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Drayton Manor


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I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but Coaster Chall recently posted a very interesting video about what Drayton could be receiving in 2022, as well as what could be coming in 2023:

If you don't want to watch, Chall's inside source is suggesting that:

  • Drayton Manor's 2022 addition will be a Viking-themed area on the triangular plot of land near to where Vertigo and Buffalo are located named Viking Village. The addition is set to be fully revealed in March 2022, with an opening apparently set for 1st April.
  • The rides installed will be a Zamperla Disk'O Coaster, a Zamperla Nebulaz and a pony ride-style attraction (think George's Dinosaur Adventure at Paultons) themed to Viking battle horses.
  • As well as this, Vertigo will apparently be kept, rethemed into the area and included in park admission, and Buffalo is also being rethemed to the Loki Serpent Snake.
  • Away from Viking Village, markings are already being taken for a new roller coaster, and Looping Group are currently scouring for different manufacturers to build it. However, the ride is said to have 800m of track, forwards and backwards sections, and a swing launch somewhere within the ride. In terms of a location, the combined location of Apocalypse, Pandemonium and Test Track is apparently being eyed up for this coaster, and it's rumoured to be a 2023 addition, functioning as a phase 2 expansion to Viking Village.

Isn't this all very exciting? Take this with a pinch of salt, of course, but Chall's inside source within Drayton Manor has been incredibly reliable so far, correctly predicting nearly all of what happened with Adventure Cove in 2021. So for that reason, I'd say that what Chall is saying has a high chance of being true, personally!

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  • 5 months later...

So it seems a number of people have had it confirmed from the park on Saturday that Apocalypse will be removed at the end of this season. As a big fan of drop towers, loosing in my opinion the UK's best is a big shame. 

 

I do think this is an odd decision, I understand they're moving towards a family theme park, but in my opinion you still need thrill rides, and I feel apocalypse fit in well with sit down having a height restriction of 1.2m.  

 

 

On a more positive note, Draytons new Viking area opened on Saturday and looks great. Another solid new area.

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That would be a great shame to lose Apocalypse. I do like that one, along with it's variation of riding, but they have had maintenance problems with it over the last couple of years, and that also relates to costs of manufacturing bespoke parts.

The height provides a somewhat magical view of the surrounding countryside in the early morning; I know I'm weird.

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No I agree @planenut! I know what you mean.

It's weirdly peaceful up there isn't it! 🥴

 

What a shame it's on the way out - it's such a huge ride, both physically in the park and 'iconically' (yeah whatever) in the UK.

 

It's 22 years old now though isn't it, and is fast becoming 'the odd-one-out' at DM.

It's falling in to disrepair and looks very tatty now compared to the new shiny areas they're putting in.

 

As for what's next, Apocalypse itself doesn't take up much space (being a drop-tower), but clearing this, along with the large tarmac area in front, as well as the neighbouring unused footprint of Pandemonium and Test Track - that's a large space available.

 

Here's hoping for a nice coaster on this site.  Something Wickermanny / Th13teeny!

 

- -

EDIT: I don't think I quite realised until now how major the Drayton turnaround actually is.

The new areas look really good, and they clearly have big plans for the place.

The future is looking good!

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It really has been a mixed bag of news at Drayton recently. 
 

The new additions in the Adventure and Viking areas. Adding and renovating current attractions and the rumours of new ones. Including a potential coaster. 
 

The apocalypse removal is honestly a massive blow for both the park and the UK. But perhaps also not a surprising one given the ride’s reliability issues and potential direction of the park. 

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I’m sad to be seeing Apocalypse go, as I did think it was a really good ride, but I’ll admit I didn’t think it entirely lived up to the hype. It was perfectly great in its own right, but even within the UK, I’ve ridden towers I liked more. I certainly like the Fabbri duo (Venom & Detonator, particularly Venom) more, from memory, and I’d also put HangOver at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland higher, even though that isn’t really a UK tower (that had the perfect storm of being both huge and forceful!).

 

My last and only ride was in 2018, though, and I am riding it again next week, so that might well change!

 

It will be missed, but I understand why it’s going. To be honest, I look forward to seeing what’s replacing it, particularly given the high likelihood of it being a coaster! I think it could be something really awesome, myself!

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I wonder if The Looping Group will reopen Pirate Adventure? Drayton Manor seems to be refurbishing and reopening, many of their classic attractions. I’ve heard that maintenance people have been in and out of The Pirate Adventure building,so who knows? Personally I think Pirate Adventure will reopen in a similar format to Piraten In Batavia at Europa Park. Not only would the return of Pirate Adventure be a boost to Drayton Manor but also the U.K.

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19 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

I wonder if The Looping Group will reopen Pirate Adventure? Drayton Manor seems to be refurbishing and reopening, many of their classic attractions. I’ve heard that maintenance people have been in and out of The Pirate Adventure building,so who knows? Personally I think Pirate Adventure will reopen in a similar format to Piraten In Batavia at Europa Park. Not only would the return of Pirate Adventure be a boost to Drayton Manor but also the U.K.

 

Not happening. They sold off lots of props not that long ago.

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2 hours ago, Hethetheth said:

 

Not happening. They sold off lots of props not that long ago.

@Hethetheth thease props were sold under the ownership of the Bryan Family. Now the Looping Group own Drayton Manor, they could install state of the art animatronics etc. Europa Park practically refurbished Piraten In Batavia from the ground up. The Bryan’s weren’t going to reopen and refurbish the Rapids. This made me think could next years new attraction be a reimagined Pirate Adventure.

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21 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Hethetheth thease props were sold under the ownership of the Bryan Family. Now the Looping Group own Drayton Manor, they could install state of the art animatronics etc. Europa Park practically refurbished Piraten In Batavia from the ground up. The Bryan’s weren’t going to reopen and refurbish the Rapids. This made me think could next years new attraction be a reimagined Pirate Adventure.

 

Not happening. Europa Park are the biggest theme park in Europe. Their attraction burned down and the started rebuilding almost immediately. Drayton closed theirs over a decade ago because they couldn't afford it. Other than being themed to pirates there is no similarity between the two rides. There is no evidence it will open again other than wishful thinking.

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2 hours ago, Hethetheth said:

 

Not happening. Europa Park are the biggest theme park in Europe. Their attraction burned down and the started rebuilding almost immediately. Drayton closed theirs over a decade ago because they couldn't afford it. Other than being themed to pirates there is no similarity between the two rides. There is no evidence it will open again other than wishful thinking.

@Hethetheth your information is incorrect. Pirate Adventure closed in 2015. This was within the past decade. Europa Park didn’t totally rebuild Piraten In Batavia. A few of the scenes and animatronics featured in the original are still used. The claim that Europa Park is Europe’s biggest Theme Park is incorrect. Disneyland Paris is Europe’s biggest Theme Park.

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I think some people overestimate the power of the Looping group. 

 

Don't get me wrong, they're a large group with a selection of neat and tidy parks. But if you look at the parks they operate, they're not exactly very big. They don't make large investments, and don't do much.

 

They create parks which are nice and well presented, and do the job. But once they have them at that stage, they just keep them ticking over. Drayton needed some work, sorting out a clear direction and creating some new attractions to fit with that direction. But once they've invested in it for a couple of years, it will become the same as any other Looping Group park: a neat and tidy park which sees minimal investment in new attractions, but is kept to a consistent standard. 

 

The park will introduce their big new thing (likely a family coaster) in 2024, along with some more freshen ups / rethemes in the next 2-3 years. Then after that, it will be set. As such, I don't see the Pirates space being used again any time soon. 

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20 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Hethetheth your information is incorrect. Pirate Adventure closed in 2015. This was within the past decade. Europa Park didn’t totally rebuild Piraten In Batavia. A few of the scenes and animatronics featured in the original are still used. The claim that Europa Park is Europe’s biggest Theme Park is incorrect. Disneyland Paris is Europe’s biggest Theme Park.

 

A few minor inaccuracies doesn't change my overall point.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Hethetheth rewind 5 years ago and you would’ve said the Rapids would never return. I have faith that The Looping Group will bring Pirate Adventure back. I’m not saying it’ll be the same as before. In some capacity it’ll return. I think Screens will be used just as much as Animatronics but it’ll reopen. If Europa Park could reopen a practically burned down ride,Drayton can bring back a dormant ride in relatively good condition. Theme Parks compete Drayton would’ve seen how popular the repaired Piraten In Batavia is. This alone  would spur Drayton’s NEW owners to reopen a fan favourite. Note The Looping Group have walked down a different path to the Bryan Family. The Bryan’s didn’t even consider bringing the Rapids back into operation. People have been spotted inside Pirate Adventure and the Boats  have been reinstated. This points to one conclusion the return of Pirate Adventure. Can you please apologise to me next Season if it’s announced that Pirate Adventure is returning.

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I think the comparisons between the two are just silly and irrelevant. 
 

Yes, the rapids did need some work going to it, it given its outside and around a concrete foundation, helps this placement no doubt. Not to mention new boats. 
 

With Pirate adventure, not only is the theming now all gone and ripped out, but the ride system would have greater wear and tear from its closure around 2014 time (8 years speaking while writing this). 
 

I mean, never say never to a new dark ride or attraction taking this former spot, but we will be incredibly lucky to see the ride system restored, let alone the theme. 

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47 minutes ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

If Europa Park could reopen a practically burned down ride,Drayton can bring back a dormant ride in relatively good condition. Theme Parks compete Drayton would’ve seen how popular the repaired Piraten In Batavia is. This alone  would spur Drayton’s NEW owners to reopen a fan favourite.

 

The thing is, Europa and Drayton are on completely different levels. Europa is one of the most visited theme parks in Europe. Drayton is probably not in the top 5 most visited parks in the UK. Europa Park and owners Mack have significantly larger funds compared to Drayton and Looping. They simply can't be compared. 

 

Europa Park is the exception, not the rule. As much as they should be a model for parks, just because they can do something, doesn't mean every park can.

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Apologies for getting around to this so late, but as some of you might know, I went to visit Drayton Manor last Thursday for a first look at the Vikings area. And I’ve got to say, it’s really nice! Let me break down each element of it individually…

The Area

The area looks really nice. The whole thing has a really nice wooden look to it, and considering that this area of the park was mostly unused land before, I think they’ve tarted it up very well! It all looks very neat, there’s lots of nice little touches around the area, and on the whole, it just looks really nice; good work, Drayton Manor! There have been a lot of comparisons with Tornado Springs at Paultons Park thrown around about this area. Do I think Vikings is as heavily themed and detailed as Tornado Springs? No. But I think it works really well as it is, and arbitrary comparisons with Tornado Springs don’t really do it justice; all of the wooden buildings, the rocks and the landscaping look lovely, and make for a very nice overall effect, and I do quite like the area soundtrack as well! I should also add that I think the new pedestrian entrance, which enters into the area, looks really nice; it’s been finished off very nicely, fits into the Vikings aesthetic surprisingly well, and I also think that it is more centrally located than Drayton’s old one, which works well. All in all, I think the area has been done very well, and works very nicely:

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The Rides

During my visit, I was able to ride Thor once, Loki once, and Jormungandr four times. I’ll talk about each one individually in a short paragraph…

Thor

I was a little bit skeptical about riding my first Zamperla Disk’O, as I have quite a low spin tolerance, but I’ve got to say that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, and I did quite enjoy it! Riding up the ends was quite fun, and even though the airtime hill in the middle didn’t really give any airtime, it was still a fun element! As I said, the ride was not as nauseating as I’d feared, and the riding position felt less weird on ride than I thought it would, as well! Theming-wise; there’s not loads going on, but the ride looks nice enough, with a nice wooden aesthetic throughout the queue line and the area, some nice shields, and a nice Viking helmet on the ride vehicle as well! Overall, I thought Thor was a fun ride, and nicely themed too:

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Loki

I was intrigued to ride Loki, as it’s the UK’s first Zamperla Nebulaz, and a rather unique ride. I’ve got to say, it’s a brilliant visual centrepiece, with all the arms interacting with each other making for a very captivating display! In terms of how it rides; I thought it was… strange. It’s not the most nauseating flat ride I’ve done by any means, but I’m sorry to say that that repeated lurching sensation did make me feel a bit odd, and unlike Thor, I’d argue that this ride is perhaps more intense than it looks. It does look really cool, though, and the fact I’m not generally a flat ride person isn’t something that it can help! It’s quite nicely themed as well, with some nice shields and patterns and a generally nice wooden aesthetic to it:

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Jormungandr

Unlike the other two rides, Jormungandr was not new to me; I had done it in its previous incarnation in 2018, and it’s safe to say that 2018 me would have been very surprised that I was riding it in a new Viking-themed form in 2022, as I remember making special effort to ride it in 2018 on the pretence that it was being “removed imminently”. In terms of the ride itself, I’d remembered it being a perfectly fine, if not overly remarkable, powered coaster, and my rides in 2022 very much reinforced this view; I rode it in various different rows, and while it’s no Runaway Mine Train or Alpenexpress, it does its job perfectly well, in my opinion. There are actually some moments where it gains fair speed; those helixes are good fun, as is the s-bend sequence towards the end! The ride does very much blow hot and cold pacing-wise, however, more so than I’d remembered; it feels like it’s nearly going to stall going up some of the inclines, and there’s other bits where it just sort of meanders aimlessly along straight bits of track at a speed that I dare say feels more monorail than coaster. Overall, though, I think it’s a perfectly adequate coaster for what it is; it’s perhaps showing its age a tad, but that doesn’t really matter given its role within the area and Drayton Manor at large. Also, I have got to say that I think they’ve spruced the ride up very well; the new train design is great, I love the way that the track is now framed within the entrance to the Vikings area, and I think they’ve made the queue and station look very nice, with a really nice Viking soundtrack added:

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So overall, I think Vikings is a lovely area, and I think it bodes very well for Drayton Manor’s future in themed attractions! The overall finish is very nice, and there are some really nice details; I’d thoroughly recommend a visit!

 

In terms of my visit to Drayton Manor as a whole; it was only my second ever visit to the park, with my first being in 2018, and it was an absolute stonker of a day, with 30 rides being completed in 6 hours on park! That’s a new personal best for me ride count-wise; the park was dead, with nothing on more than a 1 or 2 cycle wait all day!

 

I did do a longer trip report of my whole day, but in terms of some key pointers from the day:

  • Apocalypse is a great ride, but very much gives off the impression that it’s limping to the finish line. Only one sit-down tower was operating; the other 4 looked completely broken, and as though they hadn’t operated in some time. It is a really great tower, though; I’ve never quite gotten the hype for it, but it does still provide an awesome gut punch, and it will certainly be missed!
  • Adventure Cove, the other recent area, also looks lovely, with some very vibrant colours throughout and a nice soundtrack that feels almost like WWTP Radio from Amity Cove at Thorpe Park! I was somewhat disappointed with Adventure Cove River Rapids, however; I came off it absolutely bone dry, and while I accept that I could have ridden it on an off-day, the opportunities for wetness were minimal. It was drier than both Congo River Rapids and Rumba Rapids, by my reckoning, which surprised me. It is a nice relaxing ride to sit down on, though, and it looks very nice, so I probably shouldn’t be so harsh!
  • The Haunting is very impressive! The story is very well told, and the attraction has a surprisingly dark, foreboding tone throughout; as someone who is quite easily scared, I was legitimately somewhat unnerved by it!
  • Shockwave seems to have gotten a fair bit rougher, with some nasty ear bashing present in quite a few sections; I had a sore ear for a good few days after my visit. I maintain that I don’t find the standup riding position that bad, however, and that zero-g roll is a truly epic inversion!
  • Stormforce 10’s backwards drop is a real soaker! The initial drop and the final drop aren’t too bad, but the backwards drop got me fairly drenched! I have no idea why that second drop is such a soaker compared to the other two…

If you want to read my more in-depth trip report, here’s the link: 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Is there an update on the building work that has been seen inside the Pirate Adventure Show Building. Earlier this season it was speculated that a modern version of Pirate Adventure could open. If true, this would be massive news. Prior to its 2015 closure this ride was very popular. The new Piraten in Batavia Europa Park has shown how popular 21st Parate Dark Rides are. It would be huge for Drayton Manor if they brought back a modern version of Pirate Adventure. For those who will declare that due to the fire Piraten in Batavia was easier to work with this is not true. As Pirate Adventure is partially SBNO Pirate Adventure would be a cheap way of opening a new ride. Pirate Adventure has many fans who are yearning for a return Drayton Manor would experience a surge in visitors. The Looping group have already returned an old favourite (The Rapids) this means a return of Pirate Adventure isn't off the cards. 

 

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On 10/7/2022 at 1:22 AM, Theme Park Fanatic said:

Is there an update on the building work that has been seen inside the Pirate Adventure Show Building. Earlier this season it was speculated that a modern version of Pirate Adventure could open. If true, this would be massive news. Prior to its 2015 closure this ride was very popular. The new Piraten in Batavia Europa Park has shown how popular 21st Parate Dark Rides are. It would be huge for Drayton Manor if they brought back a modern version of Pirate Adventure. For those who will declare that due to the fire Piraten in Batavia was easier to work with this is not true. As Pirate Adventure is partially SBNO Pirate Adventure would be a cheap way of opening a new ride. Pirate Adventure has many fans who are yearning for a return Drayton Manor would experience a surge in visitors. The Looping group have already returned an old favourite (The Rapids) this means a return of Pirate Adventure isn't off the cards. 

 

There has been no update on Pirate Adventure, as far as I’m aware.

 

In other news, the park have officially confirmed that Apocalypse will be closing permanently on 30th October.

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5 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Matt N if Drayton Mannor reopen/reimagine Pirate Adventure I think it'll be next season. Both Alton Towers and Blackpool Pleasure Beach are opening refurbished Dark Rides. I expect Drayton Manor would like to compete with them. Reopening Pirate Adventure would also be a cheap and quick way of opening a new ride. 

 

If the ride wasn't in a state of disrepair when it originally closed.

 

Untouched since it closed but to sell off some broken tat to willing goons. Dread to think of the state of the ride system right now.

 

Maybe in a few years it'll reappear. Maybe they'd be better off replacing with something new and iconic for the park given the removal of one is imminent and Shockwave is crap.

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