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Golden Ticket Awards 2012 Results

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Golden Ticket Awards happened this weekend at Dollywood.


Details: http://www.goldenticketawards.com/


Top 10 Wood Coasters:


1 - El Toro

2 - The Voyage

3 - Phoenix

4 - Thunderhead

5 - Boulder Dash

6 - Ravine Flyer II

7 - The Beast

8 - The Raven

9 - Shivering Timbers

10 - Balder


Top 10 Steel Coasters:


1 - Millennium Force

2 - Bizarro (SFNE)

3 - Nitro

4 - Apollo's Chariot

5 - Texas Giant

6 - Expedition GeForce

7 - Intimidator (Carowinds)

8 - Magnum XL-200

9 - Goliath (SFOG)

10 - Diamondback.


Best new ride for 2012:

1 - Wild Eagle

2 - Radiator Springs Racer

3 - Leviathan

4 - Verbolten

5 - OzIris

6 - SkyRush


Best New Waterpark ride for 2012:



Best Park:

1 - Cedar Point

2 - Europa Park

3 - Dollywood

4 - Knoebel's

5 - Disneyland

6 - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

7 - Magic Kingdom

8 - Universals Islands of Adventure

9 - Tokyo DisneySea

10 - Blackpool Pleasure Beach


Click the link above to see the rest of the awards.


Ok, that's it...



Edited by robbalvey
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Nice to see El Toro on the top spot, I rode it again last year and it's better than ever!


It's a very bizarre steel list, I know it's never very well represented internationally but even in the US there are a few that I would have expected to see (i305?!?). 5 of the top 10 are B&M, I don't remember them taking that many in the past!

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Some other highlights -


Steel coasters - Intimidator 305 placed 12th, Piraten (Intamin Mega-lite) placed 37th, and Skyrush placed 43rd!


Wooden coasters - Lightning Racer placed 11th, Hades placed 12th (?!?), Coney Island Cyclone placed 14th, and T-Express tied for 46th!


What's with all these great coasters placing so low, and Hades placing so high? Isn't Hades like...complete garbage now or something?

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Interesting that my top 6 wooden coaster is the same, just not in that order.


This is more like it:


1. El Toro

2. Phoenix

3. Boulder Dash

4. The Voyage

5. Ravine Flyer II

6. Thunderhead



How is Intimidator at Carowinds on the top ten list, but i305 is nowhere to be found?>???


How is any B&M hyper in the top ten, but i305 is nowhere to be found? ...Fixed.

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Just rode Skyrush yesterday, it should definitely be somewhere in that top 10. Maybe the top 20, definitely not in the 40s. And it should not be number six on best new rides list.


Wild Eagle was not the best new ride, I think that was just picked because they were hosting the event this year.


Oh well, at least El Toro is number one!

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First, congratulations to El Toro for FINALLY making the number 1 spot.


Second, why is Skyrush so low, even on the new rides list? I thought it was phenomenal (granted, it was the only "new for 2012" coaster I rode). And on that note, is Wild Eagle really so much better than X-Flight that the latter didn't even make the list "new for 2012" list, or at least the list the website posted?


And as much as I love Millennium Force, I'm almost getting sick of seeing it at the #1 spot year after year.


I used to be so excited for the Golden Ticket Awards, now I find myself asking "now how did that land that place?" as opposed to being satisfied with results. Oh well, they're just titles. The world isn't going to hell just because my favorite "X" isn't #1.


EDIT: Does anyone know where to find the full or extended list of winners? I can't seem to find it on the GTA site.

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I'm very happy that Expedition GeForce once again ranks as the best Steel Coaster outside the USA- for the 11th consecutive year! Also, as an Intamin fan, it's nice to see El Toro finally in the top spot. Still wondering why so few Intamin woodies have been built.

However, it seems like Skyrush and i305 are just too intense for some people... After the enthusiastic Skyrush reviews of most riders, I expected it to rank at least in the Top 20.

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I do agree that there are some flaws in the voting process with the top coasters. It is all done on a points system based off of a top 10 list provided by the voters for both steel and wood. So, since there are only around 500 or so voters on the panel, some of the newer rides (like Skyrush) might not have as good of a chance to get points because a majority of the voters may not have gotten to the park yet. However, I'm sure the ride will be well represented within the coming years (and hopfully knock rides like Nitro or Intimidator down the poll a little bit).


With that said, I am a voter. I'm not the most well travelled, however, I have been to close to 90 parks to this point, both domestically and internationally. I was just put on the panel this year, and I like to think I was one that helped get El Toro over the hump! I also like that Balder at least cracked the top 10 this year.


As far as Dollywood winning such things as best new ride, the awards certainly weren't fixed by Amusement Today, however, I can totally see a lot of voters (a lot of ACEers) trying to get cute and stuff the ballot for Dollywood just because they were the home park. They also won friendlist park (which normally goes to Holiday World) and Best Food (which after speaking with Dick Knoebel after the awards, Knoebels had won the award all of the 14 years it had been given, with Dollywood not even having a sniff of the award). So, like I said, it wasn't a conspiracy by Amusement Today, but probably more the voters than anything.


Also with that said, anyone can be a voter as long as they show they have a good working knowledge of parks and have been to a good amount of parks and such. I think that would probably go a long way with tempering the complaining of the enthusiast community. And really, the voting is subjective anyway, just like any awards. So if you would like to see other parks or rides get their due respect, then I suggest applying to vote (you just can't vote if you are a park employee) ESPECIALLY if you are from parks overseas. I think the awards must get more international park-goers in the mix so great parks in Europe can get some awards under their belts.


I know the Golden Tickets gets a lot of crap in the enthusiast community, however, it is great for the parks to be able to display their awards, and really does bring a good amount of attention to the industry. Besides that 200 people that were in the industry who attended the awards, the park also allowed the general public to attend from the park, and there had to be about 1,000 people in the theatre, so the exposure was there, live. Plus all of the press releases and such that are sent out, there is a lot of publicity to go around. If you want the rides that should be winning to win, sign up to vote and let's make these awards something that everyone can enjoy.

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After seeing the steel top 10 list, I could finally say this year that I was genuinely unimpressed with the results, just like many people feel every year. And I actually really like many of the winning rides, and rank them very highly myself! I didn't think too hard about the top 50s as I went through them, but they seemed a bit more agreeable.


As for Skyrush, apart from the "flawed" way voting works, I suspect there are more restraint haters than one might think after reading all the rave reviews.


For the nerd record, I've been on 33 of the top 50 steelies (more to come this year) and 34 of the top 50 woodies.

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Some other highlights -


Steel coasters - Intimidator 305 placed 12th, Piraten (Intamin Mega-lite) placed 37th, and Skyrush placed 43rd!


Wooden coasters - Lightning Racer placed 11th, Hades placed 12th (?!?), Coney Island Cyclone placed 14th, and T-Express tied for 46th!


What's with all these great coasters placing so low, and Hades placing so high? Isn't Hades like...complete garbage now or something?


While the airtime on Hades is amazing, Mt. Olympus's lack of maintenance makes the ride more and more unbearable every year. I stopped going there several years ago and Hades was not only ruff, but hurt. Where as when it opened in was smooth for a wooden coaster. I can only imagine how bad it is now.

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Results seem consistent with past years, some rides overrated some rides underrated and a lot of rides from parks that probably buy ad space in Amusement Today.


Robb, have you ever considered doing some type of "official" TPR coaster/park awards ? It would be interesting to compare TPRs results to polls from other publications and evven to the Mitch Hawker wood/steel results.

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Let's see what I can say this year...


New Rides: I didn't personally ride Wild Eagle, and while I have heard it's good, I would have expected either Leviathan or Radiator Springs Racers to end up winning this. I'm also surprised that Oz'Iris (which has gotten so-so reviews) ended up on here while Transformers: The Ride 3D (which has gotten rave reviews) didn't even make the top five. As for waterparks, I don't follow waterpark additions much outside of my local waterparks, but Mammoth seems deserving of the win.


Best Park: Every year, the same parks end up on here. I think I've said it before, but I've been to four parks on this list (Cedar Point, Dollywood, Disneyland, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg) and I would easily rank Cedar Point last out of those four. I usually don't pay too much attention to international parks since 80% of the voters come from North America, but I've got a feeling there are a few others that deserve to be on here. If you look only at US parks, Holiday World is one I would say belongs somewhere in the top ten, yet isn't.


Top Ten Steel: I must say that this year's steel list is probably the worst I've seen. Too many rides are ranked highly that shouldn't be, and several rides should be higher than where they placed. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of super intense rides like Intimidator 305, and can understand how some people might not enjoy those rides, based on what I've heard from others that and Skyrush are much more deserving of being in the top ten than most of the B&Ms or Magnum. Also, Millennium Force is not the best coaster in North America.


Just for fun, here's where my top ten steel coasters ranked...


1. Bizarro (SFNE)-2nd

2. Intimidator-7th

3. Maverick-21st

4. Griffon-26th

5. Xcelerator-did not place in top 50

6. Leviathan-22nd

7. Dominator-did not place in top 50

8. Afterburn-45th

9. Tatsu-28th

10. Top Thrill Dragster-13th


Top Ten Wood: I actually think the wood list this year was pretty accurate, at least the top ten. I've been on six of the top ten, and other than swapping Boulder Dash and Thunderhead they are in the same order on my list. However, I do rank Raven lower and several other woodies higher. My biggest annoyance with the wood list is that rides like GhostRider and Boss continue to place on the list, especially as high as they do. Almost everyone I know would easily rank Apocalypse or American Thunder ahead of GhostRider, and while I haven't been on most of the woodies ranked below Boss I have a feeling many enthusiasts would rank most of them ahead of it. Also, the biggest WTF of the year in my opinion...Mean Streak is on the top 50! Even if only talking about North American woodies, that should not happen.


Other Awards: I generally don't pay much attention to the other awards simply because they are either more accurate, rarely change, or aren't things I notice or care much about when visiting the park. However, I would really like to know how Idlewild outranks both US Legolands for best children's park. I haven't been to Idlewild, but I've visited Legoland California a number of times and it seems like the ideal park for elementary-aged children and under.


Although I always look forward to the Golden Ticket Awards, I have never really put too much weight on them. It's just fun to see how my opinions differ from what the voters say. Usually, I just figure that if a park or ride makes it onto the list, it is probably a good one. If Nitro ranks 3rd on the steel coaster list, I don't think of it as the 3rd best steel coaster in North America, but I do think of it as a top tier coaster. I also pretty much ignore opinions of international parks and rides in these awards, as due to the voting system they are unfairly represented and don't stand a chance for the most part.


For finding the top tier parks and rides in North America, Golden Tickets are helpful (just ignore the ratings and look at the entire lists of finalists). For accurate opinions on which coasters are the best, Mitch Hawker's poll is usually my preferred resource. For opinions on parks in general, especially those outside North America, I trust Robb, Elissa, and TPR's other frequent travellers.

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I think these awards try to celebrate the 'other' parks, but then the fact that places like Disney and Universal and the other big known around the world parks and rids are even on the list just makes these seem inaccurate.


I guess just because the major parks are the most visited in the world doesn't mean they are the best, but there is some sort of correlation there.

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