Smiles go for miles as The Smiler re-opens

The £18 million roller coaster undertook its first full weekend of operation since the crash last summer.

The ride was subjected to intense media coverage in the days prior to its reopening, which coincided with the beginning of the 2016 season at Alton Towers.

But despite the harrowing accident last year, hundreds of thrillseekers flocked to the ride as the gates first opened, waiting for over an hour for the ride to open.

Amongst the first passengers to ride The Smiler this year were the park’s resident test dummies, each filled with water to simulate the weight of a real passenger.

Shortly after, members of staff boarded and waved to the queuing guests below as they ascended the first lift hill. They were greeted with rounds of applause, cheers and high morale all around.

With the eyes of the press and even a news helicopter hovering over the roller coaster over the weekend, it was able to complete its first two days of operation since the accident without incident.

Hundreds of guests took to social media to express their happiness in the ride’s re-opening:

The ride re-opened on Saturday without the logo mounted to the front of the three trains, however they were reinstated overnight and were visible to the public on Sunday.

Other changes on the ride include the removal of several audio segments involving “correction”, whilst the ride’s entrance signage has been altered to emphasise mobility during the event of an evacuation.

Guests queued for up to 90 minutes on Saturday to ride the recording breaking roller-coaster, whilst guests attending on Sunday spent as little as 15 minutes on occasions throughout the day.

Despite protests from some members of the public on social media as well as one of the crash victims, it seems that The Smiler has succeeded at putting the smile back onto thrillseeker’s faces once again.