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Golden Ticket Awards 2016

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Amusement Today held their annual golden ticket awards event this year at Cedar Point, and here's a list of all the recipients!


Official Page complete with articles and images


Best Steel Coaster

1.) Fury 325 at Carowinds

2.) Millennium Force at Cedar Point

3.) Superman at Six Flags New England

4.) Expedition Geforce at Holiday Park

5.) Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure

6.) Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Willamsburg

7.) Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland

8.) Intimidator at Carowinds

9.) Diamondback at Kings Island

10.) Phantom's Revenge at Kennywood

11.) Nemesis at Alton Towers

12.) Maverick at Cedar Point

13.) Banshee at Kings Island

14.) Blue Fire at Europa-Park

15.) Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point

16.) New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas

17.) Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion

18.) Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England

19.) Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point

20.) Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia

21.) Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

22.) Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa

23.) X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain

24.) Behemoth at Canada's Wonderland

25.) Black Mamba at Phantasialand

26.) Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain

27.) Mind Bender at Six Flags Over Georgia

28.) Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom

29.) Helix at Liseberg

30.) Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

31.) Goliath at La Ronde

32.) Raging Bull at Six Flags Great America (Tie)

32.) Taron at Phantasialand (Tie)

34.) Thunderbird at Holiday World

35.) Mako at Seaworld Orlando

36.) Wild Eagle at Dollywood

37.) Steel Force at Dorney Park

38.) Lisebergbanan at Liseberg

39.) Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa

40.) Euro-Mir at Europa-Park (Tie)

40.) Medusa Steel Coaster at Six Flags Mexico (Tie)

42.) Cannibal at Lagoon (Tie)

42.) Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa (Tie)

44.) Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom

45.) Whizzer at Six Flags Great America

46.) Olympia Looping at Weiner Prater

47.) Raptor at Cedar Point

48.) Bizarro at Six Flags Great Adventure

49.) Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom (Tie)

49.) Gatekeeper at Cedar Point (Tie)


Best Wooden Coaster

1.) Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce

2.) Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort

3.) El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure

4.) The Voyage at Holiday World

5.) Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer

6.) The Beast at Kings Island

7.) Thunderhead at Dollywood

8.) Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City

9.) Gold Striker at California's Great Adventure

10.) Lightning Racer at Hersheypark

11.) Lightning Rod at Dollywood

12.) Balder at Liseberg

13.) Goliath at Six Flags Great America

14.) Prowler at Worlds of Fun

15.) The Raven at Holiday World

16.) The Legend at Holiday World

17.) Giant Dipper at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

18.) Colossus at Heide Park

19.) Shivering Timbers at Michigan's Adventure

20.) Jack Rabbit at Kennywood

21.) Thunderbolt at Kennywood

22.) Cú Chulainn at Tayto Park

23.) Wodan at Europa Park

24.) Troy at Toverland

25.) Comet at The Great Escape (Tie)

25.) El Toro at Freitzeitpark Plohn (Tie)

27.) Cyclone at Luna Park

28.) Wildfire at Kolmården

29.) Ghostrider at Knott's Berry Farm

30.) Playland Wooden Coaster at Playland

31.) The Boss at Six Flags St. Louis

32.) Wild Mouse at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

33.) American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis

34.) White Lightning at Fun Spot America

35.) Megafobia at Oakwood Leisure Park

36.) Hades 360 at Mount Olympus

37.) Rampage at Alabama Splash Adventure

38.) Blue Streak at Conneaut Lake Park

39.) Screamin' Eagle at Six Flags St. Louis

40.) Tremors at Silverwood

41.) Flying Turns at Knoebels Amusement Resort

42.) Blue Streak at Cedar Point

43.) Racer at Kennywood

44.) T Express at Everland

45.) Twister at Gröna Lund

46.) Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement Park

47.) Twister at Knoebels Amusement Resort

48.) Kentucky Rumbler at Beech Bend

49.) Wood Coaster at Knight Valley



Best New Attraction for 2016 (Amusement Park)

1.) Lightning Rod at Dollywood

2.) Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom

3.) Mako at Seaworld Orlando

4.) Valravn at Cedar Point

5.) Switchback at ZDT's


Best New Ride for 2016 (Water Park)

1.) Massiv at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

2.) Blackbeard's Revenge at Carowinds

3.) Cyclone Saucers at Beech Bend (Tie)

3.) Tropical Plunge at Kings Island (Tie)

5.) Wonambi at Raging Waves


Best Park

1.) Europa-Park

2.) Cedar Point

3.) Dollywood

4.) Knoebels Amusement Resort

5.) Universal's Islands of Adventure

6.) Blackpool Pleasure Beach

7.) Busch Gardens Williamsburg

8.) Phantasialand

9.) Alton Towers (Tie)

9.) Tokyo DisneySea (Tie)


Best Water Park

1.) Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

2.) Splashin' Safari

3.) Dollywood's Splash Country

4.) Blizzard Beach

5.) Aquatica


Best Children’s Park

1.) Idlewild & SoakZone

2.) Storybook Land

3.) Legoland California (Tie)

3.) Storyland (Tie)

5.) Paulton's Park


Best Marine Life Park

1.) SeaWorld Orlando

2.) Seaworld San Diego

3.) Seaworld San Antonio

4.) Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

5.) Discovery Cove (Tie)

5.) Ocean Park (Tie)


Best Seaside Park

1.) Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

2.) Blackpool Pleasure Beach

3.) Morey's Piers

4.) Gröna Lund

5.) Luna Park


Best Kids’ Area

1.) Kings Island

2.) Efteling

3.) Paultons Park

4.) Knott's Berry Farm

5.) Kings Dominion (Tie)

5.) Nickelodeon Universe (Tie)


Cleanest Park

1.) Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

2.) Dollywood

3.) Europa-Park

4.) Disneyland

5.) Busch Gardens Williamsburg


Friendliest Park

1.) Dollywood

2.) Holiday World

3.) Silver Dollar City

4.) Knoebels Amusement Resort

5.) Adventure Island


Best Shows

1.) Dollywood

2.) Six Flags Fiesta Texas

3.) Silver Dollar City

4.) Disney's California Adventure

5.) Europa-Park


Best Landscaping

1.) Busch Gardens Williamsburg

2.) Gilroy Gardens

3.) Efteling

4.) Dollywood

5.) Epcot


Best Food

1.) Knoebels Amusement Resort

2.) Dollywood

3.) Epcot

4.) Silver Dollar City

5.) Europa-Park


Best Carousel

1.) Knoebels Amusement Resort

2.) Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

3.) Six Flags Great America

4.) Efteling

5.) Six Flags Over Georgia


Best Water Ride (Park)

1.) Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

2.) Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal's Islands of Adventure

3.) Chiapas at Phantasialand (Tie)

3.) Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-rat Barges at Universal's Islands of Adventure (Tie)

3.) Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom (Tie)

3.) Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm (Tie)


Best Water Park Ride

1.) Wildebeest at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

2.) Mammoth at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

3.) Master Blaster at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

4.) The Falls at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels


Best Dark Ride

1.) Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World

2.) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure

3.) Harry Potter / Escape from Gringotts at Universal's Orlando

4.) Haunted Mansion at Knoebel's Amusement Resort

5.) Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure


Best Indoor Roller Coaster

1.) Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Orlando Resort

2.) Space Mountain at Disneyland

3.) Winja's Fear and Force at Phantasialand

4.) Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom

5.) Black Diamond at Knoebels Amusement Resort


Best Funhouse/Walk-Through

1.) Noah's Ark at Kennywood Park

2.) Ghost Ship at Morey's Piers

3.) Gasten Ghost Hotel at Liseberg

4.) Frankenstein's Castle at Indiana Beach

5.) Lustiga Huset at Gröna Lund


Best Halloween Event

1.) Universal Orlando Resort

2.) Knott's Berry Farm

3.) Knoebels Amusement Resort

4.) Kennywood

5.) Busch Gardens Tampa


Best Christmas Event

1.) Dollywood

2.) Disneyland

3.) Silver Dollar City

4.) Magic Kingdom

5.) Kennywood


Publisher's Pick Awards:

Supplier of the Year

Bolliger & Mabillard


B&M revolutionizes industry with 100-plus projects

Honing their craft with other manufacturers, two engineers broke away to start their own company as the 1980s were winding down.


Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard, whose company would become more commonly known as B&M, designed their first full coaster project for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., in 1990: the stand-up coaster known as Iron Wolf. It turned heads in the industry. Six Flags continued to invest heavily in B&M product, and other theme park chains came on board. Precision engineering and a smoother ride experience became the company’s trademark.


In 1992, B&M did something revolutionary. For the first time, a company built a roller coaster that featured inversions while suspending riders below the track. Known throughout the industry as the inverted roller coaster, this new genre took theme parks by storm and went on to become B&M’s most popular product. The first inverted roller coaster opened in 1992 and the company is still building them today.


Along the way, technological boundaries were stretched with B&M introducing riders to innovative genres such as the floorless coaster, flying coaster, the wing coaster and the dive machine, as well as bringing their own skill to the popular hypercoaster. Through the years, these magnificent projects have brought recognition and increased attendance to theme parks around the world, delivering reliable operation and high throughput.


This season, Cedar Point commissioned the company’s 100th project and opened the dive coaster Valravn, the fourth record-breaking installation from B&M for the park. With still more projects in the pipeline, the company continues to serve the demand for big, crowd-pleasing roller coasters that have enormous spectator appeal. Collecting awards along the way and with rides topping the lists of enthusiast favorites, B&M’s worldwide reputation has made it one of the amusement industry's most in-demand manufacturers.


For its success and dedication to excellence, as well as achieving 100 roller coaster projects during more than a quarter-century of quality business practices, Amusement Today honors Bolliger & Mabillard with the Publisher’s Pick for Supplier of the Year.


Person of the Year

Raffi Kaprelyan, VP & General Manager (currently Regional VP, Cedar Fair) at Knott's Berry Farm

Kaprelyan’s ‘legacy instinct’ reinvigorates Knott’s

Anyone can see a theme park’s heart. More difficult is to define the perimeter of its soul — to identify the subtle traits and quirks that have formed its character and fueled its longevity.


As vice president and general manager of Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., Raffi Kaprelyan has demonstrated the ability to analyze, renew and train the spotlight anew on those elements that have made the park a singular Southern California tradition since 1941, when Walter Knott opened Ghost Town next to his family’s thriving chicken dinner restaurant.


While competitors have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new rides and themed lands, Kaprelyan — working within a limited block of real estate — has undertaken the renovation of his park’s legacy attractions while enhancing and expanding its annual events, upgrading its onsite hotel and introducing signature products.


Kaprelyan’s major accomplishments at Knott’s in the five years since Cedar Fair relocated him there from Canada’s Wonderland have been numerous.


Property renovations, increased attraction and retail operating hours, and an aggressive youth marketing push in 2012 laid the groundwork for a multi-ride expansion of the Boardwalk section and a careful refurbishment of the classic, Bud Hurlbut-designed Timber Mountain Log Ride in 2013. In 2014, Kaprelyan continued investing in the park’s legacy attractions — overseeing the renovation of another animatronics-filled Hurlbut landmark, the Calico Mine Ride, and giving the Camp Snoopy area a facelift that included several new rides.


Last year, he repurposed the old space once occupied by the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs dark ride into Voyage to the Iron Reef, bringing Knott’s to the forefront of technology with an interactive 3D ride experience.


Kaprelyan’s restorative efforts came full circle this year with the revamping of the property’s two oldest attractions: Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant and Ghost Town — the latter newly populated with Old West characters following daily storylines. Additionally, he guided a high-grade wood retracking and rolling stock replacement designed to preserve the experience of the park’s world-class coaster, GhostRider, for years to come.


Such well-considered improvements led Knott’s to an attendance record of nearly 3.9 million in 2015. This success hasn’t gone unnoticed by Cedar Fair, which recently promoted Kaprelyan to regional vice president and expanded his oversight to several parks.


An Orange County resident, Kaprelyan entered the industry via Knott’s at age 17 — working his way up from groundskeeping into ride operations and guest services at the park before Cedar Fair tapped him to run Canada’s Wonderland in 2006. His long early association with Knott’s clearly helped him determine what the property needed when he returned.


For his vision, passion for his park’s history and respect for the role of Knott’s Berry Farm in the evolution of the theme park concept, Raffi Kaprelyan is Amusement Today’s 2016 Person of the Year.


Renaissance Award

Ed Hart, General Manager at Kentucky Kingdom

Kentucky Kingdom's Ed Hart doubles down on success

Once in a great while does the amusement industry witness the rebirth of a closed park and see it thrive under new ownership. What's even more rare is to see the same ownership turn the same park around twice.


Such is the case with Ed Hart and Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville.


Kentucky Kingdom originally opened in 1987 and lasted only a few months before closing. Lenders to the park called on Hart to try his hand at operating a park. His financial background and strong amusement industry team management skills combined to grow the park into a force — going from 150,000 guests to more than 1.3 million visitors in 1998.


That success spurred a major U.S.- based park chain to purchase Kentucky Kingdom. But soon financial troubles resulted in the closing of the park in 2009.


After five closed seasons, local authorities once again turned to Hart to rescue the rapidly deteriorating property.


Pulling his second team of amusement industry professionals together, Hart and his partners invested $31 million to reopen the park in May 2014. With a fuller understanding of the local market, Hart hatched a three-year plan to get the park back — all the way back.


And he stayed on that plan. He rebuilt the current park all while also expanding it. Two new coasters were added: the Chance Rides Lightning Run in 2014 and the Rocky Mountain Construction Storm Chaser, which debuted this season. Cuttingedge new trains from Kumbak Engineering were added to the T3 suspended looping coaster along with numerous new flat and kiddie rides.


The hugely popular water park, Hurricane Bay, was doubled in size with additional slide towers, a lazy river, restaurants and more lounge areas.


But Hart did not stop at just what the guests were enjoying. He built a new back area shop to house the park's maintenance, carpenter, plumbing, paint and sign shop needs. He built a new park operations control center complete with new areas dedicated to operations training and safety.


Now in 2016, Hart has a completed park with all the rides fully operational. Marketing this season increased in scope — extending to new markets in Nashville, Indianapolis and Evansville, Ind.


The investment is there, now reaching more than $60 million. The park experience is there. Even the landscaping has returned in full force with QR codes in all the flower beds that now direct guests, and their smartphones, to a web page describing each flower and plant in the bed they just scanned.


His initial mission accomplished, Hart is ready to start on the long-range plan, thanks to a 75-year lease with the state on the park and associated parking lots.


For his dedication in the preservation of Louisville's treasured Kentucky Kingdom, Amusement Today is honored to present Ed Hart with the 2016 Renaissance Award.


Park of the Year

Cedar Point

Cedar Point scales new heights for the future

Recreation was different in 1870, when Cedar Point first opened as a bathing beach with a beer garden and a simple dance floor. Like any amusement park which has had a long lifespan — here approaching a century and a half — Cedar Point saw periods of growth and uncertain times. As amusement rides were developed, the property on the Lake Erie peninsula diversified its entertainment offerings. By the end of the 19th century, Cedar Point had built its first roller coaster, certainly with no inclination of what the resort would one day famously become.


Through changing times, Cedar Point had its ups and downs, and there was the persistent temptation to close the park and develop the peninsula for upscale housing. Thankfully, those plans never materialized and the park continued to hang on, even in times when American hardships were taking their toll. By the mid-20th century, Cedar Point continues to grow with new rides and attractions.


The landmark hypercoaster Magnum XL-200 thrust the park into a global spotlight in 1989. From there it was no turning back as Cedar Point continued to debut one record-breaking attraction after another, truly earning its tagline: “America’s Roller Coast.”


Not content to rest on its laurels, Cedar Fair, now under the leadership of CEO Matt Ouimet, continues to invest in Cedar Point like never before. In the past five years, the park has seen more than $180 million in improvements, and that number increases to more than $240 million for the past decade. In 2012, a nighttime show, Luminosity, offered summertime visitors something new and special to end their evenings. In 2013, the addition of the sleek wing coaster GateKeeper was integrated into a brand new and exciting front gate. Lighthouse Point was expanded in 2014, followed by a majestic refurbishment of historic Hotel Breakers last year. This also included a beautiful transformation of the resort’s catering venue, Lake Point Pavilion. This season, the addition of the dive coaster Valravn inspired a total reworking of the Marina Gate. On the other side of the park, aggressive initiatives were put in place to re-energize Cedar Point's beach.


With Vice President and General Manager Jason McClure overseeing daily operations, Cedar Point’s future seems to be climbing higher and higher, just like the giant roller coasters painting the park landscape. One can only imagine what new heights can be reached when the park’s 150th anniversary arrives in a few years.


For its commitment to continued excellence, Cedar Point is Amusement Today's Park of the Year.


2016 AIMS International Safety Award

Harold Hudson

Edited by GCI Wooden
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Not surprised at all that Europa-Park won Best Park. I am surprised though that Lightning Rod won best new attraction for 2016. I was expecting Valravn to win that. As for the other awards none of them surprise me to the least. Thanks for posting this GCI Wooden.

Edited by 9Armgeddon4
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To everyone complaining about Maverick, I305, Skyrush, etc. not being in the top ten while a few B&Ms did...


It's completely irresponsible of you to dismiss others opinions because it's not personally what you think it should be. Any "best" anything is 100% opinionated and some people are going to have a different opinion than you. And considering that the GTA's are figured out by voters and not just a team of a 3-5 enthusiasts, clearly these rides are popular.


Look, I'm a die-hard B&M fan. This is from a rider standpoint and an operations/construction/computer standpoint. I've spent a decent amount of time with B&M reps and the way these rides are designed and built is nothing short of incredible. Everyone here is absolutely entitled to their opinion to disagree with me and say that they prefer Intamin rides. And you know what? I'm not gonna say your opinions are a joke because of it.


You also need to consider that everyone constructs their top 10 differently than others. For me, my number one coaster is Outlaw Run, then Cannibal, followed by Boulder Dash, El Toro, and Phantom's Revenge. However, B&M still remains my rides of choice and my number one favorite manufacturer. They're extremely re-rideable, capacity machines (usually), aesthetically pleasing to watch, and just plain FUN. It doesn't need to be a balls-to-the-wall insane ride to make it fun. I could re-ride Goliath at SFoG over and over and over again all day long. But Maverick? Nope. I'd need a break. The seats can become a little uncomfortable and it's intense enough I'd need a break.


You don't have to agree with me that I prefer a few B&M hypers over rides like Maverick and I305, but many people do feel this way and to discredit their opinion because it's not what you think it should be is wrong.


EDIT: Here's a requirement to become a voter, straight from the GTA website:

For roller coasters, we ask that each voter submit a list of their top 10 coasters — wood and steel — in order from one to ten, taking into consideration the overall experience including capacity, operations, reliability and re-rideability.


Intamin does poorly in pretty much each of those categories.

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This is well said ^


The reality of the deal is simple; we're a bunch of nerds who argue over machines. We're no different than the video gamers who argue over which console and PC is better. Who cares? Everyone has their preference! I've ridden MF, Fury, and I-305 and in my opinion. Fury is the best of the 3, but it's not my favorite. I-305 was my least favorite and I'm not anxious to get on a plane to go ride it again. Fury is awesome and deserves the award...however; Millennium Force will always be my favorite for many reasons that are different. Everyone has their reasons for liking a particular ride (like CoasterBill and Mean Streak ). Mine is; I didn't get to go to CP for the first time until 2014. That means for 14 years I was watching MF on video, YouTube, magazines...whatever my news source was. It was hyped as "the ride" and I bought into it whether that's justifiable or not.


When I FINALLY got to ride it for the first time, my wife said (besides my wedding day) that she had never seen me so happy as we rode (she kept peeking over at me) because it was 14 years of built up anticipation and desire to ride it. Therefore; to at least me personally, MF will always have that special part of me that reminds me why I enjoy this hobby. I got married in June and my wife actually flew me the morning after our wedding to Carowinds to ride Fury 325 as the first step of our honeymoon. In that aspect, Fury will always be special in that it's the first coaster my wife and I rode together as a married couple. It's still not going to be my favorite coaster, but I'll always have a great memory of my first day as a married guy the next time I visit. To some people who hate on those who love Mean Streak, the same can be said for me and Texas Giant here at my home park of SFOT. I loved the old TG because it was my first "big" coaster, I have many memories of being with relatives who have passed on that went on the ride to encourage me as a young kid. For that reason, I loved it...every rib breaking ride while others trashed it.


I consider it a blessing to be able to ride these impressive machines that captivate our minds, lets not further sour our enthusiast reputation by being jerks about it. Stay nerdy and proud, not an asshat who doesn't shower! We've all got our reasons, enjoy the hobby for what it is...it's not as much of a contest as it's played up to be.

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I was really excited for Boulder Dash and on paper it seems like it would be a top 3 woodie for me but I rode it last weekend and it was so rough I couldn't enjoy it at all (coming from someone who loves rough wooden coasters). It didn't crack my top 10. I'm sure with a full retrack it would but as of now it's no where near as good as any of the other top 10 woodies except maybe Lightning Racer which I thought was overrated a tad.

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To everyone complaining about Maverick, I305, Skyrush, etc. not being in the top ten while a few B&Ms did...


It's completely irresponsible of you to dismiss others opinions


However, B&M still remains my rides of choice and my number one favorite manufacturer. They're extremely re-rideable, capacity machines (usually), aesthetically pleasing to watch, and just plain FUN. It doesn't need to be a balls-to-the-wall insane ride to make it fun. I could re-ride Goliath at SFoG over and over and over again all day long. But Maverick? Nope. I'd need a break.


Ah, that was simply me, and I should have tacked on some smilies or something -- I'm not groveling in a basement or anything because of the list. Aside from the "controversial" Intamins, great B&Ms like Kumba, Montu, Nemesis, SFoG's Goliath, and Behemoth should handily bump something like i232. In that particular instance, it should be dismissed because it's pretty plain to see that 232 is getting overflow consideration from Fury putting Carowinds in a bigger spotlight. I'm surprised Magnum didn't crack the list in a similar way, given the legacy stature of Millennium Force & Cedar Point.


But, when a very aggressive ride like Voyage makes the list, that tells me that this list isn't a greatest hits of re-rideable coasters like you're describing. Catch it at the wrong time, and Voyage is significantly less re-rideable than a lot of major coasters out there.


It's just an odd list that goes all over the place beyond a few consensus picks. Disagreeing with discerned insight is not the same as thoughtless complaining. If we're taking the NYC pizza tour and we get told that Pizza Hut is among the best slices in the city, we'd be right to scratch our heads.

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I'm proud of Idlewild, Knoebels, Kennywood, King's Island, Dollywood, and others for getting recognized in their respective categories, whether it's cleanliness or great kids' areas. It's good to see thoughtfulness beyond the coasters getting valued and recognized. Lots of well-deserving parks have been represented, which is great to see.


As I posted elsewhere, I can accept the B&M people-eaters over some of the more extreme Intamins, given the Beemers' reliability and re-rideability. On the other hand, the aggressive Voyage ranked prominently, so "easygoing hypers" can't be all there is to the theme. I think the list just is the way it is -- some solid consensus picks and some surprises.

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My Saturday night was "super exciting" and consisted of laundry, drinking and watching this stream. So I have a few thoughts on the whole thing.


1) Thoughts and prayers go out to Pete Owens from Dollywood. He's always been good to the enthusiast community and was unable to attend last night because of the passing of his mother.


2) The production value was actually pretty good. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't amazing. But they had no obligation to even stream it at all so to add in some basic production elements was actually pretty cool to see.


3) The entire "Best Dark Ride" category is ridiculous, from the winner to the fact that the Knoebels Haunted Mansion is in the top 5 but the Disney Haunted Mansion isn't. I love Knoebels and classic Bill Tracy dark rides but come on. I won't even bring up international rides since I know they almost never win these awards.


4) I think recently the wood coaster list has been better than the steel coaster list. I don't agree with it but I don't look at it like it's a flaming dumpster fire in the same way I look at the steel coaster list.


5) I feel like Disney as a whole is under-represented in these awards. There were a few categories that they were noticeably absent from that left me shaking my head.


6) I understand that "Best Carousel" is the Knoebels Appreciation Award and it should be, but I'd love to see Rye Playland's Derby Racer make the top 5 here. Cedar Downs runs way too slow, but Derby Racer is being ignored because it's in a terrible park.


7) I was really surprised to see Lightning Rod win best new ride since I doubt many people that voted on it actually got to ride it. It also ended up being totally inconsistent with the top steel coaster awards. If you're just going to blindly pick every B&M hyper as being an amazing ride and ignore RMC's existence almost completely in that list then why would you pick Lightning Rod over Mako? I honestly really expected Valravn to win this award, especially since Cedar Point was hosting. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure Lightning Rod IS the best new ride of 2016, but it doesn't fall in line with their other voting.


8) The steel coaster list...


I know that this is basically an American award even though they pretend it's not so I can't argue with Fury. It's not like the other B&M hypers / gigas and it really is an elite ride. I prefer Millennium Force, but just barely and I'm in the minority with that too. Fury is fantastic though. That being said, what is their obsession with B&M hypers? To see rides like the Carowinds Intimidator and Nitro in the top 10 but rides like New Texas Giant, Maverick, Intimidator 305, Nemesis (which was in the top 10 last year), Kumba and the other Iron Horse coasters missing entirely never stops being ridiculous.

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Despite all of the people making super-long posts about people complaining about the awards, I don't see anyone actually complaining. People are disagreeing with the list which is basically the point of any top 10 list (to spark conversation) but I don't see anyone complaining. I think we all realize that this list is a running joke and we all realize that everyone has their own individual favorites anyway so it really don't matter.


But on the subject about how we're supposed to take reliability and operations into consideration when picking winners, feast your eyes on the best new ride.



Also, I305 is very reliable and has great capacity.

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These awards really haven't been any sort of accurate ever, lately they've become even more laughable. Don't stress about them or what's on their top 10 list. In fact their top 10 list is probably slightly more accurate than that amazing USA Today too 10 list of Halloween Events that listed ONLY Cedar Fair parks! Lol!

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Not surprised at all that Europa-Park won Best Park. I am surprised though that Lightning Rod won best new attraction for 2016. I was expecting Valravn to win that. As for the other awards none of them surprise me to the least. Thanks for posting this GCI Wooden.

I'm surprised Lightning Rod won as well, for the simple fact that it had so much down time.

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Even though I've been on Lightning Rod and how incredible that coaster is, I'm still suprised that it won. It had so much downtime and has only been open for a short amount of time. I do feel like Valravn, or even Wildfire or Taron should've won. That's just my personal opinion of course.


Anyways, as mentioned above, these awards are nothing to stress over!

Edited by Jccoasterfan
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I'm not surprised about Lightning Rod. For anyone who was able to ride it this year, it is a fantastic ride. The downtime is frustrating, sure, but to me doesn't take away from it. Some TPR members who rode Wild Fire told me Lightning Rod was better overall so that says something I'm sure, since Wild Fire also looks just incredible. Valravn, by simple fact that it's been done twice before and not as exciting, puts it at the bottom of the list of best new attractions in field of really new and creative attractions.


The steel coaster list, as always to me, has no basis in rational thought and is most likely the result of a lot of marketing spend/ promotion to voters, like most "magazine/ newspaper" rankings. The wooden coaster list always seems much more rational at least.


As far as RMC woodies go, they are amazing attractions but I'm not sure where I'd stick them on the wooden list. Topper track feels the same as a steel coaster or their ibox track coasters to me. It's tough to categorize something like Outlaw Run, Lightning Rod and Wild Fire on a wooden list for those of us who enjoy the top few coasters on the list that actually feel/ ride like a wooden coaster. Should be interesting where all three topper track RMCs end up over the next few years.

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I want to know who Hershey pissed off. Skyrush not in the top 50? Never mind the fact it's a travesty to not have it in the top 10.


I contacted Tim Baldwin to inquire about the absence of SkyRush (my #1 steel coaster) in the drop down selection menu of best coasters. He informed me that it was mistakingly left off the list however, I could still write in the selection and what place I would put it in. Obviously, no one is going to take the time to do that, so I decided to withdraw from this years voting due to the inaccuracy of an already questionable poll. Carowinds Intimidator in the top 10, while I305 isn't? That's a disgrace and a victim of ridership numbers. I hope parks don't think they should build more boring B&Ms instead of awesome 305's, that's my fear with these awards.


While I do enjoy voting, I feel there is a need for a remodel. It's become a tired and repeated. There should be amusement and theme park awards (Disney is a completely different experience than Cedar Point). Best park food and sit down food (Epcot). I can understand Kings Island winning best Kids zone in a hypothetical amusement park category, but a theme park like Magic Kingdom BLOWS it away as the whole park is almost for kids, big kids too. I guess what I saying is Disney gets shafted. I'm not even a huge Disney fan, but I know quality.

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Oh come on, you should have given me the ballot if you didn't want to vote. I wouldn't have let you guys down. PS: Were you able to vote on that new safety award or did they basically just hand that out? I feel like M&D's Scotland was being highly under-represented in that category.

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