Coaster Kingdom


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In terms of off the shelf drop rides I have ridden almost every possible variation there can be and a few special one of a kind versions. However my favourite to this day is still the one closest to home. A trip to Drayton without a ride on this ride is not a proper day at the park. While shorter than most, the stand-up seats make for something very special indeed. Where Alton built a great expensive drop coaster, Drayton did it better and cheaper!

John Wilkes

Tower rides are the only rides that consistently scare me to the point where I want to get off. Apocalypse scared me with class, any ride which can get me as worked up as this did, yet manage to pull me back to try it again after lunch must have something special.

Steven Whitfield

Up until the middle of this May, I had never experienced an Intamin free-fall. I'd done others, the good (S&S), the great (Shot'n'Drop, Detonator), and the absolutely revolting (Big Ben). But I had never done an Intamin free faller. In 2000, Drayton Manor debuted its five sided drop tower, standing at 180ft tall, and opened by a terrible pop band, who fell victim to the Drayton Manor curse and broke up a while later. The ride was fairly popular, and unique. Two sides had regular sit-down vehicles, two sides had stand-up vehicles that (gulp) tilted forth 15 degrees, and an unused fifth side. Rumours spread about the use of the fifth side; flipping vehicles, spinning vehicles, and the like. Someone started a rumour about stand-up floorless vehicles. This spread, and then died, dismissed as pure fancy. Then, Six Flags over Georgia built their version: a floorless stand-up Intamin Drop ride. Suddenly, the rumour became very popular, and in 2002, Drayton Manor announced "The fifth dimension", which incorporated a little padded banana-shaped "thing" (that's about the best description), over-the-shoulder restraints, and a tilting degree of 15 degrees. Gentlemen across the country winced at the prospect of being dragged up a 180ft tower and dropped to the bottom while sitting on their, er, "naughty bits".

Finally, about halfway through this May, on a weekday, I decided to try it. It was warm, overcast, and had an absence of large crowds. I made a beeline for Apocalypse. A horrible noise filled my distraught mind. It was the noise of... horrible teenage pop bands. What fun. Fortunately, the queue-up was short, and most of the speakers were down.

Sit down vehicle:

We were ushered in to sit down; I took the farthest seat to the left, pulled down the restraint (leaving a fair few centimetres between my chest and the restraint), clipped the buckle, and we were off. The seats accelerated up the tower. A screaming noise came from above, and I nearly died as a car whistled past, journeying down at massive speeds. I gulped. The car stopped at the top, and waited. I looked round at the countryside for a few seconds. Suddenly, the car dropped about three centimetres, stopped, and then plunged the rest of the way. Never having ridden a drop tower this tall before, I was shocked at how long we plunged, the top of the bunker comes eye-level just as the brakes kick in, and the car stops at terra-firma. Very solid terra-firma, very reassuring terra-firma. The restraints lifted, and I hopped off to run round to the stand-up cars, barely able to keep my grin of absolute satisfaction down.


Stand-up review:

I clambered into the car, and squatted a tiny bit, pushing down the saddle, and pulling the restraint close. The saddles locked, and I stood up. The reason for doing this was to give myself a few centimetres of room, which makes it feel more like just standing. The car lifted out of the station, and tilted forward fifteen degrees, pointing my cranium earthward. I watched the bunker disappear below my shoes. We stopped at the top, staring down. There was a little bump, adjoined with a click, and we plunged. My feet left the floor, my shoulders rammed the restraints, and it felt like eternity while flying towards the ground. I screamed with glee, then with terror as we entered the bunker, and stopped very fast, the solid pavement seemingly centimetres from my shoes.

Stand-up vehicle:

Floorless vehicle review:

I climbed uneasily into the restraints and pulled them down. The cars lifted away, and tilted forward fifteen degrees. It wasn't uncomfortable, it was just strange. The car whipped up the tower, and we stopped at the top next to a stand-up vehicle. I looked at it just as it went "clunk", and fell from view. Our car jolted down a bit with the familiar "clunk", and then shot down.

Now, this was a strange feeling. It went down at the exact speed of freefall, so I wasn't touching anything. Therefore, it felt like falling out of an aeroplane and plunging into a bunker. I screamed. And screamed. The car plunged to a (shockingly comfortable) stop, and I hobbled off, frightened but happily satisfied.


Overall, it was a fantastic ride. It offered a fantastic stepping-stone type experience. Since I hadn't heard any hype about the floorless, I wasn't expecting much but a nice alternative.


-Nice mix of experiences
-Great stepping-stone
-Not too uncomfortable in all cases.
-Great sensation


-Short ride
-Queues can get long
-Can be a rough

I like this ride, despite its faults.

Cosmo Jenkins

Apocalypse falls into the category of literally breathtaking. Never before have I tried to scream and been unable to breath in enough air to even yelp. It leaves me shaking every time!

Catherine Brooks

It is quite an overwhelming ride, both to watch, and to ride. I am still riding it a year on with bated breath and my hands still tightly clamped onto the restraints.

Stewart Almany

Compared to the UK's range of dedicated free-fall machines (as opposed to Shot & Drop style rides), Apocalypse is perhaps the weakest of a very strong bunch. That said, it is still a thoroughly respectable piece of kit, with the surprisingly comfortable stand-up cars add a new dimension to the genre. As with almost any free-fall tower, it is a very short ride, and capacity is low. Very re-ridable if the queues are short, though the dreary main queueing area makes the prospect of a long wait very off-putting.

John Phillips

Once you have overcome the initial fear of riding and are able to let go and count the seconds before you drop, you realise that Apocalypse is hardly re-rideable in the long run due mainly to it's one trick (although it is an undeniably good trick). Perhaps it is slightly over-rated, but it does remain a unique and intimidating ride.

Jenny Olafe

I am not a great lover of 'freefall' rides but always reluctantly ridden them on the premise that none of them have ever really been truly 'freefall'. Apocalypse absolutely blew me away. From as soon as you're half way up the tower you just know that the drop is going to be something else which words just can't explain. It's the only ride that has literally frightened me throughout the entire ride. It's true, re-riding can make you blasť, but no-matter how confident you feel, the stand up sides will never make you feel "at ease" there's just something about watching your friends become very very small and then become very very big again very very quickly which unnerves me every time! Loved it, you MUST ride this ride!

Richard Johnstone

Apocalypse is a great & thrilling ride. Once you have been on it you will want to go on it again & again & again!

Rachel R

A truly tremendous ride. Even on a busy day the queue for standing is never more than 15 minutes.

Julian Williams

Amazing, absolutely fantastic, I'd recommend it to anyone!

Tim Brooks

Bloody. Hell. I. Love. Apocalypse.

Amanda Reed

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