Firstly, after a rotten start to the day with a (VERY) near miss on the way, I arrived late & in a pretty foul/shaken up mood. Cue Nemesis & young lad with his parents looking terrified in bay 2. This is where I love Alton. You can talk to anyone pretty much. So I leaned over & assured the lad he'd be fine, would love it, and gave him a bit of boyish techy talk to take his mind off his nerves. Parents thanked me, went on the ride, saw them afterwards & he adored it - now he wanted front row! Me & my nipper queued with them, talked some more - got on great, and decided to meet up later on. By the end of the day, I had him hooked on Oblivion, Smiler and Front Row Nemesis/Rita - we all had a fantastic time together. At the end, before they left he reeled off a list of things he loved about the day and thanked me for each one individually & his parents were equally pleased with how the day had gone. To me, this is the side of enthusiasm that doesn't get talked about so often.... enthusiasm. Not moaning, nit-picking, whinging like we all can sometimes - but actually giving off that vibe of loving the rides so much that other people just cannot help but want to know what the heck you are so excited about!! Even little ones just tall enough to get on. Without sharing that today, he wouldn't have dared try those rides. They were to be feared, not revered. Sharing my passion for the rides, meant other people enjoyed their day more & got a lot more from it. What a wonderful thing that is. (I should add, I also made sure they got suitably geeked with tech speak etc but also explained how knowing this, means you understand why a queue doesn't move etc - with other people being oblivious to it. Amazing how that always peaks peoples interest!) This has happened to me now a few times at Towers, and I love it. To get this youngster on The Smiler in the dark for his first go, & him coming off bouncing like a ping pong ball was just terrific. He refused earlier in the day with his parents who had bought him a Fast Track ticket, so they were delighted to do it too. ;D They also turned our day from being a bit rotten into a real lovely family warm feeling day. You just don't often find friendliness amongst strangers as you do at Towers. I hope they can maintain it. Things like this is what makes Alton Towers such an enchanting place to visit at times. OK, so standard enthusiast stuff now: Bad Points: Rita... got so bored I got the stopwatch out. How can you run that ride so slowly? I know it is not B&M but come on. Multiple times this season it has just been awful, truly awful. The Smiler: 60 mins on the queue board - somehow turned into 1hr 45 minutes without a full queue or any breakdowns? How did this happen? Usually with a busy day (which it was in places) you keep a steady pace, but not today. Disappointed with this as it seemed quite needless. Guess what though? That is IT! I did not do the mazes, but here come some super special mentions: Great: Nemesis: Jeez aloo! If ever a crew highlight just how DIABOLICAL Thorpe was the other day, these do. Those trains were getting out relentlessly. Keeping queues down, customers happy, and the atmosphere most of the day in the station was fantastic. Kept us all coming back, and a relief from the queues on Smiler/Rita etc. Towers would be dire without this ride queue wise. Oblivion: See above, minus atmosphere. Always feels more serious, not as "homely" as Nemesis. Very professional though, efficient, kept the cars full but the queue right down. Another welcome relief from an otherwise pretty busy park. Thanks to them both. Also just fantastic in the dark!! The Smiler: In the dark. It isn't quite as atmospheric as I had hoped it would be in the queue. Not sure quite why, the ride however is a different animal entirely. After the THORPE fiasco and having been on the big rides there, I wasn't sure how I would feel about The Smiler. The result, I like it better now than before. I realise just how good this ride is, and in the dark it is absolutely EPIC. It feels a bit smoother too in places now, THAT jolt has definitely got better and in places it just feels silkier on the track. That makes me realise too, if they had actually made the whole thing as smooth as it is now in certain places, the ride would been absolutely phenomenal. What a shame. None the less, welcome improvements to the ride quality in general, but more please! Came off it feeling it is perhaps actually my favourite ride of them all after the dark run... Then I did Nemesis FR & 7 at the end of the day and she went round that track at a speed and intensity I just cannot describe. So I give up comparing them. I love them both, The Smiler has really sucked me in over the season but Nemesis is near on a perfect coaster. It is just a pity so few think to ride it at night, they just do not know what they are missing! Also special mentions to one or two friends around park in familiar attire. Doing a fabulous job as always! Always makes the place feel a bit more homely ;D So overall, probably a 7/10 day. tl;dr Rita: Crap. Nemesis: Superb! Oblivion: Fantastic. Smiler: WTF queue but awesome in the dark. Met kool new friends & some certain wonderful familiar people from around these parts!