Drayton Manor Resort, 26th September 2022

Skyscraper

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
Here we go then (apologies for another long one)! This visit was originally supposed to be a week earlier, on the 19th (my parents' wedding anniversary- they were going to go somewhere else while me, my sister and her friend went to Drayton), but obviously the park was closed for the Queen's funeral. So we decided to go the week after instead. This was my first visit in a couple of years, so it was nice to get back. My sister's friend hadn't been to the park since he was 5 years old, so I was looking forward to hearing what he thought.

My tickets were sorted by my mate who works at the park, and I received them just as we were approaching the driveway entrance. They took a little longer than expected to arrive after he sent them because he did so from the top of Apocalypse while he was doing safety checks (no signal 54 metres in the air lol). We arrived just after 10am, but a black cloud passing overhead decided to dump a heavy amount of rain down just as we parked up, so we waited a few minutes for it to pass. After it stopped, we headed to the Vikings entrance and scanned our tickets. We had no further rain after that thankfully, it was cold and a little windy but the sun peeked through the clouds at points.

Once in, we still had a few minutes before ride open time, so we took a walk through the park towards The Haunting, to start with that. Now, like usual I can't remember the exact order we did the rides in as we did so many (and I did quite a few re-rides anyway), so I'm just going to list the rides in no particular order like I did in my Thorpe report back in April;

The Haunting x1

We were the first riders of the day on this Vekoma Madhouse, joined by 5 others (my sister doesn't like these). I had only ridden it once before (on my previous visit) and really enjoyed it, so it was nice to get back on. The preshows are good, and so is the ride, although the latter was quite short. The animatronic in the centre with the lady in the coffin was broken, unfortunately, as was one of the wooden cellar doors in the queue line. Personally I still prefer Hex, but Haunting is very good and well worth a ride!

Sheriff's Showdown x2

This was walk-on both times we rode it, short but fun how the animatronics move when you hit targets on/near them. A good one to do multiple times if you want to beat your or your friend's score!

Shockwave x1

Was a bit worried about this ride as when we were near it we hadn't seen it go around, and could see people in the queue through the windows. We saw it going around not too long after and joined the queue, which was walk-on again. Got up to the station and the front row queue was empty (the regular queue had a few people in it), so we did the front. Was very happy as I had hoped to get the first row. My sister and her friend had never ridden it before, so were very looking forward to it. Was very smooth and a great ride! Bit uncomfortable due to the riding position of course, but it helps to stand up as straight as possible.

Maelstrom x2

Maelstrom is one of my favourite rides at Drayton, so it was nice to get back on it. Doesn't make me feel queasy but the cycle length (90 seconds I think) is just right in my opinion. A great ride, and probably one of the best thrill flats in the UK!

Adventure Cove River Rapids x1

Was looking forward to getting on this, as I remember riding it in its previous form a few years ago. Was nice to actually go on a rapids that, well... has rapids! (looking at you, Congo and Rumba...) And water effects too of course. Got a little wetter than expected but it wasn't too bad. The park has done a great job with this (and Shockwave's station), it looks really nice. The Adventure Cove area as a whole looks very good.

Storm Force 10 x1

I wasn't initially sure if I would ride this nicely themed flume ride as the weather was quite cold at points, but in the afternoon it was quite cool so I decided to brave it. I needn't have worried though, as I dried off really quickly afterwards. Was a few since I last rode, so it was nice to get back on it.

I didn't get quite as wet as I expected, partly because my sister gave me her rain poncho (she and her friend both understandably decided to skip this one), and partly because there were only three of us in the boat (I was in row 2 and a pair were in row 3 (a full boat would create bigger splashes)). The backwards drop has the wettest splashdown on the ride, unless you're in row one (the third splashdown sends a delayed tidal wave over the front of the boat just when you think you're safe). A tip, though- lift your feet up slightly just before you go down the small pre-drop at the top of the second lift hill. I didn't and my shoes got soaked by the wave of water that rushed to the front of the boat!

The Bounty x1

This swinging ship ride is one of the best of its kind in the UK, and goes pretty high compared to other versions. We got straight on but there were a fair few people in front of us, luckily there was a space at the very back on one side, so I managed to nab it. Although because I was fixated on getting that seat I forgot to leave my rucksack on the platform. Luckily the host was very polite and asked if she could take it. My sister and her friend had to sit on the other side and towards the middle though.

Accelerator x2

Our first ride on this was our only substantial wait of the day. The end of the queue was just before the 15-minute sign, but it ended up being slightly longer as a technical issue occurred when we were just approaching the bottom of the station steps outside. The train came into the station but the restraints wouldn't unlock, and we saw the op frantically spamming the button a few times. Tech services were called and the train was accelerated (pun not intended!) partially out of the station to try and re-engage the unlocking mechanism.

Eventually the lap bars released and they sent the train around a few times before resuming operation. It is a fun ride and suitable for almost everyone. We rode it again in the last hour of the day, and it was walk-on. We got a front-row ride because of that.

Loki x1

Loki looks very strange off-ride, so I was intrigued as to what it would be like on-ride. It was actually surprisingly fast, and made me feel a little queasy. Didn't have to wait at the top though as they were only using one set of gondolas. Was cool, but one that I will probably do just once per visit. Is nice to finally have a Zamperla Nebulaz in the UK though! Apparently the cycle length was extended slightly in the last week or too.

Jormungandr x1

It was nice to get back on the old Buffalo Coaster, and I have to say the train looks really nice. It was very smooth too, contrary to what I've recently heard from other members on here. I was near the back, too. We only got one lap though, even though it was walk-on.

Thor x1

Out of all the Vikings rides, Thor was the one I was looking forward to the most. I had only done one of these Zamperala Disk-O Coasters before (Edge at Paultons), and really liked it, so was very looking forward to getting on this one. The Viking centrepiece is really nice.

Now, the seating position and restraints aren't the most comfortable (it helps to keep your bum against the back restraint if you're a bloke, to prevent your privates from being painfully squashed). but at least it doesn't have those awful seatbelts like the aforementioned Edge. The ride is fun, and quite fast. Apart from just before the end of the cycle, when we went slowly up the hump and stopped at the top for a few seconds! My mate (who sometimes works on it) told me later that it does that every so often even though it shouldn't, and is in the process of being investigated. Weight is a factor, though.

Troublesome Trucks x1

Now, this might be a kid's coaster but it's a very good, custom kid's coaster (I don't ride Wacky Worms anymore, for example). I always ride it at least once, and the s-bend before the station is surprisingly snappy.

Winston's Whistle Stop Tour x1

I only ride this children's monorail for the views of the park, and nice views they are too. Always worth doing once if there is no queue.

Thomas Railway x1 (between Thomas Land and the farm)

If you ignore the fact that it's Thomas themed (I didn't though as it was my childhood), this train ride to and from the main area to the farm is quite useful. We got it to the farm then walked through the zoo back to the main park for some last-hour re-rides.

Apocalypse x13

Am I crazy? Possibly. This 54-metre Intamin second-gen drop tower is my favourite ride in the park, hands down, it's so re-ridable in my opinion. And the views from 54 metres up are fantastic, plus my mate was operating it (after our initial ride he came over the PA system and said "have a great day guys", which was nice)! I ended up riding it a total of 13 times- I had one ride early in the day with my sister and her friend (their first time on it), then two back-to-back rides on my own later on while my sister was drinking her coffee.

Then for the last 20 minutes of the day I decided to marathon it until ride close. I didn't have to leave the station at all for those 10 rides, and was allowed to stay in my seat for most of them, only getting off and waiting 1 cycle if a group of four turned up (the host (who was great as well) let me back through the entrance gate to wait). For one of my rides I was completely on my own, which was an unnerving experience! And on my last few goes it got very windy, so when we dropped the tower shook! Was quite scary actually.

After the queue closed at half 4 me and the two others on it got a few bonus rides, and were joined by a member of staff for a couple of them (after they left my mate said "one more guys?" over the speaker, and we were like "go on then!"). Was nice getting the last ride of the day on it. Was also cool having my mate opping it, and watching him tease riders over the PA system ("it's only 50 metres tall. Oh wait, it's 54").

A funny thing happened too; earlier on I let a group of four go in front of me as I could see a group of two behind them, and one of them started asking me why other chutes were covered up and if the operating one was safe (I was wearing mt Ice Age 4D coat I must add). Being technically minded, I was happy to answer, but they eventually said "I thought you worked there!" Bit obvious that I didn't lol. Also was funny looking at the ride photo screens after my last ride- every screen had me on it because of the number of goes I had.

I know its future is uncertain, so it was nice being able to get so many rides on it.

Conclusion:

In total, I did 30 rides, which would be unimaginable on a busy day! We also went around the zoo a couple of times, and it is a nice thing to do if you aren't a fan of rides or need a break from them. We went round after lunch to let it go down before our next ride.

Crowd-wise, it was quiet most of the day but slightly less so at points, although it didn't affect the wait times (apart from Accelerator in the morning of course). Though just as we were finishing our lunch we saw a massive group of school kids being let loose around the park, swarming away like ants lol.

I can't finish this trip report without mentioning an aspect of Drayton that it can't function without: The staff. All the staff members we interacted with were lovely, and great staff is an important part of having a good visit to these places.

Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic day at Drayton, and I look forward to returning again in the future. Yes it might not have as many coasters or thrill rides as another certain resort in Staffordshire, but that doesn't really matter. The only minor disappointment as I haven't ridden it for a few years was that Polperro Express was closed all day (well it was closed when we walked past and we didn't hear it operate), but it's something to look forward to for next time.

On the way out of the park we stopped off in the Toy Shop, and I bought a nice magnet to remember this awesome visit. I still have a very old one from a few years back, so it was nice to get one with the new logo.

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Well, that wraps up my report, I hope you enjoy reading it! Feel free to comment or ask questions about my visit.
 
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