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We need to talk about Drayton...

astead04

New Member
It's one of the worst theme parks currently open in the UK and it needs some new investment e.g. a new coaster ASAP.

What do you think Drayton could do to be improved?
 

Peet

Member
It's one of a number of small UK parks that appear to be struggling and have not had proper investment for decades. I am concerned that if we have another downturn we could lose DMP, LWV, PWH, FI and/or Oakwood, just like we lost Pleasureland, Loudoun Castle, American Adventure, Dreamland (temporarily), Ocean Beach and Camelot back in the noughties. Enjoy these parks while you can folks!

But to answer your question, a GG woodie would be a great and realistic addition, as would a Premier Sky Rocket II. Even an S&S free spin would be a good positive move; the UK's first 4D coaster etc.

If I'm allowed to dream, I'd love an RMC raptor!
 
It's one of a number of small UK parks that appear to be struggling and have not had proper investment for decades. I am concerned that if we have another downturn we could lose DMP, LWV, PWH, FI and/or Oakwood, just like we lost Pleasureland, Loudoun Castle, American Adventure, Dreamland (temporarily), Ocean Beach and Camelot back in the noughties. Enjoy these parks while you can folks!

But to answer your question, a GG woodie would be a great and realistic addition, as would a Premier Sky Rocket II. Even an S&S free spin would be a good positive move; the UK's first 4D coaster etc.

If I'm allowed to dream, I'd love an RMC raptor!
Flamingo Land seems to be looking in a much better shape recently
 
It’s one, in a series of parks, that saw short term major success when investing in the kiddie side of things, so lost sight of the importance of balance It seems like they thought that they could just continue to invest in kids attractions, and neglect attractions aimed at older kids / adults and continue to grow. It doesn’t work like that, not for mid to top tier theme parks, which they once were, at least within the uk market.

It’s all about having something for the entirety of an average family to do. American Adventure found out the hard way, and if nothing changes soon, so will Drayton.

Since they opened Thomas Land we’ve had Pepper Pig, Nickledeon land, Cbeebies Land.... Honestly, who is going to opt to take their little ones to Drayton more than once a year, or even once Every few years, when there are
options that have plenty for the whole family to do?

Such a shame, because in the 15 years leading up to Thomas land, we got:

Splash Canyon (1993)
Shockwave (1994)
Haunting (1996)
Sombrero (1998)
Storm Force 10 (1999)
Apocolypse (2000)
Maelstron (2002)
Cyclone (2003)
Pandemonium (2004)
G Force (2005)

All classified as thrill rides

And the park seemed to be booming, the addition of Thomas Land made it even more popular, but since then they’ve lost connection with a core of their audience, and focused pretty much only on kids rides.

We’ve had Accelerator / Ben 10 and Air Race in the thrill department, thats it, a junior boomerang and a flat. Whilst we’ve lost a unique coaster in G force, Splash Canyon, and 2 or 3 other thrill rides... And the one’s that remain are not in great shape, nor are they very popular.

Come on Drayton, I was in love with you during the 90s/00s, and I honestly thought you were going to grow to be Alton Towers’ biggest competitor. Sort it out!

We’re not asking for much Drayton Manor, just a 2022 Ground up RMC IBox Hyper Hybrid!!! The sickening thing is that whilst I jest of course, Drayton are one of only a few parks in the UK that stand a chance of buidling close to 200ft, With Apocalypse as a precedent. 😭
 

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
I’ve ridden over 350 coasters and Drayton Manor is only a 90 minute drive from my house. I’ve never been.

At current rate the lineup is rapidly shrinking so I’ll have to go sooner rather than later. Just have no motivation whatsoever!
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Even though I'd also love a thrill ride as much as you all would, let me stick up for Drayton a little here.

The thing is, I don't think thrillseekers are really Drayton's core audience anymore. Ever since Thomas Land was a huge success in 2008, I think the park has had a path set out for it, and after the events of May 2017 that plunged them into quite a precarious financial state, I can't really blame them. They can't really afford to take risks anymore, so relying on Thomas Land rides is probably a better path for them while they're struggling somewhat.

While I'm here, I may as well share some info that I've found out about Drayton's financial side from reading various other forums that I think might explain why Drayton hasn't invested much into more thrilling rides as of late. Apparently, the combined investment into the hotel and Accelerator/Ben 10 in 2011 brought them close to bankruptcy, meaning that justifying ride investment outside of Thomas Land became far more difficult. The park also reportedly experienced a financial loss when they built Air Race in 2014. On the other hand, the park seems to experience record years every time they invest into Thomas Land, so from a profits perspective, it's easy to see why they've gone so far down the Thomas route as of late.

Also, reports from people with young children seem to imply that Drayton actually has a stronger lineup for families than Alton Towers, so they might as well play to their strengths!
 
Even though I'd also love a thrill ride as much as you all would, let me stick up for Drayton a little here.

The thing is, I don't think thrillseekers are really Drayton's core audience anymore. Ever since Thomas Land was a huge success in 2008, I think the park has had a path set out for it, and after the events of May 2017 that plunged them into quite a precarious financial state, I can't really blame them. They can't really afford to take risks anymore, so relying on Thomas Land rides is probably a better path for them while they're struggling somewhat.

While I'm here, I may as well share some info that I've found out about Drayton's financial side from reading various other forums that I think might explain why Drayton hasn't invested much into more thrilling rides as of late. Apparently, the combined investment into the hotel and Accelerator/Ben 10 in 2011 brought them close to bankruptcy, meaning that justifying ride investment outside of Thomas Land became far more difficult. The park also reportedly experienced a financial loss when they built Air Race in 2014. On the other hand, the park seems to experience record years every time they invest into Thomas Land, so from a profits perspective, it's easy to see why they've gone so far down the Thomas route as of late.

Also, reports from people with young children seem to imply that Drayton actually has a stronger lineup for families than Alton Towers, so they might as well play to their strengths!
That was kind of my point Matt, that they’ve focused solely on the family rides, as in, it’s now their target market, which has brought them short term success, but as they lose more and more of the ‘bigger’ rides, with no investment, the park becomes less and less attractive to families with members of varying ages, so they will, ultimately either die completely, or basically become just a kiddie park, and completely scale back. Either way, we lose Drayton Manor as a mid tier theme park :)
 

Benenen

Member
Honestly, I think an RMC is exactly what Drayton Manor needs.
They wouldn't pay £250,000 to get a new train chassis for G Force to keep it open, an RMC is completely out of the question.

I have such fond memories of old school Drayton, my family used to take me to the campsite there every year in the early 2000s and I would be so excited that I'd spend the whole evening by my tent staring at Apocalypse. The park had so much to do back then and it felt alive. Four indoor/themed rides (Golden Nuggets, Pirates, Haunting, Excalibur) felt huge for a non Disney park and this was backed up by two great water rides and loads of flats. Nowadays the park is just flats and rides for preschoolers. I know my nostalgia will make me see the past rose tinted but I visited last year and it was just alright, a fun enough time but I struggled to pad the day out. It's a shame to see such a noticeable decline in both quality and quantity over the past 15 years.
 
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It's one of a number of small UK parks that appear to be struggling and have not had proper investment for decades. I am concerned that if we have another downturn we could lose DMP, LWV, PWH, FI and/or Oakwood
I think the park at most risk is Drayton or Lightwater Valley. Drayton is clearly the more family park between them and Alton Towers. LWV are the more family park out of them and Flamingo Land (especially with Flamingo's new 10 looper in 2020). Both parks need family coasters in 2020/21. There were rumours in 2011 that Lightwater Valley were in for buying a Corkscrew coaster from Sarkanniemi (now in storage since 2013 in Romania)...why not? Might not be outstanding, but parks target the GP, not just enthusiats (Also, Skate Karts are gone now, so perfect site). Drayton Manor would benefit from a Raptor from RMC (with a bigger budget), but a Vekoma Suspended Thrill/Family Coaster or Gravity Group woodie would be perfect. Anything other than Thomas Land!
 
Heading over to Drayton Today, for the first time in a couple of years... 🙈

That says it all really considering we’re at AT most weeks yet technically the drive to Drayton is 5 minutes quicker!

It’s actually a +1 for me as I’ve never done troublesome trucks, don’t know if we’ll do it today either.
 
Actually having a really nice day, park is super busy with families, everything is open. Not nearly as bad as I was expecting, and the zoo is much better than I remember too. I still think it lacks a little more for us older ones to do, but for £19.50 an adult summer holiday entrance, I certainly don’t feel short changed.
 

astead04

New Member
Actually having a really nice day, park is super busy with families, everything is open. Not nearly as bad as I was expecting, and the zoo is much better than I remember too. I still think it lacks a little more for us older ones to do, but for £19.50 an adult summer holiday entrance, I certainly don’t feel short changed.
Tbh one of the good parts of this park right now is that it has a good flat ride collection. Something that other park down the road, while being much better, lacks.
 
Tbh one of the good parts of this park right now is that it has a good flat ride collection. Something that other park down the road, while being much better, lacks.
Yes, and whilst I’m not a big fan of flats, at all, I actually enjoyed them all. NEVER doing stand up floorless on Apocalypse again though, my coccyx still hurts now :(

Another big coaster is definitely needed, and they really need to address their wasp problem. I know it’s the time of the year, and all public places suffer. But most places, including my own business, at least try and deal with them. There is clearly several large nests within the old rapids structures not being eradicated, you can stand and watch them. And I did not see a single wasp pot. The wasps are more of an issue at Drayton than I’ve seen at any park since Alton Towers in the 90s.

Apart from that, a fab day that has honestly left me a little embarrassed about having to eat my words.
 

.Ac.

Member
Had fun enough day at drayton, only went because of offer on at moment. Place was busy but enjoyable enough. As good as Thomas land is, to be profitable you need to reach out to as many markets as possible.
 
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