Not posted anything on here in a while but thought id copy and paste my thoughts i put on trip advisor from the past Sunday. I have also emailed drayton manor complaining about the below so i will update if i get a response:
This was our first ever visit to Drayton Manor and went at this time of year to take our 3 1/3 year old daughter for the Christmas Thomas special and we wasnt disappointed at all.
All the rides in Thomas Land were open, the zoo, Ben 10 rollercoaster and the 4d experience. The park was very busy which was expected for this type of event but all the queues for the rides were no more than 15 minutes tops which is acceptable when you have a child to keep entertained whilst waiting.
i was pleased to take my daughter on the ben 10 rollercoaster which has a a low height restriction for a large coaster of 1.0 metre when riding with an adult. She absoluetly loved this ride and its a good mix of being tame but instense and fun at the same time. The queue time was less than 5 minutes too which was good. i think it would have been longer but its at the rear of the park out of the way and wasnt heavily advertised as being open.
All the other rides were a mix of traditional fair ground style rides but with Thomas themes but they do look well decorated. The troublesome trucks ride is probably the best of these which is a fun small rollercoaster for all small children.
The zoo is about half the size of Flamingolands zoo and seemed to be going through a refurb so we didnt pay much attention to this, she did like the dinosaur and reptile area. I think it would be worth looking at more when its warmer as it was very cold and damp on this visit.
Food in the hot dog / burger style areas was quite expensive. £4 for a small hot dog is not good value i think. The best place to goto is the pasta pizza cafe near the zoo entrance as a meal deal is less than £6 for pizza or pasta with wedges and drink which isnt bad for theme park prices. Theres also a family deal for £20 which is good value too.
This area of the park really comes alive when its dark as with all the Christmas decorations turned on and the Thomas theme does give it a good Christmas feel and the hourly show above the station with the snow machines were great too and created a good atomosphere.
Now for the bad report of my trip...
The santa experience was terrible, the time you book to see him isnt actually the time you will do, its the time to join the queue. We joined the queue at 1700 stated on our time and we didnt see him until nearly 6pm. There were two queues running at once and we found that the other queue was moving much faster and people had joined that queue at the same time. There does seem to be more than one santa working here which is expectable but myself and other people queuing were getting frustrated too. It is false advertising as if you do prebook you should get some priority and it should be more truthful too. I did expect to have to wait but not this length of time as the queue was poorly lit and nothing to keep the little ones entertained. We also expecting some type of mini pre show as there was some tvs that seemed to promote this but its not true. Once you get to the end of the queue your child gets a medal and then your shown to a booth where santa will have the usual chit chat with your child and then you can take a photo of your child and then for £10 you can have a family photo. Your child is then given a small bag with a gift which contained a giant chocolate coin and a money box. For paying an extra £15 this is an insult and would never book this as an extra again, some type of small teddy etc would hae been better but not a money box for a 3 yr old! Drayton Manor do need to rethink this as you should only have to pay for your child to see santa and not the adults which makes this whole thing a rip off. I will also write Drayton Manor about this poor experience.
I would certainly come back here in the summertime when the rest of the park is open and would book to visit at christmas again as its really a good place to take your young ones.