|Opening date||May 31, 2013|
Rumors and announcementEdit
Plans for The Smiler and its construction began to spread to authorities in late December 2011. Further documentation revealed the ride's manufacturer, Gerstlauer, a German construction firm. Planning permission was granted to Alton Towers on March 15, 2012, following a Staffordshire Moorlands Council meeting. The park's indoor roller coaster, Black Hole, which remained SBNO (Standing But Not Operating) since 2005, was closed and demolished to make way for The Smiler. In June 2012, Alton Towers filed a trademark to Merlin Entertainments. On October 17, 2012, Alton Towers released details about their new roller coaster (ride capacity, speed, duration, length, cost), except for the name. In January 2013, the ride's official name, The Smiler, was announced. On March 28, 2013, The Smiler's completed trains were delivered to Alton Towers, and immediately posted images of the trains via Twitter and the attraction's minisite.
Less than one month after Alton Towers was granted permission to build The Smiler, Alton Towers launched a teaser website about their new coaster, dubbed SW7.
Shortly after SW7 was launched on the Internet, construction began with the demolition of Black Hole's track and the tent that contains it. By May 6, 2012, the Black Hole tent was fully deconstructed, which allowed the construction crews to commence The Smiler's ground work. In late October, the first pieces of track arrived at the park, and were moved to the coaster's construction site on December 6 to start The Smiler's vertical construction, which began the following day. The coaster's construction was completed on April 28.
The Smiler's original opening date was scheduled for March, to coincide with the opening of the park for the 2013 season. However, Alton Towers delayed the attraction's opening due to the limited amount of construction days in January. Alton Towers decided that May 23 would be the new opening date, but an incident during a media event on May 22 stalled the opening once again. Finally, Alton Towers opened The Smiler publicly on May 31, 2013.
2015 incident Edit
On Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at about 2:10PM, a train carrying 16 passengers collided with an empty stationary train near the attraction's batwing element. Eleven of the sixteen passengers onboard were injured, four of which sustained major neck, chest, and leg injuries. The riders were stranded for several hours before being removed from the attraction. Following the incident, a prohibition notice was placed on the attraction, forbidding any use of it, the entire Alton Towers property closed for the remainder of the week, and three roller coasters at two other amusement parks closed for safety inspections due to their similarities. Due to the incident, senior executives at Merlin Entertainment, the owner of Alton Towers, have considered removing the attraction entirely due to its past with mechanical problems. After several days, Alton Towers and the other closed roller coasters opened, but the X-Sector section that houses The Smiler while it was being evaluated. By June 17, 2015, the X-Sector area of the park reopened, but The Smiler remained closed for safety inspections. The park soon removed the ride's signage. Several months later, however, the park announced that the incident was caused by human error, and that the attraction would reopen for the 2016 season with new and improved safety features. A reopening date has not been confirmed.
The attraction began when the train dipped down to the left at a 180-degree angle. Partway through this drop, the train entered the first of many inversions: a heartline roll. The train then made a sudden stop on a set of block brakes, before ascending the ride's first lift hill. After reaching the top, the train dropped right at 180 degrees before entering a downward corkscrew. The train dropped straight again into the next two inversions: a pair of consecutive dive loops, before travelling over a hill and into the batwing. After exiting the batwing, the train entered another corkscrew before reaching the second set of block brakes. Next, the train ascended the second lift hill, a vertical lift hill. The train then travelled into another, 180-degree drop to the left, before banking once again into a downwards corkscrew. The train then climbed upwards into a sea-serpent roll, before entering the second airtime hill, which was followed by a cobra roll. Upon exiting the cobra roll, the train then entered a pair of consecutive corkscrews before making a 180-degree left turn into the brake run.
- The Smiler has more inversions than any coaster in the world, with fourteen.
- The term "SW" followed by a number has been used to hide other project names, such as SW6 for Thirteen.
- The ride originally featured eight inversions, but was changed to six, and then fourteen.
- The Smiler was advertised on the box of Krave cereal, on a TV broadcast on May 20, 2013, in the Metro newspaper, and in an online game that was released in February 2013 to promote the attraction.
- The attraction features a small area called the Marmaliser, shaped like a giant spider.
- The attraction's track is approximately 3,840 feet long.
- One cycle on the ride lasts approximately 2 minutes, 45 seconds.
- The attraction's name was not suggested by Alton Towers. It was suggested by Merlin Entertainments whilst filing their trademark.
- The ride was constructed by Gerstlauer, a German firm.
- The ride's construction was opposed by the Alton and Farley Parish Councils.
- The track was designed by John Wardley.
Coaster of the WeekEdit
- The Smiler was Coaster Wiki's 20th Coaster of the Week, from December 1, 2013 - December 14, 2013. In previous weeks, The Smiler ranked highly on the Top Ten.