UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Spike
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Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:47 pm

I first have to eat a huge slice of humble pie after todays fiasco (putting it mildly) of a day. I have never, ever been to a park and left feeling like I did today. I'm a huge defender of Drayton and hence my eating of said humble pie in this instance.

*WARNING LONG AND RANTING REPORT HEAVY IN PICTURES*

We started the day nice and fresh after staying in Lichfield about 10 mins from Drayton. The Holiday in was gorgeous. Modern, well equip rooms for the online price of £40 (£115 on the day) we walked over to Macy's for Breakfast, meeting Dan and heading then to Drayton for opening.

We were greeted by the most horrific sign to start the day...
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Trying not to collapse in a heap of tears on the floor we met with Pete & Jack and headed to Shockwave which opened 15mins late after sending 20+ empty trains as the queue built up outside. Shockwave was okay as we rode front, Dans wasn't impressed as usual but meh I like it.

We then headed for Syphilis Canyon which was CLOSED! We were told it would be open later in the day but they "weren't sure"

Just going to list before I forget, broken rides and closed rides...

Apocalypse :cry:
Mexican sombreros (Opened late afternoon)
4 trains were stored in Golden Nuggets and 2 on the curcuit were out of order.
3 seats on one Shockwave train were out of order 2 on the other causing half full trains being sent.
Syphilis Canyon opened late afternoon

We wandered aimlessly around the park trying to get inspiration and decent service, we moaned at Guest Services but to no avail and no real sense of apology, just back chat and excuses. They did however make a call when me grumbled about the Shockwave staff playing rap music loudly from the ops cabin.

Section 2 - Health & Safety breaches

1.) Splash Canyon ride op decided (half an hour before ride close) that he wanted to go home early and so went out into the canyon walking along the side of the concrete walls to go and shut off all the water features and animatronics. If he had slipped on the wet wall there was no where to fall but into the rapids whilst boats were still on the circuit. Not to mention after queueing 30mins for the Rapids there was no water or anything working, seriously riling me as it was our last ride of the day.

2.) A ride op decided it was perfectly okay to walk through the exit of Pandemonium whilst the ride was still in motion and dodge the swinging gondolas to get to the ride ops cabin where another ride op was eating his lunch in full view.

Both of which could have resulted in serious injury or even death. It was outrageous and we were in shock of both incidences.

Section 3 - Sign of times

It got that bad on our day we decided to look for the most pointless or poorly done signs around the park. Needless to say when you look for them there are some unbelievable signs placed around park, so without further a do I give you...

Spikes Makeshift Pointless Demanding Retarded Signs Of Drayton Game

Photo passes are broken and will not be operating all day (Designed on Word)
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This way for Carlsberg, so we may get you drunk and not focus on the crap. (Some appears in the sky also)
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...It's like a candy trail throughout the park
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Says it all really
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Hmmmmm
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...try looking here then
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Least they no how to run a park
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Annoy? Lol try looking at your own staff before guests
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But... It's a climbing frame :roll:
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Yes, I'd like to purchase this stuffed toy, sweets, a balloon & a pack of Tampax please. :shock:
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Sign fail
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New for 2010 Raptors? FUnnily enough this was attached to the Lynx cages and no where near the Dinosaur bit :roll:
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This should be placed on each of the rides at Drayton really
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Yay for lesbian sealions
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But the ride was running? :?
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So let me get this straight, for 32 points you get a choice... A CHOICE OF WHAT? A giant teddy is for 16 points, so for 32 you get the choice of what?
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Even the Walls sign had given up
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So, we've established that they have no regards for health and safety, and they are morons at making signs. NEEEEEEEEEEXT...

Section 3 - CLOOOOOOOOOOOSED!

This needs no real introduction

"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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OOOOO A SHOW, WHATS THAT SIGN SAY?
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"CLOSED"
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"Even Guest Services CLOSED in the afternoon"
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Say's it all really

Section 4 - Odd and contributing factors to a pointless day

As you can tell we were bored stiff and opted to pick out anything which made the day, more and more annoying!

The really busy shows
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Saw merchandise :clap:
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Plastic cutlery which snapped
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It reads "Replace Lamp" On the screen in the G-Farce queue line
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BUT! None of this compares to what happened upon leaving the park, If the last ride on Splash Canyon on diet mode due to lazy staff was the icing on the cake. This was a whole new cake with 15 million layers of Icing placed on top.

Section 5 - The worst thing i've ever experienced at a theme park

Upon leaving the park and saying our goodbyes, we got in the car which was situated towards the Troublesome Trucks end. We joined the massive queue leaving the park and as we got outside the entrance (10mins of waiting) we were cresting the hill over the bridge and we were joined by two staff members who stood in front of the car. We assumed they were going to help oversee the traffic flow. They were guiding people from a side road leading from under Shockwave's Corkscrews. But they weren't letting our side go at all. It was only on inspection of some of the passing cars in front of us did we notice it was all staff members.

I put down the window and said to the girl..
"Is there a reason why your letting all the staff go with a huge queue of backed up traffic behind us?"
Her response
"we've been working here all day" :shock:
I said
"You are fu**ing kidding me, we've just spent the most awful day at your park and your doing this?"
After chatting with her college she turned and said
"I was going to let you go but because you swore, I won't now" :shock: :shock:
I tried to remain clam and we went around her pulling just past her and inching back into the queue where I heard this
"I've been here since 8.30am"
I leaned out the window and looked back and said
"I've endured a whole day here and paid for disappointments after dissapointments and want out of this damn place" (Much to the amusement of the crowds leaving)
"This is another thing going in my letter of complaint"
Her college then pipes up
"Oooooo I'm so scaaaared" :shock: :shock: :shock:

By this point I was half shocked and half enraged at their responses and we continued on round the corner still queued and now by the grass car park area.

All of a sudden two cars speeded by with the staff in down the other side of the road into on coming traffic (They had obviously been waiting for their lift home and were purposely stopping traffic to get them) shouting "Waaaaaaaaa out the window and sticking two fingers up at us" :x

In all my life of visiting theme parks I have NEVER had a worse day at a park than today. The behavior is TOTALLY unacceptable and I was in shock for miles of our journey home as was Dan when I rang and told him along the way. It was unlike anything I've ever seen in my life and myself and Ste were enraged.

I have defended Drayton to the high hills and never really experienced a bad day there. This was surreal in a way for me, and was literally my worst trip out ever. I plan to make a phone call tomorrow rather than an e-mail as i don't trust the system or that the staff members maybe in charge of them I don't know. But needless to say the world will know about this day and Drayton should be ashamed and disgusted at the levels of poor service, bad food, horrendous staff, disregard for health and safety & poor maintenance.

I'm not going to be a fanboy and say "I'm boycotting forever!1!11" but I will never look at the place the same again. :evil:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

High points

The company is what made today bearable & the rip taking of everything that was wrong.
Billy Vagine
Barnses a plenty
Pirate Adventure
Shockwave front row twice

Few pics from the day

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(Yeah that's it LOL)

AWFUL Day only slightly improved with laughing and not going insane. #-o

I will leave the floor open to Danbini as there were more instances of poor service on Maelstrom.
Last edited by Spike on Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dean

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:50 pm

I'd write to Colin direct, i'm so glad I didn't come with, but it's seems twice as bad as I thought...

That place used to be a reasonable day out... :evil:
 
Chris W
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:56 pm

Thats a real shame, I like Drayton Manor. (I'm not a huge fan but I'm definitely not one of the 'boo boys')

In regards to the signs, you have taken many pictures of signs which were there in June! They looked totally unprofessional then and they are even worse now as they have had many months to replace them with something more professional.

Exaclibur was "not operating at full capacity" then as well, with the same boats parked up as yesterday.

It seems for the last few months Drayton Manor has not changed or even attempted to fix some of the small issues that were there during my visit, and obviously things have gotten worse since then.

The staff are a joke, always have been and they let the park down so much. If they had staff like Alton Towers the park would be dramatically better.

Sorry to hear the day wasn't very good Spike. :(
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Meg
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:01 pm

That sounds really bad! I get so emotional when it comes to theme parks knowing me I'd be a blubbering wreck by the end of the day. :P

I live pretty far away from Drayton Manor (north of Scotland) but I really like the look of it and was planning a trip there with my boyfriend in the next year or so, but now I'm not so sure.

It was probably bad luck and I'm sure it is worth at least one visit but that sort of service from a park is totally unacceptable. If you had a terrible day and the staff were friendly it wouldn't have been so bad, but they sound awful! I would be so annoyed. Get writing that letter! :clap:
 
AstroDan

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:11 pm

Maelstrom

The ride op/hosts were leaving the Op Cabin when the ride was still swinging fairly substantially, and beginning to undo safety belts before the ride had even stopped. That's point one.

Point two. Went for a 2nd go around 4pm. Sat on the ride facing away from the Op Cabin. Sat for 5-10 minutes. Restraints opened. Everyone got off. No member of staff said a word. No explanation. No apology. Nothing.

It was just a joke at DMP today! 4th worst trip at a park ever, following Saw opening at TP/TP Feb 07 & 08.

:shock:

Apocalypse closed all day. What a joke. The park was a farce.
 
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popTART
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:16 pm

To be honest I have never been overly keen on Drayton there is rides i do like there but the place in general I don't like to much. My work has set up a trip to see the fireworks in November last day of scarefest Im glad i didn't sign myself up to go if this is how more worse its become.
 
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PETER MOWBRAY
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:20 pm

A brilliant report Spike.. :clap:

I was going to visit this park a few times with my family next year but we wont be bothering now..

Its a shame that you had a bad experience.. :(
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AstroDan

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:23 pm

Also. Why do the staff seem to leave before all the guests? Staff seemed to be leaving at 5.02pm...

At Alton, staff tend to clear up and not be done until 30 to 60 mins after Ride Close.
 
DiogoJ42

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:40 pm

:no: Shocking!

But a good TR. :lol:
 
Jigsaw
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:59 pm

Geez, that sounds like an absolutely appauling trip. I've never visited but was interested in going...until now. Its not the first time I've heard the staff there are dire and their health and safety practices are not up to scratch. I would definitely send your trip report to management. There needs to be some serious changes by the sounds of it.
 
Alex

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:05 pm

Ouch.

That sounds horrid, and too think I wanted to spend hard earned cash on a trip down there =[.
 
Hark

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:38 am

Absolutely diabolical. Really disappointed, and I thought it used to be a great park.

I shalln't be planning a trip next year.
 
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Rob L
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:59 am

That is just awful and unacceptable, I can't actually belive what I've just read there. Drayton should be ashamed of themselves, stuff like that is just not on.
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Matt.C
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:56 am

I never realised there was meant to be a projection on that G-Force screen. I put it way above and beyond DMP
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Spike
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:07 pm

I have rang this morning and spoken to a very helpful women in PR and she listened to my concerns and obviously was shocked and apologetic for the appalling staff & day.

She has refunded us with 5 tickets with was a nice gesture and has promised to pass on the concerns to an MD of the company as she agreed it was totally unacceptable.

There was an extra nice gesture of her offering to personally meet with us on the Fireworks night when we go with Family Furie and show us around and listen to some concerns about the park and show us what Drayton can be like, which I thought was nice of her to do.

She did read this topic whilst on the phone to her, she asked for the address and looked at it and said "forums are just as important to us as the press as we get feedback"

I was very satisfied with how it was dealt and hopefully our concerns will be voiced to the right people so things can be done. :)
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Mattmash
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:18 pm

Sorry to hear you had such a bad day, was actually gonna pop along but was too knackered from work. Kinda glad I didn't now :P Great, detailed report though!

Nice to hear how it has been dealt with, phoning seems to be much more effective than emailing. Hopefully it may help them get their act together.
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seanyboyuk
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:48 am

Ive still not planned on visting this park even though the rides there are quite unique.
I have still yet to see a decent trip report so its not even worth the 2+ hr drive for me.

Come on drayton get the rest of the park sorted out and not just your new thomas land!
 
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furie
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:13 am

Well, it'll be interesting to see what the trip will be like in October (they tend not to open Shockwave until the air temp is high enough then as it won't run in the cold). So maybe no Shockwave - I think Spike will explode!

Seriously, seriously bad news. It's the kind of carny attitude you see at some seaside resorts (most of them defunct now I come to think about it).

I'm glad there was some satisfaction from the call Spike, but it doesn't make up for the fact the day was so far off the beaten path of what should be expected from a "top UK theme park".

I'm always willing to give DMP some time, because it's such a brilliant place to visit with the kids - they love it.

Looks like those little niggles earlier on in the year that weren't stamped on have become full blown open sores for the park.
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Kaycee

Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:17 pm

Excellent trip report - if you'd not been such a notorious defender of Drayton Manor Park in the past, Spike, I'd have thought that you were just looking for things to moan at (obviously at one point you were, but to think the park was so bad that it seemed to have completely changed your outlook within a few hours).

Your report highlights the sort of incidents and observations that I've experienced in the past, and as such has resulted in me not visiting the park for three years now, with no intention to do so for the foreseeable future. I love theme parks, I love some of the rides Drayton have, but why should I spend my money just to leave feeling annoyed?

I've documented in the past the shocking customer service I've received on rides like Apocalypse, Shockwave and Maelstrom, as well as broken/poorly maintained rides and general unprofessionalism.


It's such a shame, because a lot of the problems aren't even things that would take a huge amount of money, time and effort to fix. I used to think the owners took pride in the park, but it's like it's been left to rot. They do need to look at their employment procedures though, I think, because they're employing people who just don't care - and in a theme park, you can't have staff who don't care - primarily for H&S reasons! - but also because a theme park cannot deliver its optimum experience without staff who see it as more than just a part-time job.


What a relief you've been dealt with so well, Spike... it's nice to know that some of the more behind-the-scenes staff are concerned.
 
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Scott
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Re: Drayton - Worst EVER park trip *Pic heavy*

Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:30 pm

I think this has pretty much made my mind up about a visit to DMP this year, I wont be going!

Looks like you had a truely awful day.
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