Drayton Manor Theme Park in the UK revealed its latest major attraction on March 12th. when the spectacular new Thomas Land area was officially launched.
Created in conjunction with HIT Entertainment, which owns the Thomas and Friends brand rights, and designed and themed by RMA Ltd., Thomas Land is the first of its kind in Europe, the only other such attraction anywhere in the world being the first Thomas Land which opened in Japan in 1998.
The new area brings to life the world famous Island of Sodor and many of the characters featured in the Thomas and Friends books, TV programmes and DVD series, in a fully themed section of the park which has replaced the former Robinsons Land children’s rides area.
Extending to approximately 6, 000 sq. m. in size, Drayton Manor’s Thomas Land features no less than 27 characters from Thomas and Friends, with many of these being linked to the rides and attractions within the new area. And as well as these there are plenty of other familiar Thomas and Friends features for guests to see and enjoy too.
The rides include two 60 seater trains, Thomas and Percy, from German company Metallbau Emmeln, which provide train journeys along a 600m. track beginning at a recreated Knapford Station in the centre of Thomas Land. There’s even a turntable for the engines to turn around on when they return to the station! The two trains take visitors on a journey to the Drayton farm area, which has now been renamed Farmer McColl’s Farm, and the Tidmouth Hault Station, where guests can see a range of farm animals and sample Spencer’s outdoor play area, built by Eibe, Mrs. Kindley’s Kitchen (tea rooms) and the Drayton Manor museum, or continue their walk through the zoo.
Other new rides in the area include the Troublesome Trucks roller coaster, built by German company Gerstlauer; Terence’s Driving School, supplied by SB International in Sweden; and seven rides from Italian manufacturer Zamperla – Jeremy the Jet’s Flying Academy (a Telecombat), Crazy Bertie Bus (a Crazy Bus), Lady’s Carousel platform ride, Diesel’s Locomotion Mayhem (a Demolition Derby), Harold’s Heli Tours (a Samba Tower), Cranky’s Drop Tower (a Sky Tower) and Rockin’ Bulstrode (a Rockin’ Tug). All the new rides were sourced via ARC bv in The Netherlands.
One existing ride has been incorporated into Thomas Land, this being the old Veteran Cars ride which has been revamped with drive through scenes of Farmer McColl’s kitchen, stables and cow sheds and renamed the Sodor Classic Cars.
In addition to the rides, there is a new three storey, indoor play area called Emily’s Play Arena, from play specialist SPI, and the Thomas Land Shop, which is possibly the largest Thomas themed shop ever built. Other features include the Knapford Station café bar, a dockyard scene, a fully functional signal box in which youngsters can play with a variety of interactive elements, a party room and seating areas, landscaping and specially designed photo opportunities, including those from Picsolve on the Troublesome Trucks roller coaster.
And Colin Bryan, Managing Director of Drayton Manor Theme Park, is looking forward to Thomas Land being a big success. “Everyone here at Drayton Manor is very excited about the 2008 season. The opening of Thomas Land will be a wonderful new chapter in the park’s near 60 years of history. We’ve worked closely with HIT Entertainment to create an authentic replica of Sodor and we are delighted with the results, as I am sure our guests will be. The theming and the various rides combine to recreate superbly what people have seen in the books and on TV and I’m sure it’s going to be an extremely popular addition to our park.”
The new area will also mean an extended season for Drayton Manor and its guests as the park plans to open Thomas Land during the winter months, including for a special “Christmas Experience.”
For further information please contact:
Helen Pawley, general manager central services, Drayton Manor Theme Park
Tel. +44 (0) 1827 252400. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Mellor, trade PR and marketing, Drayton Manor Theme Park
Tel. +44 (0) 1743 872200. Email email@example.com