ALTON Towers' much heralded new world first rollercoaster The Smiler has not opened as planned after "unforeseen teething problems."
The Alton Towers Resort was set to launch its biggest ever rollercoaster for the 2013 season, Thursday, May 23.
Journalists and celebrities were invited to a special launch night for The Smiler last Friday, May 15, but the launch suffered with some teething trouble after the ride broke down during the event.
It was back up and running by Saturday morning and the first reviews were extremely favourable for the rollercoaster which claims to ‘marmalise’ your mind.
Before climbing aboard the rollercoaster, the journalists were warmed up for the experience with a terrifying journey through the resort's The Sanctuary attraction.
Among the celebrities spotted at the event were chart-topping popstar Tinchy Stryder and reality television star Jessica Wright, from The Only Way Is Essex.
The ride, which has taken more than eight months to build, also suffered delays after the terrible weather during the winter months hindered construction.
A spokesman from the resort told the Post & Times on Tuesday that the issues from the press launch had been fixed and they expected the ride to be open as planned.
She added: "Members of staff have already been on the ride for test runs, as we have to do so many before we open to the public.
"On the launch night there was a power issue, but that was resolved by Saturday morning and it will be open as planned."
When asked what the "unforeseen teething problem" had been, the spokesman could not comment, but told people to keep checking the resort's website www.altontowers.com for further updates.
Alton Towers officials pledged to help visitors who had arranged to visit the theme park because they wanted to go on The Smiler.
On the website it states: "Guests who have booked tickets for May 23 to specifically ride The Smiler can have them revalidated for another visit during the season. There is no need to contact us, simply turn up and your ticket will be accepted at the gate.
"If you are visiting this weekend specifically to ride The Smiler, keep an eye on this page and we will update it with the latest information on a regular basis.
"Whilst the Resort does have over 50 rides and attractions, which are open for our visitors to enjoy, if you are visiting to ride The Smiler, we will be happy to change the date of your stay, free of charge. Please call us on 0871 2221100 and one of our team will arrange this for you."
The Smiler, which has the equivalent of 10 football pitches of ride track, dominates the X-sector area of Alton Towers.
The first of its kind in the world, The Smiler is the biggest ever investment for a ride at the resort, costing £18 million to build, adding to its existing portfolio of more than 50 rides and attractions.
With a world record breaking 14 loops, the coaster promises to 'marmalise' your body and mind, combining intense physical effects from plunging drops and extreme turns with twisted psychological effects.
Katherine Duckworth, from the resort, said: “The combination of 14 loops with a variety of elements such as optical illusions, designed to mess with your mind, make The Smiler a truly unique rollercoaster.
“This is by far the most exciting rollercoaster for Alton Towers to date. It is twice as big as Nemesis and our biggest ever investment.
“There has been a lot of anticipation for this launch and we cant wait to see what the public think.”
The Smiler features five mind manipulations: The Inoculator The Tickler; The Flasher The Giggler and The Hypnotiser to provide a complete physical and mental assault on riders.
Featuring plunging drops of 30m, a ride time of 165 seconds and a track length three times the length of Oblivion, The Smiler is set to be an intense addition to the Alton Towers Resort's line up of adrenalin pumping rides.
The Smiler will open alongside The Smiler bedroom and 14 new Moon Voyage themed bedrooms in the Alton Towers Hotel.