Alton Towers reveals new coaster, The Smiler, will combine mental and physical fear factors to 'marmalise' riders.
New for 2013: The Smiler
Alton Towers have announced that its new 2013 roller coaster,
The Smiler, is going to ‘marmalise’ the minds of riders to give them a
thrill like no other. Not only will the new ride involve plunging 30-metre
drops, hurtling speeds of up to 85km per hour and extreme turns, but The
Smiler will also feature twisted psychological effects to mess with rider's
The combined physical and mental assault is rationalised by a
new report from researchers at New Scientist magazine revealing that
mental anticipation is a key-contributor for ensuring an extraordinary
Existing roller-coasters at the UK’s leading
theme park already put the body through its paces. Now, The Smiler will
play with the mind by blurring the lines between illusion and reality.
Riders will be subjected to five mind manipulations including jabbing
needles, blinding lights and optical illusions, to maximise the fear
The Smiler’s 5 Mind Manipulations:
- The Inoculator - A jab of happiness as you pass by stage one of the Marmalisation process
- The Tickler - Aims to tickle you until you cant resist smiling
- The Flasher - A giant flashing device, blinding you as you hurtle underneath the leg
- The Giggler - Infectious, intoxicating laughing gas
- The Hypnotiser - Has the power to disorientate, mesmerize and disrupt your self-awareness
The Thrill Report, commissioned by Alton Towers and compiled by
researchers from New Scientist, details the importance of using mental
and physical cues on roller-coasters so riders can experience a greater
sense of excitement.
The report has found that the ultimate
‘Thrill-Factor’ is composed of five ‘acts’ similar to the set-up of a
play. This is because thrilling experiences work best when constructed
as stories or narratives.
- Exposition explains the set-up: a ride’s branding and its look and feel do this.
action increases the user's anticipation of discomfort. Queuing is part
of this "act", and the slow climb of the roller-coaster.
- Climax or crisis essentially the moment of terror, a precipitous drop or jerk, supplying both physical and mental cues for fear.
action involves turning terror into release, catharsis or pleasure.
After a precipitous drop, roller coasters often follow smoother curves
that are more enjoyable than the drop.
- Denouement a period of
reflection, a time to compare notes with friends, get a photo of
ourselves on the ride, and maybe claim we weren’t scared at all.
The report edited by New Scientist editor, Jeremy Webb says:
All the experiences we use to generate thrill – whether a scary film,
bungee jump or roller-coaster - involve an element of fear. This ancient
emotion is triggered by either a physical stimulus, such as pain or
being thrown around, or a mental one, most commonly the anticipation of
danger such as the rising action on a roller-coaster. Roller-coaster
designers believe that by pulling both our mental and physical strings,
it is possible to create the best possible thrill.John Wardley, a ride consultant at Alton Towers, commented:
We know people get a thrill when they ride roller-coasters, but in order
to heighten that feeling of excitement we needed to design a
roller-coaster that also incorporates a variety of mental cues. The
Smiler will be different from other traditional coasters in that it will
combine intense physical effects to put the body through its paces,
along with the unique mental elements to mess with the mind. After
riding the coaster they will have experienced full mind and body
marmalisation.The Smiler will be Alton Towers’ biggest ever investment and
will feature a track the length of ten football fields, 30-metre drops
and speeds of up to 85km per hour. The Smiler is an all controlling
force committed to ensuring you smile. Always.
The Smiler opens in May 2013.