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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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You know it's funny I thought the same thing when I watched the video! I was like hmmm two coasters disguised as one. either way I'm game to ride! So Rob what's the chance of a TPR trip stopping at Alton Towers next year? If so count me in! Also does this mean we can count The Smiler as two credits? lol!

Our 2014 Europe trip is going to be Scandi, so it probably won't be until 2015 when we next get to the UK.

 

'SW8' will probably be be finished by this time 2015. So there could be another major addition for TPR to ride! Assuming they carry on with the norm and build a major coaster every two years or so. Quite possible SW8 will be a water based attraction though to replace The Flume.

 

SW8 is scheduled for 2016, using the 3 year small-medium-large investment cycle they've been using. Still, a 2015 trip should mean that TPR will get to experience a new flat ride in Forbidden Valley (possibly a replacement for Ripsaw or The Blade). No idea what it could be but I hope it'll be something on par with a topspin.

 

First post here by the way!

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Is the stopping part way through the ride for a lift hill on many eurofighter style rides? Saw had the pre-lift hill bit and Fuji had its launch section first. I loved the one at Fuji but it would have been great to have the lift and beyond vertical drop at the start and the launch halfway through the ride instead of the way it is. Although saying that the tension was great stopping at the bottom and knowing what was coming but that probably could have still been achieved at the start

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Personally I think The Smiler is a triumph for Towers, it is easily the best coaster they've added since Nemesis, and if Nemesis wasn't running insanely well at the moment it really could be a contender for the top spot.

 

The two coaster stuck together comment is a valid one, and the only way around this for Towers would've been to use a launch, but I think that may not have necessarily been a good thing. Yes the brakes and the vertical lift to act as an abrupt pause in proceedings, but I think if there was no pause to take breath the remaining seven inversions would lose some of their impact as the relentless onslaught of loops would merge into one. There is also effects to distract riders while they pause before the lifts, the laughing sound effects and lights at the base of the first lift and the TVs at the base of the vertical lift, but these are missed if you are on the front row.

 

The one downfall that The Smiler has for me is that the Marmaliser is near enough ineffective. Don't get me wrong it is a seriously impressive structure, and standing underneath it is a real sight to behold, but as a plus to the actual ride experience there is very little added. The Tickler & Hypnotiser legs are completely non-effective as you don't notice them at all, The Flasher I only noticed because I looked for it, and it doesn't Flash more just turns on briefly as the train approaches. The Giggler does pump out a mist, but generally this only drifts slightly into the path of the trains and The Innoculator, sprays out a good concentrated mist but it only works if you are on the front row, which I have to say works really well, as you are distracted by the spray and then instantly dive down into the pit and hit the Cobra Roll, but unless you are in the front this is completely lost, they could really do with strengthening the spray and prolonging it so it hits the full train.

Edited by Morgan
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I agree with everything that Robb and others have said. I rode it yesterday and I was impressed with the coaster, a lot smoother than I thought it would be. I also agree on the fact that the Marmaliser, while it looks cool it doesn't add anything to the ride. I restrained myself from watching POV videos so that I would be surprised because John Wardley said there would be surprises. I was thinking there would be effects after the first barrel roll, so I was left dissapointed on that front. All in all though, considering Alton Towers limitations, it was well worth the hype and it is a very solid addition if you don't go expecting a Top 10 coaster (which a lot of enthusiasts seem to).

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I can understand the two lift hill criticism but with all AT have to contend with in terms of restrictions getting 14 inversions at all is some work. Not sure they could have fitted a launch in that space. I'm guessing they must have considered it.

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Full disclosure - I have NOT been following the construction of The Smiler. (Sorry, just had so many other things going on the past few months and haven't had the time...)

 

I just watched the POV for the first time when I uploaded it to our YouTube channel...

 

Although I have not ridden The Smiler, and won't be commenting on what the actual ride experience is like, I do have a couple of random thoughts from watching the video (and after looking at Neil's photos)...

 

- I think the ride looks great! The theming and surrounding area looks "fun" (I guess it should be as it needs to put a smile on your face, right?)

 

- I personally really like the Gerstlauer Euro-fighter style ride, so this looks cool to me.

 

- I really hope those restraints aren't as rough as they look. (Heard mixed reports) I know that the back seat of Mystery Mine and Saw can be BRUTAL! Let's see how this ride ages.

 

- Here's my big comment - I had no idea until I watched the POV that this was just two multi-looping coasters glued together. While it's impressive that a ride goes upside down 14 times, and I find that interesting, I kinda think having a ride with two lift hills and almost an equal amount of inversions for each coaster part, is sort of a cop-out. Not saying that couldn't be fun or anything. It's just that I think for me personally, I'd be more impressed with a ride that goes upside down 14 times on it's own energy with one lift hill. Intamin has proved then can do it 10 times, and a Chinese knock-off company is going to do it 11 times.

 

Ride manufacturers have been doing 7 and 8 inversion coasters since the late 80s/early 90s, so putting two of them back to back doesn't seem like impressive technology to me.

 

Maybe even a launch instead of the 2nd lift might have been a bit more impressive to me because that would have not allowed you to take a breather between sections, but as it is now there is almost a 1 minute break between hitting the brakes of the first coaster and cresting the lift of the second.

 

I've done ERT sessions on Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain where they only stop the train in the station, quickly check restraints, and then send us out again. I don't think our break was much longer than that. Can I count that as a 14-inversion coaster? Because it seems to me that's not much different than what The Smiler is doing.

 

I so badly want to be impressed with Alton Towers latest coaster offerings, because they are home to one my favorite coasters in the world, Nemesis. But it just seems that lately their attempts have been too focused on doing a "world's first" or "world's only" that they forget they need to make a ride that's impressive.

 

Thirteen, IMO, was a roller skater with a frog hopper drop billed as the most terrifying ride you'll ever experience. What a joke.

Rita is probably the weakest of the Intamin launched coasters I've been on

Sonic Spinball is fun, but how did their sister park, Chessington, get the better of these two rides?

Air is the weakest of all the B&M flyers, sure they were first, but it's also the worst.

Oblivion was fun when it first was introduced, but now is kind of a disappointment compared to all the other much longer, more intense Dive Machines.

 

Personally, I think Smiler *looks* (I'll reserve full opinions after riding) to be the best coaster they've installed in over 10 years, but I'm still a bit bummed that it is just two normal multi-looping roller coasters glued together to make one long 14-inversion coaster. That, IMO is a cop-out. Could still be a GREAT ride, but it's a cop-out.

 

--Robb

Adding to what you said that it is impressive to see a ride go upside down 14 times... I coasters are beat by a mile in regards to inversion counts by flatrides. I've been on zippers that have flipped at least 14x in a row, and have seen a youtuve vis of somebody trying to flip a topspin over 100x

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I guess I am only one that thinks this coaster and its theming is absolutely hideous. The combination of black track, black supports, and black theming makes it so chaotic and jarring. If that's what they were going for, then kudos to them, but I still think its hideous.

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I can understand the two lift hill criticism but with all AT have to contend with in terms of restrictions getting 14 inversions at all is some work.
with the height restrictions that Alton Towers has, it would be very difficult to complete 14 inversions with one lift hill.

 

I completely disagree. While I see that the Alton Towers "fanboys" will create any excuse possible to defend the park, if you can have a ride as tall as Oblivion there, and a ride like Colossus could go upside down ten times without that much height, then I fully believe you could have created The Smiler using a lift hill and a launch and not made it seem as much of "Two coasters stuck together" and more of "one complete experience."

 

Trust me, though, I'm not saying I don't think the ride couldn't be great, I'm just saying that, from a marketing and hype perspective, when I hear "first roller coaster in the world to do 14 inversions" I want to be blown away by both the ride AND the technology used to create it.

 

Sticking two normal roller coasters together isn't impressive technology to me. IMO, that's no more impressive that Expoland gluing both sides of Daidarasaurus together to create the "World's longest roller coaster." It's a cop-out.

 

I have no doubt that Smiler is a great ride, and I'm actually really looking forward to it. But the 14-inversion thing doesn't impress me like I thought it would. That's all.

 

--Robb

 

ps. Oh, and to the person who said "The second lift hill is great because it gives you time to breath", c'mon! You don't need an entire minute to take a "break" on a ride. That's just a dumb justification for something you know isn't impressive.

Edited by robbalvey
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I guess I am only one that thinks this coaster and its theming is absolutely hideous. The combination of black track, black supports, and black theming makes it so chaotic and jarring. If that's what they were going for, then kudos to them, but I still think its hideous.

 

It does have a jarring impact and I guess that is slightly what they were aiming for. It is a bit odd that they are aiming to make people smile when the theme is quite dark and not all jolly jolly happy happy.

 

I think the main thing that gives it it's dominating status is that is is so damn big, crammed into the space and the mess of supports criss crossing one another from each persons point of view give it a very technical and complicated look.

 

I also think that the fact it is sat in a ditch makes it feel contained and sort of 'in it's place'.

 

I too think that with a bit more thought, a launch, not necessarily a fast accelerating one, could have fitted in to pull both halves together a bit more. However, I do like how the outside portions of each half do seem to mirror each other slightly:

 

eg:

Lift - 2 dive loops - bunny hop - batwing - corkscrew

Lift - butterfly - bunny hop - cobra - 2 inlines

 

Once the duelling action is perfected I guess it should look pretty spectacular with each train performing it's (slightly) mirrored element at similar times.

 

There is a lot I like about Alton, (mainly that it is my home park) but Alton is most definitely not the best park in the world and has it's downsides and bad parts just like every other park out there. I do know a lot of people who think that Alton is perfect but it's not.

 

I do wish sometimes that Alton would realise that a ride doesn't need to have a worlds first 'thing' or something like it. Rides like Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at HK Disneyland really show that. It's not fast, has no inversions, young and old people can all ride together and the theme is simple. Yes, having the worlds first is great for marketing but Alton need to see, that is is not the be all and end all and it doesn't guarantee you a perfect ride.

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Sticking two normal roller coasters together isn't impressive technology to me. IMO, that's no more impressive that Expoland gluing both sides of Daidarasaurus together to create the "World's longest roller coaster." It's a cop-out.

 

Isn't it impressive and creative the way that most of the inversions interlock? Having a duelling aspect?

 

I bow down to your superior knowledge but in my opinion, bolting together two colossus' would not make a better ride, it wouldn't fit, It wouldn't make sense. I agree a launch would be 10 times better than a vertical lift, but asides from that its way better than colossus in the way that each inversion has a point. Even the twin barrel rolls at the end where the first is larger diameter with hang time over the mid course brake and the second tightens up before a very tight curve to the station, disorienting you. Colossus' multiple heart lines is downright boring in comparison.

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Isn't it impressive and creative the way that most of the inversions interlock? Having a duelling aspect?

Sure! In 1999 when Dueling Dragons was built, it was VERY impressive! And in 1993, Kumba's interlocking corkscrews were amazing!

 

I'll give them credit for building a stunning looking ride. I'm not saying that "overall" the ride's not impressive, but everything they'd done isn't really "new." I don't see any unique technology that makes me go "WOW! How did they do that???"

 

- 14 Inversions = two normal roller coasters stuck together. Creatively stuck together, yes, and it looks like a lot of fun, but not terribly innovative.

 

- Dueling aspect? Lightning Racer, Dueling Dragons, etc, all did it 10+ years ago. Heck, even Battlestar Galactica is more innovative to me as they've managed to make TWO different type of coasters duel!

 

- Interlocking inversions? See Lochness Monster cira 1978

 

The ride looks like fun, possibly the best coaster at Alton since Nemesis, but I just don't "get" why this ride is really that special. Aside from that, yes, you go upside down 14 times before you return to the station. But the way they've managed to do that doesn't really get me all that excited.

 

bolting together two colossus' would not make a better ride, it wouldn't fit, It wouldn't make sense. I agree a launch would be 10 times better than a vertical lift, but asides from that its way better than colossus

I'm sorry, but are all of our British readers just stupid, or do they not realize that my comments aren't meant to be taken literally, but instead as an "example." If you actually thought I meant Alton should have bolted together two Colossus clones, you're a HUGE freakin' moron. Just like that guy that thought me saying riding Viper twice in a row should count as 1 coaster with 14 inversions.

 

Please show me we have smarter Brits on our forum. Thanks.

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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I'm sorry, but are all of our British readers just stupid, or do they not realize that my comments aren't meant to be taken literally, but instead as an "example." If you actually thought I meant Alton should have bolted together two Colossus clones, you're a HUGE freakin' moron. Just like that guy that thought me saying riding Viper twice in a row should count as 1 coaster with 14 inversions.

 

I'm sorry that you didn't realise that was intended as tongue in cheek, my point being that 'if' the ride had to have two sections and 'if' it had to have 14 inversions, it's a pretty sweet and interesting layout.

 

I agree, it isn't perfect and it isn't nemesis. But it is interesting and good and what alton needed.

 

What it needs next is a woodie across the valley *crosses fingers and hopes*

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I'm sorry that you didn't realise that was intended as tongue in cheek,

Don't be obnoxious and make it sound like *I* didn't get what you were saying. It's your fault. It's really hard to know that you were being "tongue in cheek" without any emoticons, lols, or anything other but serious sounding text.

 

--Robb "Welcome to the Internet." Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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I'm sorry that you didn't realise that was intended as tongue in cheek,

Don't be obnoxious and make it sound like *I* didn't get what you were saying. It's your fault. It's really hard to know that you were being "tongue in cheek" without any emoticons, lols, or anything other but serious sounding text.

 

--Robb "Welcome to the Internet." Alvey

 

My apologies

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Hope I'm not coming across as dumb. I get exactly what you're saying Robb. And I'm not defending AT. I hate that they are prevented from big tall rides and as soon as I rode Sheikra and Tatsu, Oblivion and Air were no comparison. But as a matter of fact they have some ballbreaking restrictions to contend with thanks to their grumpy neighbours.

 

Out of interest Robb, do you think looking at it they could have squeezed a launch in there instead of a lift hill. Seems pretty tight to me but I'm no expert - not even close in fact!

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Out of interest Robb, do you think looking at it they could have squeezed a launch in there instead of a lift hill. Seems pretty tight to me but I'm no expert - not even close in fact!

If there is one thing I have learned over the years is that any park really does have the ability to set out to build whatever type of ride they want to, regardless of what their restrictions are, if they really want a certain type of ride, thrill, etc, they will work around those restrictions.

 

Nemesis is a perfect example of this. There is absolutely no reason, with Nemesis sitting right there being one of the best roller coasters in the world, that Air couldn't have been more intense, that Oblivion couldn't have had a longer track with more elements, and The Smiler couldn't have had a launch instead of a second lift.

 

These were all "choices" that the park made. The height limit and restrictions are just an excuse, and a bad one at that, for when Alton makes a ride that, on paper and in concept, appears to be amazing, but in practice is just "ok."

 

--Robb

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These were all "choices" that the park made. The height limit and restrictions are just an excuse, and a bad one at that, for when Alton makes a ride that, on paper and in concept, appears to be amazing, but in practice is just "ok."

I agree. Nemesis is only 42 feet tall, yet they managed to make it half a mile, and include 4 inversions. If they can do that, I see absolutely no reason for Oblivion, which is 65 feet tall with a 180 foot drop, to have only 1000 feet of layout. Sure, it was the first of breed, but just because it's the first doesn't mean it has to be the worst. For example, Batman: The Ride clones is the first true inverted coaster, but even though rides such as OzIris and Nemesis Inferno are newer, they are dwarfed by the original. I think the Smile may be amazing, but it's nothing new to the amusement world.

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Other than its seemingly awful pacing (man does that second lift takes ages!), my biggest problem with the coaster is its - in typical Alton Towers fashion - hyped-up marketing and presentation. I'm so tired of the UK's recent obsession with horror-psychological "themed" (I use the term loosely) coasters!

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has the smiler been confirmed as "finished" yet? I wouldn't be too surprised if something was added to the section before the vert lift. Remember what happened with sub-terra - there was a whole extra bit bolted on the outside after it had opened, I wouldnt be too surprised if they add a mid-show element here in the not too distant future

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Like Robb, I hadn't really been following the construction and I was pretty shocked to see that it didn't have any launches. I was totally expecting the 2nd lift hill to be a launch.

 

The ride looks fun but when I finally get to Alton Towers this isn't going to be my first stop.

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I had been following this for quite some time and its very impressive from dirt to smiling faces. A bit dissapointed it isnt forceful so to speak but still looks good.

 

^ And i agree if i went to AT i would head to Nemesis first as well

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Personally, i'm simply pleased to see a new, gimmick free coaster at my home park.

 

It's a looping coaster. With a backstory and solid theme.

 

It's what the park needs.

 

I notice someone say it's overhyped? Not getting it, sorry. If you're suggesting that any ride which has a marketing campaign is overhyped, then sorry - but you need to do some dictionary definitions. Thirteen was overhyped. Not this.

Edited by AstroDan
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