Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Alton Towers Opens The Smiler - Get Marmalised!

© Alton Towers
Alton Towers recently opened The Smiler to guests, giving them a fun way to turn upside down 14 times while on the coaster.  The park worked on the new attraction under strict secrecy for a long time, closely guarding the number of inversions until just before opening.

The ride was created Gerstlauer and features trains that seat sixteen people at a time.  The ride uses both a traditional and vertical lift hill to keep the momentum going to make it through all fourteen inversions.

© Alton Towers
And that is - of course - a new world record, beating out the previous inversion record of ten.  There's a variety of elements included in The Smiler, from dive loops, heartline rolls, a cobra roll and a healthy dose of corkscrews.  The ride also works on riders brains throughout the experience, using optical illusions and bright lights to distract - or marmalise as the park puts it - passengers as well.

This story has a nice interview with famed Alton Towers ride designer John Wardley about the development of The Smiler, it seems that the intention to break the inversion record was in place from the start.  If you're interested in a point of view video of the new coaster, check out this movie on YouTube.