UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Mikw
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:51 pm

I've been to Towers loads of times this year, for me The Smiler has been the most reliable coaster on the park, in stark contrast to the first few years.

I don't find it rough either, apart from a couple of jolts. I hope it stays in it's sweet spot. only negative for me is the indoor queue section. That strobe is awful - and if a lot of fastrackers arrive at once, you can be in there for quite a while.  The stairs need a pressure watch and repaint too.
 
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Stan.H
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:54 pm

Had an awful experience on The Smiler yesterday, and the problem seems to be apparent with a lot of the major coasters at Towers - but mainly The Smiler. Fastrack. Yesterday the advertised 50-minute queue, turned into a 130-minute wait, due to the fact that staff were sending round trains FULL of fastrackers causing the general standby line to be moving even slower than usual, I obviously understand that fastrackers have paid the £10 upcharge, however, fastrack guarantees the wait to be 50% less than the advertised wait - when in fact they weren't having to wait much at all, as all the staff were more focussed on getting them through the queue, instead of the waiting guests. I understand that Scarefest is a busy event, often selling out of fastrack early on during the day(s), but I feel the staff should stick to the fastrack ratios that are apparent (most of the time) during the regular season. Although it's not a too major issue, it is very annoying and a simple problem I'd like them to resolve for either Fireworks or next season. Rant over.  :lol
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Sawboss
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:19 pm

I had this same experience, on my 3rd and final day at scarefest, sunday 21st, me and my brother had bought tickets for the Welcoming at 8pm so we could come out and queue for Wickerman. At 6pm I really wanted to get one more night ride of the Smiler in so we split up, it had 90 min queue but became unavailable, I wandered down anyway and saw quite a few people leaving the queue so I nipped in when the gate opened about 6.15. My friends had joined a queue much bigger than this one the night before and were out in a little over 80 mins.
So I queued by myself for about 100 minutes and didn't even get inside the building before having to wander back aaaaaaaall the way through a packed Smiler queue line that was barely moving for fear of missing my timeslot (Only to realise when I got there they're just a suggested arrival time anyway...). It was painfully slow despite constant trains full of people leaving the station. The square just outside the building where the queue doubles back twice took literally 40 minutes to get from one corner to the other. It put a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a brilliant weekend, The Welcoming and Wickerman in the dark made up for it a bit though!
But yes, fast tracks can be a major pain and single rider is sorely missed.
 
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:07 pm

Parks on the operations side need to up their game, they now have the guests coming back, now they need single rider queues open and everything as it was. SIngle rider queues help so much especially with The Smiler due to there being so many empty seats. Operations are just not how they used to be. Hopefully now they have had a good year they invest in better operations to satisfy more guests.
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nicky.borrill
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:57 am

Stan.H wrote:
Had an awful experience on The Smiler yesterday, and the problem seems to be apparent with a lot of the major coasters at Towers - but mainly The Smiler. Fastrack. Yesterday the advertised 50-minute queue, turned into a 130-minute wait, due to the fact that staff were sending round trains FULL of fastrackers causing the general standby line to be moving even slower than usual, I obviously understand that fastrackers have paid the £10 upcharge, however, fastrack guarantees the wait to be 50% less than the advertised wait - when in fact they weren't having to wait much at all, as all the staff were more focussed on getting them through the queue, instead of the waiting guests. I understand that Scarefest is a busy event, often selling out of fastrack early on during the day(s), but I feel the staff should stick to the fastrack ratios that are apparent (most of the time) during the regular season. Although it's not a too major issue, it is very annoying and a simple problem I'd like them to resolve for either Fireworks or next season. Rant over.  :lol

Where does it state the wait to be 50% less? I’ve never seen this and I use fast track a lot, have done throughout every season and have never waited more than 10 minutes. I wouldn't pay £100 extra for platinum if the wait was only 50% less. I always thought the stand by queue was so called because it was just that, standing by to go through when there are few / no fast tracks.
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Swarm Chris
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:15 am

nicky.borrill wrote:
Where does it state the wait to be 50% less? I’ve never seen this and I use fast track a lot, have done throughout every season and have never waited more than 10 minutes. I wouldn't pay £100 extra for platinum if the wait was only 50% less. I always thought the stand by queue was so called because it was just that, standing by to go through when there are few / no fast tracks.

Unless there's something printed at the ticket kiosk - and I'm almost certain there is nothing printed at The Smiler shop kiosk, it would appear it is not an official policy at Alton Towers. I've seen Thorpe social media use it a lot to not deal with customer complaints, I wonder if it hasn't come from the social media team at Alton too.

Here are the actual terms and conditions
which only state there might be a wait still:

Fastrack tickets have limited availability. These tickets are non transferable and must be used on day of purchase. Fastrack tickets do not give choice of seating and may still incur a wait time. Please check at the entrance to the attractions for the restrictions, which apply in all cases. Fastrack tickets can only be used once on each attraction listed on the ticket, with the exception of Fastrack Platinum, which is for unlimited use on the day. The unlimited Fastrack tickets require guests to leave the ride and re-join the Fastrack queue. Prices subject to change.
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Stan.H
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:13 pm

nicky.borrill wrote:
Stan.H wrote:
Had an awful experience on The Smiler yesterday, and the problem seems to be apparent with a lot of the major coasters at Towers - but mainly The Smiler. Fastrack. Yesterday the advertised 50-minute queue, turned into a 130-minute wait, due to the fact that staff were sending round trains FULL of fastrackers causing the general standby line to be moving even slower than usual, I obviously understand that fastrackers have paid the £10 upcharge, however, fastrack guarantees the wait to be 50% less than the advertised wait - when in fact they weren't having to wait much at all, as all the staff were more focussed on getting them through the queue, instead of the waiting guests. I understand that Scarefest is a busy event, often selling out of fastrack early on during the day(s), but I feel the staff should stick to the fastrack ratios that are apparent (most of the time) during the regular season. Although it's not a too major issue, it is very annoying and a simple problem I'd like them to resolve for either Fireworks or next season. Rant over.  :lol

Where does it state the wait to be 50% less? I’ve never seen this and I use fast track a lot, have done throughout every season and have never waited more than 10 minutes. I wouldn't pay £100 extra for platinum if the wait was only 50% less. I always thought the stand by queue was so called because it was just that, standing by to go through when there are few / no fast tracks.

As mentioned by Chris, I don't think it's written out anywhere but I have been told that before when purchasing fastrack as well as enquiring about it on their Social Media's. I did hear from multiple people that the other weekend fastrack queues were as long as an hour for Wicker Man and The Smiler, so it does seem to actually happen. 
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nicky.borrill
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:45 pm

Stan.H wrote:
nicky.borrill wrote:
Stan.H wrote:
Had an awful experience on The Smiler yesterday, and the problem seems to be apparent with a lot of the major coasters at Towers - but mainly The Smiler. Fastrack. Yesterday the advertised 50-minute queue, turned into a 130-minute wait, due to the fact that staff were sending round trains FULL of fastrackers causing the general standby line to be moving even slower than usual, I obviously understand that fastrackers have paid the £10 upcharge, however, fastrack guarantees the wait to be 50% less than the advertised wait - when in fact they weren't having to wait much at all, as all the staff were more focussed on getting them through the queue, instead of the waiting guests. I understand that Scarefest is a busy event, often selling out of fastrack early on during the day(s), but I feel the staff should stick to the fastrack ratios that are apparent (most of the time) during the regular season. Although it's not a too major issue, it is very annoying and a simple problem I'd like them to resolve for either Fireworks or next season. Rant over.  :lol

Where does it state the wait to be 50% less? I’ve never seen this and I use fast track a lot, have done throughout every season and have never waited more than 10 minutes. I wouldn't pay £100 extra for platinum if the wait was only 50% less. I always thought the stand by queue was so called because it was just that, standing by to go through when there are few / no fast tracks.

As mentioned by Chris, I don't think it's written out anywhere but I have been told that before when purchasing fastrack as well as enquiring about it on their Social Media's. I did hear from multiple people that the other weekend fastrack queues were as long as an hour for Wicker Man and The Smiler, so it does seem to actually happen. 

The longest I’ve waited in any fastrack ever is actually one time on Rita which was longer than my originally stated 10 minutes and was more like 20 - 25 minutes. That was because they added a train whilst I was waiting. We’ve done 3 Scarefests this year, and 1 Fright Nights and not waited longer than 10 minutes for anything.
Some rides are consistently around the top end of the 10 minute mark though, such as Smiler, Wicker Man and Nemesis (Nemesis due to the joining point in the queue)
Fright Nights was an absoloute disaster though, we paid for the Ultimate Pass, £150!!! as we wanted to get all the coasters in the dark, and the coasters were not open until around 12 - 1 and shut again at 5 because of the cold... All of them except Stealth which repeatedly broke down (3 times in 45 minutes at one point,) and The Walking Dead. To be fair, we were told we could revalidate the passes next year.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:34 am

I also seem to remember hearing 50% a while ago. I imagine they tell you that to avoid complaints if people do have to wait. nicky.borril, the procedure is that fasttracks and main line guests are proportioned fairly, not just fasttrack all go because they've paid.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:59 am

As someone who uses fastrack, I am never worried if I still have a wait , fully understanding that the point of FT is that you ride quicker than the main queue but that you are not guaranteed no wait.
I understand that view might not be the same if a person has forked out a great deal, for an entire family for example.

Personally I've never found the wait for Rita to be particularly horrendous in either queue , except in instances where the ride reliability has been poor on a given day, but I do find that the queuing experience differs depending on the bias that the op has towards/against FT.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:40 pm

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THE SMILER
The Smiler is the world’s first 14 loop rollercoaster. It’s twisting track combines the world beating 14 loops with a speed of 85 km/hr and a track length 3x longer than Oblivion!

With the closed season upon us, how would you review The Smiler at the Alton Towers Resort?

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Dom
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:41 pm

Hate! 'Nuff Said really :lol
 
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Swarm Chris
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:59 pm

I think I actually dislike every single aspect of this ride. :lol
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Dan
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:29 pm

Swarm Chris wrote:
I think I actually dislike every single aspect of this ride. :lol


Blasphemy!

I do still like The Smiler, but there are elements of it that need attention. The biggest thing for me is the fact it needs a good clean as the queue line and station building were in very poor condition at the end of last season.
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:28 pm

I must agree, it needs work, and dare I say it, a rework of the theme, but without changing it.

The station is filthy, both inside and out and it needs a good clean. The water stains on the outside do not send out the right message and the external theming needs attention. Inside, the projection room needs reworking, the music needs to be looked correctly, stairs cleaned and inside painted. The baggage store needs to reopen, and the horrible cage drop on the station platform needs to be removed, with its horrible laminated sheets. It unfortunately is one of the worst rides, appearance wise, on park. I do however, love the ride. It is a good addition and I love the layout!
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:23 am

The Smiler use to be one of my favorite rides at the park, I loved the theme, the atmosphere around the ride and the ride itself.

Now, it's dropped so much! Not just due to Wicker Man opening, the ride is becoming rougher and rougher, the station looks so worn out it's unbelievable and just looks like an absolute mess.

If the ride had some major work done to make it look much more acceptable and just had some care put into it, I would be more inclined to like it but it's just a mess at the moment.
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Nickolai
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:42 am

The Smiler was my favourite ride, however it's upkeep, infrastructure change with the baggage hold and fastrack queues and SRQ etc has just made it less enjoyable. If the overall experience of the ride was improved, back to how it looked in 2013, then it would be on par with Wicker Man. I love the ride's layout and I think it is very exciting but the general appearance and operations just make it feel neglected.
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GregH94
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:08 am

I still have a lot of love for this ride, third favourite on park behind Wicker Man and Nemesis, in fact some of the best rides I’ve had on The Smiler were last season - the coaster itself felt considerably smoother to me compared to 2017 and despite the change in baggage I always saw it duel consistently on every visit - when I went during Scarefest all effects and projections were on apart from the Inoculator. 

Just wish they’d clean that queue more than anything, or else we may have to resort to Kim and Aggie for a one off special episode! 
 
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:18 pm

The trouble is, surely Alton have noticed the state it is in? It has been mentioned before by many, let only a small section of the queue line was cleaned. In addition, the projector room is certainly below par. There is dust on the projector casing and it has had a constant blue screen. The rides effects are so random!

Of course, it comes down to money and staffing. As I have said, I love this ride and the park to bits, but The Smiler and Oblivion queue lines and theming structures have suffered some abuse from visitors which needs sorting as the current state of these rides just attracts more damage. I have said this before, but I would be more than willing to offer a helping hand for free to clean them up!
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Chris
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Re: The Smiler - General Discussion

Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:28 pm

I'd hope with such a successful season last year, that the operational budget can stretch a bit further to open up the baggage hold again.

I feel the attraction was designed in such a way that it will always require much more upkeep than most, and unfortunately has not had it.

If you are going to paint walls and stairs that are going to receive such high wear and tear then a plan needs to be put in place to keep them looking nice. Seems Merlin Studios were disconnected from what the resort were able to keep up with.

Fingers crossed for some further TLC this closed season.

As seen with the Galactica bridge internal walls, sometimes it's easier for the resort to just simplify things for the sake of keeping it looking nice.

Still a great ride though.
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