Following the opening of TH13TEEN in 2010, it didn’t take long for anticipation to start building for the next new rollercoaster, especially with promises that this would offer more intense thrills. An anxious wait followed the submission of a planning application shortly before Christmas 2011, until the documents detailing the new rollercoaster project, codenamed SW7, were uploaded in January 2012. These truly kickstarted excitement for the development, which would eventually be announced as The Smiler.
Located on the former site of The Black Hole, these initial plans showed an extensive layout, featuring two lift hills, although they withheld details of the appearance of the planned theming features and station building.
The subsequent submission of revised plans provided further insight into these, including the central theming feature which we would come to know as The Marmaliser. However, even these revised plans had a number of notable differences to the realised attraction, the most significant being the minor alterations to the track layout to disguise the record-beating number of inversions that the ride would feature. Other differences include: a plaza area beneath the main layout (enabled by the whole track layout being slightly higher than what was actually constructed), a jetty area over-looking the ride, additional theming features, and an extra leg on The Marmaliser.
Following the The Smiler’s opening, concept images emerged showing an earlier variant of the ride’s theme, which took on a much grungier and more realistic feel than what was actually adopted for the final ride. These included a look at the shelved theming features which would have provided near-miss moments.