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Photo TR: Drayton Manor 4/4/08 featuring Thomas Land!


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OK, theme park season is well and truely open here in the UK, so there's no time like the present to get out there and see what's what.

 

Drayton Manor is not one of my favourite parks, a lot of which has been down to some to some pretty average recent investments, its pretty average food and some of the worst queuelines in exsistence. But despite all its imperfections, I had actually been looking forward to going back this year. And it wasn't because of their big flat rides, their zoo, or of course their two unique rollercoasters, neither of which I rate very highly. I was looking forward to going for two reasons.

 

1) I was taking two of my friends who don't go to nearly as many parks as I do, so it was always going to be fun for them, especially seeing how they had never heard of the place.

 

2) Thomas Town.

 

When I was a kid, I was obsessed by Thomas. I had the books, the videos, the toys, the duvet cover, the bubble bath, the mug and the t-shirt. So I was delighted when I heard that the international franchise was arriving 90 minutes drive away, I was already on the way to being 7 years old once again.

 

Now I had been to the first incarnation of Thomas Land at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan with TPR last year, and I wasn't all that thrilled. But given the horrendous day the group had to endure, that is understandable. There's only so much that a happy little steam engine can do to act as an antidepressant to one of the worst parks in the world. To cut a long story short, it was easily the best area of the park. Not that it had much competition.

 

And with Six Flags Magic Mountain broadening their horizons with their take on Thomas Town arriving soon, this can give some idea of what they're in for. The major difference being that Magic Mountain's Thomas Town will no doubt get bathed in glorious weather most days.

 

So on an overcast Friday morning, Myself, Sam and Sally set off to the park. Here's what happened.

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That was a special for those articulated train fanatics out there.

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Captured in burst mode.

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Here's the best part of the ride.

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This ride runs even less than G-Force does, so this is a rare shot through the trees!

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Speaking of John Wayne, it was time to impersonate some more.

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For making her dizzy, Sally said we had to ride the floorless side of Apocalypse. John Wayne impressions followed.

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Sam's all "I love you Sally, even though I'm gonna try and make you sick!"

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I get the Dortmunder bit, but can any Germans here translate the top line?

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Drunken Barrels doesn't involve any actual drinking, so Sam didn't have to break when riding it.

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And now some more Intamin for you.

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Sally can take on a whole footlong!

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After the cable cars, it was time for some innuendo.

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This is also Intamin as well. Goes up pretty high!

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Maybe this Intamin ride can help make it up to you. Or maybe not.

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Sorry Elissa, this is the best shot of Apocalypse I got!

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One ass-kicking later, and Sally got her smile back.

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Sam and his camera were all over us today.

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Maelstrom got us a little drier, but didn't spin enough for my liking.

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Walking across to dry off on Maelstrom, we actually saw a train on G-Force!

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The rapids go right under Shockwave, which will also be back in this report a bit later.

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Ass kicking ensued shortly after.

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This what the queueline looks like when you run down it.

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Sally's response was simple. "If I get wet I'm gonna kick your ass!"

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After getting off G-Force, I sugested that we wake ourselves up on the rapids.

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This was actually more fun than riding!

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As we had some time to kill in one of the really stupid queuelines, we made merry with night mode.

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You'll notice there's no train in this picture. That's because there's only one, and it takes its sweet time..

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You all have to suffer through a few G-Force pictures.

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Thomas Town will be up shortly. But first...

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Last time I went to the end of the rainbow it had a spinning mouse. So we gave this a miss.

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We made it in good time.

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After Sam insisted on a picture with the Trottermobile, which meant a hasty seat swop, it was hard to tell which out of the man and the car was more high maintenance.

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On the way, we say that the Trotters had been having car problems.

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Sam had given up all hope of arriving at Drayton Manor alive, and practised his best zombie monster character in the back.

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This is Sally. She feared for her life during the photo-driving session!

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Here are your tour guides! And no, I didn't crash shortly after this was taken.

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And now...

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Just in case you forgot where this was. Drayton Manor was typical Drayton Manor, but Thomas Town was really good fun. Thanks for reading!

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...and whatever musical features a pair of kids shades with the tag still on them.

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Sally practised a couple of musicals indoors. Singin' In The Rain...

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Soon it was time to go. Sam made a leave at gunpoint after we asked him to ride floorless Apocalypse again.

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He's more maroon that I remember as a kid!

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Bertie Bus also has his own ride.

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It's one of those messed up figure-8 things.

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Even Devious Diesel has his own ride.

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You can actually drive these cars into the gift shop and back out!

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There's also a new vintage car ride.

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The boat's name escapes me.

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The park's former rockin' tug also got a makeover for the new land.

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The ride doesn't go up very high, but it's enough to thrill little kids and big kids.

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Don't ask why, but Cranky reminds me of Dan after getting a bit wet.

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Another later friend was Cranky, immortalised in a kids bungee tower.

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And here's Toby, who helped Thomas get to grips with a jobsworth Policeman.

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But now for some of the very first characters. As presented by Sally! This is Henry, famous for not coming out of a tunnel when he didn't want his coat to get wet.

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Jeremy was one of the later additions to Thomas and Friends.

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There's also Jeremy's Jets where you can fly in a circle as well.

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Air travel is very much encouraged at Thomas Land.

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Harold the Helicopter makes an appearance.

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Whilst Sally and I bought photos, Sam bought some stickers with his name on them. Aww!

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The pose was there to be struck.

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It even thinks its Expedition GeForce towards the end!

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The ride is pretty fun, and you get a couple of laps.

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And here are those mischievous trucks themselves!

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The queueline passes through the main station for the Thomas train ride.

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No more Super Dragon, Troublesome Trucks is here to stay!

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Oh yeah, they got a new family coaster!

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The Fat Controller was also on hand to make sure everything was running smoothly.

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His eyes stopped rolling when Sally came by the turntable!

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In these times of fevered environmental awareness, this Thomas isn't steam powered.

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And there he is! In quite an impressive station I might add.

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The main attraction here is the train ride. This being Drayton Manor, only one train was running.

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Time to become 7 years old!

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That Thomas Town is so much better than the one they put in at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom last year. I wish SFMM has used the Psyclone spot for a Thomas Town that looked more like this one. The site they are using now isn't big enough for a Thomas Town of this size.

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definitely what SFMM needs more then what they are getting, but I've read elsewhere (probably on this site) that a few of those rides are the same from Wiggle's World so if that's true then Wiggle's World might get this type of treatment more then Thomas Town.

 

 

OK, sorry for the speculation lol. Awesome TR and it looks like you guys had a great time, even if it was at an inferior park.

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I get the Dortmunder bit, but can any Germans here translate the top line?

 

The top line is translated in English to - "dark wheat diet"

 

Great pictures of Drayton! Thomas Town looks nice (and I hope the new themed areas in the SF parks are even nicer!) but am the only one who is slightly creeped out by all of the giant faces??

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Looks like Drayton Manor installed a Thomas Town *AND* kept an antique car ride. SFMM, you're doing it wrong!

Well, to be fair, take a look at the amount of room Drayton had to play with compared to the room SFMM had to work with.

 

And I think the Granny Grand Prix cars date back farther than Drayton Manor has even been open!

 

While I would like to see more attractions be added to SFMM's Thomas Town area, I'm not so sure that trying to keep the vintage cars would have been the best choice. What would you rather have? Hanging on to a decaying 20+ year old car ride or the potiential to add a new ride into the area in future years?

 

--Robb

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The addition of Thomas Town is really a great thing for this park.

I remember killing the park in a few hours time on the UK Trip, and with the addition of Thomas Town, it really helps to add a little something extra to a somewhat boring park.

 

-Ryan

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^^I guess I always liked the fact it was there, even if I never rode it. I didn't know it was in such disrepair. You're absolutely right, a Thomas Town will be great for the park. I just felt it shouldn't always have to be "addition by subtraction." However, if GGP was falling apart... And yes, I do realize it is a much more landlocked area.

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Shockwave: Very nice update! Thanks for the photos, especially those Shockwave zero-g roll ones.

 

I'm probably alone on this one but the Thomas Town theming just doesn't cut it for me. White plastic fences in a theme park? I don't get it.

 

But I do like the idea of a swinging ship over water. Never seen that before.

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Great TR Tom!

 

I too was a fan of the old tank engine himself and I really like Thomas land! I didn't think it would be that good but I was wrong.

 

However, I was shocked to find the fat controller is no longer called the fat controller. Hes Mr Tophat something now, Political correctness gone mad me thinks!

 

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Not up to Fuji Q standards (ugh that hurts to type!) but it looks light years ahead of the Six Flags version.

 

I love their version of a 'cuddle up'!!!

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Drayton is my local park really so its good to see some decent investment as it has suffered abit in recent years. For families, it has some decent things to do.

 

One of my favourite things to do there is to watch the "amazing" acting my some of the ops on the Haunting.. seriously they must hate it when they have to run this attraction.

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"And I think the Granny Grand Prix cars date back farther than Drayton Manor has even been open!" (Robb)

 

I know my granny drove those!

 

This Thomas Town looks like a lot of fun. I am glad to see that the one at SFMM, though not as big, will be a nice addition, as well as having an honest-to-goodness train ride.

 

Eric

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Not up to Fuji Q standards (ugh that hurts to type!) but it looks light years ahead of the Six Flags version.

 

I love their version of a 'cuddle up'!!!

 

The Troublesome Trucks dark ride they had at at Fuji-Q was really good.

 

Drayton's version could really with something like that as there's only the train and coaster ride that can swallow up a lot of people at once, and pretty much all the stuff apart from the play area is outdoors at the mercy of the elements.

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