Alton Towers has removed all mentions of an opening date for The Smiler from its official website, prompting speculation that the park's new roller coaster will not open for some time.
The Smiler had been scheduled to open on May 23, with a media preview event having already been held. However, unforeseen "teething problems" left guests disappointed, and the ride will not open during the bank holiday weekend.
The park has been keeping guests updated on The Smiler's status via an FAQ page on its website, from which all references to a May opening date have now vanished.
Sales of pre-booked tickets for Alton Towers are likely to have suffered as a result of the delay to The Smiler's public debut. The park's marketing campaign, which had been designed to crescendo ahead of May 23, has also been thrown off-schedule.
Guests with pre-booked tickets who opt to wait until The Smiler is open before visiting Alton Towers will be able to use them on any other day during the 2013 season. Those who have made on-site hotel bookings will also be able to rearrange them free of charge by calling 0871 2221100.
Inevitably, Alton Towers fan sites are awash with speculation as to the cause of the delay. Towers Street reports that The Smiler's queue line is still under construction, while Towers Times claims that a "major incident" took place during testing on May 23.
The Smiler, which had previously been known by its codename of "SW7", has been installed at a cost of some £18 million. Its circuit features two lift hills and a record-breaking 14 inversions, and is located alongside the existing Oblivion roller coaster in the X-Sector area.
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