Specific Type: Steel, Spinning Seating: Sit-Down, 2-abreast, face-to-face, 4-passenger
Late in 2009, the park made a sponsorship deal with SEGA, and for the 2010 season,Spinball Whizzer would receive a makeover into Sonic Spinball. Named after and themed after the early Sonic pinball game released for Sega’s Mega Drive and Game Gera systems of the same name, the ride received a new paint job of red track and blue supports, new decoys, new signage, new audio with station announcements made by Roger Craig Smith, the new voice actor for Sonic. The coaster re-opened again on February 12, 2010 along with a Sonic-themed room at the Alton Towers Hotel, featuring Sonic games and wallpaper based on Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
The park previously had a deal with SEGA to use a Sonic animatronic, along with sound effects and music, in the Toyland Tours dark ride, but the ride was closed in 2004 to make room for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride. The new contract with SEGA is a three-year deal, set to end in 2013, with plans for the coaster unclear after that, however current rumors seem to be to relocate the coaster elsewhere (another part of the park or another park), as indicated by their Long Term Development Plan revealed in 2008.
A ride on Sonic Spinball starts off with a quick dip to the right out of the station along a straight section of track where the trains are unlocked to spin before a tight right turn to the lift hill. After a 56 foot climb up the lift hill, the cars dip slightly and make a 90-degree turn to the right before dropping and banking heavily as the track begins spiraling to the right nearly 270-degree back under the lift structure. The banking then begins to shift the other way as the train pulls up out of the spiral and the track twists slightly to the left as it pops up onto the rides first brake run. At this point, the track turns 90-degrees to the left and drops down to the ground for the rides biggest drop, hitting a top speed of 38 mph along the way. Hitting the ground level, the track rises sharply, nearly vertically in the air as the train undergoes a tight vertical U-turn which is sure to get riders spinning and disoriented. Returning to the ground-level once again, the track pulls back up and to the right under riders into the coasters second brake run.
The twisting is far from over at this point as the train turns to the right out of the brake run and the track begins snaking its way to the ground. Banking and turning first to the right, the train begins to quickly pick up speed before snapping quickly now to the left and finally rising and pitching hard to the right, making a complete turnaround as it passes under the vertical U-turn it traversed just before the brake run. The coaster pulls up and out of this madness as it enters into its third brake run, and still not the last. Leaving the break run, the track banks heavily to the right again as the train spirals over 360-degrees towards the ground before twisting, rising, and turning around to the left into the last brake run, other than a quick twist and U-turn to the right before the station brake run. Finally, after a mad mess of twisting and banking track, the spinning has stopped, and riders can begin to regain their sense of direction and their stomachs.
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