The Smiler is a steel roller coaster, manufactured by Gerstlauer and located at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. The coaster is scheduled to open on 23 May 2013 and has taken the record for the most inversions on any roller coaster in the world, with 14.
Plans for the construction of The Smiler were first submitted to relevant authorities in late December 2011. 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 is being 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.
A June 2012 trademark filing by Merlin Entertainments suggested The Smiler as a potential name for the completed ride. On 17 October 2012, a number of facts about the coaster were revealed to the public via an Alton Towers press release; including its maximum speed, track length, ride time, passengers per train and ride cost. Despite the release, Alton Towers did not announce a name for the ride.
In late October 2012, the first pieces of track began to arrive at the park. On 6 December, track had begun to be moved to the construction site in immediate anticipation of the commencement of vertical construction. As of 7 December, reports indicated that vertical construction of the coaster had begun.