Alton Towers has confirmed that The Smiler roller coaster will not be open in time for the start of the 2013 season, with the new addition now set to debut in May.
The park revealed the name of its new coaster yesterday, and conceded that its opening date has slipped with the statement: "The Smiler will be our biggest and most thrilling attraction the Resort has ever seen and we can't wait for guests to join us in May and experience it for themselves."
The Smiler, which had previously been known by its codename of "SW7", will boast a secretive "world's first" element and is currently under construction at a cost of some £18 million. Its circuit will feature at least 8 inversions and 2 lift hills, and will be located alongside the existing Oblivion roller coaster in the X-Sector area.
The plot and theming of The Smiler is designed to tie in with The Sanctuary, the horror maze that debuted at the Scarefest 2012 Halloween events. To compensate for the absence of The Smiler in March and April, the park has confirmed that it will bring back the maze for the start of the new season.
In a typically bizarre promotional stunt, Alton Towers has also branded various flocks of sheep around the UK with The Smiler's distinctive "smiley face" logo. The affected sheep can be seen in the official video below:
For more details of Alton Towers' new addition for 2013, see Theme Park Tourist's detailed breakdown of The Smiler plans.
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