The Smiler. "The world's first 14 looping coaster". It sure does do a helluva lot of looping, that's for sure.
What did I think to it? I was fortunate enough to be on the first public train on The Smiler. I'd be lying if I didn't say I overly-enjoyed myself on the first run. The dispatch for this ride is rather prompt, especially if they're utilising all 5 trains. The indoor section of the ride (for me) is by far the best start to a roller-coaster, I've ever had the luxury to ride. The heartline certainly does flip you 'head over heels' - so to speak. The first half of the ride is rather pleasurable, featuring 6 (if you exclude the indoor heartline), which, in all fairness, generate satisfactory thrill. As the train halts for the V-lift, it's (again) rather prompt in connecting to the lift mechanism and commencing the lift. If you're lucky the trains will duel; which noticeably increases ride enjoyment. All of the following inversions are fantastic - the sea serpent being the highlight. Not to mention 'The Inoculator' - the only effect that actually has an "effect". Overall a very pleasurable experience, with no real roughness (even though some are hell-bent on claiming there is).
For me, the ride itself is a bit dissapointing. This (in itself) probably stems from the fact that it's not very 'gimmicky' and brings nothing new to the table. However, it is certainly a world class attraction, with the sum of inversions - which I applaud Merlin; and the Development team (at Alton Towers) who don't get enough recognition for new rides as they should do. Out of 5, I'd give The Smiler 4. The ride's aesthetics are appalling but amazing at the same time. The spectacle of the ride's size is jaw-dropping, but the pit in which it homes itself to, is... well... less than jaw-dropping and more eye-brow-raising.
Never-the-less, a brilliant addition to the line up. As for the theme; I couldn't have thought of a better one myself.