The Smiler at Alton Towers: The Roller Coaster with the Most Loops

Reviews for Alton Towers world-record setting roller coaster, The Smiler have been largely positive. The ride boasts the most inversions (loops) of any coaster in the World at an insane 14!
Reviews of The Smiler - Alton Towers - 14 Loop Roller Coaster

Reviews of Alton Towers’ The Smiler

Here are some reviews of The Smiler that I’ve compiled:

A visual spectacle, the ride experience is as good as its first impression. Smooth and enjoyable, the diverse range of inversions, disorientating experience and ultra-modern-meets-super-retro theme equates to a phenomenal and unforgettable experience.

Theme Park Tourist

So the ride looks great. The dueling is brilliant. The views when you get them from the queues are also superb, as is the atmosphere created by the music and Marmaliser. The ride itself offers a bit of fun and is “curiously interesting”. Yet it never does anything brilliantly, but it does do a lot of it.

Its fast, its disorientating, its brilliant, if just a tad of a head banger, but with such a compact layout with so much track, what do you expect!


Here’s an extensive video showing off the ride’s twisted layout:

Want to see it from beginning to end? Watch this reverse POV for the entire ride.

The Smiler’s Layout & 14 Loops

I’ve been out of the loop (no pun intended) on the latest updates with this ride. So, I’m not sure what happened to that vortex tunnel that was supposed to invert riders a number of times. Knowing Alton Towers, it might have just been a part of the hype.

In a way, I think it’s better that the ride performs 14 true traditional loops. Although, I’m not sure how I’d feel about all of those inversions. It certainly looks like fun and I can definitely appreciate the ride’s spaghetti bowl-like layout. At times the trains look like they’re dueling or racing which could ramp up the thrills even more.

Thanks to RCDB, here’s a list of the The Smiler’s elements blow-by-blow: Heartline Roll (Indoor), Lift Hill, Corkscrew, Dive Loop, Dive Loop, Dive Loop, Sidewinder, Corkscrew, Vertical Lift Hill, Corkscrew, Roll Over (2 loops), Cobra Roll (2 loops), Corkscrew, Corkscrew

The Smiler’s Theme

In a World with a thousand titans and goliaths and “X’s”, I’m impressed with the theming. It’s good to see that they really put some thought into it and went even beyond Merlin’s own alien and supernatural themes for something different. Marmalizing just sounds like something diabolical and bad. Where do the Brits come up with these words?

At the end of the day, it looks like Alton Towers, the kings of roller coaster hype, have delivered this time with The Smiler.

Read Theme Park Tourist’s full review of The Smiler at Alton Towers.

For more looping insanity, check out Colossus, the former record holder and first roller coaster with 10 loops at sister park, Thorpe Park. And see the rest of the roller coasters with the most loops.

What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden The Smiler at Alton Towers? What’d you think? How do you think it looks? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

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

20 Responses

  1. Isaac Perry

    I am 10 years old and rode The Smiler yesterday for the first time on my first visit to Alton Towers. I’d been desperate to try it out and it didn’t disappoint. The scariest part was being measured in the line to make sure I was above the minimum height! (Just made it by standing up straight!) It was awesome and well worth the hour of queuing. I also rode Nemesis, Th13teen, Rita and Air, but Smiler was better than all of them. The Smiler was the best rollercoaster you can ever go on!

    the design was well thought out and i will ride it next visit

    • Jonathan

      Nice review! 🙂

      I can tell that you haven’t ridden the Millennium Force, the best roller coaster in the world! 😉

      • Koolcat

        Exactly but he is probably from UK and Maverick and X-Flight are better than Millennium Force and YES I have ridden all 3 of them.

    • Ryan

      It is obvious that you have never ridden levithean, millennium force (aka the best in the world), maverick, the voyage, raptor (aka the best invert in the world), or any aerican coasters. I rode this and it was a head banger that was too repetitive.

  2. Zach

    I really wish instead of building super tall fast coasters in the U.S. somebody would build something like this but all we get are fast g-force heavy coasters with no loops,inversions or fast twists and turns. does this annoy anyone else

    • Rajan

      Actually, magic mountain has many inversion coasters such as x2, scream, tatsu, the riddlers revenge, and full throttle.

  3. ukcoasterfan

    Zach its pretty funny you say that as I feel exactly the opposite, I wish the Uk would stop building rides like this and build something like you guys have over there, in particular a nice new woodie.

    Id settle for an intamin mega lite though.

    • Zach

      I guess everybody just wants what they don’t have ukcoasterfan. Maybe it would just be better if big corporate companies built better variety across their parks.

  4. Nick

    Thanks for the link to the TPT review, Joel.

    The Smiler is an extraordinary ride, and for me ranks among the best steel roller coasters in the world. The 14 inversions are not just a gimmick – they really make the ride what it is. There’s no time for something as boring as a basic turn or corner – instead, the train simply flies from one inversion to the next, leaving you utterly confused and dizzy – but with a huge grin on your face. I was grateful for the second (vertical) lift hill midway through the circuit, as it gave me a chance to catch my breath and prepare myself for the next round of insanity.

    Surprisingly for a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter, it’s also not rough at all. I hope it’s maintained properly as it will be a huge draw to the park for years to come.

    Unlike Thirteen, Alton Towers’ last major addition, the ride’s theme fits it perfectly. It’s based around the Ministry of Joy, as shadowy organisation that wants to turn everybody into “smiling advocates”. Believe me, after you ride the coaster, that’s exactly what you’ll be.

    This is – supposedly – John Wardley’s last ever ride (he designed the basic layout, although Candy Holland’s team at Merlin Studios also played a large role). The man is an utter genius, and this is a fitting way to bow out.

    • Ryan

      Im going to have to disagree with you here. I found the inversions to be repetitive and its not a eurofighter. Gurstlauer and RCDB lists it as a custom coaster. And i found it to be a real head banger.

  5. Darren

    Monday 12th July, two rides and luckily both on the front row. Long time waiting as there were constant ‘technical’ issues stopping the ride for up to half hour at a time. I would say well entertained on the way round the pit to the entrance. The theme tune, marmaliser and graphics bombards you everywhere. The theme tune alone is enough to totally marmalise you before the ride! With the ride inches above you ant the supporting beams rattling and vibrating you begin to get worried well before the ride start. I have little experience of modern roller coasters and had done Nemisis, Rita, Thirteen and oblivion before venturing on the Smiler (previous corporate day at Thorpe Park many years earlier). The ride was excellent, I seemed to spend more time upside down although things flash by so quickly it was difficult to tell which way gravity was pulling. Unlike other ride experiences there is no gathering of thoughts or getting prepared for the next spin, twist, loop or dive. They are all woven together, literally overlapping each other. There is an odd effect to look out for at the start. There is an initial drop and twist out of the station to the first lift. Except for a moment, I could swear I was on my side when I was actually sitting flat and it took a second or two for my brain to correct my inner orientation. Another reviewer elsewhere mentioned this. I experienced it too. I liked the ride because it was so compacted rather than looking to thrill with long drawn out maneuvers. It was intense, mental, mad, crazy and just the business. I got eleven rides in all at Alton with an online advance booking fee. In that were two Smilers on the front row each time. It was worth the cost. And as for the 11 year old accompanying me, smiles like hers having been marmalised twice in one day are priceless.

  6. Rosie

    whoa! it looks incredible! aww i SO wish we had one of these! X3 Where is Alton Towers?

  7. Nathan

    Rode this for the first time the other day. Although personally not totally convinced by the theming, the music that plays whilst you queue (which, if you don’t have a fast-track pass or similar, is going to be quite a long time) is good. I imagine the composer’s brief was simple: “just write something vaguely childish but with a sinister edge, and make it ridiculously catchy”.

    The ride itself is just terrific. It’s longer than most, which suits me fine, and is divided into two parts, seperated by a near-vertical lift hill. The fourteen inversions come one after another with no respite and, although The Smiler isn’t especially intense (less G-force than Alton Towers’ other great coaster, Nemesis), the thrill of not knowing exactly which way ‘up’ is makes up for it. The overall feel is claustrophobic, chaotic yet comfortable and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable. The last two corkscrews, just before the train pulls back into the station, were for some reason particularly enjoyable. The Smiler deserves long-term classic status like the park’s afore-mentioned other great – it’s a ride that should earn genuine affection in years to come.

    To make a ride so compact, long yet relentless does indeed, as someone else said before me, smack somewhat of genius.

    In brief answer to Zach above – Alton Towers is restricted from building rides above treetop height, which despite ruling out the huge coasters you have in America, does give the park a certain identity. Sometimes I do crave a Superman though.

  8. Peter

    The coaster is great – probably the best in the UK at the moment.

    First off, it looks sensational. Its super compact design would make any engineer proud. Rode it twice – once in the front row – once in the back row. Front row is as smooth as silk. Back row has a bit of a whip to it. Either seat it is thoroughly enjoyable.

    It has instantly dated some of ATs other rides – Air, in particular seems like a relic now, and its proximity to the one trick pony, Oblivion, is particularly ironic. Alton Towers has its issues – the big queue times are still there, but this is a step in the right direction for the park. This ride is so creative and so clever, you can only admire it.

  9. Lewis

    Went to Alton today with this ride in mind. Have to say it has lived up to it’s hype. While it did give me a banging headache, it’s more to do with lack of hydration! I think I prefer Thorpe Park’s Swarm though.

    Good theme for the ride though. I’m bored of all this “I Survived X coaster”.

  10. Darren

    This is THE best ride I’ve ever been on. Ridiculous inversions and sooo long. Being able to ride in the dark until 9pm last week was just the cherry on the top!

    The only problem this ride has is that it highlights the deficiencies in almost every other Alton Towers ride. It definitely makes a joke out of ‘Oblivion’

    I can’t wait to ride this again next year.

  11. Hannah

    I think it is fantastic. I’ve been obsessed ever since i saw the advert last year and went down to Alton Towers a few months after. I went in August so it was raining – duh its the UK – but the park was still packed as the ride brought so much hype. Fantastic marketing!

    The music – I love the music, its so creepy and intense that it just sets the scene perfectly. You can tell from the music that its gonna be crazy

    The queue – Yes the queue is huge, what else do you expect? However if you judge your times perfectly then you don’t have to wait 2 hours!

    The ride – Amazing, just what i wanted – a jam packed ride full of inversions and craziness. If you arent a fan of inversions then don’t even contemplate going on – simple!


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