The Smiler is a steel coaster, manufactured by Gerstlauer and located at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. It has taken the record for the most inversions on any roller coaster in the world, with 14. After a number of delays, The Smiler opened on 31 May 2013, two months after originally planned. The ride has since suffered lengthy periods of downtime due to numerous technical issues and breakdowns.
Plans for the construction of The Smiler were first submitted to relevant authorities in late December 2001. Further documentation revealed the roller coaster would be manufactured by Gerstlauer, a German manufacturing company. Planning permission was granted on 15 March 2012 following a Staffordshire Moorlands Council meeting, despite opposition to its construction from both Alton and Farley Parish Councils. The ride was built on the site previously occupied by the Black Hole, which had been in a state of disuse since the attraction's closure in 2005.
Less than one month after permission was obtained, Alton Towers launched a website for their 2013 addition, codenamed Secret Weapon 7 (SW7). This followed other similar project names at the park including SW3 for Nemesis, SW4 for Oblivion, SW5 for Air, and SW6 for Thirteen. At the same time, work started on dismantling the tent that previously housed the Black Hole. As of 6 May 2012, the Black Hole tent was fully deconstructed, which signalled the beginning of groundwork on the site for the new roller coaster.