The Smiler

The Smiler roller coaster at Alton Towers reopened on August 4, 2013, after suffering several days out of action due to a "technical issue" with one of its supports.

Having opened two months late, The Smiler has suffered from a series of teething problems since its debut. The most well-publicised of these saw a bolt fall from the ride's track, causing two sections of the circuit to become slightly separated. The latest issue has now been resolved, with a spokesperson for the park saying: "It wasn’t a safety issue. It was picked up during standard daily checks. The cracks were at the surface where the bolts go in."

Some fans have criticised the response to the latest closure from Alton Towers. While text on the park's official website did warn visitors that the park's new coaster would be closed, many complained that this was in such a small font that most readers would overlook it.

During the period that The Smiler was out of action, the park's maintenance crews installed safety netting above the X-Sector toilet block, which sits underneath the ride's circuit. While this could theoretically catch any further debris that falls from the coaster, it will also help prevent loose items that fall from riders' pockets from landing on the building or guests nearby.

Technical issues are very common for new roller coasters, and Alton Towers has been quick to point out that The Smiler "pushes the boundaries" with its record-breaking 14 inversions. Despite the problems it has faced, Theme Park Tourist readers currently currently rate The Smiler as the best attraction at Alton Towers.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest confirmed and rumored temporary ride closures through Theme Park Tourist's "Rehab Watch", and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.


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