Spinball Whizzer (roller coaster)

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Spinball Whizzer
Previously known as Sonic Spinball
Alton Towers
Park section Adventure Land
Coordinates 52°59′20″N 1°53′40″W / 52.988915°N 1.89457°W / 52.988915; -1.89457Coordinates: 52°59′20″N 1°53′40″W / 52.988915°N 1.89457°W / 52.988915; -1.89457
Status Operating
Opening date 27 March 2004
Cost £3,500,000
General statistics
Type Steel – Spinning
Manufacturer Maurer Söhne
Designer Layout by John Wardley and Werner Stengel
Model SC 2200[1]
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 17 m (56 ft)
Length 470 m (1,540 ft)
Speed 60 km/h (37 mph)
Inversions 0
Duration 1:15
Capacity 950 riders per hour
Height restriction 120 cm (3 ft 11 in)
Single rider line available
Spinball Whizzer at RCDB
Pictures of Spinball Whizzer at RCDB

Spinball Whizzer is a spinning roller coaster located in the Adventure Land area of Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England. Built by Maurer Söhne, it was previously sponsored by Sega, the company that created the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise, and was known as Sonic Spinball from 2010 to 2015.


Sonic Spinball after its re-branding in 2010

Opening in 2004, Spinball Whizzer featured a loose pinball machine theme. The name was a pun on the song "Pinball Wizard" by The Who. In 2010, it was announced that Spinball Whizzer would be receiving a Sonic the Hedgehog re-brand as part of a partnership with Japanese video game company Sega.[2] The roller coaster was therefore given a red and blue track repaint; new decoys, signage and audio, including songs from the games (with the station announcements done by Sonic's voice actor Roger Craig Smith). The ride re-opened to the public as Sonic Spinball on 13 February 2010 during the park's February half term event. A Sonic-themed room was also made available at the Alton Towers Hotel, which featured various playable Sonic games and wallpaper based on Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.[3]

Sega previously had a deal with Alton Towers for the Toyland Tours dark ride. A Sonic animatronic featured in one of the ride's scenes along with associated sound effects and music. However, the ride was closed for refurbishment in June 2005 to make way for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride. Sega's sponsorship was set to end in 2013 as part of the three-year deal. At the end of 2013, the sponsorship was renewed, and continued until 2016.[citation needed]

On 2 June 2015, the ride was temporarily closed after an accident on The Smiler at Alton Towers. Sonic Spinball reopened on 15 June 2015.[4] The ride returned to the Spinball Whizzer theme for the 2016 season.[5]


  1. ^ http://www.maurer-rides.com/s-coaster/SC_2200/
  2. ^ Dickens, Anthony (24 January 2010). "SEGA Confirms Alton Towers Tie-In". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  3. ^ http://www.sonicstadium.org/news/exclusive-photos-of-the-sonic-suite-at-alton-towers
  4. ^ "Alton Towers reopens rides following accident". Ride Rater. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Alton Towers Ridetimes". Ridetimes. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2016.