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Drayton Manor - 60 years of succcess


A Jungle Cruise was added on the smaller of the park’s


two lakes and the existing tea room was redeveloped into a ballroom, followed by the building of the Tower Lounge and the Hamilton Suite, as Drayton Manor became further renowned for its catering and banqueting facilities. And with the relaxation of the UK’s licensing laws in the 1960s, the park went from teas and tug-of-war on the lawns outside, to drinks and dinner dances in the ballroom. Another development of the park in the late 1950s was


the introduction of a zoo and, although not as popular as it once was, it remains an important part of the overall offering and one which is still enjoyed by younger visitors, their parents and grandparents. And having gradually developed and established itself as


a major attraction during those formative years, Drayton Manor Theme Park is best known today for its wide range of rides and attractions. The Chairlift heralded the start of an expansion phase


which, by the 1980s, had seen the doubling in size of Drayton Manor. Rides such as a Jumbo City Jet 1 roller coaster from Schwarzkopf, the park’s first coaster ride, a Pinfari ZL42 looping coaster, a Paratower, Pirate Ship, Vekoma Sky Flyer, the Flying Dutchman and the Pirate Adventure dark ride were all among the big rides to be


added in subsequent years and new attractions continue to be added on an annual basis today. The first “proper” white-knuckle ride, a Reverchon


Log Flume, was built in 1981, to eventually be replaced by the StormForce 10 flume ride from Bear Rides, in 1999, the country’s first reverse chute water coaster. And in fact, European and world “firsts” are something Drayton Manor has become well-known for, 1994 being a particularly significant year with the launch of the Shockwave roller coaster from Intamin, Europe’s only stand-up coaster, which represented an investment of £4.2m (US$6.6m) The Splash Canyon river rapids ride was added a year


later, while 1996 saw the opening of The Haunting from Vekoma, followed by seven new attractions in one season in 1998. Following StormForce 10 in 1999, the new Millennium


saw the introduction of Apocalypse, a tower ride which set new standards in theme park technology, offering stand-up, sit down and forward tilting passenger vehicles, another of Drayton Manor’s “firsts.” Pandemonium was added in 2004, an aptly named 360 degree swinging ride, while 2005 saw the introduction of G Force, a Maurer Sohne X-car coaster.


34


Drayton Manor Theme Park managing director Colin Bryan (centre) with sons William and George (left) and niece Helen Pawley-Tuft and nephew Edward Pawley.


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