The Smiler, Alton Towers, UK

The vertical life on The Smiler

The vertical lift on The Smiler

Speed 2/5

Surprise factor 5/5

Fear factor 3/5

Vertigo factor 2/5

Overall 5/5


The Smiler… OMG, EPIC! Upside-down 14 times – wheee, fun! The great thing about The Smiler is that it’s not too fast, so you can see what’s coming – all the more frightening, mwa ha ha. That’s better than getting messed up like you do with Nemesis where it all goes too fast for you to take it in. The Smiler is quite long and that’s good – and quite unusual.

There are rumours about The Smiler having laughing gas on it, but that’s not true – trust me because I’ve been on it. The ‘mind manipulations’ are really just thematic extras and not so much part of the ride. The vertical lift (my first one) was amazing and weird.

Seeing the ride as you walk towards it, it’s easy to see why it’s the most expensive ever built in the UK.


Launched 31 May 2013

Cost £18 million

Duration 2 mins 45 secs

Maximum speed 53mph (85kph)

Maximum height 22 metres

Maximum drop 30 metres

G force 4.5

Inversions 14


Furious Baco, PortAventura, Spain

Copyright: Rhonda Carrier

Copyright: Rhonda Carrier

Speed 5/5

Surprise factor 4/5

Fear factor 3/5

Vertigo factor 2/5

Overall 2/5


I don’t rate this ride very highly because it is like Rita at Alton Towers – it goes too fast and is over too quickly (about 30 seconds once the pre-show is over). It is a bit better than Rita, though, because it goes upside-down. Furious Baco goes very fast – from 0–84mph in 3.5 seconds! – so it’s definitely an eat-my-dust kind of rollercoaster.

WARNING: If you are just over 1.4 metres tall, like me, you will probably get a headache from being bashed around!


Launched 5 June 2007

Cost €15 million

Duration 55 secs

Maximum speed 84mph (135kph)

Maximum height 14 metres

Maximum drop n/a

G force 4.7

Inversions 1

Nemesis Inferno, Thorpe Park, UK

copyright: Thorpe Park

copyright: Thorpe Park

Speed 3/5

Surprise factor 3/5

Fear factor 4/5

Vertigo factor 2/5

Overall 4/5


I think this ride was actually a bit better than the original Nemesis at Alton Towers because you know what’s coming – that makes you feel more excited. If you can’t see what’s coming, what’s the point? I also like this ride because they make it seem like you’re in a rainforest by growing tropical-looking plants. The fake fire is quite good too.


Launched 5 April 2003

Cost £6–10 million

Duration 1 min 43 secs

Maximum speed 50mph (80kph)

Maximum height 29 metres

Maximum drop 35 metres

G force 4.5

Inversions 4