The Smiler - General Discussion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott, 11th Jun 2013.

  1. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    We watched last week when the Smiler broke down and they cleared the queue line. There was one train only just outside the station (pretty much on the transfer track) and to get people off they were taken off one by one and harnessed up to walk the 3 feet back to the station. It was a very very slow process!

    I think if they can, they will leave guests in the ride cars and try and fix the ride, rather than evacuate them all.
     
  2. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    A few minor updates from the Smiler yesterday. Inthe indoor section of the ride there is still a lot of water down there and loads of sandbags, but there is also some kind of pipe/drain that has been added across the building.

    Then on the outside of the ride where the pit is, there are loads (like 30 odd) sandbags against the building.

    Clearly who ever designed this ride and building did not know that when it rains water will flood a low down flat concrete floor!!
     
  3. pluk

    pluk TowersStreet Member

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    So, at last I have ridden The Smiler and to honest I'm still not entirely sure what I think about it.

    First off, reliability is still clearly quite a considerable issue. I had about 7 or 8 goes on it yesterday, wasn't really counting, with wait times varying between 5 mins and 30 mins. It was no problem really seeing as it was a quiet day but I would honestly guess I spent more of that time waiting for a closed ride to reopen rather than waiting for the open ride to process the people standing in front of me. The thing was continuously going down for between 5 to 15 minutes, when numbers start picking up again into scarefest I imagine the queue times will not be pretty.

    I don't know if it is deliberate but the queue line itself seems like the first optical illusion as when people are streaming through it without having to queue it feels like it is some sort of mirror maze, very disorientating. It is a shame the mesh has gone over the whole thing, I bet the views of the ride soaring overhead were stunning originally. The indoor queue section is a neat touch and keep the wait interesting, although all the projectors on the right hand side are about half inch out, spoiling the effect and a concerning little movement in the building maybe? I love the score which sounds stunning throughout the queue. Up into the minimalist station and ready to board...

    By pure chance all of my rides were in either the front a back rows. I'm told the ride start is supposed to be accompanied by a blast of smoke, but all I ever got was a bright light. Why do we find such simple little effects so hard to maintain? So we are off with little fanfare into a drop and the first inversion which should be dark but isn't as the building seems to be coming away from the ground letting in a swathe of light. The front row gives a neat trick of not being able to tell which way up you are once you've levelled out but it doesn't work at all in the back. The direct comparison has to be with the Saw indoor section and this is a bit of a non event. It's a shame there isn't more of it and more of a shame that what is there isn't properly dark and doesn't just look like a dank dull space.

    Up the standard lift hill (with a rather neat quiet anti rollback system) and the main event begins. What I was expecting was a sequence of inversions that felt shoehorned together to meet the magic number, but it is better than that. A lot lot better. The sequence flows really well and the inversions all feel natural. It is incredibly disorientating and even with my knowledge of what was going to happen I still had trouble identifying what I was doing at any given point. Then the half way brake run, which is screaming out to be enclosed, dark and with an effect or two, for more of the same on the other side of the vertical hill. As a ride, I loved it. It is relentless and goes on and on without becoming overwhelming or dull. By far the highlights for me are the two final corkscrews, the airtime hills and the dive loops, some beautiful manoeuvres. But it is far from being perfect...

    There are two points on the track that are very unpleasant to get through, the lesser being the exit of the first corkscrew with a nasty jolt and the greater being the deep thud that slams through you in the cobra roll. They wouldn't be acceptable in an old ride, they certainly shouldn't be in a brand new one and knowing the one towards the end is coming is always in the back of your mind. They also exacerbate the other huge issue, and that is the restraints. On a ride like this even on sections of good track the tight transitions are always going to cause your head and upper body to shift about, what you don't need then is a big slab of useless hard plastic an inch away from your face and torso. The result is obvious, and should have been to the fool who decided not to go with lap bars. My wife hit the side of her head so hard the back of her earring pushed into the side of her neck cutting her, she also has sore visibly red shoulders, I just have some tenderness to my neck. The other problem with the restraints is whatever they have made them from stinks, a vile musty damp smell that you can't escape on the ride and gets in your clothes to follow you round for the rest of the day too. Rough and unnecessary.

    My other problem is with what should be a massive strength from the effort that has gone into it, and that is the theme. A great man recently said what is important to an experience is a story, a narrative. So much effort has gone into the theme of The Smiler; the marmaliser structure and elements, the tricks in the station entrance and exit, the MoJ back story the relativity few who saw them gave. But what is the story? Why are we there? Why are we riding? The story has a middle, where you are on the ride and being marmalised, it has an end where you now belong to The Smiler, but it doesn't have a beginning so the rest of it doesn't mean much. There needs to be a point to the whole thing, as it is it has a style more than a theme even if it is a good one.

    TL:DR - It's a good ride which could and should have been a lot better with a bit of thought. It is like it is trying to sabotage itself and not give the amazing experience it surely could with the many things it has going for it. At the same time I somehow loved it but struggled to actually enjoy it.
     
  4. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Great review, i certainly think the theme could have been stronger too and they certainly missed a trick by not properly theming the indoor section.
     
  5. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    [​IMG]

    More signs being installed on fences... are they just trying to ruin the area even more so spectators will not even be able to see the ride through the fences. :/
     
  6. thefatone

    thefatone TowersStreet Member

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    They're all relatively temporary signage - I imagine it'll all be gone eventually. Let marketing have their fun whilst the ride is still new ;)
     
  7. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Yeah I'm not a fan of the fencing. Anything that prevents people from watching a ride is bad from my point of view. Anyway, I'm betting that they've put it there as a distraction from the horrendously shaky/wobbly/unstable/poorly done support! ;)

    :)
     
  8. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Curious isn't it that a sign has appeared right in front of the really wobbly support

    :X

    (Damn: Rob beat me too it ;) )
     
  9. JAMMYD778

    JAMMYD778 TowersStreet Member

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    As long as no more new signs are added, I'm okay with them. They're just starting to look a little tacky being placed in various places. I'm sure once popularity of the ride and game die down, they will be removed and the wonderful view of the ride will be restored. Hopefully :p

    Also, from Alton Towers website, more 'planned maintenance'. Perhaps trying to iron out the kinks as much as possible for Scarefest.

     
  10. Devilgirl

    Devilgirl TowersStreet Member

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    I rode 4 times today (1 x row 1, 1 x row 3 and 2 x row 4) and by heck it's a lot rougher on the back row! I'm not the tallest so rattle about in the restraint a fair bit, but my shoulders are sore from the airtime on the second bunny hop hill and my head was bashing from side to side like it used to on Corky! :S oh... And the restraints honk of sweat (I thought it was the guy next to me on my first ride today :-[ ) which I don't remember from my last visit over the Summer

    I do like the ride, but think it needs some work over the closed season to get it properly up to scratch... Those rattly inversions need sorting to give The Smiler more re-rideability for me. Nemesis still has my top spot at Alton for the meantime! :p
     
  11. Jackf

    Jackf TowersStreet Member

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    I hate the smiler, it's terrible. :twirly:
     
  12. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    Couldn't agree more the whole ride is terrible, it's currently my fifth favourite coaster at towers.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas TowersStreet Member

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    I respect your view, but why is it terrible?
     
  14. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    5th Josh, wow that must put it behind Rita and Air.

    I really enjoy it, probably my 3rd favorite on park (Nemesis and Blivvy rate better). I don't find it too rough and it is thrilling enough and long which is unique for Towers coasters. Think the things that let it down are theming and the few jerky inversions.
     
  15. Jackf

    Jackf TowersStreet Member

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    I'm sorry Dave I respect your opinion but it's just not my sort of ride
     
  16. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Hey you don't have to apologise, lots of people will agree with you.

    It's very much a marmite ride for enthusiasts
     
  17. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    I'm pretty much at the other end of the scale, it's my 2nd favourite coaster at Towers, 3rd in the UK (behind Ultimate) and top 20 overall - possibly even top 10.
     
  18. BigDave

    BigDave TowersStreet Member

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    I don't find it that bad either. There are far worse rides out there!
     
  19. Alastair

    Alastair TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I think it will always be underrated by us on here due to not wanting to seem park biased. The true test of a coaster is the opinions of enthusiasts from other countries, IMO. That's where Nemesis has always done very well, and we will see how The Smiler fares in the next couple of years.
     
  20. Jackf

    Jackf TowersStreet Member

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    They should of delayed the opening time to fix the little things like the last loop they should of spent time making it less rough and when that bolt blew out (that should not of happened) #thelittlethingsmatter
     

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