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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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  • 3 weeks later...

My thoughts on The Smiler now I've ridden it the first half of the ride is very good and you do feel relived to get to the midway point for a short breather but the second half of the ride OMG is it rough seems to get worse as the day goes on,this ride will be awful in a couple of years going on other eurofighters, on the plus side nemesis is running better than ever still kicking butt in all the right ways.

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The Smiler closed again today for "Planned maintenance". Loud jack hammer noises coming from the indoor section, not sure how long it will be closed for. Not sure what they are doing in there but can't be too serious, they put on their twitter that it would be open from 9:30 this morning and then closed in the afternoon. So they knew they would have to close it to work on it, but it was safe enough to open for a few hours before they did the work. Strange, wonder what they are doing to it.

 

On another note here is a mounted POV of the ride, which i'm starting to think is the closest i'll get to actually riding the thing as both times i've been since it opened, it was broken down. Anyway, here is the vid.

 

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/69021060[/vimeo]

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Hey everybody,

 

I will be visiting Alton Towers on the 28th of September, and I was wondering if anyone had some information I should know about the park: i.e. ride closures/maintenance, best way to get around the park and hit up all the rides and whether or not I should expect to queue for hours on end. I understand the Smiler has had major issues... but is there any chance at all I will get to ride? The website doesn't have anything in regards to ride closures and maintenance, so I was wondering if there was anybody who knew and could help me out...

 

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

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I've ridden it several times now and I wouldn't say it's rough. It's more like it shakes and vibrates quite a bit and there is a sudden jolt on the second part of the cobra roll (see it in the video above). Saying that it's not the smoothest coaster in the world but it's not the roughest either. I actually enjoyed it on my last couple of rides and the mid ride pause is actually a nice relief as it is extremely disorientating.

 

It is such a shame that Alton have had such difficulty with it and it was maybe rushed quite a bit at the end in the hope of getting it open. The track does look in a terrible state for being less than a year old though. It makes Nemesis' track look brand new in comparison in some places.

 

I look forward to riding it in the dark at Scarefest though.

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^Neil, how does it compare to Takabisha at Fuji Q?

 

I would say they are similar in ride experience. They both have the indoor heartline and both have two halves. I loved the launch on Takabisha and the really long hold on the 121deg drop was really awesome, but they both vibrated and shook quite a bit but I don't find either terribly rough.

 

Takabisha looks absolutely massive compared to Smiler though. I'm guessing it's just down to the fact that Smiler is so much more compressed into the space than Takabisha.

 

but overall Smiler has to win as it's not located at Fuji Q!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did a 2 day trip to Alton Towers the weekend before last. I went on Sunday (big mistake) and Monday. Sunday was packed out - we only managed to do 4 rides in the whole day. Thankfully Monday was a magnitude quieter, and we arrived dead on 9am to make use of our early ride access (we got there a little later on Sunday).

 

I managed to ride the Smiler 5 times over the 2 days and it is a fantastic ride. My first time on was on the front right hand seat. It's a great ride and they did well to pack so much track and so many inversions into a small space. I love the vertical lift hill in the middle of the ride too. As you'd expect it's very smooth for a brand new ride but there is one element of the track near the very end which gives you quite a violent jolt (we nicknaked it the "whiplash inversion"). As long as you are braced for it, it's not so bad.

 

The queue times were horrendous as expected on Sunday and we went straight for the Smiler when we arrived and had to wait about 90 minutes to get our first ride. On Monday we rode it 4 times without queueing more than 20 minutes each time and at one point we were just walking in the single rider entrance as nobody else was in it!

 

I'm disappointed they got rid of Burger King too.

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I did a 2 day trip to Alton Towers the weekend before last. I went on Sunday (big mistake) and Monday. Sunday was packed out - we only managed to do 4 rides in the whole day. Thankfully Monday was a magnitude quieter, and we arrived dead on 9am to make use of our early ride access (we got there a little later on Sunday).

 

I managed to ride the Smiler 5 times over the 2 days and it is a fantastic ride. My first time on was on the front right hand seat. It's a great ride and they did well to pack so much track and so many inversions into a small space. I love the vertical lift hill in the middle of the ride too. As you'd expect it's very smooth for a brand new ride but there is one element of the track near the very end which gives you quite a violent jolt (we nicknaked it the "whiplash inversion"). As long as you are braced for it, it's not so bad.

 

The queue times were horrendous as expected on Sunday and we went straight for the Smiler when we arrived and had to wait about 90 minutes to get our first ride. On Monday we rode it 4 times without queueing more than 20 minutes each time and at one point we were just walking in the single rider entrance as nobody else was in it!

 

I'm disappointed they got rid of Burger King too.

 

I'm surprised you found it "very smooth". I have now ridden this ride several times from the first few days it was open up until last weekend and to me, it has progressively worsened in smoothness. It's not rough per say, more rattly and a lot of vibrations. The second half cobra roll jolt is well known and well disliked. Overall I wouldn't say it's very rough but nor would I say it's very smooth.

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Well I'm no expert but I'd say it is very smooth compared to something like Colossus. I rode the Swarm a couple of months after it opened and that was the same, as you'd expect from a brand new ride.

 

I also forgot to mention it broke down on our last ride of the day! We arrived back at the station to a queue of trains - one in the station and another in behind that (and in front of us) waiting to load. About a minute went by and we could see the train in the station had all the restraints open but it wasn't being loaded. It very quickly became apparent there was a problem. Soon after, the remaining two trains arrived behind us and still nothing was happening.

 

Then the announcements started saying they were having technical problems with the ride, and the engineers were called. They turned up pretty quickly and after a couple of minutes with apparently only a single screw driver and spanner, fixed the ride. It then re-opened a short while later.

 

Photos:

 

 

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I actually got the chance to go to the park on Sunday and sure enough the Smiler broke down! Luckily for me I already got to ride it before it broke. What was not so lucky, I was still on it when it did stop working! Basically, our train did the full circuit and hit the brake run at the end before the station... and stayed there for another 35-40 minutes before they could finally wheel us back in to take us off the ride! I was told by one of the operators that they performed a station stop when they noticed someone had their phone out on the lift hill. From there they couldn't get it restarted! I should add that the Smiler reopened just half an hour later after a few tests. Two park employees kindly gave me and my three friends a fast-track each to use once on any ride over the rest of the day. The ride itself was incredible. Yes it's a little rough, but for what it provides I think it was worth it. The theming is unique and a true piece of genius to come up with the idea. I am also a huge fan of the inversion and as this coaster had 14, I loved it. It was also very forceful providing strong Gforce and two great pop of floater airtime. I think it's almost my favourite roller coaster out of the 58 I have now ridden.

 

Next we rode Oblivion, where the queue was massive. Mostly due to the fact the Smiler had just broken and Oblivion was the closest by. I was pleasantly surprised by this coaster. While short and a bit of a one-trick pony, the first drop was airtime filled, freefall heaven.

 

After waiting for Rita which broke down, we crossed through the very scenic garden valley to ride Air and Nemesis. After a 45 minute wait I found Air to be another real surprise. It's not that far behind Tatsu in my honest opinion. The flying sensation is just as good, but you are much closer to the ground. I still prefer Tatsu - mainly for its pretzel loop.

 

Nemesis live up to its expectations! So intense! right up there next to Batman in the most forceful rides I have ever experienced. The first wing-over totally destroyed my senses. The theming too was spectacular, making for a great ride. I got off seeing stars and my cousin said he'd had enough for the day! Nemesis was perhaps one step too far for him...

 

I returned to Rita on the skycable and waited around an hour. It was actually quite decent considering the bad reviews I've heard. The airtime was good and there were some strong positive Gs too. It was just rough - very rough for an Intamin.

 

Thirteen was perhaps the biggest surprise. The theming was great and the ride was smooth. It is a great all round ride. The freefall drop was a surprise, and the backwards part was a decent a thrill. I honestly can't understand why it gets a bad wrap. I loved it.

 

Sadly, there was no time left to ride Sonic. Although I've heard I wouldn't be missing out on much... Nevertheless, I'd have liked to have compared it to Sierra Sidewinder.

 

Overall I had a really good day at the park. I loved the setting with the castle and lake, and the valley in the middle of the park. These really added character to the park. The rides are brilliantly themed (apart from maybe Air) and I think what the park has done to work round the height restrictions is ingenious. The ride ops efficiency were also some of the best I've ever seen. The long queues and crowds however were a pain.

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Smiler was running very smooth today; out of the 5 trains there were 2 that were very loud, 1 that was what I would consider to be normal, and 2 that were extremely quiet so they'd perhaps just had their wheels changed. It was running very very well, very fast and much smoother than normal!

 

Apparently this thing eats wheels for breakfast, so that's why the roughness tends to vary day to day...

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