Frontier Falls & More at Drayton Manor Annual Passholder Day!

Frontier Falls & More At Drayton Manor Annual Passholder Day!

Sunday the 17th was a special day at Drayton Manor, a day exclusively for Annual Passholders and their friends/family – The first one of its kind to my knowledge. During the day, Passholders were invited to the park for a day out ahead of the main season starting on the 24th of March.  The event meant that passholders could get a first look at the park including a preview of the all-new themed land, Frontier Falls!  Matt and I went down to the park to see what had changed during the closed season (and since the half term event).

The park was a lot less busy than a standard day on the park during the main season which meant we could get around and experience a wide range of rides & attractions with minimal queues – a huge selling point to a day like this, especially when the weather was glorious (A change to the day before when we were at Alton Towers!). On entering the park, passholders were given a token for a free hot drink which was a nice little extra to start the day.

Frontier Falls – The street really has a great theme to it!

The Passholder event gave us our first look at the new Frontier Falls Street before it opens officially on the 24th of March. This “soft opening” to the street meant that we were able to experience the existing attractions and get a good look at the new Intamin Lift & Launch coaster which is opening later this year. The new rollercoaster is mostly in place with work now taking place to build the structures such as the station building. On the far side of the track, a ride train sits waiting patiently ready to take riders. This coaster is impressive, and photos really don’t do it justice to show you the sheer scale of the ride. We are all looking forward to riding it here at TPI when it officially opens later this year. Back onto the street though – Frontier Falls is a lovely area which has been transformed to take you to the wild west through the shop fronts and rides. The main street is immersive with a series of impressive building fronts – though at this time, most of them are vacant, we would love to see a real themed saloon offering food, drink and potentially entertainment too. There is a photo op on this street too – a brilliantly themed and quite sturdy jail set. One of the things we noticed, was how far down this expansion seems to go – with the Toyshop now renamed to Rory’s Souvenirs and the sweet shop also seeming to get a new look (Though unfinished at the time) to suit the area.

One of the new rollercoaster trains waits patiently

The attraction in Frontier Falls are the following:

  • Blasting Barrels (Formerly Drunken Barrels)
  • Sheriff Showdown
  • The Haunting
  • Falls Theatre (Formerly 4D Cinema)
  • Accelerator (?)
  • Flying Dutchman (?)

Blasting Barrels is the ride which has taken on the most change over the area’s transformation – taking on a new name and theme to match the wild west inspired land. The ride has dropped the name Drunken Barrels and takes on the form of what can only be described as a dynamite storage shed with Dynamite theming and new vinyl visuals around the front and inside. The ride is ultimately the same with riders in barrels which are manually spun whilst the structure rotates and lifts, but we did find the barrels easier to turn this time compared to previous visits which made for quite the ride! (Turn the barrel the other way halfway through the cycle for a more thrilling experience).  The ride has also received a new soundtrack (Though a short looping one) and we were told there are also smoke effects around the front (but these did not seem to be on when we saw the ride).

Blasting Barrels, a great retheme of an already great ride!

Sheriff Showdown is unchanged apart from a new sign out front. The Haunting is currently running as “The Haunting: Reclaimed” but has dropped “Reclaimed” from the name. This ride is in the process of receiving a new entrance gate, connecting the ride to the area, and making it a bit more obvious to passers by who may have missed it before. We love The Haunting at TPI and think The Haunting Reclaimed is an excellent version of the ride and one we would like to see stick around for a while longer! We hope that if this ride is on the cards for a more western retheme down the line, that it is done with care and has the right investment behind it.

New gate for The Haunting (Note, the gate is not finished yet)

The 4D Cinema has been renamed to Falls Theatre and has been repainted to remove the Thomas the Tank: Bubbling Boilers theming to give it a fresh wild west inspired look in its place. The current show available to watch is Loony Tunes 4D Starring Roadrunner and Wile. E. Coyote which is advertised with themed posters both outside and inside the Theatre waiting area. The shows run approximately every 15 minutes and a small preshow/trailer plays before the main event. The 4D glasses are back for this show which uses a range of 4D effects throughout. We absoloutely LOVED this show. Its fun, entertaining and has plenty of humorous scenes to entertain all ages. If you love Loony Tunes, this is a must watch for sure. We could have watched this multiple times in the day and still enjoyed it. This was a highlight of our day for sure.

A brilliant new show comes to the 4D Cinema

Accelerator & the Flying Dutchman are mostly unchanged however they have both had some paint done over the closed season on their entrance/fronts. Accelerator is the one which has our main attention as it stands out quite a lot from the theme of the area. Currently, the front entrance is undergoing a repaint for a more wooden / brown colour, but we do wonder… What is in store for this? Accelerator has a heavily themed ride queue which doesn’t work for the current area; however, we would not want to see that theming removed to be replaced by vinyl or minimal theming. There are also the large electricity style pylons to consider which are sticking out of the building which are again obvious and contrast to the theme. Out of the two rides, Accelerator would struggle most when it comes to a retheme, but I think it is possible to make this work with the area in a few ways.

During our visit we were also able to visit Adventure Cove for the first time this season where Shockwave is undergoing a transformation of its own, to The Wave. The Wave changes the ride, removing the infamous stand-up trains in favour for sit down trains with lap bars. The change, whilst controversial to many thrill seekers, drops the height restriction to 1.2m, allowing for a wider range of guests to experience the coaster. At this time, there isn’t too much that we could tell you about the new experience other than they have put up a new entrance portal which has a bright surfing deck theme which ties in well with the rest of the Adventure Cove theme. To the right, there is a foundation for something else – Personally, my guess is a big wave photo op, but it could also be a test seat potentially. The station from what we could see is mostly unchanged (Though there is most likely changes inside the building, which we are hoping for as the queue used to be quite plain.) however we got a surprise when over by the Rapids. From the rapids side of the park,  you can see the new train sat inside the station’s maintenance bay, waiting patiently to have the front fitted. They still remind me of Jet-skis. We are all looking forward to experiencing The Wave when it opens later this season, more out of curiosity than anything! How will this experience feel with a lap bar?

New trains waiting to be completed

Now, the question you may be asking as this was a Passholder day, is an Annual Pass worth it for Drayton Manor? Personally, I think it is.

Drayton Manor offers 3 tiers of Annual Pass (Silver, Gold & Platinum) each with their own prices and benefits. The cheapest pass is £99 (Silver) and still has quite a selection of benefits. Personally, I am a Gold passholder and I think its brilliant value for the number of times we visit on the park. The park is adding more for their passholders as time goes on – such as the introduction of exclusive passholder days and they have a renewal discount too which encourages renewals.  Platinum Passholders also get access to West Midlands Safari Park for twice the adventure!

We loved visiting the park for their Passholder day, it was a great chance to visit the park with lower crowds and was a great way to finish our weekend. Being able to see Frontier Falls early was a great opportunity for Passholders and from what we could see, everyone was having a great time too.

If you are considering a Drayton Manor Annual Pass, you can find out more below:

Written by Elise, Photos by Matt