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Drayton Manor 9th June 2022

Matt N



Hi guys. Today was a rather exciting day; my first visit to Drayton Manor in 4 years, and my first ever solo train trip to a theme park! I was keen to do this after noticing that my university train route (Lydney-Cheltenham Spa) had trains running directly to Drayton Manor’s nearest station, and I’m so glad I did it! It was one heck of a day, so let me kick off right from the beginning!


Today started quite early, with a 7:24am train from Lydney, my local train station, to Wilnecote, the nearest train station to Drayton Manor. This took around 1h 40m, and all went well. Interestingly enough, this was my first ever time travelling north of Birmingham New Street on the train (albeit only slightly north of it):




After getting off the train, I did a roughly 40 minute walk to the park, and got there at around 9:45am. The walk was very easy, and left plenty of time before opening:





After a brief 45 minute wait, I was admitted into the park, and I headed to my first ride. I initially pondered doing the new Vikings area first, but I ultimately found myself stumbling onto…


Apocalypse was on a practically walk-on queue (only a group of 4 were in front of me), so I thought it would be rude not to give it a go! One of the things bringing me to Drayton in 2022 was this ride’s final year, and sadly, I think you can tell that the ride is coming to the end of its life. Of the 5 towers, only 1 sit-down tower was operating (the others looked like they were completely broken and hadn’t operated in some time), and the queue never got above 1 cycle or so all day; the ride was often waiting for the tower to fill. Putting all this aside, though; how was the ride? Well, as much as I’ve never entirely gotten the enthusiast hype around Apocalypse, I’ve got to say that it was awesome; the drop was really good and punchy, and on the whole, it was a real rush, and a great way to start the day! Most interestingly of all, no one joined the queue after me, so I rode Apocalypse completely on my own; I was legitimately the only one in the entire ride area, which was quite surreal:


After Apocalypse, I headed to my first coaster of the day…


Accelerator was right there next to Apocalypse and appeared pretty empty, so I decided to give it a go. I waltzed straight onto this, and the host gave me free rein on where I wanted to sit; I headed for the back row. So, how was the ride? Well, I’ve got to say that it was a fun little coaster, and more enjoyable than I’d remembered! It was very smooth, packed a solid pace, and overall, it was just a good, fun ride! I’m not the biggest fan of shuttle coasters, but this was perfectly good fun:



After Accelerator, I decided to head into the new for 2022 Vikings area to ride…


Jormungandr was nearby and looked quiet, so I decided to give it a go. Yet again, I waltzed straight onto this; my Drayton Manor day was going very well so far, as I’d only been riding for 10-15 minutes and was already on my 3rd ride! I’ve got to say, I think they did a nice job with the Viking overlay of this ride; it looks much nicer than it did as the Buffalo, the music is really nice, and I really like the new train design! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 7, it was a perfectly fine little powered coaster; it does the job for what it is! There were some sections where it actually picked up some decent speed, although it did seem as though it was struggling somewhat in others; it felt like it was nearly going to stall up some of the inclines. Nonetheless, Jormungandr was a nice enough ride for what it was:




After my ride on Jormungandr, I headed to my first of the new for 2022 rides…


Loki looked pretty quiet, so I decided to give it a go. This ride was where the advantages of being a single rider began to present themselves; I was admitted straight on, as there was a seat going spare! So, how was the ride? Well, I was intrigued to try it, as I’ve never done a Zamperla Nebulaz before, but I’m not sure I was the biggest fan, in all honesty. It is a really cool visual piece, what with all the arms interacting with each other, but it was quite spinny; some people might like that, but I have quite a weak stomach for flat rides, so while it wasn’t the most nauseating flat ride I’ve done by any means, it did make me feel a bit odd. Nevertheless, it was nice to experience such a unique ride type for the first time, and I can see the appeal of it; it's quite the visual spectacle, and good if you like spinning:



After Loki, I did the other new flat ride in the area…


Thor was walk-on, so I decided to give it a try. I’d never ridden a Zamperla Disk’O before, so I was interested to see how it rode, although I’ll digress that my aforementioned low spin tolerance did make me apprehensive as to whether I’d enjoy it. So, how was the ride? Well, I’ve got to say that in spite of my apprehension, it wasn’t as bad as expected intensity-wise, and was actually quite enjoyable! I still wouldn’t have said it was one of my favourite rides, but it was enjoyable, and well within my low spin tolerance; certainly not as bad as it looks, for my money:



After Thor, I left Vikings and headed over to the other side of the park to ride…


Shockwave was the only non-kiddie coaster I hadn’t ridden at Drayton Manor at this point in the day, so I was keen to give it a go. I was interested to retry it, as I’d remembered quite liking it in 2018; I remember thinking that the standup riding position, while a bit weird, wasn’t as abhorrent as many make out, and the ride had some good elements and was fairly smooth. So, how was it? Well… I’m afraid I didn’t like it as much as I’d remembered. It wasn’t the standup riding position that caused me issue, though; I maintain that the position, while a bit weird, isn‘t abhorrent by any means. What my issue was was that it was a fair bit rougher than I’d remembered in 2018; the bottom of the first drop had an unpleasant jolt, and there was some horrid ear bashing in a few sections. Also; since when has the brake run been so harsh? I remembered it being a bit abrupt, but it’s so sudden that it always threw me forwards and really did my shoulders in. With that being said, I do like some of the elements on there; the zero-g roll in particular is a phenomenal inversion:


After Shockwave, I decided to stay in Adventure Cove and do a flat ride…


Maelstrom was walk on, so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t do Maelstrom on my first visit, so it was a completely new ride to me, and it seems well liked, so I was intrigued to try it, in spite of the fact that I didn’t overly enjoy Cyclonator, the first gyroswing I did at Paultons Park last year. So, how was it? Well, I’m afraid to say that like Cyclonator, it wasn’t really for me, so I think gyroswings in general are just a bit of a controversial dislike of mine. I do think I preferred Maelstrom to Cyclonator, though, as the restraints were more comfortable and it didn’t seem quite as intense spin-wise. It did still make me feel a bit strange, though, with the strong focus on intensity and spinning not being the best for my personal spin tolerance, and there seemed to be some rather uncomfortable doses of positive g’s in the troughs of each swing. I’m sorry to be a downer, but I think this style of ride isn’t really for me:


After Maelstrom, I decided to try the other flat ride in Adventure Cove…

Air Race

Air Race was on a short queue, so I decided to give it a try. I was interested to try it again; I’d remembered it being absolutely vile in 2018, but I’ve done a lot more rides since then, and I wondered whether I might have built up a greater intensity tolerance over time. So did I enjoy Air Race more this time? Sadly not. Unfortunately, I found it equally vile in 2022 as I did in 2018; I could literally feel stuff moving around in my stomach with each slow flip (a proper churning feeling), and I came off it feeling horribly nauseous. I get why people enjoy it, as it is an intense ride, but it’s not really for me, I’m afraid:


After Air Race, I needed a sit down, so I sat and had my lunch (it was getting to 12:15pm anyway), timing the throughput of Shockwave as I ate (I had a very good vantage point!). Once I’d eaten, I decided to go for something different, and perhaps unexpected given today’s not exactly hot weather…

Stormforce 10

Stormforce 10 didn’t appear busy, and I’d never done it before, so I decided to give it a go. I’ve got to say, this is a very nicely themed ride; I walked through it too quickly to get any real look at it due to the low crowds, but the queue appeared to be incredibly detailed, and really well themed! The station appeared well themed as well! So, how was the ride? Well, I’ve got to say that it was a really good water ride, although perhaps a mistake given the weather and how wet I got! One of the drops was a surprising soaker; the first and third drops (the forward ones) weren’t too bad (a decent spray, but nothing overly wet), but the second backwards drop got me pretty drenched, which was completely unexpected! Another interesting thing about my ride on Stormforce 10 was that it was my second lone ride of the day; I was seated in row 2 (the ride staff expected me to sit in the middle of the row as well, for some reason), and I went round Stormforce 10 completely on my lonesome! Overall, though, I did think it was quite an impressive water ride; in all honesty, I’d say it’s probably my top UK water ride that’s still operating (I always loved Logger’s Leap), or at very least up there with the best:



After my ride on Stormforce 10, I took another ride on Shockwave to dry off. I was seated in row 5, and it was similar to earlier.


After that, I rerode Accelerator. I rode in the front this time, and it was great fun, just as it had been earlier:


I then took another quiet ride on Apocalypse. I was not alone this time, however; I was accompanied by a group of Year 6 boys, one of whom asked me to hold his hand on the way up, which I did. In terms of the ride itself; it was as awesome and punchy as ever:


I then tried to ride The Haunting; I waited outside for about 10-15 minutes, but everyone was then ushered away due to the ride experiencing a technical issue. With that in mind, I decided to try the other dark ride right next to it…

Sheriff Showdown

Sheriff Showdown was completely empty, right next door to The Haunting and a ride I’d never done before, so I decided to give it a go. Interestingly, this ended up being another lone ride; with there being noone in the area other than me and the operator,So, how was it? Well, I thought it was a good, fun interactive dark ride! There were some nice animatronics, some great sets, and I actually found the game element quite a bit easier to interact with than on other interactive dark rides I’ve ridden; my score was 5,800, which I was pretty impressed with given my shocking aim and the short ride duration! All in all, Sheriff Showdown was definitely a fun little ride:


I then had a reride on Jormungandr. I was seated in a similar seat to last time, and the ride was very similar to earlier:



I then headed back over to…

The Haunting

The Haunting had reopened, so I decided to join the small crowd waiting outside. After a few minutes, we were admitted to the attraction; one interesting thing I noticed is that it’s batched differently to other Madhouses I’ve done. It wasn’t like Hex or something, where one group can occupy each room; only one group was allowed to be in the whole attraction on The Haunting. It wasn’t an issue by any means, what with the low crowd levels, but it was just an interesting observation I made. So, how was it? Well, I’ve got to say that I was very impressed! The story of a paranormal investigation is told very well and very clearly, and it is genuinely quite unnerving at points; this is going to make me sound like a right baby, but as someone who doesn’t overly like horror, it was toeing the line of my scare tolerance at times. I did find bits of it quite scary, and it definitely vindicated my belief that I wouldn’t like an attraction that goes beyond that level of scare, such as a scare attraction; a scare attraction is a vastly intensified version of that, so god knows how I’d react to that type of thing with actual people! Overall, though, I thought that The Haunting was a very well done madhouse; it impressed me, for sure, and of the 4 I’ve done, I’d genuinely be inclined to say it’s my 2nd favourite behind only Hex:



After The Haunting, I had another great ride on Apocalypse:


That was swiftly followed by another great, and practically walk-on, ride on Accelerator; I was seated in row 7 this time, and it was great fun! An interesting thing that happened on this ride was that in the queue, I met a potential enthusiast in the making; I was tapped on the shoulder by a young boy who enthusiastically said to me “excuse me, but I just wanted to tell you that the back provides the best experience on this ride!”. I told him that I’d enjoyed the back earlier, and he seemed very impressed and in agreement with me. He then boarded the back in my train, and when we got off, he said “That was awesome! I’ve done it 15 times!”. That might seem small, but that’s how theme park enthusiasm often starts!:


After that, I headed to a ride I’d never done before…

The Bounty

The Bounty was walk-on, so I decided to give it a whirl. I hadn't done a pirate ship in a while, but I always used to enjoy The Blade at Alton Towers, so I was looking forward to The Bounty. So, how was it? Well, it was a fun enough pirate ship; it had some good swinging, some decent tickles of weightlessness, and overall, it was a fun ride:



After The Bounty, I decided to have another ride on Shockwave. I bagged the back row this time, and it was quite similar to the other rides, although it possibly seemed at its roughest yet on the back. That zero-g roll still packs a great punch, though:


After my reride on Shockwave, I, possibly against my better judgement after the soaking from Stormforce 10, decided to try another water ride...

Adventure Cove River Rapids

Adventure Cove River Rapids looked quiet, so I decided to give it a go. It opened after my last visit, and I'd heard some rave reviews (a lot of cries of "best rapids ride in the UK!" get thrown around), so I was interested to ride it. Interestingly, I was not allowed to ride as a single rider, so I had to wait for another group to join me. This didn't take too long, and I was quickly off on the ride with a mother and her young son. So, what did I think? Well, I'm afraid to say that perhaps controversially, I was somewhat uninspired by this rapids. I'll grant them, the Adventure Cove buildings are painted very nicely, and it is quite nicely themed, but it's the only rapids I've ever walked off of bone dry. Even the likes of Congo River Rapids and Rumba Rapids, in the UK, get you with a couple of waves splashing into the boat and a little light spray, but Adventure Cove River Rapids gave me nothing; there didn't even seem to be any water splashing into the boat (if there was any, it was perhaps one tiny splash). Granted, I was somewhat glad to remain dry on this occasion, but I would have rated it higher had there been a couple of waves that came into the boat and did splash the riders somewhat. In fairness, though, I could have just gotten it on a weak ride, or Drayton might not have wanted it to be a wet rapids, so it's probably unfair of me to judge too harshly:


After Adventure Cove River Rapids, I had a reride on Jormungandr. I was seated in the second row from the back, and it was perfectly good fun:



After Jormungandr, I had another ride on Apocalypse, which was once again awesome; I like drop towers a lot, and Apocalypse is a very good one:


After that, I had another fun ride on Accelerator. I was seated in row 8 this time, and it was great fun:



I then had another ride on Shockwave. I was seated in row 4, and it was very similar to my earlier rides; the brake run seemed to hit particularly hard on this ride, for some reason:



After that, I bought a cup of Diet Coke, and sat down for a few minutes to drink that. I then did another new ride...

Drunken Barrels

Drunken Barrels was a ride I'd never done before, so I was interested to try it. I knew that this was a unique style of tea cups, so I thought it might be worth a try. So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was quite good fun; the tilting platform added a very interesting dimension to the teacups ride experience:


After Drunken Barrels, I had yet another great ride on Apocalypse:



I swiftly followed that up with another fun ride on Accelerator, in row 8:


I then had another ride on Apocalypse:


That was swiftly followed by a ride close to the front on Jormungandr:


I then closed out the day with a final ride on Apocalypse:


After that, the 4:30pm ride close had arrived. I went to the Walhalla food outlet to buy a Crunchie Blast ice lolly before heading out of the park and back on my way to Wilnecote station.


I then closed out my day with a 1h 7m train ride home, from Wilnecote to Cheltenham Spa; I had to get picked up from Cheltenham due to the train to Lydney being cancelled:



So, that was my day at Drayton Manor! I had a brilliant day; I was very glad to have completed a park visit on my own via public transport, and the park itself was a pleasant surprise too! I was expecting the park to be busy when I saw a plethora of school trip groups arriving, but my fears were unfounded, as the park was phenomenally quiet; nothing had more than a 1 cycle wait all day, and I got a surprising number of lone rides! If you weren't keeping track, and wondering whether all this riding had seen me break my personal ride count record (which previously sat at 21, obtained on my last day at Europa Park); my personal ride count record was not only broken, it was well and truly thrashed to death! If you weren't keeping track, my rides today were:

  • Apocalypse x7
  • Accelerator x5
  • Shockwave x4
  • Jormungandr x4
  • Loki x1
  • Thor x1
  • Maelstrom x1
  • Air Race x1
  • Stormforce 10 x1
  • Sheriff Showdown x1
  • The Haunting x1
  • The Bounty x1
  • Adventure Cove River Rapids x1
  • Drunken Barrels x1

That makes for a final ride total of 30 rides in 6 hours! Yes, I managed thirty (!) rides between 10:30am and 4:30pm today! As a result, I did 26,000 steps today, which is my highest Fitbit step count by some margin, and I am somewhat achey, but I had an awesome day; my first UK park visit of 2022 couldn't have gone better!


Thank you for reading! I'll be back at you with another trip report very soon, as I'm headed to Alton Towers on 19th/20th June!



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