

(Rosie added in 2009)

Metallbau Emmeln (in partnership with Mega Bloks) Take Thomas the Tank Engine, or Percy the Small Engine, 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. Riders under 1 metre must be accompanied by an adult. Main Entrance Station
24 Troublesome Trucks Runaway Rollercoaster 2008 Gerstlauer A 220-metre rollercoaster that runs up and over Thomas Land. Riders must be over 1m to ride and riders under 1.2 metres must be accompanied by an adult. (see rollercoasters for details) Super Dragon
25 Diesel's Locomotive 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. N/A
26 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. Flying Jumbos
27 Terence's Driving School 2008 SB International Drive your own Terence around the yard. it is located outside the Thomas exhibition in Farmer Mcolls Farm; Riders must be between 1 metres and 1.3 metres to ride. N/A
28 Bertie Bus 2008 Zamperla 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.

(in partnership with Arriva)

Arriva Crazy Bus
29 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. Whirly Wheel
30 Rocking Bulstrode 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. Cadburys Junior Pirate Ship
31 Cranky's Drop Tower 2008 Zamperla Drop & bounce from 8 metres high. Riders must be at least 0.95 metres tall to ride. Frog Hopper
32 Sodor Classic Cars 1970s Supercar Steer your restored 40-year-old Ford vintage cars through tunnels, garage and a barn. No height restriction but only one adult per car. Veteran Cars
33 Lady's Carousel 2008 Zamperla A gentle ride on Lady's engine. Riders under 0.9 metres must be accompanied by an adult. Only one adult per carriage or engine. Junior Carousel
34 Blue Mountain Engines 2011 Zamperla Join Peter Sam, Sir Handel, Rheneas and Skarloey as you go round & round in a gentle ride. N/A
35 Emily´s Play Adventure 2008 in partnership with Busy Bees Scramble up and down in this large indoor playarea. N/A
36 Spencer´s Outdoor Adventure play 2008 A Spencer-themed outdoor play area, located next to the Dino Trail. N/A
37 Winston´s Whistle-Stop Tour 2013 Zamperla A Winston-themed monorail ride, providing an aerial tour of Thomas Land. The ride opened on 19 July 2013.[5] N/A
38 Captain's Sea Adventure 2015 Zamperla Spin with Captain the lifeboat and play around with search lights that turn on when the ride starts. N/A
39 Toby´s Tram Express 2015 Zamperla Rock and roll around with Toby. N/A
40 Flynn´s Fire Rescue 2015 Zamperla Spin Around with Flynn and help fight the fires with him. In Partnership With West Midlands Fire Service N/A
41 James and the Red Balloon 2017 Zamperla A Balloon Ride themed after the Thomas & Friends episode "James and the Red Balloon". N/A

Discover Thomas and 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]

A large selection of Thomas & Friends toys, games, memorabilia and collectibles available for purchase.(Opened in 2008 and redecorated in 2016)

Thomas land gift .co[edit]

A shop in Thomas Land that mainly stocks Thomas Land Merchandise. (Opened in 2016)

Past rides and attractions[edit]

# Name Opened Closed Manufacturer Description
1 Log Flume 1981 1998 Reverchon Industries The original Log Flume replaced by Stormforce 10.
2 Klondike Gold Mine (Python Coaster) 1984 2004 Pinfari A Pinfari roller coaster that was sold to Funland in Hayling Island (Now removed there) & replaced by G-Force. Now travelling.
4 Jumbo Jet 1981 1983 Anton Schwarzkopf A City Jet coaster replaced by Python Looping Coaster. Was subsequently moved to Nigloland in France and now operates at Parc de la Vallée.
5 Super Dragon 1984 2007 Pinfari A Pinfari MD31 coaster that was sold to Funland in Hayling Island & replaced by Troublesome Trucks.
6 Haunted Crypt c.1970s 2001 Orton & Spooner A ghost train ride was replaced by indoor play area.
7 Paratower 1982 1997 Vekoma A Parachute Tower, now at Pleasure Island Family Theme Park
8 Black Revolver 1980 2010 Jackson An enclosed waltzer. Replaced by Air Race. Now operates at Rainbow Park, Hunstanton.
9 Sombrero 1998 2010 Soriani & Moser A Polyp ride replaced by Accelerator.
10 Jungle Cruise 1976 2001 Alan Hawes/Bennett A river raft ride replaced by Excalibur.
11 Excalibur 2003 2011 BEAR GmbH Tow boat ride that took riders on a humorous tour of a Medieval village, with an indoor finale. Farmer Studios helped with the theming. Closed after multiple malfunctions and currently SBNO.
12 Sky Flyer 1989 2003 Vekoma Vekoma Skyflyer, opened by Doctor Who John Pertwee. Upgraded to Pandemonium in 2004.
13 Tea Cups 1988 2004 Zamperla A Tea Cups ride replaced by G-Force. Now located at Adventure Wonderland
14 Pirate Ship 1982 2003 HUSS Park Attractions A Pirate Ship replaced by Bounty. G-Force stands where Pirate Ship once was.
15 Snake Train 1950 1995 Self-Built A land train replaced by The Haunting.
16 Cyclone 2003 2005 HUSS Park Attractions An Enterprise ride, relocated to Thorpe Park as Zodiac.
17 Cine 180 1985 2003 OmniVision Technologies & Ferretti Brothers A 180-degree cinema.
18 Balloon Race 1987 1997 Zamperla A Wave Swinger ride where Maelstrom is currently located now.
19 Quasar 1985 1987 A.R.M. Sold to showman Michael Phillips in September 1987.
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 Elephant shaped jets.
24 Junior Combat Star 1986 1997 Modern Products Junior Jets.
25 Cadbury's Junior Pirate Ship (Operated By Cadbury) 1986 2007 Modern Products Junior Pirate Ship. Was sold to Funland in Hayling Island but has now been removed there.
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 Junior magic carpet.
30 Red Baron 1986 1997 Soriani & Moser Junior Jets.
31 Ladybirds 1986 2007 Modern Products
32 Frog Hopper 1998 2007 Zamperla A Small drop tower. Sold to Funland in Hayling Island.
33 Mini Balloons 1998 2007 Zamperla Samba Balloons. Sold to Funland in Hayling Island.
34 Arriva Crazy Bus 1998 2007 Zamperla Crazy Bus Replaced by Bertie Bus.
35 Whirly Copters 1998 2007 Modern Products Junior Ferris Wheel. Was sold to Funland in Hayling Island but has now been removed there.
36 Waltzer 1965 1979 Lakin Replaced by a newer model in 1980.
37 Dodgems 1952 1989 Orton & Spooner Replaced by a new set in 1990.
38 Roller Coaster 1960s 1983 Supercar Small oval roller coaster. Replaced by Super Dragon.
39 Pirate Raft Ride 1998 2007 Zamperla Junior jets. Relocated to Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.
40 The Haunting (original) 1996 2015 Vekoma The original iteration closed in 2015 for refurbishment with a reworked story.
40 Mississippi Showboat 1988 late 90s A showboat-themed fun house. Closed since the late 90s.
41 Big Wheel 1986 2017 Helmut Hauser A ferris Wheel.
42 Pirates Adventure 1990 2015 Mack Rides Indoor water ride. Currently SBNO – reason for closure never officially announced.
43 Chair Lift 1964 2017 British Chairlifts The chair lift offerred a view from the entrance to the back of the park; height limit none / 16 years alone.

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).

Accommodation[edit]

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 15 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.

Camping and Caravanning club Drayton manor The Camping and caravan club have a site at Drayton Manor. On the site there is 90 pitches, Clamping with already set-up tents (available through ReadyCamp) and a children's playground.

Events[edit]

The park holds many events throughout the year including fundraising for Birmingham's Children's Hospital and musical projects. An annual fireworks event takes place on the lake.

The Park will also be home to Miss Community UK Grand Finals in 2016. This national UK pageant focuses on community and charity work.[6]

A number of music artists have visited the park including Steps, G4, Hear'Say, and The Vamps.

The park was featured in 2 episodes of Brum in 2001–2002. In Brum and the Runaway Train where The Big Town Mayor accidentally malfunctioned the new but 'old' Polperro express train which he was supposed to open, and in Brum and the Crazy Chair Chase where Gorgeous Gordon's runaway new barber chair flew onto the buffalo coaster ride.

Incidents[edit]

  • In 1988 a woman died after her sari got caught in the wheels on the Polperro Express
  • In 1995 9 people were injured after a carriage of the Snake Train Overturned
  • In 2012 a woman died from a heart attack after coming off the Maelstrom Ride
  • On 9 May 2017, an 11-year-old girl Evha Jannath died from her injuries after she fell from the Splash Canyon ride and into the water. This was due to her standing up to change seats on the ride when the boat hit the side.[7]

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". sinfin.net. 
  5. ^ "New Ride at Thomas Land". familydays.org.uk. Family Days UK. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Misscommunityuk.co.uk". misscommunityuk.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "school girl named". 

External links[edit]