Thomas & Friends™ fans fly up, up and away as brand new ride takes off at Drayton Manor Park

Monday, 3rd April 2017

FANS of the little blue engine and his friends hopped aboard the highly anticipated new James and the Red Balloon ride as it launched in Europe’s only Thomas Land™ at Drayton Manor Park on Saturday 1st April.

The new ride is based on the beloved Thomas & Friends character James and his cheeky antics with a red hot air balloon. James has joined a multitude of other rides and attractions based on the popular series and families can now experience the magic of Sodor like never before in their very own balloon, enjoying extensive views of Thomas Land.

Drayton Manor Park’s Chief Executive Colin Bryan, with the help of The Fat Controller who delighted visitors with a snippet of the classic story, signalled the opening of the ride. Excited competition winners couldn’t wait to climb aboard, fasten their seatbelts and prepare for take-off as they became the very first to experience the brand new ride.

Lucky competition winner, Delia Breward from Leicester, said: “It was so thrilling to be one of the first on the new James and the Red Balloon ride. My family and I are really big fans of Thomas Land and are regular visitors to the park. Every time we come we find something new; it’s always very exciting.”

William Bryan, Managing Director at Drayton Manor Park, said: “Since its launch in 2008, Thomas Land has proven to be an extremely popular addition to the park, attracting guests of all ages to experience the magic of Sodor.

“The addition of James and the Red Balloon is a continuation of the magic that we hope will delight visitors for many years to come. As a family, we’re committed to ensuring each season is bigger and better than ever before and we hope James and the Red Balloon will thrill both the young and the young at heart. The atmosphere here today has been fantastic and we’re really excited about the season ahead.”

Colin Bryan OBE, CEO at Drayton Manor Park with The Fat Controller.

Colin Bryan OBE, CEO at Drayton Manor Park with The Fat Controller.

If you’re looking for some cracking entertainment, why not pop along to the park this Easter, where there will be a special trail for families to follow uncovering clues to earn an egg-stra special prize.

Animal lovers can get up close and personal with the zoo’s furry friends at meet and greets, as well as take part in feeding sessions throughout the day.

What’s more, there are live shows being performed throughout the day, featuring everyone’s favourite Thomas & Friends characters.

With its central location, free parking and rainy day guarantee, Drayton Manor Park is a must-visit for families wanting to make memories together this Easter – and there’s a discount for tickets booked in advance too, as well as no booking fee!

To book tickets, or for more information about the park, visit or call 0844 472 1950.

Alfie Richens, 5 Poppie Richens, 4 from Milton Keynes.

Alfie Richens, 5 Poppie Richens, 4 from Milton Keynes.