Smiler - Alton TowersAlton Towers is at it again. The UK park based in Staffordshire, England is about to unleash another “secret weapon” on Brits with The Smiler. While the park’s last ride, Thirteen had a supernatural theme, this time they’re billing The Smiler as the The Smiler - Alton Towers - Vortex Tunnelworld’s most terrifying roller coaster thanks to its psychological elements. The first of which will be a pre-lift hill vortex tunnel that will invert riders a number of times. Thanks to this, the ride will be able to boast a record-setting number of inversions.

Next, riders will face several traditional loops while encountering a number of themed-elements like over-sized hypodermic needles and hypnotic swirls meant to disorient riders. The mind marmaliser will be an odd spider-like centerpiece for the ride.

As always, Alton Towers has been busy building awareness of the new ride. The park’s signature brand of off-season hype (remember the rumored age restriction for Thirteen?) has been used to promote The Smiler as well. The ride’s cool logo has branded on sheep and projected on buildings across the UK including Big Ben.

All the hype and record-setting aside, it’s undeniable that there’s nothing quite like The Smiler’s unique rotating element. Plus, the other large Gerstlauer loopers like SAW -The Ride and Takabisha have been well-reviewed. While I haven’t seen an official POV video, I’d probably consider The Smiler the best-looking new roller coaster to open this year outside of the U.S. This coaster should have a lot going for it. I’m looking forward to reviews in the coming months.

More on the vortex tunnel here: Alton Towers Could Be Going for Inversion Record with SW7 | Stats on RCDB | Alton Tower’s Official Smiler Website

What’s Your Take?
How does The Smiler look to you? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of Alton Towers’ Facebook page.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

7 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    I’ll be the Debbie Downer here and say that I do not have very high hopes for this ride (which is somewhat okay with me since I went to Alton last fall and would be irritated if they were building something really awesome this year). I had assumed they would be using the new generation Gerstlauer trains with lapbars. Not the case. Getting smashed around those shoulder restraints for a zillion inversions or whatever it is does not appeal to me. I’ve never been much of a fan of coasters that are about nothing but going upside down anyway, though.

    • Joel

      Good point about the restraints Jonathan. I’m definitely not a fan of headbanging either. I do like loops though.

  2. ukcoasterfan

    Alton Towers builds yet another below par ride, I can understand people not from the UK wanting to go due to Nemisis but honestly there isnt much for Uk fans here.

    The smiler does not look to me like a world class attraction, its a euro fighter. Ok it has the original part at the begining but I doubt that will be very thrilling. The rest of the stuff with the needles & spinning things are gimmicks that wont add to the ride.

    I dont understand how the rest of europe can build world class woodies and steel coasters and we end up with this rubbish from our supposedly best theme park.

    Thorpe park is far better.

    • Joel

      I see what you’re saying. While the needles and things could be classifieds as ‘gimmicks’, if they’re done right, they could add to the experience. I’m not sure how it’ll turn out, but if they’re close enough for near-misses like on X-Flight, then they could be fun. Of course if you just fly by them without noticing or they’re kind of far from riders, then they’ll be pretty ineffective.

  3. Simon

    I was there yesterday, and although the ride wasnt open yet it truely is a sight to behold. There is no vortex and yes it does boast 14 true inversions, the makers claim there will be some unique mind bending elements that has not been made public yet.

  4. Paul Shaw

    No matter how much you try to put this ride in perspective, no picture dose this ride justice. An absolutely amazing ride experience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.