Drayton Manor Park

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Matty, 15th Jun 2012.

  1. siralgenon

    siralgenon TowersStreet Member

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    If it was in it's original working condition then I'd agree, but when I visited back in (not sure of the year but it was when Ben 10 opened) it was more like a tour of an abandoned prop warehouse, so it was no where near a top 5 at the end of it's life and I'm sure it was open for a few years after that. I'd definitely like to see the building re used for a large scale ride though, ideally a water one.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    As I state it's a question of ethics and morals. It is still the same entity for all intents and purposes. Bryan is still the managing director and most of the rides are still there.

    While it's correct to say that the peak negative PR window is very narrow and has already rapidly diminished within a day, it was still a risk - and wrong in my view - for Looping and Bryan to not even comment on the fine (as far as I'm aware).
     
  3. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    But simply having the rides still there doesn't make it the same company. If you took over a food place and the previous owner had been shut down due to causing food poisoning, does that mean that you will also cause food poisoning from that premises with that equipment? Why should you be paying for the failings of the previous owner?
     
  4. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    If I took over a food place that had killed someone, but re-appointed the old managing director, kept the same name, branding, vast majority of products and assets, but as a 'new company' paid nothing, then I'd accept that I run the risk of being challenged on ethical on moral grounds.
     
  5. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Think I rode it towards the end of its life cycle and despite obviously not being as good as when it was fresh it was still very very good. Maybe you have a particularly bad day with it. I don't remember too many effects being down.
     
  6. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    End of last season I was told the boats were back inside the building and the ride layout was still in place including the queue line minus most of the props. Even the air gates is still in place and the lighting/sound system so it could maybe come back as a dark ride.
    William Bryan was kept on as director as he knew the staff and the running of the park.
     
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  7. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    It seems like it, but if you think about it, it isn't so much. The ethical purpose of the fine is to set a precedent, which it still does. The actual money doesnt go anywhere useful, it only matters if the company still exists. The old company suffered the consequences worse than just being fined.

    It would be wrong if the same directors then set up a new company as a way to get around it, but its different company directors now.

    Perhaps the moral question is whether they should have retained Bryan as their MD when they took over the company. Although he wasn't personally responsible for the failings technically. Without knowing the situation inside out, it would be harsh to judge.
     
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  8. DistortAMG

    DistortAMG TowersStreet Member

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    I have to agree. Adding to that, if the fine was destined to go to the family of the victim, it would raise a few ethical questions. But it was not, the money would have gone into the government's coffers.

    That is not to say that companies should not be fined when they do wrong, they should. But a totally different company, should not be liable for the mistakes of another company.
     
  9. Excalibur

    Excalibur TowersStreet Member

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    I do actually feel rather sorry for Colin, and the Bryan family in general. Building such a successful park and then getting into such a state of debt and disrepair must be upsetting for them all, Colin more so as it was handed down to him from his parents.


    Drayton has been such a rise and fall, but also was a magical place in the 90’s & 00’s. There used to be a general buzz about the place, the theming and rides themselves! I remember queuing for Splash Canyon & Pirates Adventure and remember seeing TVs in the queline advertising all the rides and attractions and having Drayton Manors adverts on loop. Stuff like this back in the day, although cheesy I think made the park feel special as such.


    Colin did admit during a interview that he wished he invested more “aggressively” in the 90s and 00s. But my question is now, why not? At one point, it was clear he knew what he was doing and he did a really good job at it too. Then towards 2006/7 it’s like the park gave up all together.


    I remember reading and seeing that infact Thomas Land was there last “hope” of bringing in visitors to the park after declining in the early 2000’s probably due to popularity and Alton being just up the road.


    Drayton is a weird and quirky park. It’s just a shame all the debt mounted up, to the point they couldn’t afford payments on Air Race, and also so called “manager” stealing money from the rides department that was supposed to spruce up Pirates Adventure.


    I hope that Loopings Group do it justice.
     
  10. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    I think the biggest mistake is spending 14 million on a big hotel instead of doing deals with hotels and 2 days admission like Paulton’s do. So the money Peppa pig brought into the park over the past 10 years has gone into making Peppa pig land bigger and adding new theming and rides across the park where since the hotel been built only Air Race was added to the main park with the rest been in Thomas land or ride up grades.
     
  11. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    A lot of people say the hotel is about the only thing making money though, and was paying for half of the park. But how true that is I don’t know.
     
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  12. Excalibur

    Excalibur TowersStreet Member

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    I did briefly work at the park, so this is off knowledge and talking to people.

    The park didn’t “need” the hotel. Colin always used to look at Towers and what they had. Around 2003/4 when Splash opened Colin was very interested and thus came the idea of the hotel and kept getting pushed back due to budgets, or as such not being able to secure a loan. If you remember this is also when “Storm Along Bay” was considered to compete with Splash Landings. (Yes, Drayton was meant to have a water park! With slides!) BUT I can only assume due to budgets, that’s why we’ve ended up with let’s be honest, a bog standard hotel.
    No evening entertainment, no charm. No nothing.

    Before all this kicked off there was a man in charge, who was in charge of up keep and theming. Pirates Adventure WAS on the agenda due to its disrepair. There as a budget being saved to contribute towards this and the upkeep to give it a refresh. Said man was taking money, and putting it through expenses as new lighting etc and it never came to be. Turns out he was fiddling the books and wasn’t until HR looked into the receipts that they found out. This was around the time Air Race was being installed.

    Again, it seems towards the end that Colin literally gave up on the park, for whatever reason.
     
  13. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    George and Vera Bryan were the main reason the park got so big in the 90s,00s. Colins parents would regularly visit the park and speak to guests and they even did a park survey in 2005 in which rides were missed the most and the top 2 were the pirate ship and the tea cups which they added Drunken Barrels in 2006 and the Bounty in 2007. They spent 5 million on the IP, Rides and theming on Thomas land the following year and cause there new target audience was 6 and under they thought more families would travel from across the uk if they had somewhere to stay so they decided to spend big on a hotel which also doubled up as a wedding and conference centre. Adding new shows and attractions every season.
    Colin love for the park started to drop at the end of the 2013 season when he lose both his parents within a month of each other.
    Also the year Air Race was added attendance figures dropped so they kept on adding attractions to Thomas land which has had only 10 million invested in it.
    I spoke to Colin at the Christmas Event in 2019 as he was walking round the park and he said that the plans the park had for the 2020 season was big for its 70th birthday with new shows,Attractions and events planned all year then the flood happened and then the lockdown. To raise capital they were gonna sell all the attractions to the Mellors and they would just own the hotel, land and zoo only then a company Rush newco limited was formed as part of the looping group in July as a deal was agreed if the park went into administration all members of staff were kept on the payroll and Colin son was kept on.
    I think Colin be more happy that the long term future of the park is safe and the amount of work already going into the park with the cleaning and repainting shows they do want Drayton Manor as it’s flagship park.
     
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  14. DistortAMG

    DistortAMG TowersStreet Member

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    Interesting post, but the main reason the park got so big in the 90's and 2000's was absolutely down to a couple of the Pawley family (Edward being the latter member of the Pawley family) and Colin. If it wasn't for the combination of the Pawleys (who married into the Bryan's) and the Bryans, we would not have seen rides such as Splash Canyon, Shockwave, Storm Force, Pirate Adventure, Excalibur, Apocalypse to name a few. The Pawleys played a bigger part than you give them credit for. They played a big big part in the development of Drayton into a true themed park, rather than an amusement park. When Edward Pawley left the park, the park also, coincidentally started it's down turn, no large highly themed rides were built after the Pawleys involvement.
     
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  15. Prof Burp

    Prof Burp TowersStreet Member

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    Has the fire damaged Thomas Land shop and toiler block been repaired,for the start of the 2021 season at Drayton Manor? I presume that the rides adjacent to the fire damaged area will have to be surveyed to see if the fire has damaged or weakened them.
     
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  16. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom TowersStreet Member

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    In recent arial footage the Thomas land rides had all been put back together so assume they have been checked and looked ready to go.

    didn’t look like the toilets/shop had been reconstructed yet, looked to be surrounded by scaffolding. It was just a small shop and not the main Thomas shop, so that won’t be too much of an issue just as long as they cover it up with some decent themed hoarding so doesn’t look to much of a mess until they reconstruct it.
     
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  17. Prof Burp

    Prof Burp TowersStreet Member

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    @Maelstrom Various News articles I read stated that it was the main Thomas Land shop that went up in flames. Due to this I thought that Drayton had lost a major attraction and money earner. I guess that the fact that Thomas Land still has the major shop makes rebuilding the fire damaged building a low priority.
     
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  18. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom TowersStreet Member

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    The main Thomas shop is in part of the pirates adventure building, think it used to be the pirates adventure shop and ride exit for pirates adventure. The toilets and shop that where damaged in the fire were in the newer part of Thomasland which was built around 2015 (I think).
     
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  19. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks for them extra details just search details on Edward Pawley and remember meeting him at the opening day of Thomas land and the 4D cinema where he left Drayton to go to work at Simworx.
    Helen and Edward are cousins to William and George Bryan
     
  20. Excalibur

    Excalibur TowersStreet Member

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    While I can't deny some of the point's you have raised are valid, I think the park has a lot more underlying issues.

    Yes, the death of both George and Vera must have been hard for the park and a true loss, I feel that issues were going on long before this.

    For a solid few years between 2003-2008 we had solid investments. 2008 being Thomas Land, the "saving grace"

    Originally G-Force was meant to be something else, but due to height it did not work out, and that's how we ended up with such a "unique" shall we say? ride.

    But now lets cast our minds back to 2011. The birth of Ben 10 & Cartoon Network Street.
    A brilliant addition to the park, well themed and it literally ends there. We all knew that park had come to an agreement with Cartoon Network, or should we just say "Ben 10" as the place was plastered in it instead of Cartoon Network branding, sorry apart from The Wheel! And that was shorted lived. Scooby Doo was meant to make an appearance on The Haunting, and what we have been left with now is quite laughable. (Which I will go into shortly) Scooby Doo fell through as both party's couldn't agree on what Cartoon wanted and then shortly after the contract abruptly ended.

    Looking back now Colin did promise us a variety of things coming to Cartoon Network Street which never surfaced, including a Café/Restaurant of some sort which is now the ice cream parlor.

    After the contract ended and due to the success of Thomas Land the park were keen to try and get another IP on board. HIT Entertainment, who own Thomas and which also have something to do with Drayton also have something to do with the rights to Hot Wheels and there was discussions about re-branding Accelerator or attaching the IP onto it. Again this didn't happen due to money/agreements. The track was meant to be painted red, however was quoted a stupid amount of money to do so and therefore didn't happen.

    Going onto The Haunting now. I had a real soft spot for this ride, especially the original theme with the original gift shop. However, when the park were refreshing it multiple staff were called into the board of directors meeting and went through the dialog for the new ride we have today. Staff did throw them some ideas, one being about Urban Explorers and this was just brushed under the carpet and the final product is what we have today. Fair to say, the public didn't like it that much and that's why its been tweaked at least 3 times now. Personally, along with other staff members who work there, I think its too kiddyfied now and has completely ruined the experience. I am all up for refreshing attractions, but not to this extent.
     
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