Hello, I would just like to share my review of The Smiler.
As we made our way down towards X-Sector, past Adventure land, the first thing I noticed was the heavy bass from the Smiler's awesome soundtrack, before turning the corner and seeing the Impressive beast for the first time in person. Wow! This ride looks incredible, the shear size of it and the mess of steel really dominates the whole of X-sector. One thing I noticed on the way down to the entrance was the slightly worrying sound of the screeching wheels, though I'm guessing these will wear in? The station exterior didn't look as bad as the pictures even though it is just a mass of concrete. I was lucky enough to catch a few trains duelling which looked awesome, especially through the "Staffordshire Knot" inversions.
As most of you will know, the extension queue had been moved so it trails to the bottom of X-sector opposite the "Challenge the Smiler" game stalls. I heard/saw a few people struggling to find the start of the queue and I have to agree that it's quite poorly laid out. Luckily we had won 4 free fasttrack tickets so we didn't have to wait for 2 hours in the burning sun
. We made our way through the extension queue, through the slightly bland main entrance and down the steps. Here I got to appreciate the scale of the marmaliser. It looks amazing! definably one of the most impressive pieces of theming I have seen in the UK. I love the hypnotiser and inoculator legs as well as the 360° LED screens, the graphics are very impressive, though it would have been great to see ORP's displayed occasionally. The queue was very entertaining, even if we were only outside for a very short amount of time. There's so much to look at, from trains constancy whizzing overhead, the marmaliser and its interactivity with the trains and the queue line screens.
Before long we had reached the "Correction Block", my least favourite part of the experience. The Projection mapping was pretty "meh" and it just seemed a bit dull standing in a very dark room. My sister found it quite claustrophobic and I guess the fact it was hot inside didn't help. We weren't in there long before heading to the baggage hold. Again this area was a bit plain and could do with a little more theming. It's then up the bright staircase to the station. The station is bright white with only minimal theming, though I like this simple look as I feel it ties in well with the clinical side of the theme. Once your in the station your only there for five minutes or so. Throughout the queue and station building there is the occasional announcement informing you of your current "correction" stage, I thought these sounded quite menacing and were a nice touch. Before each train sets off there's a neat little dispatch sequence involving bright lights blinding the riders, whilst a disconcerting voice says "join us" as mist fills the tunnel ahead. This really sets the mood, similar to Oblivion's Lord Of Darkness speech before each shuttle dispatch.
Unfortunately on my first go I got back row. The trains look pretty smart and the seats and restraints are both quite comfy. Before long, it was our turn to get corrected. The first plunge into the darkness was quite forceful and caught me by surprise. The first heartline in the dark and strobes is fun offering plenty of hangtime. You then stop at the bottom of the first lift whilst deafening manic laughter is played and orange lights go off. By this point everyone looked at each-other with a "WTF?" look. It's then up the first lift before a quick dive to the right before entering the first inverted drop. The pace held up a lot better than I expected, the transitions between inversions where fairly intense, particularly the roll after the batwing, but a bit jolty in places. I had a fairly good understanding of the layout but i still felt a little disorientated by the the time we reached the second lift. You then pass under more TV screens flickering random graphics before another booming voice informs us that we're "Half way corrected". So far so good, up the vertical lift (I liked how they incorporate two different kinds of lift). Unfortunately our train was timed a little out, so no duelling. A quick dive to the left, through the second inverted drop (with yet more hangtime) before entering my favourite set of inversions, the "sea serpent rolls". The second, "more powerful" airtime hill wasn't as powerful as I was expecting but still fun nonetheless.with a great headchopper moment. The point i was now dreading, the cobra roll. After reading other reviews stating how rough the exit of it was, I braced myself well in advance, turns out it was no where near as bad as I was expecting. I don't know what the fuss is about? The last two heart lines are fun and quite intense, a sharp turn to the left before hitting the final brake run, WOW!
Upon exiting, it's up the funky rainbow staircase, you have now been marmalised! You pass through a narrow corridor crossing the station before heading down some more steps to the baggage hold. The theming in the exit corridor is much better than the indoor queue. It's like a funhouse with illusions, crazy projections and lighting, took us and other off guard a few times! This crazy corridors eventually lead you to the well stocked smiler shop or "Buy the Smiler" as it's named. The theming doesn't end there, inside are several AR screens that add amusing effects when you look at them as well as a fake Smiler shopping channel displayed on a large screen in the centre. Upon exit of the shop is a glass floor that's almost impossible to see through!Closing thoughts
After my first ride I felt that the ride exceeded my expectations, it had the right balance of being fun, Intense and very re-rideable. I probably rated it in my top three. After my second ride on my second day, I enjoyed it much more, mainly because I was in the second row and possibly had a better, smoother train. Currently I honestly can't decide between it and Nemesis, so I guess there at joint first place for now. As for how I'd rate it in a few years time, depends on if it just gets rougher which is a worrying factor as its not exactly smooth now. Theming wise, I love it! The marmaliser looks Incredible, even if I only noticed the flasher and hypnotiser whilst riding. The theme music suits it perfectly and is very catchy. It's also nice to see themed uniforms even if they do look a little ridiculous!
Overall a fantastic addition that certainly left me smiling!
9/10[u]My top five Alton coasters currently
Joint 1st - Nemesis & The Smiler
2nd - Oblivion
3rd - Th13teen
4th - Air
5th - Rita
Thanks for reading!