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^Looking forward to it. Despite all the controversy, I always enjoy perusing the results, especially the top coaster lists. I'm not personally bothered by the America bias, since that just means I've ridden many more of the top coasters according to these awards than I have according to the Mitch Hawker Poll (which I find more interesting and valid).

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I'm excited to see the results, even though I know Mitch Hawker is more reliable. I always like analyzing polls, and this one still has a certain amount of validity if you look at it from a US-centric perspective. Will Bizarro or Millennium Force get #1? Will I-305 crack the top 10? Will Maverick get a bit more respect? I can't wait to see the rankings, even if I'll be taking them with a grain of salt.

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2011 Golden Ticket Award Winners announced at industry event hosted by Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

 

SANTA CLAUS, Ind. — In an awards show hosted today by Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2011 Golden Ticket Awards, which are presented to the "Best of the Best" in the amusement industry.

 

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey that is 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," "food," "Halloween and Christmas events" and "water rides."

 

This is the 14th annual year for Amusement Today's coveted Golden Ticket Awards, which are the most sought-after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. The awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and have garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA TODAY and the Chicago Tribune, by venerable radio newsman the late-Paul Harvey and were the topic of a one-hour documentary on the Travel Channel.

 

Personally chosen by Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, this year's Publisher's Pick Awards were presented in the categories of Park of the Year and Supplier of the Year. Respectively, the 2011 recipients are Gröna Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, for its rich history and creative ability to thrive despite its small space; and Chance Rides in Wichita, Kan., for its 50 successful years of delivering rides and fun to the amusement industry.

 

The honoree of this year's Legends Series, which pays tribute to an amusement legend who has impacted the industry in a unique way, is Richard L. Kinzel, President and CEO of Cedar Fair, L.P., in Sandusky, Ohio. Kinzel began his storied career in t

 

he amusement industry in 1972 and will retire in January. He has left his mark on the business through his vision, passion and commitment to improving and investing in the Cedar Fair properties. Kinzel is the first living recipient of the Legends Series. For the seventh consecutive year, Amusement Today recognized college students who plan to pursue a career in the amusement industry and are employed by the ceremony's host park of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari and Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., as Ms. and Mr. Golden Tickets. These individuals exemplify the spirit and integrity of the amusement industry by promoting the cornerstones of safety, service, courtesy and cleanliness at the highest level, while consistently exceeding job expectations. This is an annual designation by Amusement Today to promote education in the field of hospitality and amusement.

 

Amusement Today newspaper covers international amusement and waterpark news and trends and in its 15-year history is a five-time winner of various awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. For a detailed outline of the 2011 winners and survey results, please log on to www.goldenticketawards.com.

 

http://www.goldenticketawards.com/award_winners.html

 

Best New Ride: New Texas Giant - SFOT

Best New Water Ride: The Falls - Schlitterbahn

Best Park: Cedar Point

Best Water Park: Schlitterbahn

Best Children's Park: Idlewild

Best Marine Life Park: SeaWorld - Orlando, Florida

Best Seaside Park: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Best Indoor Water Park: Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

Friendliest Park: Holiday World

Cleanest Park: Holiday World

Best Shows: Dollywood

Best Food: Knoebels

Best Water Ride: Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls

Best Waterpark Ride: Wildebeest

Best Kid's Area: Kings Island

Best Dark Ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - Islands of Adventure

Best Outdoor Show Production: Epcot

Best Landscaping: Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Best Halloween Event: Universal Orlando

Best Christmas Event: Dollywood

Best Carousel: Knoebels

Best Indoor Coaster: Revenge of the Mummy - Universal Orlando

Best Funhouse / Walk-Through Attraction: Noah's Ark - Kennywood

Edited by larrygator
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Top 10 Wood Coasters:

1. The Voyage - Holiday World

2. Phoenix - Knoebels

3. El Toro - SFGAdv

4. Boulder Dash - Lake Compounce

5. Thunderhead - Dollywood

6. Ravine Flyer II - Waldameer

7. The Beast - Kings Island

8. Hades - Mt. Olympus

9. Shivering Timbers - Michigan's Adventure

10. Prowler - Worlds of Fun

 

Top 10 Steel Coasters:

1. Millennium Force - Cedar Point

2. Bizarro - SFNE

3. Nitro - SFGAdv

4. Goliath - SFOG

5. Phantom's Revenge - Kennywood

6. New Texas Giant - SFOT

7T. Apollo's Chariot - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

7T. Expedition GeFroce - Holiday Park

9. Top Thrill Dragster - Cedar Point

10. Magnum XL-200 - Cedar Point

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Diamondback at 11 is ranked ahead of I305 at 13 and Behemoth at 15. T Express is ranked at 39 among woodies. Oh and Cedar Point is not better than Knoebels. Not by a long shot.

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A few random thoughts on the poll both this year, and in relation to Mitch's poll and the industry and fanbase in general:

 

First off, no poll is going to accurately show anything. Why? Because we all disagree. So, there's no way to accurately state what is the BEST park or coaster because each of us defines that differently.

 

That said, I think there are two ways to look at what's considered the "top" coasters and parks. What Mitch's poll tries to do is to accurately rank coasters by only counting them among those who've ridden them. That gives international coasters a much bigger chance to shine. The downside of his poll is that for coasters with very few riders, there is a MUCH greater variance and uncertainty in their listing because there are so few riders ranking them. If those riders have tastes that are different from the norm, then they can greatly affect those coasters' rankings. And more importantly, they can also greatly affect the rankings of other more popular coasters because it can often take only one or two ballots to make any coaster pair win. But in general, it's probably the most accurate poll at showing how coasters rank overall in what enthusiasts think of as quality.

 

However, the Golden Tickets doesn't really do that, and honestly, doesn't even try to do that. They are a popularity poll, first and foremost. Give them credit for going out of their way to try to give a better balance by putting mostly very well-travelled enthusiasts on their panel. But, even then, with the exception of maybe 10-20 enthusiasts in the world (and Robb, Elissa and Richard are certainly foremost among them!), very few of us have gotten to nearly EVERY major coaster and park in the world. I've been in the hobby for nearly two decades. And I just got to Scandinavia for the first time this year, and I still haven't gotten to South Korea or China. (Probably next year for one or both.) Hell, even Robb and Elissa just went to Australia for the first time this year! And how many people have been on EVERY one of TPR's international tours? Not many, I'd imagine. So, how can you really design a poll that takes all of that into account? Mitch's poll is probably the best attempt.

 

What AT does do is present the most popular parks and coasters and rides in the hobby. And whether or not you actually love Cedar Point, Holiday World, Kennywood, Knoebels and Schlitterbahn and their rides, it's pretty much indisputable that these are the most popular parks among those of us in the hobby. As such, it makes sense that on such a poll that they and their rides are going to do very well. While many of us have been to the various parks around the country and the world, these five parks are worldwide destination parks among enthusaists. If you've been in the hobby for any length of time, you've been to Cedar Point. And you'll probably get to the others before too much longer, too. These are destination parks in ways that Kings Dominion, or pretty much ANY of the Six Flags parks with that they could be. So, it's going to make sense in this kind of poll that those parks are going to do very well. And to be honest, they'll probably rank higher than they might actually deserve, by the sheer fact that the vast majority of the people on the panel have actually been there.

 

Mitch's poll shows that Millennium Force is definitely not the BEST steel coaster out there, at least in terms of overall opinions of quality. But I think that it's pretty indisputable that it's the MOST POPULAR steel coaster out there. At least since Six Flags changed the trains on Superman/Bizarro. Tons and tons of people absolutely love it, even though I really don't understand why! (It's not even in my top 40!) But it's the most popular coaster at the most popular amusement park in the world among enthsuaists.

 

As for the international rankings, see what I wrote above. No matter how well-travelled the panel may be, the odds are that most of us have only been to a few other countries, and haven't sampled most of the top coasters and rides in terms of quality. Some of us have been to Germany and the UK, but not Japan or South Korea. Or to Italy and Spain and South Korea, but not to Scandinavia and China. So, even if every one of those who've been to Scandinavia (for example) loves Twister and Piraten, they're still going to get a whole lot fewer votes than Top Thrill Dragster and Beast, even if they're better rides. (And that's not necessarily the case. A lot of us on the ACE trip thought that Piraten was great, but overrated on Mitch's poll. In fact, no one I talked to thought it was a top 10. I expect that it will drop quite a bit in this year's Mitch poll.)

 

It's not that the Golden Tickets "pretends" to be an international award list and fails. It DOES try to be so. But it's still a popularity poll. And unless someone really rich decides to send all of us on round-the-world trips, there's never going to be any sort of consensus among coasters fans about the rides at foreign parks. Remember that international travel is very expensive and inconvenient.

 

Think about it this way. There have only ever been two major coaster trips to South Korea. One by TPR. And one by the ECC. That's still less than 100 people total. There are well over 10,000 coaster fans on this site alone. And 6,000 members of ACE, obviously with some overlap. There have been what three trips to Italy total? Two by TPR (as park of larger trips) and one by the ECC. That's maybe 150 people total. Germany's had a few more visits, with several trips by each group. But it's still well under 1000 people total, among a fanbase in the tens of thousands.

 

And look at Mitch's poll results. Sure, T-Express ranked at tied for #1. But it had 21 riders on the poll, compared with 221 for El Toro. It's fair to say that they're both equally good coasters, but let's be honest here, which one is "more popular" among coaster enthusiasts? If it only got mentioned on 21 out of 489 ballots, is it really any surprise that it only got 101 points (and a #1 vote is worth 10 points) in the Golden tickets with AT's much smaller panel?

 

In fact, it's only because of groups like TPR, ACE and ECC that most of us have even done as much international travel as we have. It's possible to organize travel on our own. But it's a hell of a lot easier when Robb and Elissa or people at the other clubs do it for us! You pay for that by staying at perhaps nicer hotels than you might have and spending more than you might have on your own. And you also pay by being stuck to someone else's schedule, which will obviously be different than what you would have planned. But you get a ton of other benefits, not the least of which are the ERT and other perks and the camaraderie of being with a group of coasters freaks on a coaster trip! But I think that overall, it's very very much worth it.

 

But one other thing that's indisputable: among the industry, these are the biggest and most important awards. We may not always agree with them. But the parks consider them very, very important. They're pretty much the only awards that the parks regularly promote in their advertising and in-park signs. Just look at all of the advertising in the supplement itself. That's because everyone wants to brag among their peers about how well they did there. The Golden Tickets are the Academy Awards or Emmy's of the industry. And just like those awards, they have their biases.

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It's not that the Golden Tickets "pretends" to be an international award list and fails. It DOES try to be so. But it's still a popularity poll. And unless someone really rich decides to send all of us on round-the-world trips, there's never going to be any sort of consensus among coasters fans about the rides at foreign parks. Remember that international travel is very expensive and inconvenient.

 

...which is why I feel that the poll should stop pretending to be international (which it isn't) and instead concentrate on listing the most popular attractions in the United States (which it does). I'd have far more respect for it in that scenario.

 

Nice essay by the way

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Think about it this way. There have only ever been two major coaster trips to South Korea. One by TPR. And one by the ECC. That's still less than 100 people total. There are well over 10,000 coaster fans on this site alone. And 6,000 members of ACE, obviously with some overlap. There have been what three trips to Italy total? Two by TPR (as park of larger trips) and one by the ECC. That's maybe 150 people total. Germany's had a few more visits, with several trips by each group. But it's still well under 1000 people total, among a fanbase in the tens of thousands.

 

That is of course assuming there is no people actually living in Germany. Which there is. The problem is that most of the fans in Germany don't read amusement today and don't vote in this pool. This is one of the strengths of Mitch's poll, its international profile. In the 2010 pool more people had ridden Expedition Geforce than Bizarro. And more people had been in Nemesis than Millenium Force. The strength of that poll compared to Amusement Today is that it is pretty well balanced in terms of European and American voters. (still too few Asian voters though)

 

I think it speaks for itself when Nemesis isn't even in the top ten steel coasters!

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Well, that reply ended up being more of a discussion of the awards itself, rather than the actual awards that won. Here are some random thoughts on the actual winners:

 

First off, It's completely understandable that certain awards are pretty much a lock for the same parks year in and year out. It's not like those parks are usually dramatically improving or failing at things. If most enthusiasts think that Cedar Point is the best amusement park and Schlitterbahn is the best water park in the world, what's really going to change those opinions? Anyone who's bet against either park winning this poll (or just about any poll for best overall parks) is a fool. With the exception of IOA when it was fresh and new, there's never been any competition in either category, and it's fair to say that the VAST majority of enthusiasts would agree with them. Even if Schlitterbahn didn't put together probably the most incredible events in the industry!

 

It's also interesting to see that a bunch more people filled out the ballots this year. I know that hey added a bunch of new people to the panel. And maybe more people bothered to fill it out this year? While it didn't seem to change most of the categories, it definitely affected the coaster categories. Interestingly, in the other categories, it seemed to mostly solidify the positions of the top two vote-getters, as most of them gained anywhere from 2-20%, while the lower ranked parks and rides seemed to drop even lower in percentages this year. However, they also had a few more nominees preselected in most categories, which did spread out some of the percentages.

 

Best new rides weren't even close, as expected. Even if enthusiasts were stupid enough to go to Florida in the Summer, Cheetah Hunt was never gonna have a chance against the amazing new Texas Giant. The only new coaster even coming close in quality was Grona Lund's Twister, but not enough enthusiasts have eben to Sweden to give it a fighting chance. (I'd imagine that most of the 5% of the votes it got were people on the ACE Scandinavia trip.) And can anyone even think about competing with Schlitterbahn, besides Holiday World and Splashin' Safari? (Mainly because Splashin' Safari is one of the only water parks that many enthusiasts have been to, thanks to Holi-Wood Nights and other events there!) I just wish that The Falls had opened in tome for my visit in June!

 

I'm still amazed that Idlewild wins every year for best kid's park. Sure it's nice, but nice enough to get 2 out of every 5 votes? Here's where you're seeing heavy old-school ACEr influence in this poll.

 

While Sea World in Orlando has always been a lock for the best marine life park Can anyone out there think of any better place?), I was surprised to see Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk just squeak out a win after years of dominating the category. it lost 8% this year, which put it only 1% above Blackpool Pleasure Beach (which I honestly think deserves it.)

 

Knoebels for best food again? They probably should name this "best traditional park food", which I'd agree with. But can anyone even think about competing with Tivoli Gardens for best gourmet (and super expensive!) food? I mean, many people actually pay the huge park admission charge just to eat at their restaurants! Then again, since the restaurants are outside vendors, maybe that's not a fair comparison. (Then again, you could also say the same thing for Epcot, which is another contender for truly great food.) My vote perrennially goes to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, who still have some of my favorite ribs anywhere!

 

Will anyone ever beat Dudley Do-Right? It's just such a perfect combination of silly whimsey and solid overall ride. The only current ride that is better will never win, since it's in the UK. it's testament to Valhalla's quality that it comes as close as it does, given its huge handicap. After all, probably just about everyone on the panel has been on Dudley at least once.

 

Wildebeest has established itself as the best water park ride just in time to probably be unseated by its newer brother next year! Or will they split the vote, allowing Master Blaster to regain the title? Which is what happens now, with Schlitterbahn's three rides combined getting nearly half of the votes overall.

 

And the only park to beat IOA for best dark ride is... IOA! Even splitting the IOA vote, no one else even comes close. It will be interesting to see if Spidey's hi-def overhaul allows it to reclaim the top spot for Harry Potter next year.

 

Illuminations is untouchable, even if World of Color has dramatically increased the park's attendance. Poor Fiesta got hit with a fireworks ban, during ACE's convention add-on day, which surely would have otherwise gotten them a bunch more votes!

 

I really wish that they'd split the walk-through attraction into haunted and funhouse categories. They're so very, very different. Either way, all of the contenders in my mind are in Europe and Japan. Not even the excellent Frankenstein's Castle comes close. I voted for Grona Lund's amazing Lustiga Huset.

 

As for the coasters, it's interesting to see how the influence of the new people they've added to the poll has altered the top coasters. I'd imagine that a lot of them are old-school ACEr types, considering how the rankings changed. Not that that's a bad thing, but they have certain biases, which can been seen in the results. As always, the major ACE events and overseas trips by both ACE and the ECC will also affect the rankings, especially for overseas rides.

 

It's pretty clear that Six Flags really messed up with their remake of Superman into Bizarro. A lot of enthuisaists I know feel that it's really lost its charm, either due to the blasting soundtrack or the restrictive restraints. (And I'm sure that it doesn't help that taller people can't ride at all, either!) It has always been neck and neck with Millennium Force, swapping first place rankings. That a coaster in Massachusetts can even compete with the top coaster at the most popular coaster park in the world is testament to an incredible coaster design. But now, as more enthusiasts get back to the park and experience the new trains, it's not even close, with MF getting over 25% more points. Then again, Bizarro is really handicapped, when you consider that it had less than 2/3 of the riders as MF did on Mitch's poll.

 

Interestingly, those two coasters and Expedition GeForce are the only coasters in the top 10 on both the Golden Tickets and Mitch's poll.

 

Could someone please explain the appeal of Nitro to me? Sure, it's fast and fun. And it certainly has more forces than MF, which I'll never understand either. But surely there are at least a half dozen hypercoasters (and I'd argue more than a dozen) that are better than it. Maybe it's just that none of them have had as many riders as the older Nitro at a well-attended park in a coaster-rich area?

 

I figures that New Texas Giant was a lock for best new coaster, but to make #6 in it's debut year? Surely, this was helped by both a TPR event there AND the ACE Convention this year. But it's still damn impressive. Imagine once the masses have all ridden it? This could be a contender for #1 in a few years. It will be interesting to see where it ranks on Mitch's poll, which doesn't require a lot of riders to win.

 

I'm sure that some will complain about Intimidator 305 only ranking at #13. But that makes a lot of sense to me. For one thing, a lot of people haven't ridden it yet. For another thing, a lot of people rode it with painful restraints or with brakes or both (as I did.) Even without that, it's certainly a polarizing coaster. I really wanted to like it, but I only ranked it #42. (And it should drop a few more notches as a few new to me coasters knock it down.)

 

And Phantom's Revenge is a great coaster, but if it were anywhere but Kennywood, would it even rank in the top 20?

 

You can see the effect of the ACE Convention in Texas, their trip to Scandinavia and the ECC trip to Germany in a bunch of the results on both the steel and wood lists with big jumps for Titan, Piraten, Blue Fire, Superman Krypton Coaster, Olympia Looping, Lisebergbanan, Balder, Boardwalk Bullet (which jumped from 38 to 17, with nearly 5 times as many points as last year!), Troy, and Rutschebanen, many of which actually debuted in the top 50 this year.

 

Strangely, despite the ECC Germany trip, Heide Park's Colossos - the world's first Intamin plug and play -- dropped from 18 to 29 and even lose a handful of points, despite there being more voters this year. What happened? Is it running badly now? Admittedly, you can't take much form the lower ends of the poll, where it can take only a few votes to dramatically move a coaster. But still, it's one of the few coasters on the poll to lose points.

 

On another international note, T Express finally joined the top 50 woodies at #39. Nothing like it's tied for #1 showing on Mitch's poll, but quite good for a coaster in North Korea, where so few enthusiasts have visited.

 

As for wood, Voyage dominates, as expected, with nearly 20% more votes than either Phoenix or El Toro, which had a very tight fight for second. (So tight that one more #1 vote and a #4 vote for El Toro would have put it ahead of Phoenix.)

 

In fact, the wood poll is where I think that the old-school enthusiast influence of a lot of the new voters on the panel shows. Both Phoenix and Twister got a ton of new votes, enough to push Phoenix just above El Toro and to propel Twister up from #32 to #20 with over two and a half times as many points as last year! As much as I love Phoenix, it will never be a top 20 coaster for me. but old school fans absolutely LOVE it. It's probably the ultimate classic coaster. I suspect that El Toro's drop isn't to be attributed to any drop to it's quality as to a slight shift in the poll panel's demographic.

 

Beast used to be great. ut since the brakes, and since they've built so many more great woodies, is it even remotely a top 10 coaster any more? Apparently a ton of people still think so. I don't think is just nostalgia. So many enthusiasts simply love it. Ask them, not me, why!

 

Raven and Lightning Racer finally drop out of the top 10. Raven hasn't run as well as it used to in years. And it's still a short ride. And let's be honest, it's been completely overshadowed by Voyage. And I've never understood LIghtning Racer's perennial place in the top 10 here. Sure, like Phoenix, it's probably one of the most purely FUN coasters out there. (Or should I say TWO of them?) But top 10? Hardly!

 

Their drop allows Shivering TImbers and Prowler to jump back into the top 10. Is Timbers running better, or is it just that many of the new people on the panel remember it from when it was great? But Prowler may not be in my top 20 (just), but it's my favorite GCI.

 

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that Hellcat in the Dells hasn't aged well, since it dropped from #19 to #30 and is another one of the few coasters to lose points with more voters in this year's panel.

 

Could someone please do a major event at Alabama Adventure? Robb, are you listening? Maybe along with next year's Deep South Bash? Rampage may not be a #1 coaster, but it's far better than #32. At least on Mitch's poll it's #15, which is better, but nowhere near as good as my personal ranking of #5.

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...which is why I feel that the poll should stop pretending to be international (which it isn't) and instead concentrate on listing the most popular attractions in the United States (which it does). I'd have far more respect for it in that scenario.

 

Nice essay by the way

 

Thanks! those who know me (both online and offline) know that I'm never short of words! But since I was on your first major coaster trip (and to think, that was what, 1500+ coasters ago for you?), you already know this!

 

But the thing that you're missing here is that these are also the most popular rides among enthusiats in the world.

 

Like it or not, there's little in terms of organized coaster enthusiast groups outside of the US and the UK based ECC. Even when you looks at TPR, how many members do we actually have from each country, other than the UK? There are a handful of people from each country, for sure, but nothing compared to the literally tens of thousands of members from the US. I'm confident that if you took a similar poll here on TPR the results would actually be pretty similar to the results in the Golden Tickets, at least in terms of international coverage of coasters. In fact, I bet that the international coasters would actually fare worse because there are so many more enthusiasts her in the US who have never been abroad. Yes, TPR has had organized trips to Germany. And how many people went? 50? In terms of the overall hobby, that's only a tiny drop in the bucket. Certainly, I think that the results of a TPR poll would be different because it gets a different demographic of US coaster enthusiasts than I think is on the Golden Tickets panel. But of the 10,000 people who read TPR, how many have actually ridden Nemesis or Balder or Expedition GeForce. I think that you'll find that it's a TINY percentage. Probably less so with Nemesis, but it still ranked #12 on the Golden Tickets, which is pretty damn good. And Expedition GeForce, generally considered the best coaster in Europe, ranked at #6. I'd be wiling to bet that less than 5% (and probably less than 2%) of those who read TPR have ridden EGF.

 

There are lots of people around the world who love coasters. But there aren't actually that many who actually love them enough to sit online and rank them and more importantly to take lots of vacations revolving around coasters. Outside of the US and the ECC in Europe, it's pretty unheard of. I mean, Mexico may have a tiny coaster group, but have they ever actually hosted an event at any park? What about Japan? They have tons of coasters, but when ACE and the ECC contacted them about our first trip there, the parks had no idea what they were talking about when they talked about a coaster group organizing a tour there. (They're more used to the idea now, with the ECC and TPR having organized multiple trips there, but all of those trips involved foreigners visiting their country, not locals. Italy may have a small group of readers here on TPR (and I actually ran into a handful of them at Mirabilandia in July, which was pretty cool!), but how many are we actually talking about? Hell, has there ever actually been a coaster event in Germany that didn't involve a group trip to the country by ACE, the ECC or TPR?

 

To be honest, I think that AT goes out of their way to try to get well-traveled enthusiasts both from the UK and elsewhere on their panel. If anything, they're stacking the results to try to help the international parks. And they go out of their way to mention and highlight EVERY international coaster that makes the top 50 lists.

 

Understand that I'm not knocking foreign coasters. On my personal wood and steel top 10 lists, there are 2 from Japan, 2 from Sweden, one from Spain and one from the UK, which makes nearly 1/3 of them. (And the new ones on my list this year from Sweden knocked out another Spanish coaster from my top 10.) And if you add the next 10 on each list, that adds another 5 European coasters and one from BC, Canada, keeping the ratio the same. But I also know that I'm much more well-travelled than the typical enthusiast.

 

That is of course assuming there is no people actually living in Germany. Which there is. The problem is that most of the fans in Germany don't read amusement today and don't vote in this pool. This is one of the strengths of Mitch's poll, its international profile. In the 2010 pool more people had ridden Expedition Geforce than Bizarro. And more people had been in Nemesis than Millenium Force. The strength of that poll compared to Amusement Today is that it is pretty well balanced in terms of European and American voters. (still too few Asian voters though)

 

I think it speaks for itself when Nemesis isn't even in the top ten steel coasters!

 

First off, I'm not gonna argue with you on Nemesis. It's in MY top 10. (I was just there in July for the second time!) But remember that it's also the highest ranking looping coaster on the entire steel poll. So you're dealing with multiple biases there. A lot of coaster enthusiasts prefer hyper-coasters and aren't fans of positive G's like we are! Because I'd make the exact same comment about Montu, Pyrenees, Katun, Kumba, Alpengeist, Dragon Khan and X/X2, all of which I think belong in the top 10. Hell, Montu's my #1 steel, and it only ranks at #14, but I don't complain that they should call this the hyper-coasters steel poll. i just have to understand that not everyone is as wise as me!

 

Like I mentioned above, it's not that the fans in Germany don't read Amusement Today. It's that there aren't all that many WELL-TRAVELLED coaster fans there. That's the one and only requirement to be on the AT panel. And there's a reason for that. The poll is not meant to be a big rooting session for your local park (as some have suggested here.) They specifically have sought out well-travelled enthusiasts who have been to lots of other areas to have a better sense of exactly where their local parks and rides actually stack up. After all, someone who's been to only German parks and maybe a couple of others and thinks that Bandit is a top 10 woodie may be right from his experience. But it's 5th from the bottom placing on Mitch's list would say otherwise. That makes his vote unhelpful in the poll overall. Adding someone to the panel whose list consists of all German coasters, plus maybe Nemesis or Balder isn't going to give us a more accurate list. It would end up weighing those coasters unfairly.

 

Now, if there are German enthusiasts who are fairly well-travelled, then all they have to do to get on the panel is to send an e-mail to Tim. It's that simple. And if they're at all connected with the coaster hobby, they surely know about the Golden Ticket Awards, the most prestigious awards in the industry. But I'll bet that there's a good chance that Tim has already added them to the panel. He is, after all, a member of the ECC and just came back from the ECC trip to Germany. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that there are more Germans on the panel than you realize. But ultimately, is it AT's job to go out and track down dozens of enthusiasts from other countries? Or should they contact AT if they want to be on the poll? Well, both are what actually happen.

 

And for all those on here who are well-travelled and are complaining about the poll not being international enough, e-mail the magazine and ask to be added to the panel. And then take the time to vote. It's really that simple. Take this from someone who IS on the panel and DID include those 6 international coasters on my ballot, (not to mention international parks and rides in several of the other categories on my ballot.)

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David - Do you know how ballots were sent out this this year and how many were completed?

 

Since I was added to the mailing list 3-4 years ago I enjoy filling out the ballot every year even though very few of my votes end up going to the winners.

Edited by larrygator
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I'll always trust the fan-made poll over an industry controlled one (especially given some odd choices that david pointed out). The golden tickets seem sort of like the Grammys to me, a chance for an industry to promote business success where it exists (an unflinching top spot for cedar point and its flagship coaster, despite a decade of shifting opinions), yet few fans of music would pay much due to the Grammys.

 

I doubt many here would agree with the list verbatim, but it will easily help the continued marketing efforts for already famous rides. (The Beast [#52 on MH poll], for example is quite famous, but it's odd to think that there could only be 6 better wooden rides than it in its current state. Another big discrepancy between the lists is Magnum a very famous ride, but at #58 on Mitch Hawker.)

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^ You've got a point here. But let's also remember that popularity polls often don't have much to do with actual quality. Sure, most popular things have SOME quality. But purists in any field would argue about the quality of most popular things.

 

You know, the funny thing is that Magnum is the one coaster at Cedar Point that I agree with the poll on! Well, at least in the top 10. I put it at #33, but that's much higher than I put MF (71) or Dragster (59). MF doesn't even make my top 5 coasters AT CEDAR POINT list!

 

^^ Sorry, Larry, but despite the amount of thought and text I've given to the subject, my actual knowledge of the poll is about what yours is. They mentioned in the AT GTA supplement that they had added a bunch of new people, but didn't specify how many. I suspect that they don't want it known how many people take the poll because they dohn't want people to know how few people actually vote in some of the categories. That's obviously why all of the non-coaster categories are listed by percentage, rather than points or votes.

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I always find interesting that every year, with the exception of the top coasters lists, all of the results are nearly identical. The same five parks always get nominated, and they usually finish in the same order (or a similar order). I know, as has been mentioned, this is just a popularity poll, but I still find it interesting how much the panel seems to agree each year.

 

As for the top coaster lists (just like the main awards), I don't personally agree with them, but for parks I've never been to it gives me a good idea of what to expect. If a ride ranks anywhere on the top fifty list, I can usually assume it is going to be a good ride, although I do find most of the wooden coasters from the list that I've been on overrated. I also tend to treat this more as a best in the US poll than a best in the world one, as although it does have some international winners they are outnumbered by American rides.

 

Also, New Texas Giant at #6! Outside of Florida, this is probably the major park & coaster I most want to get to.

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^The ballot doesn't change dramatically from year to year and even though Amusement Today strives to add more well traveled enthusiast there are still a preponderence of voters that are the same as the previous year.

 

Although, I have seen more International attractions added to the ballot after ECC and TPR return from overseas trips. However, those attractions/parks tend to cannibalize votes from each other.

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I wonder how many people vote in categories that they have no experience. The Falls at Schlitterbahn has been open for 1.5 months, yet won best new waterpark ride. Did people really get a chance to ride it or did they just vote for it because it's Schlitterbahn?

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I agree with a fair number of the awards. I'm always happy to see the love for Holiday World, Knoebels, Silver Dollar City, and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I also appreciate the continued recognition for two great ring carousels and a double-decker, and some quirky and well-developed walk-through attractions. (But did anyone else think the Kennywood carousel was really quite...bad?)

 

As for the coaster lists, I've been on just under half of the steelies and just over 3/5 of the woodies, and I think quite a number of them have been overrated here. However, I'm glad to see the oft-maligned or ignored Steel Force and Mamba, as well as the Giovanola siblings, get some positive attention. I've always loved most underdog hypers more than most perennial favorites.

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Well, that puts the nail in the "What kind of coaster is New Texas Giant" coffin.
Yeah, witch brings me to this comment. Millennium Force is not even half the ride New Texas Giant is. Why the hell is it #1.

 

Probably because Millennium Force is located at the best Amusement Part in the World... 14 years running

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