UK theme parks from another point of view!

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silenthillXD
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:42 am

SmileyMan wrote:
By the sounds of the cobra roll, it sounds like the last inversion on SAW THE RIDE. (The tight barell roll into a half loop).that is very rough, and is EXTREAMLY tight. Can anyone compare it to the smiler for me?


To be honest it's not really like that at all, the cobra roll isn't too tight, its just there must be some form of kink in the track as it just jolts you around. In all honesty it's bad, but for me it doesn't ruin the ride on the same level that the final inversion on saw does for me.
 
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NemesisBrother123
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:21 am

The smiler is a great ride  i went on it 3 times in 1 day  :D
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Mattfat1
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:47 pm

It's not the track being too tight, it's a dodgy manufactured piece. You can see the track just straightens halfway through the inversion.
Doubt it was intentional to add 'thrill' but then I don't know why they wouldn't have sorted it before putting it in, it's fairly obvious...
Rush job, closed season fix?
 
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dustymacdexter
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:44 pm

went on the smiler yesterday, i q'ed for 2:25 hours but when i was on it, it was amazing, i can't believe the ride time is 2:54 it feels like 2 seconds, it felt weird riding and seeing it after folowing all this construction. 10/10 can't wait too go again!!!
 
ucozade6
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:09 pm

Mattfat1 wrote:
It's not the track being too tight, it's a dodgy manufactured piece. You can see the track just straightens halfway through the inversion.
Doubt it was intentional to add 'thrill' but then I don't know why they wouldn't have sorted it before putting it in, it's fairly obvious...
Rush job, closed season fix?


It is a builders issue I think.

I have been asking around and informed by descent sources (head of a coaster club) that they have been running different wheels on the trains. This could explain a lot on the differing reviews.

Will give it another crack later in the season and see if I get a good train.
 
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matt.harper
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Re: The Smiler

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:09 am

so the smiler..... its a very good coaster and a welcome addition to alton towers. it looks great and fits in well with x sector. i have a few issues with it. while the ride is really intense and a great coaster it was a bit rough on the second half after the vertical lift.The Marmaliser was pointless for me as you are going to fast to get any of the effects. Dont get me wrong it looks good and the idea is great. I was hoping for more play on the Sanctuary. like in the q to be welcoming us to the sanctuary and more on how we will be getting corrected like in the 4 videos smile always. I think once again the marketing is more then what it turned out to be like th13teen. But all that aside it is a great coaster and I was smiling for a few hours after riding. is it better than nemesis ? yes and no remember nemesis is 19 years old and still one of the top 20 coasters in the world. will the smiler be in the top 20 in 19 years, only time will tell  8)
let me here you say steam
 
pittster2013
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Re: The Smiler

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:10 pm

I won't give a massive review as I'm no expert, but it was a very good ride, although quite disorientating and I felt a bit sick for a while after, although I felt like that after Nemesis and Air too!

It seems to go on for such a long time, the only part I really didn't like was the straight vertical climb, but that's just because I'm a wuss. I got scared at the dark part of the flume ha ha! Some photos for those interested.

Loved all the effects and the queue area, the entrances to the ride queue are a bit weird! Love how bright and airy the part is where you get on the ride and the uniform the staff wear really adds to the effect.


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Image Our view while we had lunch :-)
 
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mwflynn06
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Re: The Smiler

Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:55 pm

Just got home from Alton Towers arrived on park just before 9. Took a slightly different approach and decided to do the whole park (major rides) before queuing for the smiler. Asked about smiler fast tracks at 2pm and they had sold out so braved the 2hour stated que time and entered the que at 4pm. The smiler broke down twice while in the que pushing the time to a tiring 3hour wait. One thing i did notice while in the que is that on the bunny hops there is some significant movement on the track :/ am not technically minded so not sure if this will cause problems. Eventually was sat on the back row and it was rough !! Came off with a pounding headache but was overly impressed with the ride from start to finish. I had the biggest smile on my face walking out of the shop. Well worth the wait and delayed opening. Hoping to go later in the year.

10/10 Alton towers
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Chris
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Re: The Smiler

Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:50 pm

I noticed this too - it's because there are no supports in both sections.

Does make the ride feel like a cheap Maurer Sohne though..
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pittster2013
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Re: The Smiler

Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:42 am

mwflynn06 wrote:
Just got home from Alton Towers arrived on park just before 9. Took a slightly different approach and decided to do the whole park (major rides) before queuing for the smiler. Asked about smiler fast tracks at 2pm and they had sold out so braved the 2hour stated que time and entered the que at 4pm. The smiler broke down twice while in the que pushing the time to a tiring 3hour wait. One thing i did notice while in the que is that on the bunny hops there is some significant movement on the track :/ am not technically minded so not sure if this will cause problems. Eventually was sat on the back row and it was rough !! Came off with a pounding headache but was overly impressed with the ride from start to finish. I had the biggest smile on my face walking out of the shop. Well worth the wait and delayed opening. Hoping to go later in the year.

10/10 Alton towers


Glad you had a good day too! We did the same as you, although we bought smiler fastracks first thing. We were also on back row, and still felt quite sick and headachey when I went to bed that night.
 
Lee
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Re: The Smiler

Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:52 am

Aren't a few supports using the rubber bottom stuff? I'm not very technical either, but you can see it in action at the shop exit.
 
Jmurphy55
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Re: The Smiler

Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:14 am

Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Won't go into top much detail as others have covered most aspects but...

The theming is exceptional, it looks so impressive as you enter X Sector, the maramaliser is very cool with all the effects, the bright yellow ticklers spinning, the hypnotiser l, steam flying out everywhere, it just looks like complete chaos, which is exactly what the ride is!

The queue I think is cool, being so close to the ride. Fortunately I didn't spend too much time queuing as I got on within 15 minutes in the SRQ and then less with a fast track.

Anyway, the coaster for me, is perfection. To each their own I guess, some people don't like it, but I've not been on a ride which has, excuse the pun, genuinely made me smile the way that this one did in years.

It's just pure fun, accompanied with excellent theming.

Absolutely loved it. Congratulations Alton you've definately got a smiling advocate here :D
 
fabiasimon
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Re: The Smiler

Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:02 pm

Finally been marmalised by the smiler today.  An excellent excellent ride, even better than I was expecting. Not going to go into detail as majority been covered.

Uncomparable to nemesis but at the minute I would put them on the same par.

Only thing to be careful of is the queue times!! On park boards said it were 150 minutes.  Ridetimes.co.uk stated 120 and when entering the queue a member of staff said its 2 hours. I explained that boards were stating 150 howeve he said its definitely only 2 houra from the point I was at when joining the queue.

I joined the queue at 11:10 and didn't get on the ride until 14:10 so queued 180 minutes and the ride did not breakdown once!!

Overall a superb ride and I will be riding again but won't wait 3 hours again!! If queue is too long I will be doing nemesis instead haha.
 
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Phild94
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Re: The Smiler

Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:43 pm

Just gonna throw this out there.... I just went to DLP paris for the last 5 days.... and retried one of my top 5 rollercoasters of all time (Rock n Rollercoaster)..... and i have to say....

I never thought that my top 5 would ever be toppled..... no matter what ride it was ..... and honestly the Smiler is fantastic one of the best rides i have ever ridden if not the best .... the ONLY thing that would send this ride to borderline insanity would be on ride music ..... even that laughing tune as you go around the track for true marmalisation.....

So my top 5 (now top 6 including DLP RnR)

1. The Smiler
2. Nemesis
3. The Hulk
4. Duelling Dragons
5. Rock n Rollercoaster (USA)
6. Rock n Rollercoaster (DLP)
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Credit to Lewis97 for the fantastic signature :D
 
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JAMMYD777
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Re: The Smiler

Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:26 pm

So I have finally been corrected and in the process, marmalised. Just to reiterate what others have said, The Smiler is so dominant within X-Sector now and the whole area feels transformed. The Marmaliser standing tall and proud with all of its marmalising techniques in full swing is certainly impressive. The queue line is repetitive but is bearable and from what I experienced today, does move at a relatively constant rate. The only thing I could have wished for was for the backstory of The Smiler and its origins to be explained more in-depth, many of the GP I heard only vaguely knew of the 'correction' process. Also, on the good ol' british summer day today, the pit was becoming overrun with water and drainage is obviously an issue.

The projection mapping is a nice attempt and definitely adds something to the experience even though it is minor. I loved the dispatch sequence in the station and the pre-recorded announcements just added to the excitement.

For my first ride, we began queueing in the main queue at 12:45 and were on the ride by 2:15. This was the shortest the queue was for today that I had seen. Luckily we were directed to row 1 and we took our seats. The indoor drop and following barrel roll certainly get the adrenaline pumping. The first lift is then slowly ascended and the first half begins. I knew to brace myself for the general Gerstache of any Gerstlauer and was surprised at the smoothness. The only 'rough' moments I recall were the exit of the first inverted drop with a slight lateral jolt and a small shoulder jolt when twisting into the second dive loop. The first airtime hill offered more air/floater than I was expecting (although I did leave the restraint slightly loose). Then came the second half (I love the half way audio btw), which was generally smooth aside from a few lateral jolts again, with one being on the exit of the sea serpent roll, the major jolt on the exit of the cobra roll (which btw I braced for and successfully avoided pain, in fact, my head never came into contact with the restraints :D) and then one on the entry to the penultimate inversion. Then we twisted into the brake run after a great, great ride. Well, aside from sitting on the brake run for 10 minutes due to a minor delay. The exit route was a brilliant way to end off the brilliant experience.

As we'd pretty much done every other ride at this point, we went straight back around and into the single rider queue at around 2:45 and were on the ride at around 3:30. This time I was in row 2 and this did seem rougher. The lateral and shoulder jolts were more noticeable and harder to brace for, although I did still enjoy it.

After both rides, I came to the conclusion that The Smiler has it just right in terms of G-force and flow. Every element seemed to gracefully (well, aside from the bite of the cobra) flow into the next and I never once found myself disorientated or lost in the layout as others have said.

Overall, a brilliant addition and is certainly worth a ride or two, or three, or four etc. I just pray that the ride doesn't deteriorate similarly to its other Gerstlauer relatives as for now, it is certainly a marmalising experience. (Sadly though, the creative and intense layout of Nemesis just pips the layout of The Smiler, however the experience The Smiler offers is greater than that of Nemesis so neither is better and neither is worse)
Last edited by JAMMYD777 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Jimbo!
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:09 pm

I'm gonna throw this out there; it really isn't that fantastic.

The queue is actually very cool because the ride looks insane as it goes over your head, and whilst the entire premise of the ride I find totally stupid and unnecessary, it at least makes you feel proper excited to go on it seeing the trains fly around like crazy above you.

That and the spider thing looks really cool as well, albeit with incredibly cringey effects dangling off it.

Seriously though what is this marmaliser nonsense? Couldn't they just stick to the script? It makes Nemesis Sub Terra's theming look like Hollywood.


Any-whom I have to say queue and theming are great, but still incomparable to Nemesis and to be honest Oblivion too. I find both of those rides far more intimidating and think they have superior aesthetics going for them.

As for the ride... the start was very similar to SAW but not really as good... the only way that drop would have been better is if:

A) It was vertical/near vertical
B) The inversion before the lift hill was better themed than just a tunnel.

The very beginning does frankly look like another Air Tunnel, and I don't understand why the drop isn't better hidden because you can clearly see it coming. It's not in any way scary, enthralling or unpredictable.

The ride itself is enjoyable however the ride time isn't a fair representation of its actual length because of the two lift hills. Why one of the lift hills is vertical, yet there isn't at any point a steep drop; is beyond me.

As good as it is and as well paced and comfy it is, and impressively loopy etc etc etc... where's the stellar moment?

Am I supposed to enjoy this ride because the loops are plentiful? The gods honest truth: The inversions are boring and for the most part exactly the same, or at least feel the same. The only good inversions are the first and last ones, everything else just feels like a never ending cobra roll.

Like I said, there's no special thing about this ride. You go upside down a lot, and for no reason whatsoever there's a vertical lift hill. But where's the freaking drop?!?!

This ride seems to go out of its way not to have a drop. I experienced no 'Oh SH*T' moment the entire ride. For a major roller coaster, that for me is a major fail. All my top rides have an 'OH SH*T' moment. This ride just lacks it completely. Thirteen is arguably more thrilling and 'oh sh*t' inducing, and that's saying something...

Ultimately its a bit like Air; lots of hype, but in time you realize its not really that thrilling and doesn't touch Nemesis.

Nemmy is the bench mark for roller coasters at AT and not one has surpassed it in nearly 20 years. Since the Smiler cost 18 million for me that's a massive led down.

Perhaps lots of yous felt an obligation to find it awesome because the queue length is insane. Personally, for me the queue was a more memorable experience than the ride, because unlike the ride I was going crazy waiting 2 and a half hours for this bad boy.

In the end, no ride is ever likely to be worth that long a wait, and for me the smiler really doesn't cut it. Nothing new, lots of loops, but it completely misses the grade when it comes to having that special factor. I'd certainly argue that Colossus (the first loop orgy) at Thorpe is in many ways better, but unfortunately that ride beats the crap out of your head.

The Smiler is just about better than SAW, but at least that has a monstrous drop. Like I said, Nemmy still pwns.   
Toyland Tours was, and always will be; the sh*t.
 
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Danny
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:19 pm

Some people's expectations are just unbelievable  :roll:
If you can't see how amazing this coaster is you must have had your eyes closed. The theming is probably the most thought of and expensive theming in the park and calling it cringey doesn't even make sense. By complaining about the vertical lift hill you clearly saying it would be better without it, so what would you say takes its place?
 
phishphingaz
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:54 pm

So I finally got to ride The Smiler yesterday! Joined the queue at about 9:50, right up by the Towers. It moved pretty quickly though and we got on in about 2 hours. The outdoor part of the queue is pretty interesting because of how close you are to the track, but as others have mentioned, they really need to sort out the drainage as it was badly flooded in some areas.

I hadn't read any spoilers about what happens inside the station, and was excited when approaching the "correction block" - but what a disappointment. Some weird cubes projected onto the walls. They weren't at all disorientating. I was just happy to be out of the rain haha. Similar to what others have said, I was very disappointed that there is no explanation of the backstory whatsoever. My friends were very confused about what being "marmalised" meant. Towers really missed a trick here - the story is so immersive and clever but the general public will never know about it.

The inside of the station is a bit unpleasant but I guess that's the idea. Seems they struggled to fit all the various walkways in - the walk from the unloading platform to the shop is ridiculous, the amount of stairs and twisty corridors. It's like when you're playing rollercoaster tycoon and can't get the paths to line up because you didn't leave enough room. And again, zig-zags painted on the walls don't really count as themeing in my opinion.

As for the ride... I liked it. We asked to go on the front row and the host kindly obliged. It was fairly smooth but with some major jolts which marred the experience somewhat. The exit of the cobra roll and the final two barrel rolls are uncomfortably violent. The indoor part at the beginning was fun but the smoke-screen that I heard about wasn't working so it was really obvious there was a drop. And like Jimbo mentioned above, I couldn't help but think of the Air tunnel. So much potential for themeing or a pre-show, but no, just concrete and some coloured lights. The queue time is made up for by the fact that the ride is so long. It's like riding two coasters without having to get off! The inverted drops are great and the airtime hills were mental. In a good way.

We re-rode straight after, this time choosing the single rider queue. We got on in less than 5 minutes! No joke. We were gutted to have wasted 2 hours in the normal queue! I got on the back row this time and it was noticeably rougher than the front. Constant vibration throughout the ride which gave me a bit of a headache. So I'd definitely recommend the front row.

So overall I guess it's a great ride, but I still don't think it could top Nemesis. My friends agreed. Nemesis is short and sweet, and hugely intense from start to finish, whereas The Smiler is almost too much of a good thing. Also Nemesis fits so well into its environment, and has room to breathe. It's kind of graceful, swooping around the monorail and through its ravines. And the near-misses with the cliff faces just can't be beaten. I think The Smiler looks really messy and obnoxious, which sort of works, but I didn't notice any near-misses when riding because it all just blends into a blur of metal. And I hate how The Smiler is just on a massive (flooded) concrete slab, with concrete slab walls and a concrete slab station. It's awful. And the station is already stained and horrible looking after just a few weeks. It dominates X Sector, but in a negative way. X Sector used to be so nice and balanced and symmetrical, all built around Oblivion. But now there's just clutter everywhere and Oblivion looks pathetic. Such a shame. Don't get me wrong, The Smiler is a good ride, but I kind of wish they HADN'T crammed so much into the space. Less is more!
 
Jimbo!
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:17 pm

danny.g97 wrote:
Some people's expectations are just unbelievable  :roll:
If you can't see how amazing this coaster is you must have had your eyes closed. The theming is probably the most thought of and expensive theming in the park and calling it cringey doesn't even make sense. By complaining about the vertical lift hill you clearly saying it would be better without it, so what would you say takes its place?


A Vertical drop.

And as for the rides theme, what is it really about? Making people smile? Is that the best they could think of?! For us, the nerds that look into this stuff meticulously it makes sense; for the general public, it seems unnecessarily outlandish and odd. Nemesis is an alien in a pit, that's cool. Oblivion is a scary drop into a gaping hole, that's cool. Air is experiencing flight; cool.

Admittedly, The Smiler thematically trumps both Thirteen and Rita. But that highlights an issue here: AT are trying to hard to make these rides themed in unique ways but the result is people don't care enough about the weirdly unique.

Barely anyone knows what Thirteen even is; Rita makes literally no sense, then here comes a big ride based in the Sci-Fi part of the park which revolves around... making people have massive grins?...

As if this odd experimental nonsense has replaced a cool dark ride about going to Space... did anyone who rode this actually 'feel' the effects of the rides theme? No, nobody came off it with a huge grin or uncontrollable hysteria... it's a roller coaster. They had fun, and some people got scared. No one had an LSD trip.

If they keep it simple, they wouldn't end up with people asking what the hell the Smiler is all about. IMHO this ride could have utilized its infrastructure in a much cooler way than a giant spinning toilet brush. For crying out loud the Swarm has a freaking plane on fire! There should be more fire!
Toyland Tours was, and always will be; the sh*t.
 
Lee
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Re: The Smiler

Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:25 pm

This review has been a long time coming.

I finally managed to have the joy of riding The Smiler on the 9th June. Having camped at the construction site, been to two failed openings and spent hours at a time dissecting every detail, it was finally my turn to enjoy the thrill of 14 fantastical inversions. In the end it was all a bit of a deflated balloon leaving me feeling a bit 'meh!'

The ride itself is enjoyable. The restraints are comfortable and the lift hills pleasant enough. However the actual experience itself is painful and lacks any real intensity or air time. Whilst being inverted 14 times in quick succession is thoroughly entertaining, the thrill factor is lost to the novelty. I do give Alton Towers complete credit for beginning to embrace the new light up LED restraints however, does significantly help throughput in my opinion.

Anyone who has read my posts (or had the displeasure of a personal rant on resort during construction) will know I have always despised the themeing for The Smiler; I'll just never understood why a great big (cheap looking) metal spider spraying water at me counts as a themeing element. I have however enjoyed the Ministry Of Joy and The Sanctuary elements of the story arc. I believe that The Sanctury, Dr Kelman and the MOJ may be one of the best ideas Towers have come up with to market an attraction. I was therefore shocked and appalled to see Gerry (who plays dr. Kelman) helping manage the queueline in an Alton Towers uniform. Towers ruined an opportunity to help guests understand a badly out together plot line.

Overall the ride is good, and I could forgive its lack of intensity if it wasn't for the badly executed plot and themeing.

6/10 for ride experince
6/10 for intensity
4/10 for story and themeing

This review is the opinion of the author, and does not represent the opinions of TowersTimes or its team.
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