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Golden Ticket Awards 2009


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No real surprises or upsets:

 

http://www.amusementtoday.com/corndog/2009gtawinners.html

 

“THE GOLDEN TICKET AWARDS HONOR

THE “BEST OF THE BEST” IN AMUSEMENT INDUSTRY

 

AMUSEMENT TODAY ANNOUNCES WINNERS

OF ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL POLL

 

ARLINGTON, Texas, Sept. 10, 2009 – Who has the best amusement park food? What about the friendliest staff or how about the best kids’ area in an amusement park? The ballots have been tallied, and in an awards’ show hosted this evening by LEGOLAND California, Carlsbad, Calif., Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2009 Golden Ticket Awards.

 

The Golden Ticket Awards are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today. Surveys were sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories such as “amusement parks,” “roller coasters,” “shows,” “friendliest staff” and “water rides.” The 2009 winners are …

 

Best Amusement Park

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

 

Best Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

 

Best Children’s Park

LEGOLAND California, Carlsbad, Calif.

 

Best Marine Life Park

SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

 

Best Seaside Park

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.

 

Best Wooden Coaster

The Voyage at Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind.

 

Best Steel Coaster

Bizarro

at Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass.

 

Best Kids’ Area

Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio

 

Friendliest Staff

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo.

 

Cleanest Park

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

 

Best Halloween Event

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla..

 

Best Landscaping

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.

 

Best Christmas Event

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood,

Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

 

Best Food

Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

 

Best Shows

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

 

Best Outdoor Night Show Production

IllumiNations: Reflections of the Earth

at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, Orlando, Fla.

 

Best Water Ride

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

 

Best Waterpark Ride

Master Blaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort,

New Braunfels, Texas

 

Best Dark Ride

Amazing Adventures of Spiderman

at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

 

Best New Ride of 2009 - Amusement Park

Prowler at Worlds of Fun, Kansas City, Mo.

 

Best New Ride of 2009 - Waterpark

Congo River Expedition at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

 

Best Carousel

Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort,

Elysburg, Pa.

 

Best Indoor Roller Coaster

Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Orlando,

Orlando, Fla.

 

Best Indoor Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas

 

Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction

Frankenstein’s Castle at Indiana Beach, Monticello, Ind.

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As a supplement to the usual Golden Tickets, I think this award was the most impressive and well deserved one of the year.

 

Dick and Barbara Knoebel work through health issues, keep park strong

 

Some things were just made to go together and sometimes those matching bookends can be found in the people behind the scenes, running an amusement park.

 

Such is the case for Dick and Barbara Knoebel. Two people made for one another. Two people, who not only work 100-hour weeks to keep the Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pa. running in tip top shape, but recently battled the odds to keep each other running in tip top shape.

 

In the spring of 2008 Barbara was diagnosed with cancer and many tests later was found to have cancerous spots in four other parts of her body. Chemotherapy led to many complications that left her ill, mentally exhausted and completely drained.

 

With Dick by her side every step of the way, Barbara underwent radiation therapy and later a completely different kind of chemo. Through all this she managed to read the staffing sheets for catering, the schedules for ticket sellers and correspondence with suppliers. Although she is not cancer free, her most recent CAT scan did not show cancer in two of the previous areas. Great news!

 

During the winter months, Dick fell down an ice-covered stairway and broke his ankle. Refusing a cast, he opted for a bandage and crutches so he could continue his duties at the park and his duties at home with Barbara. Dick and Barbara Knoebel are a match made for one another and Amusement Today’s selection as our 2009 Persons of the Year.

 

My hat's off to Dick and Barbara! Congratulations.

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Actually there is one surprise in there.

 

I thought for sure Diamondback would have won best new ride, But Prowler won.

I am still pissed I missed riding this by one little operating day

 

Also a little surprising El Toro is #3 in the wood, I guess all the work on Boulder Dash paid off! I can't wait to finally ride it in 3 weeks.

 

JEFF

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Whether I agree or not with the awards, I do feel that some of these categories are flawed, and we're missing a few categories as well.

 

Example Flaw: Best Amusement park is CP, but not the best seaside park?

MISSING: Being these are industry awards, you'd think they'd have things like "Best safety record", "best public relations", "Best community interaction", etc...

 

And for the most part, every award was expected here. Almost a carbon copy of last year. Maybe the organization needs to follow TPR!

 

And lastly, when will someone come out with the WORST awards.

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On my ballot, these are the only ones I think I voted for the winner.

 

Best Marine Life Park

SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

 

Best Seaside Park

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.

 

Best Halloween Event

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla..

 

Best Landscaping

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.

 

Best Christmas Event

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood,

Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

 

Best Food

Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

 

Best Dark Ride

Amazing Adventures of Spiderman

at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

 

Best Carousel

Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort,

Elysburg, Pa.

 

This is a near thankless job for the organizers, as there needs to be a limited number of choices in each category to keep the ballot concise. I think in the past they have made an effort to include the top write-in choices in the following year's poll.

 

In the end it is still a popularity contest, but nice to see a deserved new winner like Dollywood for shows.

 

Come on! Beast the #7 woodie, not by a longshot in my book.

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They really should modernize the polling and perform a nomination process to narrow the ballot choices down. Also, if you don't get a ballot, send an email to Gary Slade (email addresses are at http://www.amusementtoday.com/contact.html) and ask to get one. There definitely needs to be a larger pool of voters to help get the lesser known rides on the ballots!

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For the past few years I've felt that the coaster categories need a shakeup.

 

For example, look at this year's steel coaster list. Every single top-10 coaster is a non-inverting hypercoaster. They are ALL very similar.

 

Not that I don't think they are good (quite the opposite), but the fact that they are so popular makes it impossible for any other kind of coaster to make the Top 10.

 

I'd suggest breaking up the Steel coaster category into two different subsets:

 

1. Best Non-Inverting Steel Coaster

2. Best Inverting Steel Coaster

 

You could break it down even more if you wanted: Best non-inverting steel coaster under 200 ft tall, best launched coaster, best family coaster. They already do "Best Indoor Coaster" in the Ride category.

 

Wood vs. Steel used to be a good division between the type of coaster it was. But now there are dozens (hundreds?) of varieties of steel coasters that have wildly different attributes, designs, and their own positives that make them special in their own way but not the same as the hyper coasters that always win.

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Actually there is one surprise in there.

 

I thought for sure Diamondback would have won best new ride, But Prowler won.

I am still pissed I missed riding this by one little operating day

 

Also a little surprising El Toro is #3 in the wood, I guess all the work on Boulder Dash paid off! I can't wait to finally ride it in 3 weeks.

 

JEFF

I was thinking the same thing as well. Until I remember the ACE annual conference was at Worlds of Fun. So there might have been a great number of voters who rode that ride only on the new ride list. It is the only thing I can thing of as I have not heard much about the ride period.

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I'm pretty ambivalent towards this poll anymore. My only real gripe is the half-assed nod to European parks/coasters that they give.

 

They really should just be honest and make it a US-only poll. Having Diamondback almost beat EGF and no Balder in the top 10 is just a joke.

 

When you view the Golden Ticket Awards through the lens of "US-only", they become sort of reasonable.

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I'm pretty ambivalent towards this poll anymore. My only real gripe is the half-assed nod to European parks/coasters that they give.

 

They really should just be honest and make it a US-only poll. Having Diamondback almost beat EGF and no Balder in the top 10 is just a joke.

 

When you view the Golden Ticket Awards through the lens of "US-only", they become sort of reasonable.

 

I agree with this. I also think that until the awards are more understood and recognized by the GP, they are fairly pointless. It's nice for a "smaller" park to hang a Golden Ticket banner proclaiming victory for a certain category, but even if 50% of the visitors are reading the banner that says "Voted Best _______ for 2009," and asking themselves, "by who?" then what's the point?

 

I think a Travel Channel special goes a long way in educating the GP about these awards though. Perhaps word of mouth will eventually help the situation. But until then, these awards are no different than my local Mickey D's proclaiming they served the best cheeseburgers of 2009!

 

By who? A panel of local chefs? A panel of local fast food enthusiasts? Or maybe even the group of hobos under the I-75 underpass. Who knows? And better yet, who cares!

 

 

EDIT: I also agree that a "Worst of 20__" list is WAY overdue. Being voted the worst of something can be just as inspiring to a park as being the "Best" at something.....and not anymore subjective than the current Golden Tickets.

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EDIT: I also agree that a "Worst of 20__" list is WAY overdue. Being voted the worst of something can be just as inspiring to a park as being the "Best" at something.....and not anymore subjective than the current Golden Tickets.

 

Don't think we'll ever see that since AT is trying to sell ad space to these same parks. This poll seems to be more about chest thumping and back slapping than a serious attempt at ranking or criticism.

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^^ No, I certainly didn't mean from AT, or anyone of the like. Yeah, it's definitely just a money-making thing with them and the parks. I was thinking more along the lines of what Mitch does with the coaster polls. Something independent, where voices could still be heard.

 

Worst operations goes to.....

 

Worst food selection.....

 

Etc. etc.

 

The possibilities are definitely there.

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