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The Smiler - your thoughts?

Casio

Mega Poster
I went today, it was a lovely day and the park was heaving, but I was in the hotel so I managed to get on pretty quickly. The theming is nice, the music is great and I thought the indoor illusions were a lot better than most made them out to be. The ride itself is really quite good; I'm prone to G Force headaches (I got a lot the previous day at Blackpool) but this was no problem, I guess because of the low speed it takes the inversions. The pre-drop dips are quite fun and both airtime hills are very good, better than anything else I've been on in the UK (I haven't done Megafobia). The inversions are a good blend of disorientation and force without being nauseous. It was also a lot smoother than I expected; (although my family would disagree) there's a bit of a general rattle but the only nasty bits were the exit of the cobra (as everyone has said) and I found the final double heartline quite painful.

Overall it's a great addition, I'd rank it below Nemesis, just above Oblivion and quite a way above the rest.
 

SaiyanHajime

Strata Poster
marc said:
Tbh if I've driven 5 hours I would pay it to get on the coaster and spend the rest of the day riding other stuff.

The last thing I want to do is stand in a queue for 3 hours.

Yes it's giving them more money but on a pass or 241 it's ok.

Yes I wish it was free but it's not :(

Yes fast track adds time to a queue but it would be time I would have to wait not using it. I just cannot be bothered standing in a 3 hour queue for what most have said is an average coaster. I would need to go to the loo by the time I got on it and would not enjoy it lol.
I would genuinely put money on a bet that Smiler has not once had a 3 hour long queue.

Look... Smiler is new. Guessing queue times isn't easy at the best of times with established staff on an old ride, there are so many factors to it - fastrack, exit riders, breakdowns, guest related delays, staff related delays, people leaving gaps in the queue to avoid puddles, people cramming close in the queue because they are idiots. You cannot accurately predict queue times. Even Disney's methods, which Merlin have copied in the past, mean that the queue time is set to whatever it was the queue length ago and not relevant to new joiners. If you under-estimate, you're met with angry guests. You ALWAYS over-compensate, if you have any sense.

I've heard "3 hour queue" quoted over and over, but has anyone here experienced such a thing first hand...?
 

Jambo92

Roller Poster
Hi!

Had a few hundred posts on an old account a few year back but totally forgot the username!

However, Rode smiler yesterday (18th June). Got to park at 9am, gates opened about 9:15.

Queued up towards the golf challenge, and then they opened the overflow queue (as even this wasnt open about 9:20ish). This is the queue from the edge of X-Sector, up the hill towards the castle. Was in this queue until about 10ish, and then they let us into the snaked queue line beneath the ride. Waited a following 30mins as luckily we may have been nearish the front.

The only problem with the queue line I have is the shop. The shop is in the queue line, and whilst queuing at the end of the day (for 2 hours) we thought the shop would be good to grab a drink. However there is a bit in the barrier that is open, so that if you wish to purchase something from the shop (the slowest in the world), then people can simply walk around you - so getting a drink (if there is 3 of you), will not only cost you money but about 30-40 places in the queue. Luckily people waited, but a family behind us had about 50 people jump infront of them as nobody cared to wait despite the queue wasn't going anywhere fast.


The ride itself, in my opinion is the best in the park. Its nice and long meaning its pretty worth a 2 hour queue. Also, the 2nd ride at the end of the day we managed to get front row (which is random - most likely to speed up queues), however we asked a guy who told us to wait at the side, and then we got front row.

Definately better on the front, and ill upload some piccies soon. 2nd Cobra roll - Harsh exit, as well as the first out of the 2 rolls at the end. Rest of ride was smooth.

Worth a queue and will most likely go back to ride again
 

owentaylor121

Giga Poster
Joey said:
marc said:
Tbh if I've driven 5 hours I would pay it to get on the coaster and spend the rest of the day riding other stuff.

The last thing I want to do is stand in a queue for 3 hours.

Yes it's giving them more money but on a pass or 241 it's ok.

Yes I wish it was free but it's not :(

Yes fast track adds time to a queue but it would be time I would have to wait not using it. I just cannot be bothered standing in a 3 hour queue for what most have said is an average coaster. I would need to go to the loo by the time I got on it and would not enjoy it lol.
I would genuinely put money on a bet that Smiler has not once had a 3 hour long queue.

Look... Smiler is new. Guessing queue times isn't easy at the best of times with established staff on an old ride, there are so many factors to it - fastrack, exit riders, breakdowns, guest related delays, staff related delays, people leaving gaps in the queue to avoid puddles, people cramming close in the queue because they are idiots. You cannot accurately predict queue times. Even Disney's methods, which Merlin have copied in the past, mean that the queue time is set to whatever it was the queue length ago and not relevant to new joiners. If you under-estimate, you're met with angry guests. You ALWAYS over-compensate, if you have any sense.

I've heard "3 hour queue" quoted over and over, but has anyone here experienced such a thing first hand...?
Yes I have, I queued 3 hours last Saturday. People aren't over exaggerating with this ride. The public haven't never seen something of this scale in the U.K for a long time. Plus loops are 'betta'. This ride is getting extremely long queues on week days let alone on a weekend.
 

sparky2u

Mega Poster
Rode this coaster yesterday after a 5 min wait (The normal Q time was 120 mins) since I bought a Fast Track ticket, i'll never Q for more than 30 mins again if I can jump it. I enjoyed "Smiler" very much, it looks worse then it really is, fast pace so no slowing down on the inversions, the only thing which spoils it is a few rough spots and train vibrations like on Colossus - Thorpe Park.

There is quite a lot of water on the floor in the Q lines, so the drainage needs to be fixed, the music, staff uniforms, station, everything is impressive & works well together..
 

Martyn B

CF Legend
Rode it on Tuesday!

The actual ride is fairly average to be honest, I didn't find it overly forceful at all, and most surprisingly, it wasn't rough. Bit rattly here and there, but definitely a MASSIVE improvement on any Eurofighter I've been on. Didn't bang my head once and there's none of the issues that Saw suffers with.

One thing I will say though, it's possibly the most awe-inspiring coaster I've ever come across. It just looks incredible, the music is awsome and all them screens are pretty cool. And seeing the trains race around the track - brilliant. Pics and videos dont do it justice.

Oh, one bad point, wtf happened with the indoor section, its like they didn't actually bother with it...?
 

FaceYourNemesis

Hyper Poster
Well I finally managed to ride it 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.

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

Brookes

Giga Poster
Rode it twice yesterday, the first one was as soon as we arrived and we queued about 1h20 but later on in the day it took about 2h even though we started further through the queue this time. As we came off at half 5 (closing) there was still about a 90 minute queue and we heard “The Smiler is currently experiencing technical difficulties”. Ouch.

A lot coming out of this thread is that The Smiler is a “solid coaster” and I would probably agree with that to be honest. I don’t have that much to add that hasn’t already been said as I agree with a lot that has been said in here. It is one of the best rides ever built… for the on looking bag lady, and I’m very impressed with the overall package. It definitely packs a punch and the first half left me very disorientated. It’s also fun to watch the effects of the Marmaliser from off ride.

Obviously nobody was expecting B&M smoothness, and all in all I don’t really have any large problems with the roughness. It actually has some force unlike Saw and I love the feeling of being dragged around the track which you don’t get from Saw (we sat in rows 2 and 3). My only gripes with the shaping were:

• The snappiness of the first inverted drop
• The entry to the second part of the cobra at the top
• The entry to the first of the two barrel rolls

You can tell how some of the shaping has been sacrificed just to fit the ride in. This can’t really be helped but I feel that the top of the cobra just has a horrible jerk as you enter the second part of it as I’ve said above, but this can’t really be excused by the previous statement and probably wouldn’t take a great deal of fixing.

The Smiler is probably my second favourite ride at Alton, after Nemesis. The good thing about it is that you get a lot of ride for your buck. Even if you’ve queued a while, you feel like you’ve been repaid because it’s such a long ride and does an awful lot. The queue never let up all day so everyone definitely wants to get on this thing and try it out. I think it’s a good coaster and I look forward to getting some more rides on it so I can form a more solid opinion (would love to ride the front or back!).

I shot some clips of the ride and put together an off ride video. Some of the clips really emphasise the accidental duelling (you can see it a lot at the start). It also shows the technique Gerstlauer use on their lift hills – notice how the brake fins pop back up after the train has passed. Audio starts a few clips in.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL1aXInFnYo[/youtube]
 

Darrylbosson86

Roller Poster
amazing! this has got to be one of my fav themed rides! the person who came up with how to lay out and theme this read is an amazing planner! cant wait to go on it soon!
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Thekingin64 said:
I love it. Great layout, plenty of airtime and mostly smooth. Was quite rough heading into the inversions though.
But... the whole thing is just inversion after inversion. So it must be pretty rough throughout... ;)
 

SaiyanHajime

Strata Poster
Mysterious Sue said:
I don't understand how anyone can think its smooth. I think it's like riding a cheese grater!
Describe the roughness you're experiencing. I don't understand how anyone can have got this far into the community and not understand that people experience things differently. Quite often, people will explain, and others go "oh, yeah, it does that... but it doesn't bother me."

Those who've ridden it - is it the same kind of sensations, whether you think it's "rough" or not, as Saw? The brain rattling? The jolting? Or does it ride more like Speed and just rattle a touch and make unnecessarily harsh transitions and speed changes? Or, is it more like Mystery Mine, and neck slams because the layout is stupid and rumbles a little?
 

Mysterious Sue

Strata Poster
Alright sweetie, I was just making conversation. Things would be very boring if we all felt the same (or if we all had different opinions and didn't share). If you read my first review of the Smiler, I did in fact compare it to Saw (and no, it's not the same because on Saw, there is a distinct pain for some, and the uncomfortableness is more subjective, but this is good, old-fashioned roughness of track)

Mysterious Sue said:
Ride
Now we get to the problem... As I said, it was early in the day, and from what I've learnt, experiences of different trains vary wildly. However, pretty much all of the ride once you leave the indoor section is rattly as ****!!! Its not brain shaking in your skull in the same way as Saw, but good old-fashioned the track feels messed up type of shaking that just screams Gerstlauer. My non-goon friends said it was really rough too, suggesting the track might have been 'ribbed for our displeasure'! I was expecting it to be a bit rough, but not that bad, that early on. Then there was a section near the end (which others seem to suggest was the exit to the cobra roll) with a violent head-bashing moment. Also, you totally don't notice the marmaliser what with all the inversions going on.

Things I liked include the indoor section with the barrel roll around a corner which is wonderfully disorientating.
Views from the lift hills across the park and of the Towers are stonkingly beautiful.
There are nice pops of airtime across the hills.
The pacing is interesting. The constant fast then slow allows you to enjoy each element and builds anticipation.
The dueling lift hills are FAB and reminds me of my darling Gnash!!!!

Overall it was too rough for me to enjoy it despite really liking some of the gimmicks of this ride. My friends didn't feel they could be bothered with a re-ride
 

Thekingin64

Strata Poster
Hixee said:
Thekingin64 said:
I love it. Great layout, plenty of airtime and mostly smooth. Was quite rough heading into the inversions though.
But... the whole thing is just inversion after inversion. So it must be pretty rough throughout... ;)

Kind of. It was mainly rough at the top of the inversions, primarily the immelmans and the Serpent roll.
 

A-Kid

Giga Poster
After 5 rides on the thing, I was pleasantly surprised. Its a very fun ride, however your experience will differ depending on where you sit, drastically. Sometimes the track kind of feels like fingers down a chalk board rather than running on glass. Glad to say though, it has none of that horrible brain shake Saw has!

Inside seats are smooth. Well when I say smooth, more comparable to Rage. Whereas outside seats can give (that typical Eurofighter) vicious, jerky exit to inversions on the second half, which I wouldn't say as a whole are rough or particularly bad. Its just the train feels like its struggling to navigate the transitions and just forces and pumps its way through inconsistently shaped track and gives plenty of laterals. (Probably down to the builders rather than how it was intended to be) Particularly the Sea Serpent/Side Winder or Cobra Roll second inversion. The rest was good for a Gerstlauer. Nice bit of air on the second hill, with interaction from the inoculator, soaking you!

I do feel it complements X-sector well, if a bit dominating. The music is perfect, the theme is bright, fun and in your face and in a way a nice change from the typical dull, destruction, horror themes we have had for the last few years. Something Towers has needed for sure. I really enjoy this rides queue due to the shear amount of interaction it has with the viewers. It actually moves for one. Constant views of the trains duelling above and the Marmalizer doing what it does too. You feel you have started the experience straight off and get involved with the ride and theme rather than get dumped in a cattle pen full of sheep, then ride... if that makes any sense?

The only thing I hate is the stacked concrete for the retaining walls and the station exterior. They are ugly and look unfinished. Oh and they could of done more with the inside heart line roll, lighting or effect wise. They need to add fabric to the walls to stop light reflecting off metalwork. The glass floor actually makes that worse due to the light it lets in...

Erm. There is also a shipping container for the Marmaliser control console ;) It didn't escape it!

Thumbs up as a whole from me though. I like it!
 

Martyn B

CF Legend
Those who've ridden it - is it the same kind of sensations, whether you think it's "rough" or not, as Saw? The brain rattling? The jolting? Or does it ride more like Speed and just rattle a touch and make unnecessarily harsh transitions and speed changes?

It doesn't ride anything like any other Eurofighter I've ridden. A few rattly moments but nothing major at all. I could feel that jolt in the cobra roll but I didn't bang my head or anything. It rode a LOT better than I thought it would. For ride comfort, I put it in the Anubis category, not Saw/Speed.

But in saying all that, I've only been on it the once.

Random question, but why haven't/didn't Alton gone down the same route as Thorpe with Smiler/Colossus. There's no hype about it being a record breaker, and there's no Guiness certificate etc at the entrance.....?
 

Nemesis of oblivion

Strata Poster
Random question, but why haven't/didn't Alton gone down the same route as Thorpe with Smiler/Colossus. There's no hype about it being a record breaker, and there's no Guiness certificate etc at the entrance.....?
I'm not sure but maybe as it's been such a success with bringing people in they don't really need to hype it. They have said it's a record breaker a few but they haven't shoved it in front of our faces. That's what I'm guessing anyway.
 

owentaylor121

Giga Poster
I found the ride to be extremely smooth, my head didn't get bashed once. I felt 1 tiny jolt, but that's it. Personally I think this is the possibly the smoothest ride Gerst have made.
 
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