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Drayton Manor Park
Drayton Manor (Staffordshire)
Member Name: bunnie1982
Drayton Manor (Staffordshire)
Disadvantages: Poor quality food, unclean toilets
I always remember Drayton Manor Park (Tamworth, Staffordshire) from when I was young, with my parents not being into thrill rides this is where we had our days out as opposed to Alton Towers. However I was long overdue a trip and so decided to go on Sunday 5th October.
After looking online I noticed that there is a considerable saving if you book online (about £5 off the £23 gate price) this is not very well advertised on the website so you may need to look deeply into this.
We arrived at the main entrance at the 9:30am advertised opening time, parked on the main carpark as this was not yet full. There is also an overspill carpark in the form of a grass field. The automatic ticket machine was out of order so we had to claim our pre-booked tickets at the main booth. I was a little confused as on production of my booking confirmation and my card I booked with the person on the booth wanted further identification, to which I had to explain I take the minimum amount of items into a theme park to prevent me losing them, I questioned why they wanted further ID and she said it was in case I had stolen the card!
On the day we visited the park closed at 5pm, sometimes it can close at 6pm but it is best to check on the website before you go. It will also advise of any ride closures.
Drayton Manor Park is different to what I have been used to with Alton Towers that I have visited in more recent years, Drayton Manor isn't split down into different zones or areas, apart from Thomas Land. However you are provided with a park map, although it wasn't really needed.
This was the first area we visited as it was left of the park entrance. We marvelled at how well themed this area was and how family oriented it is. We loved the Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster, it is very smooth and loads of fun to ride, perfect for children. We also went on Diesels Locomotion Mayhem which is a difficult ride to describe, it is kind of like a teacups ride with little engines that cross over platforms, this again is a lot of fun to ride. The other ride we went on in this area was Crankys Drop Tower, a small tower where you sit round the outside and are raised up and bounced down, again another fun ride we had a giggle on. The rides in this area are more fun as opposed to thrilling.
As we wanted to explore the rest of the park we left the other rides, however for review purposes these include:
Jeremy Jet - A flying ride where you press a button to make your plane move up and down
Crazy Bertie Bus - A bus that is rotated round, similar to a magic carpet type ride
Harold's Helicopter Tours - Helicopters that go round in a circle and get taken up in the air
Rockin Bulstrode - A rockin' tug type ride that rocks similar to a pirate ship but also turns around 360 degrees
Sodor Classic Cars - I think this a retheme of the cars I remember as a child
Ladys Carousel - A gentle carousel ride
There is also a train that takes you to the zoo, we rode this later on in the day and got taken to the zoo by Thomas and bought back by Percy.
We also saw the Fat Controller (I think he is called Sir Topham Hatt now though) and his wife in the area, Sir Topham Hatt told us a story about the Troublesome Trucks and we had a picture with him. There is a Thomas themed shop, but I thought the items in here were quite expensive.
After all the fun of Thomas Land we headed out to enjoy the rest of the park.
I thought this was the scariest ride, especially on the floorless side. I only managed one go on this as it really made my stomach churn. Apocalypse is a drop tower manufactured by Intamin AG and it stands at a whopping 180 foot high. When you join the queue you can choose to do sit down or stand up, later in the queue the stand up side gives you the option to go floorless. Both the stand up and floorless side tilt forward slightly as you are taken up, I was not expecting this at all and think it made the ride scarier. My husband had a bit of discomfort on the floorless side as it is quite harsh on the drop when the car slows through the magnetic brakes, he came off speaking a little higher than normal.
This is your usual pirate ship, I love these rides especially to watch other peoples faces, as this is a ride people either love or hate. We enjoyed two goes on this.
I really was unimpressed with this rollercoaster, especially after having queued an hour to ride it. The coaster train has like a lap bar restraint that comes down quite tightly and a lift hill that goes through a loop. As the train went over the camelback hill my lapbar locked down one more notch and this squashed my pelvis leaving me in great discomfort for the rest of the ride, I heard a few people complaining about this too.
My favourite ride of the park, I could happily spend most of my day on this, I think in total I had around 4 goes. Due to its high capacity, the queues were not too bad for it either. This ride is a Gyroswing, also manufactured by Intamin AG. All the seats on the ride are in a circle and face outwards. The ride swings and also rotates, but only very slowly.
A stand up rollercoaster that is based over the rapids. I had a few problems with the restraint on this ride, the seats are adjustable and as I am only quite short I had a few problems getting the seat down to the height I needed and the ride operator had to assist me. This is not a smooth ride either. This rollercoaster has a loop, a zero g roll and 2 corkscrews.
A boat ride that takes you through almost a Pirates of the Caribbean themed area. I was a little disappointed as a lot of the animatronics were not working, although apparently it will be undergoing a refurbishment in the close season.
This is a shooting ride, four people sit in a small mine train car that goes round an indoor track. Each person has a gun to shoot targets. Again another one I was disappointed with as a lot of the targets were not working and also some of the guns were broken. Otherwise I can imagine this being quite a fun ride.
One I remember from my childhood, but I never remembered it being rough! This is a powered rollercoaster which travels over the lake.
Waltzers in the dark that spin very fast, I loved this ride although came off feeling a bit green.
Other rides we didn't go on include:
Excalibur - A boat ride themed around dragons.
Drunken barrels - A teacups style ride.
Pandemonium - Like a pirate ship, but goes upside down.
Stormforce 10 - It was quite a cold and wet day so didn't fancy getting soaked.
The Rapids - Again, didn't fancy getting soaked.
The Haunting - Didn't appeal and had quite a large queue
We also enjoyed a walk around the zoo, I especially like the meercats and the penguins, it is a shame though because some of the enclosures are quite small and the animals are pacing.
Generally the queues were not too bad, apart from G Force. Thomas Land was very busy but I think everyone heads in there first as it is next to the main entrance. I also experienced quite a lot of queue jumping on the day we were there. There is a distinct shortage of queueing times signs.
There are not many food outlets around the park, the ones that are there are expensive for the quality and quantity of food you get. We opted for jacket potatoes in the Rainforest Cafe which were a bit tough and not very warm. Next time I go I will take a picnic, as I saw a lot of families being handstamped out of the park and coming back in.
The car parking facilities are ample and a very short walking distance from the main entrance. There are no hotel facilities as of yet, but there is a nearby campsite which I understand is families only.
There are plenty of toilet facilities, although none of these were in great condition, a bit dirty and smelly.
Drayton Manor Park was a good day out, however I think I do prefer Alton Towers for the better choice in rides. I think it is ok value for money, but I would never go in peak season as I imagine you would only get on a few rides.
If you live nearby and have young children who would enjoy Thomas Land then I would definitely recommend it, however for thrill seekers I would say Alton Towers would be your best option.
Summary: An ok day out, better for families
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