Expensive, dull & entirely underwhelming

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joehawrylkiw's review of Drayton Manor Theme Park and Zoo

★★☆☆☆

“Expensive, dull and entirely underwhelming”

Written on: 10/06/2022 by joehawrylkiw (1 review written)

Back when I was young, I used to love Drayton Manor, and so did my mom, we had the season pass every year from when I was 4 till 9. I have fond memories of this place, riding in a Thomas carriage past the zoo animals, running round over and over on g-force on the odd teacher training day where the park was basically empty, and finally being brave enough to ride apocalypse for the first time. The season pass and food there was cheap and I couldn't ask for more. But when I got to around 10 years old, I started noticing things weren't heading in the right way for Drayton Manor, the entertaining underground pirate ride was closed for maintenance for upwards of 5 years, the old paddle boat ride in the lake closed and the boat was beached, g-force closing, and the cable cars were taken down. It was sad to see. We hadn't gone back till recently, I'm 15, nearly 16 now, and me and my mom finally went back to see the new attractions in Adventure Cove and Vikings. We went on a day where I had no exams, and it was set to have a little rain, so it would be even more empty than a usual Monday. The ticket prices were the first red flag for how the trip would go, the single day tickets, from what I remember, have doubled in price. My mom used a Tesco voucher to get one ticket for about a tenner. When we get there at around 10:15 we have a little time to spare for the 10:30 opening, so we get to the front gates and it is a waste land, not just was no one there, but there was rubbish on the floor, decaying walls of the old red shop that's now an employee area, and somehow the toilets were closed for maintenance. When we get in at 10:25 we head straight for the new Vikings area, and I'll say, the theming of the area is really nice, the planters and brick work looks great. The old buffalo, now Jormunganda (I think that's how it's spelt) is as rough as ever, but I'll let it off as it's old, the station and new trains look good, but the seats are uncomfortable as all hell, there is zero padding, and for such an old ride, it was dearly needed. I then head for the big spinning ride, like the avatar ride in Blackpool Pleasure Beach, either Thor or Loki, I can't remember the name. That was decent, not very thrilling but it's nice views, I went on it twice that day, the first time it was completely smooth, no clunks or bumps, but the second time, something must've fell on the tracks, as there was a loud clunk and the train jolted upward. After the first ride of it I went to the other, smaller spinning ride, either Thor or Loki and the seats are very uncomfortable, there is no padding and the way that you sit on the seat, your thighs get pressed into a sharp edge by the over the shoulder restraints. It was a slightly thrilling ride. I skip the pony ride as I would like to keep my dignity, and we head back to the front and make our way to adventure cove, but on our way there, we go to the bumper cars, nearly enough people were in the queue to fill up most of the cars, we get on and the operator starts the ride, the bumper cars have to be slower than they were five years ago, we were all plodding around the 'circuit', the cars were so slow you couldn't get a decent crash into people. That was boring too. We get to adventure cove and I go on Maelstrom, that was as good as ever, thrilling and a great view of the park, it felt like it picked up speed faster than before, but it also had a shorter ride time, which was disappointing as there was literally no one in the queue. We look around adventure cove for a bit, looking at the theming, it wasn't as good as Vikings was but it was still a bit immersive. I head onto Shockwave, there was no front row queue and I was put onto the second row, while there was an empty seat at the front, that was annoying, then my seat doesn't want to go up any, I have to climb off the crotch holder thing and pull up the seat myself, then I get back on and the operator locks the seats, and we head up the chain lift, Jesus Christ was that ride ever a head banger, I had to shove my head out infront of the restraint to not get a concussion, we get through the short layout and I get off, dazed and slightly dizzy. It was around 1:30pm by then so we go to the safari pizza place as we didn't bring packed lunch. Everything was different, the seating area in the entrance is now where you order, and there aren't meals anymore, a pizza is £8.50. I was disgusted by the price and so was my mom, so we went to the burger kitchen near the bumper cars, no meals there either and the burgers were expensive too. We knew by now every food shop there would have these horrible prices, so we just ate there. Don't get me wrong, the food was decent, but not worth the extra £3 per person for the same food five years ago. We go to the zoo after that before we get back on the rides, and it was boring as anything, half the enclosures were empty, the reptile house absolutely stunk, and the tamarin trail was horribly maintained. We get the Thomas train back to Thomas Land and we head to apocalypse, Pandemonium is gone, shame, and apocalypse was only running one drop tower, but I expected it would be as they attempted to sell it a year or two ago. It was fun, brakes felt a little juddering, but other than that it was good. There wasn't really much else to do. I went back on the big spinner a second time as I mentioned earlier, with the clunk and all. Then we were both burnt out, there hadn't been a big, risky investment in the park in years, no new coaster to bring more guests back, expensive prices for food and shoddy maintenance of old rides. It's a shame to see such a fond place from my younger years fade into irrelevancy. I probably won't be going back again, I would call it a waste of a day. I hope they do get a new coaster one day, I think it would really help them get more money, and bring down those disgusting prices.

Thank you for reading, and I hope my review enlightened you of what Drayton Manor is like now.

  • June 2022

    Date of visit (month/year)

  • Value For Money

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