Drayton Manor Theme Park and HIT Entertainment are to open Europe’s first Thomas Land, a visitor attraction inspired by the preschool characters Thomas & Friends, in the UK next spring.
It will be set within Drayton Manor park in the Midlands and based on the same format as the Thomas Land in Japan, which attracts more than 1.7m visitors every year.
The theme park will be supported by a retail, marketing and publicity campaign covering national and regional press, TV and radio. When the park opens it will contain numerous retail outlets offering a range of Thomas & Friends licensed merchandise.
Fans will be able to enter the magical world of Sodo, which will feature themed rides such as Cranky Crane Tower, the Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster and Harold the Heli-ride. Thomas Land will also showcase a Thomas train that takes children on a five-minute journey with the appearance of the Fat Controller character.
Thomas & Friends is the number one licensed preschool toy brand in the UK according to NPD License to Thrill 2006. It can be seen on Milkshake! On Five in the UK and is broadcast in more than 150 countries worldwide.
HIT Entertainment, owned by private equity investment group Apaz Partners since June 2005, is an independent children’s entertainment producer and rights owner. Its portfolio includes Bob the Builder, Pingu and Fireman Sam.
In 2006, Drayton Manor won the Best UK Attraction at The Group Leisure Industry Awards.