Well, Alton Towers should hang their heads in shame and embarrassment today. I'd heard about The Smiler closing and the queue evacuation on the ride yesterday, but that was only because I read AT forums. Before my visit this morning, I checked the AT website and there was nothing apparent that suggested that the ride would be shut, even though knowing now what happened, they must have known that it wouldn't have been sorted today. The first I knew that The Smiler wouldn't be operating was at the ticket offices where, by that stage, nobody is going to bother to turn back. The guy in front of me was having a laugh with the woman behind the till because the tickets had The Smiler logo on them and she said 'Don't worry, it isn't going to be shut all day'. Now, I know it was a casual comment and she probably thought it would open at some point, but maybe staff shouldn't be saying things like this at the time people are parting with their money. It was the busiest I've ever seen a school-day at this time of year and it was pretty obvious that the extra guests had journeyed so that they could ride The Smiler, hopefully having missed the half-term crowds. The cynic in me thinks that the park were only too happy not to let people know what was happening on their website, knowing that a lovely day would be a draw to bring people in so why put them off by telling them that their main reason for going was closed? Now if it had just been The Smiler that was the problem, then of course I would have been hugely disappointed after looking forward to it for so long, but would have put up with it. But there was more. Obviously the whole of X-Sector was shut all day which meant the crowds were squeezed more into the rest of the park, which meant bigger queues for everything else. But add to that Air not opening til about 1 o'clock, Ice Age 4D was shut all day and as we walked past The Flume at 2:30, that was shut too. And it's starting to take the whatnot. Also, the monorail didn't seem to be running many trains and I've not seen so many people walking back and to to the car parks instead of using them before. So all in all, we managed The Flume, The Rapids, Duel, Nemesis, Th13teen, Rita, Hex and that was it. Which is pretty poor for a school day. Didn't particularly want to queue for nearly two hours for Air, as much as I love it; so instead, took the time and used the nice weather to explore the gardens a bit more. So on to the pluses... It was a joy to go around the gardens in the sun. A few other people seemed to be doing the same; I've never seen so many people in them. It's been two years since I rode Th13teen and it seemed a lot wilder than I remember and this was in the middle of the train: lots of airtime. I don't know if it's been fiddled with or maybe I was just remembering it as being less manic? Nemesis is always a joy, of course, and all the red blood was running lovely. Hex was walk on. The staff, as ever, are generally superb. Young lady at the entrance to Ice Age 4D was wonderfully polite and genuine when telling people that it was broken down. That's about it on the pluses. Although I had an enjoyable day, what with the weather and the company, it just annoys me that The Smiler clearly isn't ready to be open to the public. And using the term 'teething troubles' is even more annoying. These should be ironed out before the ride is open to the public, but then this is Alton Towers and grabbing people's money is their priority, regardless of what they get in return for it. This is my first visit to Alton Towers ever where I've left feeling angry. And yes, it really is the final straw as you drive out of the place when The Smiler's shut and that big 'Smile. Always.' sign is there, taking the piddle. If the ride has been closed all day, please keep the sign out of the way, or cover it, thanks.