The Smiler - Ride Reviews [Spoilers]

Danza91

TS Member
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Can't be arsed doing a full in-depth review so I will just list a few thoughts about my rides on it on Thurs/Fri.

- The music is fantastic
- The atmosphere once in the pit of the queue is fantastic
- The ride is a lot smoother than I feared, though I wonder how it will be in a few years time
- The staff were great
- The ride itself is brilliant, fast, intense and really disorientating
- The queue line isn't really claustrophobic
- There are a couple of rough parts, most notably the exit of the cobra roll and the following barrel roll
- Front row is better than back row
- It worrying how close it comes to stalling when empty, especially the first few tests of the day.
- It's not better than Nemesis, but it's the second best on park now, ahead of Oblivion.
- The queue moves quite quickly, thankfully.

Well done AT.
 

bluearmor64

TS Member
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Right where to begin with the Smiler, 2 words ( bloody brill) top notch coaster. As for being better than nemmy, I say no to that as you have got to remember that the Smller is John Wardleys last coaster and he has put a bit of all his coasters in one ride, with a bit more as for the theming on the smiler. This is the best I seen in a long time in the UK.

Now The Smiler v's the Swarm, Swarm can not touch the Smiler, don't get me wrong the Swarm is a good coaster but way too short as you are just getting into it then its over. The Smiler is a modern coaster and it does win hands down, but nemmy still gets a score 10/10 for being the first inverted coaster, plus the trees and all have grown around it, and the roar you get from the track on nemmy is great, the only thing that will beat nemmy would be a new nemmy

3 times longer with 19 inversions, 2 left and 2 right tight cork screws before the end of the ride
and some loops indoors with a lunch into an inverted loop then up to the lift hill the cars would be stand up cars.

new name NEMESIS EXTREME

Now the Smiler in my eyes is the best new coaster so far in the last six years well done Alton towers, good job. You do know you can not build anything smaller now we will be looking and waiting for the next best thing, so keep up the good work Alton top job.

Moderation Comment: Please proof read posts and check spelling and grammar before posting to make posts easy to read :)
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Had to do some post deleting here.

Please don't mock peoples posts, constructive feedback only. If there are posts with SPG issues please report so the team can help correct it.

Many thanks
 

GaryH

TS Member
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Did my first ride today....

Didnt open until midday, queue was initially 3 hours. We joined the queue around 2.30 and queued for 2.5 hours. Firstly, the queue line is the most horrific queue line I have ever been in. Yeah looks good initially, sounds good, but after standing in that cattle pen with no idea how close you are to the ride itself (zig zags A LOT!), the music on a constant loud loop, and the noise of the ride hurtling overhead, not to mention the sun beating down on you, it really was horrible. Talk about a banging headache, and that was before I got on the ride.

Anyway, the ride, wow, 3 words, FAN RUDDY TASTIC. Ok, so I admit, I got on the ride with a bag in my pocket just in case I was going to see my lunch again. I asked for front row, very politely, but the jobsworth refused, so we went on row 3.

The initial drop, wow that packs a punch, the next 6 inversions were excellent. Got to the vertical lift feeling on top of the world, head slightly woozy but not in a sicky way. Next 7 inversions were even more wow especially the inverted drop off the vertical lift. The only element I found a but rough was number 11, it was the inner bit of the staffordshire knot, it whips you around pretty sharpish as you hit halfway around the bend.

Got back in to the station feeling fantastic, wow, what a rush, and amazingly, not feeling sick or nausea at all - and yes, it made me SMILE loads!!! I thought the ride was very smooth, almost floaty feeling and yeah, not so much intense but it pulls you into the inversions and they seem to flow quite well one after the other. Infact I loved it so much I danced down the funky exit corridors!

Sitting not at the front didnt matter in the end, the space between the cars infront gives you the feeling of plenty of space (I find Nemesis a bit tightly cramped if you dont sit the front so to speak). The pace of the ride was just right, and the vertical lift gave time to recover your senses!!

Cant say I noticed the Marmaliser on the way around, the only bit I noticed was the innoculator as i got a nice refreshing blast of water as i went past. Loved the shop at the end as well.

Is it better than nemmie - cant really compare, each is unique in its own special way, i would certainly put it on par with it though. But that queue , oh my, that queue, I would have loved another ride (seats very comfy by the way) , but I couldnt queue for more than an hour again in that awful loud cattlepen. That was the only downside for me. And as others have mentioned, no wi fi down there so you cant even do stuff on your phone to ease the boredom.

Oh yeah, I thought the optical room was a bit of let down as well, didnt really do anything for me if im honest. Nice to get out of the sun though.

Overall - LOVED the ride, hated the queue!

Oh and Laura - I know we had concerns about the stopping as your reach the vertical hill maybe inducing some feeling of sickness - not at all, the braking is very very smooth and it comes to a very soft stop.
 

Laura

TS Member
Favourite Ride
blue fire Megacoaster
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Aww, bless you Gary that is really nice of you to remember! It's actually a massive fear I have about this ride. I have a horrible feeling some of my coaster friends will react badly if I say it makes me sick! I'm sure it will still be worth it even if it does, most coasters are. Even Th13teen is just about worth it.

I'll remember to bring a book for that oldschool queue feeling.
 

GaryH

TS Member
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Laura i'll be honest, I was nervous as hell getting on it, when i sat in the very comfy seat and pulled down the restraint I was the most nervous ive been on any coaster, only because you dont know if that many loops in such a short space of time would make you feel bad.

However....... a few people on here have said you dont actually feel like you have just done 14.... and in a surreal way, they are right, you dont! I cant explain it, you have to try it yourself, but I cant sit in the back of a car as I will throw up, but I didnt feel bad at all on The Smiler. In fact.... if the queue wasnt so horrendous, i would have done it all again. Counting the 14 was also quite fun!
 

JB1985

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Oblivion
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

First ride today, and what can i say, this thing is a beast! The ride itself is excellent throughout. Fun yet thrilling. The theme works so so well. Alton really do have a great ride on there hands. In my eyes this tops Nemesis.

Ok, so the queue line might not be painted well, the stickers everywhere are rushed and an after thought and the track is rusty already in parts but it just doesnt matter because of the hardware. Hell even the unworking projections dont matter.

On the positives, it is huge, the marmiliser is great and the 3 hours queue doesnt seem that because of the great interaction with the ride. Love it.

One gripe, there is another air tunnel. That indoor inversion would be so good in the dark, such a shame,

And of topic but the state of Oblivion, Air and Nemesis is disgusting. Such a shame that 3 great rides are being left to rot.

EDIT major smiler gripe & how could i forget! We had to watch some poor guy in crutches today crawl his way up the station stairs. No help from staff. No disabled lift. It was shocking. AT should feel ashamed.
 

Thomas

TS Member
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

I loved it when I went the other day. I mirror what everyone else has said but here's a few of my personal highlights:

-The woosh sound of the trains over head in the queue line.
-Marmaliser is the most impressive piece of theming in the park. I love the random videos.
-There's a 'hidden' shipping container
-The ride has a really good pace to it.

Yeah it's a solid thumbs up from me and a nemesis beater in my eyes, only because it goes on for much longer, and the overall theming is superb. Although nothing beats Nemesis' first drop.
 

TheMan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
NemiLerVion
Re: [The Smiler] Ride Reviews (Spoilers!)

Laura said:
Aww, bless you Gary that is really nice of you to remember! It's actually a massive fear I have about this ride. I have a horrible feeling some of my coaster friends will react badly if I say it makes me sick! I'm sure it will still be worth it even if it does, most coasters are. Even Th13teen is just about worth it.

I'll remember to bring a book for that oldschool queue feeling.

Quick review:

3 1/4 hour queue. Park close at 5? Oh dear.

Anyway, first ride after multiple traffic jams to get there and that monster queue, I did not enjoy the first run through at all. And before Amy gets in and rips the pee out of me I was like Gary and CRAPPING it before I went on!! Really is intimidating.

The jolt after the Cobra roll? Oh my word. Worse than Saw.

Second run later on?

Loved it. Projections all working, staff were funny, ride absolutely tanked it around and managed to do almost the entire ride whilst doing the advocate dance ;D (when I remembered)

You need that second lift hill, my head was in a complete spin by the time I reached it, first time I thought... uh oh. Thankfully the break you get (and the usual amusing terrified screams of people first experiencing the vertical lifts lol!) gives you time to recover, and you NEED it.

Doesn't feel as out and out intense as Nemesis does, did Nemmy back row and Rita front row as my two rides in between (total count of 4 rides - worst ever) so when I came back for the second run I had a better comparison.

After Smiler, Rita, then Nemmy my views were, I preferred Nemmy and Rita front row (one of my faves, love that launch!!) - however after my second run, much like The Sanctuary funnily enough, I found it's charm stays with you.

It's nothing like any other coaster I have ridden, they've done a HECK of a lot for 18m, the funny nods to us enthusiasts all over the place are brilliant, the atmosphere is superb, when they dual (which they do A LOT quite naturally) is really breath taking.

The fact though, so many are questioning if it is better than a 20 year old coaster, does not reflect badly on The Smiler, the old bird is a one off and the fact she still competes at all is why she is so dearly, dearly loved by so many of us.

Nemesis is still my bitch, but The Smiler is a rather fancy dirty bit on the side!

;D

So to Laura personally, it is intense, twisty, and disorientating. The break in the middle helps, and it is just about long enough to get off - the end I thought would be bad but it isn't, however it does take those inversions at some pace, (not quite Nemesis pace) but it does feel MUCH tighter and twistier (because it is lol!).

Over all?

I want to go back and do it again, and that says it all.
 

Amy

TS Contributor
Can I suggest that TheMan's username be changed to TheLittleGirl?! Seeing him SO nervous for the first go on The Smiler and his reactions when I suggested doing the back row on both Nemmy and The Smiler was nothing less than hilarious! Oh and he won't go on the skyride! ;-P

On topic, today gave me my 3rd and 4th rides on The Smiler. I absolutely love it! It really does make me smile. The only part I'm not keen on is the little wobble just as it reaches the top of the vertical lift.
 

TheMan

TS Member
Favourite Ride
NemiLerVion
Amy_D said:
Can I suggest that TheMan's username be changed to TheLittleGirl?! Seeing him SO nervous for the first go on The Smiler and his reactions when I suggested doing the back row on both Nemmy and The Smiler was nothing less than hilarious! Oh and he won't go on the skyride! ;-P

On topic, today gave me my 3rd and 4th rides on The Smiler. I absolutely love it! It really does make me smile. The only part I'm not keen on is the little wobble just as it reaches the top of the vertical lift.

Don't even know who this person is TBH.

Some random strange person followed me around with big starry glasses on all day insulting me but try as I might I just couldn't shake them off!

If any other forum members who may or may not have seen us me says different, they're fibbing too.

I was far too busy striking this pose all day:

ascot-brucie_1686819i.jpg
 

Amy

TS Contributor
Hahaha there's no denying it! And I only wear my starry glasses on very special occasions.

Forgot to post this photo I took yesterday, quite proud of it :)

abevy7y5.jpg
 

Themeparkmania

TS Member
Hey guys,

Just thought I would share my thoughts and some photos from The Smiler! I was lucky enough to queue only 2 hours for this marvel on Sunday. I have to say that it has completely changed the way X-Sector looks and feels. Its a million times better than an empty Blackhole Tent. So after you venture into the queueline I have to say you get completely lost. It is a absolute maze and it is very confusing. You could quite easily spend 2 hours in the outside area before making it to the actual ride. I liked the queue as it interacts with the ride. The Marmaliser, The Giggler and other elements make interesting watching. As you enter the building I have to say I loved the fantastic projections. Another thing I loved was the music, I am still humming it now!

As you get into the sterile station you watch as the advocates are loaded into the cars before a puff of mist and the bright lights send them off. A creepy voice announces that you are about to Join the smiler. This is where the fun really begins! After a crazy indoor section the sheer size of the ride hits you as you are at the top. Loop after loop you literally have no idea where you are going next and it is seriously delirious. I genuinely felt giddy and lost for words at the half way point, it is that insane! It truly is fantastic as you duel with other trains and interact with The Marmaliser. One thing I will note and I don't like being negative, but I rode twice and already found it relatively rough in places. Saying this three weeks in worries me slightly knowing how bad Saw: The Ride has aged. Only time will tell, but it is a seriously good line up to the Alton Towers ride selection. From start to finish the ride screams excellence and you will want to join The Smiler! Overall score 8/10, not quite Nemesis but a fantastic addition!

You can find the rest on my Flickr!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBQZlEcn2Ck#ws



 

JamesDLD

TS Member
Well I finally managed to ride The Smiler yesterday, and was thoroughly impressed. It's amazing just how big the Marmaliser is from the main queueline - it's so imposing. I was quite worried that the ride wouldn't tie in with The Sanctuary, but The Smiler really does compliment its maze counterpart well. Everything from the sinister "Joy" screens to the clinical feel of the station.

As for the ride experience, it's neither intense nor tame, but just perfect. There does seem to be some occasional roughness, but I think a lot of that depends on where you sit.

If I have one small criticism, it's that the drainage in the main queue area isn't as good as it could be (as others have pointed out).

All in all, a good solid coaster. Well done Alton!
 

JAMMYD778

TS Member
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)
 

Bob

TS Member
Took three new advocates on the Smiler over the weekend. Even after 2 hours of queuing they all loved it. This makes me happy. :twirly:
 

Vicki

TS Member
Finally got a couple of rides on this today, so here are my thoughts:

First Impressions:
It's big, it's imposing, it's one seriously twisted pile of metal. I was nervous as hell waiting for this the first time we rode, it just looks so intense and crazy.

Queue:
Well, it's really the only let down for me, and that's only really in the layout. You just keep going around and around, and have no real idea where you are. Whoever designed that, needs to be placed in it, spun around a few times, and then ordered to find their way to the ride. Really not well thought out. Myself and my mate got chatting to the couple behind us while queuing for our second ride, and the guy said he felt claustrophobic in the bits with a roof, but I didn't really mind. Alright, now to stop moaning.

I love how the queue interacts with the ride - I was able to lean on a support and feel the vibration as the trains passed over. I love how the trains come so close, and the Marmaliser, well, that's brilliant to watch from the queue. The music did get a little annoying, and i found myself humming it during the day (that got me threatened with ejection from my friend's car if I started humming it on the way home...) but I don't mind the soundtrack at all. Can't say I noticed anything up with the screens (I know people have said there are dead pixels already, but my sight's so bad I can't tell!) and think the videos shown are great.

Indoor Queue and Station:
This is really different to anything I'd seen before, and I really liked it. I think the projection mapping is cool, never seen it before to my knowledge, and was watching the various images as we navigated the queue. My sight came into play again - it was a bit dark at first, until my eyes adjusted. The baggage hold is OK, and the station is minimal but, it works for the theme, I think. I really enjoyed watching the dispatch sequence while waiting to board.

The Ride:
So, finally got on board, and the first things I notice: 1. I am short, this makes pulling down the restraints a little tricky. 2. The restraints are quite stiff right now, with being new, and 3. They pin you by the thighs?! What's that all about? I thought I'd be worried by the lack of belt, but really, it's one less thing to mess about with. OK, let's get this show on the road! The first drop and inversion caught me by surprise, even after reading posts here. We had full smoke and strobes during the first ride, and it was pretty disorientating for me. The first lift was quick and smooth, then everything became a blur! The airtime hill was pretty awesome for me, and I was floating on most of the inversions even with a tight harness - but then I am short haha! The vertical lift was... weird and the second half of the ride was just as good as the first - that second airtime hill REALLY packs a punch! Seriously, there are no parts of this ride I hate. There is, however, a touch of roughness near the end, the last few inversions. There's also some weight to this theory about certain trains being rougher - our second ride was worse than the first, and I now understand Gerstache - I will probably have very sore shoulders/neck/ears tomorrow!

Overall, I love this thing - it's sealed itself as one of my favourites. Does it beat Nemesis, though? Well, for me, they're too different to compare. I find the Smiler more intense, but Nemesis has aged very well, and offers a different kind of intensity.
 
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