7 Hilarious U.S. Rip-Offs at England's Drayton Manor Theme Park

Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 6:00 am


One of the ways to lure my wife to England for a vacation was the promise of seeing the Harry Potter studio tour outside of London. The other was Thomas the Tank Engine Land, which is a small corner of the larger theme park called Drayton Manor. Thematically, the larger park is a bit disjointed - it wants to have something for everyone, and thus there's no overarching theme. You have the Thomas rides for kids, from which adults without accompanying minors are actually banned; a small zoo tucked away from everything else that mostly seems to have emus; various high-intensity thrill rides, various not-so-thrilling rides, and rather disappointing food stands.

One thing that is clear is that whoever designed the park based parts of it on popular American theme parks...apparently without entirely understanding why. If Disneyland and Universal Studios are Superman, Drayton at times feels like Bizarro's cube-world...or an Axel Braun porn parody without any naked people. Here are its strangest interpretations of American attractions...

1. Not-Jaws.


There's no reason for there to be a giant fake shark to take pictures with, except for the fact that Universal Studios also has one. One that people take pictures with because it's patterned on a famous movie prop. This one is in no way an official Jaws, but because it's not labeled as anything in particular, there's no reason to tell anybody that.

It's a concept that probably worked better before there was an Internet.

2. Not-Jurassic Park.


Jurassic Park: The Ride is a water-based attraction with animatronic dinosaurs that ends in you plummeting down a flume to escape an attacking tyrannosaurus. Drayton's "Dino Trail" has gates built to resemble Jurassic Park's, but beyond that it's just a bunch of really lame giant models that don't move, or serve much of any purpose.



What butt-heads...


3. Not-Pirates of the Caribbean.


Words cannot describe this thing in its true anti-glory, but I'm going to try.

Imagine you went on the actual Pirates of the Caribbean as a kid, and then, as an adult, decided to recreate it without any knowledge of robotics, or set dressing, but a rudimentary ability to carve humanoid figures out of wood and give them maybe three points of articulation.

You get the whole idea of a boat sliding down a waterfall correct, but then you're hopelessly lost, so you literally try to copy scenes like the prisoners attempting to cajole a dog holding the jail keys (it's a goat here, but same exact idea). In trying to add your own touches, you come up with ideas like a Marilyn Monroe-type hooker whose dress blows out, but because it's so badly sculpted and uses intermittent puffs of air, it looks like a female Pinocchio farting.


You throw your hands up at this point, and decide that if you do the reverse of the Disney ride, beginning in the city and ENDING in the treasure caves, it'll totally be different. And then you run out of money for set dressing, so riders can totally see the steel doors, roofs and such behind the cheap pirate village facade.

That's about how I imagine it went down.

Here's somebody else's on-ride video, though the low-light keeps you from seeing the truly craptastic details.

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