Park Review

8

 
Drayton Manor
Apocalypse
Ben 10
Bounty
Buffalo Coaster
Cranky's Drop Tower
Diesel's  Locomotion Mayhem
Drunken Barrels
Excalibur
Flying Dutchman
G-Force
Golden Nugget Wild West Shoot Out
The Haunting
Jolly Buccaneer
Maelstrom
Pandemonium
Pirate Adventure
Shockwave
Splash Canyon
Storm Force 10
Troublesome Trucks

A few years ago it seemed this park had peaked. It had done a great job of putting itself on the map in the 90's and early 00's, but then hit a metaphorical glass ceiling. As other parks moved ahead, it just moved along. Then in one grand masterstroke it revitalized itself, and if attendance figures are anything to go by, became more popular than ever. This wasn't because of a major new roller coaster, but because of a new Thomas the Tank Engine themed kids area. It's not a huge surprise that this resulted in a lot of parent and toddler groups visiting the park. What I found surprising though was despite Thomas Land only having the Trucking Coaster and Cranky the Crane to appeal to anyone over the age of 5, there were notably more adult groups at the park since my last visit. I think this shows that having a good known brand associated with the park can be great for making people take an interest in the park.

 

I thought about this and speculated you could roll this idea out across the park by introducing more characters. You could give Pirate Cove a Captain Pugwash makeover, put Count Duckula (what do you mean who?) in The Haunting, and turn the G-Force building in to Danger Mouse's secret hideout. If you could also find a home for Postman Pat and Sooty we'd finally have a British answer to Mickey Mouse and friends.

I think the increased attendance is a good thing, not just for the parks bottom line, but because this is a park that deserves to have an interest taken in it. It's a good example of what I'd refer to as a themed amusement park. With the exception of Thomas Land none of the various themed areas are large enough, or spread out enough to create a true sense of immersion, but there are lots of rides packed in to a small space. Nearly all of the rides are superbly themed and decorated, which helps the park stand out from the crowd, and helps create a family atmosphere.

Another factor which helps give this park a family appeal is the zoo. It's a nice small zoo, which is alongside some of the other better small zoos I've been to. I can't be the only one who finds it worrying that the alligator enclosure backs on to the Excalibur lake though. It's well worth popping in to, and succeeds as an attraction on it's own merits, not just as a distraction from the rides.

Drayton Manor has one of the broadest range of rides I've encountered. Not only have you got the kids rides, you've also got some great dark and water rides for family groups, plus some good thrill rides and roller coasters means thrill seekers have nothing to complain about either.

For water rides, thrill rides and dark rides this park could legitimately claim to be one of the top 3 parks in the UK. Sadly,
when it comes to roller coasters it doesn't rank nearly as high. It's not that the coaster selection in inadequate, it's a respectable collection that most parks would be happy to have. I would say though that a major coaster needs to be added to bring the park up to a higher level. This doesn't detract from the park as it stands at the moment. A combination of a great atmosphere, and a large number of good attractions packed together make this park a great day out. I doesn't quite have the must do  ride needed to make it a must do park, but it's still a highly recommended one.