General discussion regarding the UK's No.1 Theme Park. Talk about anything and everything Alton Towers here.

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Jammydodger

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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Jammydodger » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:46 pm

I noticed today that around 70% of The Smiler branded merchandise on sale across the park was being heavily discounted.

I'm quite interested to see whether they're just trying to get rid of excess stock, or if a rebrand could be on the cards for closed season perhaps?
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by S.J_O'Grady » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:36 pm

I would hope that they have the sense to realise that suddenly bringing it back into the media spotlight for no apparent reason, and just as people are starting to forget about it, isn't a very good idea. About 70% is quite a lot though.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Kraken » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:46 pm

I suspect a rebrand of The Smiler is highly unlikely for next season - if they had wanted to rebrand the ride, they would have done it during the period it was closed after the accident / over last Winters' closed season, so they could reopen with a ride slightly "distanced" from the events of early June last year.

I think it's more down to the fact they generally update the ride merchandise each year with new designs / design tweaks, in the hope that repeat guests will buy the newer item. If you bought a Smiler hoodie [for instance] in early 2015 & return in 2017 to see the exact same design on sale, you're unlikely to buy. If the design has been updated & you like it, then you may well buy another. Kerr-chink.

All parks - certainly the ones that are seasonal in the UK & Europe do this. It's a harder in places like Florida where the parks open 365 days a year, but given that they have an enormous customer base from multiple continents, they don't need to shift "end of line" stock as often as there will almost always be someone who it's new to. Both Universal parks in Orlando have small shops right by the exit turnstiles (to the right in both cases if I remember correctly) where they tend to shift the older stock... they make you walk past the "full price / current souvenir gift shop" first though!

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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Jammydodger » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:57 am

Well ironically one of the few things not being discounted is the original clothing range.
Like I said I don't know what exactly is going on, but there's definitely a suspiciously large amount of merchandise being flogged off for one reason or another.
The only other thing I can think of is that they plan on closing the smiler shop next year perhaps? And there's no way they could fit the large variety into the megastore, so they're trying to get a rid of the excess stock.
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Dan

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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Dan » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:01 am

What people have to remember is that they're still holding a large amount of the 2015 merch. I believe this is simply a case of them needing to get rid of it in time for some updated designs next season.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Justin » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:41 pm

I must agree with Dan. A lot of the stock reduced has been in the store for a few years. I managed to pick up a talking Smiler bear for £12.50. The Giggler bags have been there since the beginning too.

On top of this, it is usual for Merlin to reduce selected lines with a month or so to go to the closed season. Merlin's bottled drink promotion has returned (2 for £3) and sweet promotion (2 for £1.50) at Thorpe. This is usually to clear stock.
Last edited by Justin on Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by ryan8741 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:44 pm

Justin wrote:I must agree with Dan. A lot of the stock reduced has been in the store for a few years. I managed to pick up a talking Smiler bear for £12.50. The Ginger bags have been there since the beginning too.

On top of this, it is usual for Merlin to reduce selected lines with a month or so to go to the closed season. Merlin's bottled drink promotion has returned (2 for £3) and sweet promotion (2 for £1.50) at Thorpe. This is usually to clear stock.

And because the ride was closed for so much of 2015, they sold a lot less merch than they stocked.

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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Justin » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:50 pm

Yeah, as Dan mentioned it will certainly be down to this as well!

I'm all for new merchandise:) The more Smiler items, the better! :moj :moj :moj
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by owenrita121 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:39 pm

Alton Towers ALWAYS reduce merchandise as this time of year. Almost all of Galactica's merch is also discounted.


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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Smiler313 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:36 pm

I doubt it has been like this all the time, but on the stairs up to the station, they are playing the correction block audio fairly loud. The station audio I feel is quite quiet compared to previous years, meaning that the atmosphere doesn't feel the best it could be, because I know when I first went on it in 2013, the music in there started to scare me. Also, you hear the optical procedure announcement when obviously there aren't any! Coaster Bots 2nd channel dispatch video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlV10kAS-9A) helps to show this in the first 3 seconds if you listen closely, and it dosent even sound like station audio is on! To solve this, I think that the either need to start playing the station audio on the stairs or turn up the volume.

Do ride staff have access to audio pitches and loudness or is that something that only management can do? The reason I ask is because the audio at the start of both lift hills pitches are quite high compared to YouTube videos of the audio. Lastly I have a feeling that the queue/area audio's pitch is slightly lower than before, so it sounds out-of-tune. I believe you have to be very specific with how high or low the pitch can be to be in a key, because between one key and another will sound out of tune.

I know i am being a very harsh nit-picker, but I love that thing so much I want it to be the best it can be. ;)
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Tryst » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:34 am

I was at the park yesterday and most of the optical illusions in the enclosed queueline were working, however the projectors are slightly off alignment and focus. Still, it was a huge improvement over a previous visit this year when they had a powerful strobe going in there! The area could definitely do with a little TLC to get it back up to specification.

I also agree that the lift-hill music is way loud. I normally have my fingers in my ears at the bottom of the first lift because of it and it definitely detracts from the enjoyment of the ride for me. Perhaps I just have sensitive hearing.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Smiler313 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:49 am

I think it might be most people. (Also me!) I'm not sure where the speaker is but I'm sure it cant come from the tiny Bose speakers on the catwalk. Last time I went, I tried to listen and it sounded like it was coming from the ceiling or near the CCTV camera. When I meant pitch, I meant that the tone of sound was quite high on both lifts compared to listening on Youtube videos of the original and that the general queue music was a tad lower this year. However they also need to lower the volume of the lift hill audio slightly so it dosen't 'clip' and they need to turn up the queue audio as it is fairly hard to hear from Buy The Smiler. ;)
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Liam.W » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:58 pm

I believe there are two moderately sized speakers in the top of the corners of the room.

EDIT: Scrap that, just looked at a POV and there are no speakers there. I'm sure I saw some there :-k
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by looptheloop » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:15 pm

Went on the smiler at the weekend, nice to see more effects working, more than the last time I went on anyway. I agree that the music is a little loud at the start of the lift hill.


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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Stellafella » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:59 am

Been twice this week and the projectors are always a niggle for me. They are never aligned and some not working. If they cant be aligned periodically i think they would be better changing them for something else
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Tryst » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:19 pm

Stellafella wrote:Been twice this week and the projectors are always a niggle for me. They are never aligned and some not working. If they cant be aligned periodically i think they would be better changing them for something else

We were on it now and I didn't notice the projectors on.

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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Baffles » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:48 am

Can't bear that room. Every visit I have had this year, at least one of the projectors has been not working. It also really needs air conditioning on the warmer days, and some lighting for the poor staff who really struggle to see the Fastrack / Disabled wristbands.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Justin » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:31 am

All the projectors were on last weekend, although that room needs some work, along with a little TLC to touch up the paintwork in the queue line!
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Smiler313 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:18 am

To be honest, I think quite a fair bit of The Smiler needs work on. The half way point has a TV missing, and one of the speakers the mesh on the speaker has been ripped off. All the stairs need a paint up as all yo can see is grey underneath. Also the exit corridor could do with some TLC too. A paint up of the trains would be nice too, as some of the paint has come off, however, it has been like that since the start of last season and possibly earlier. I do agree the queue needs some work as parts are rusting up, as well as the track too. It would be nice too if the audio was also turned back up.

I understand that most of this will not happen, however those are the points I have noticed.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

by Baffles » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:22 pm

When I very first saw the Smiler I thought that it would be a huge task every year to keep it looking as good as new.

As we have got used to with Merlin, they don't receive the budgets to keep rides looking like new, so the above observations don't surprise me at all.

Fingers crossed it gets some attention over closed season.
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