The Smiler - General Discussion

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

  1. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Doesn't surprise me one bit. Thorpe constantly have problems with subsidence, as the whole park is reclaimed land, and everything is built on the cheap.

    ... Oh wait, this is supposed to be the "good" Merlin park. In that case everything about the ride is wonderful. ;)
     
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  2. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    I don't think there has been any major update but it wouldn't surprise me. The fact both Saw and Smiler's groundwork was done by the same company is telling really.
     
  3. nemesis1994

    nemesis1994 TowersStreet Member

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    The biggest problem s the supports will sink in and put pressure on the track and the queue will be a swimming pool (it already is one!)
     
  4. Martin

    Martin TowersStreet Member

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    Finally rode The Smiler for the first time last week and noticed a lot of the issues people have talked about since it opened. I rode it twice, once in the morning, and once at the end of the day. Maybe I got the rough train in the morning, but my first ride was extremely rattly, even going up the lift hill. Oddly though, the worst section for me was the pre-lift, and the exit from the cobra roll is a bit sharp, but I didn't think it was that bad. My second ride later in the day was much better. Wasn't glass smooth, but it wasn't unpleasant, just how I like it, although I can see why others don't.

    The queue is horrific. Absolutely horrific. I guess the path and the fences make sense in the theme, but I'm not naive enough to think that's why they were designed like they are. Luckily it was a dry day, so flooding wasn't an issue, I can't see how the randomly placed drains help, and in true Alton style, there's at least on screen that is broken/turned off (like half the legs on The Marmaliser, which is shocking for a park like Alton, can you imagine Disney opening rides without half the set pieces fully working?), which for such a new ride, is really disappointing. Being able to walk around under the track is exciting though, I'll give them that. The station looks a lot worse than I expected, I thought it looked fine in the pictures, I quite liked the simple, operating theatre vibe it seemed to have, but in real life it just looks naff. The projection room is great, apart from the one projector that has shifted too much for it to work properly, don't know why they won't fix it, it's a two minute job.

    I am a fan of the theme, I just wish it was explained. There's no context for it. Thirteen is fine in my opinion because it's clear and self explanatory what's going on, but The Smiler is just 'there', it needs exposition. Even the sort of videos Oblivion has, which don't really explain much explicitly but tell you a lot about the ride and theme, would have been great. The queue video for The Smiler is great to look at, but it doesn't tell us anything.

    As a ride though, I absolutely loved it, it's fast, intense, thrilling and makes my head spin. The second to last inversion in particular is incredible, but all the elements are great. As a package it's the best thing Merlin have done, and the best development since Hex and Oblivion, it's just a shame it's so flawed.
     
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  5. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    See what I mean now dude?

    With a couple more million spend it would have been bordering world class, not Potter world class, that's Universe(sal) class. It had that potential and they cut corners, rushed it, and the fit and finish is poor.
     
  6. thefatone

    thefatone TowersStreet Member

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    Quite enjoying your view... read this though and instantly thought of my visit to Florida where Animal Kingdom was full of effects not working (like every single set piece on their rapids!), and Hollywood Studios having similar issues ;)
     
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  7. Martin

    Martin TowersStreet Member

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    It wouldn't even take much, which is so frustrating. Better contractors to build it, some signage or video/audio to tell us something about it, a better queue, with drainage, a station with a bit more impact, and more money/effort spent on upkeep. Push the boat out and give the building a more interesting appearance, if nothing radically different, at least some visuals on it saying The Smiler or Ministry Of Joy or something.

    Another thing that annoys me about it is the use of numbers as letters in the signage like it's still 2008 and people still use text language.
     
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  8. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    The one thing with the Smiler that does often annoy me is when the marmaliser doesn't work correctly. It's hardly state of the art technology to get some lights, mist and water to work, but on so many visits these aren't all working.

    I think the Marmaliser looks great when the giggler is properly working, but most of the time it is more of a dribbler than anything else. Which does mean all the ground around it is already turning dirty with the water that drips on to it. If Oblivion (16 years old!) still has mist, why doesn't it work properly on the Smiler.
     
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  9. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I think I've only see all of the effects working on the marmaliser once this season. It's a shame that they can't keep it all working considering it's only a little over a year old. It's also a great pity that they cannot use the smoke machine in the indoor section, it was so much better with that and the strobe.

    :)
     
  10. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    Here's an idea! Put the strobe from the queue line into the indoor section of the ride... Everyone's a winner!
     
  11. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Even without the strobe, if they just found a way to block out all the light leaks in that area and have a shutter at the end of the brake run (prior to lift hill 1), it would add so much more to that section. Get rid of the strobe and then you have a pitch black section.

    Sadly The Smiler was a rushed concept, had a rushed construction, and a lot of the final product was probably put together in an afternoon. It's still a great ride as it is and the best coaster we've had in the UK for a long time. But for a modern roller coaster in 2014 it lacks a lot in the wider theme park world. The whole project was a disaster from the get-go. I firmly believe if they postponed it a year we could have seen a far better product.

    It's a shame to hear effects are broken/not switched on. Not surprising with a Towers attraction, although the effects are as basic as they come so I don't see why they are so hit or miss.
     
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  12. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    This total disregard to the importance of continual improvement proves what a lackluster attitude that Merlin on the whole have and the disdain they show to towards an apparent show stopping attraction.

    A record breaking coaster, and they cannot be bothered to put the finishing gloss on it. Says it all. A pathetic attitude.
     
  13. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    @Blaze - good review which I enjoyed reading - though I have to disagree with your comment about the lack of story to it. Sanctuary aside I think the theme is pretty good as you have the giant marmilizer screen with "Join us" and "Ministry of Joy" is shown on it, and you do get the general theme that its a ride to make people smile. Interesting you thought that Thirteen had more of a theme to it, i'd actually say personally thats less themed than the Smiler.
     
  14. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    A theme is completely different to a backstory though, isn't it.
     
  15. Stevie

    Stevie TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah, but a theme can make no sense what so ever without a decent back story.
     
  16. Oatcakedodger

    Oatcakedodger TowersStreet Member

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    Rode The Smiler on Saturday, first time for a while and the ride was pretty rough I just can't seem be able to relax and enjoy it and always seem to come off it with a bad head, no smoke, no 3d thingy in the indoor queue section, it's a season old ? Will give it a miss on next visit I think !
     
  17. phildenholm

    phildenholm TowersStreet Member

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    Ive been on the smiler 9 times over 4 visits, 2 the back end of last year and 2 this year and not once have i seen the marmilizer working correctly which i find really poor. Noticed on my last visit the strobe in the indoor section not working on previous visits the strobe had been working and it confused me and the other people I was with enough to make us think we had come out of the section on our side (90 degrees to normal) which amused us all very much.

    I have read more or less all the comments on here and find it harder and harder to disagree with most of them, the Smiler isn't the ride it could be. The car with a 50p foe a wheel needs fixing before it causes someone some damage, my last ride was on this car and it was so bad i just wanted to get off. The need to jazz up the concrete bunker and sort out some working drainage, I've spent about 2 hours stood in there and its nothing but a poor experience that shouldn't have ever happened.

    In general i love the ride its just a shame its let down by a lack of ambition when its small easy things that could be put right fairly easy.

    Fix the knackered car and effects maybe extent the dark section to aid blocking out light oh and for gods sake realign the dam projectors in the indoor queueing section!
     
  18. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    I cant believe people here thought the various themeing elements would last more than 12 months.......
     
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  19. deathproof69

    deathproof69 TowersStreet Member

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    Went yesterday and the queue times were so short! Single rider on the smiler was a bear 5 minutes top!
    Finally got on the front row! What a difference it makes, was almost a perfect ride, hardly had to brace!
     
  20. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Think this is the right place to post these. Everyone like original concepts right? Well here are the concepts for what was the original theme of The Smiler:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Source

    They are very similar to the theming seen on the original plans. I think it's fair to assume that the theme may have been changed slightly due to cost issues as this clearly would have cost a lot more than what was built.

    :)
     

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