Alton Towers to open The Smiler on 23 May

The Smiler logoAlton Towers has announced that it will open its new rollercoaster The Smiler on 23 May, following months of delay.

Originally scheduled to open at the start of the theme park’s main season on 16 March, the ride has been dogged by construction delays.

Earlier this week it emerged that the ride will be marketed as the world’s first 14-inversion rollercoaster.

It will be designer John Wardley’s final creation for Merlin Entertainments, following the announcement of his retirement earlier this year.

He has described the Gerstlauer-manufactured ride as the “most densely packed” rollercoaster in the world in terms of track per square metre.

A midweek opening – the date is a Thursday – is likely to be seen as an attempt at a softened debut, following a similar move by Thorpe Park when it opened The Swarm last year.