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Golden Ticket Awards 2017


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Hey everyone!

 

For your amusement, appreciation, whatever you prefer... The 2017 Golden Ticket awards winners. Check out the press release here for full results.

 

The highlights:

 

Best Amusement Park – Europa Park

Best Water Park – Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

Best Children’s Park – Idlewild & SoakZone

Best Marine Life Park – SeaWorld Orlando

Best Seaside Park – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Best Kids’ Area – Planet Snoopy, Kings Island

Friendliest Park – Dollywood

Cleanest Park – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Best Halloween Event – Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando

Best Landscaping – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Best Christmas Event – Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dollywood

Best Food – Dollywood

Best Shows – Dollywood

Best Water Ride – Valhalla, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Best Water Park Ride – Wildebeest, Splashin’ Safari

Best Dark Ride – Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Best New Ride of 2017 – Amusement Park – Mystic Timbers, Kings Island

Best New Ride of 2017 – Water Park – Thunder Rapids, White Water Bay (Fiesta Texas)

Best Carousel – Grand Carousel, Knoebels Amusement Resort

Best Indoor Roller Coaster – Revenge of the Mummy, Universal Studios Orlando

Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction – Noah’s Ark, Kennywood

 

And the top ten coasters per category -

 

Steel:

1. Fury 325, Carowinds

2. Millennium Force, Cedar Point

3. Superman The Ride, Six Flags New England

4. Iron Rattler, Six Flags Fiesta Texas

5. Expedition GeForce, Holiday Park

6. Leviathan, Canada's Wonderland

7. Nitro, Six Flags Great Adventure

8. Diamondback, Kings Island

9. New Texas Giant, Six Flags Over Texas

10. Maverick, Cedar Point

 

Wooden:

1. El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure

2. Phoenix, Knoebels Amusement Resort

3. Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce

4. Voyage, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

5. Lightning Rod, Dollywood

6. Beast, Kings Island

7. Ravine Flyer II, Waldameer Park & Water World

8. Thunderhead, Dollywood

9. Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City

10. Gold Striker, California's Great America

 

And, finally, some tidbits -

 

Perhaps due to a slight bias toward coasters, Mystic Timbers handily beat Flight of Passage for best new ride.

Though, Thunder Rapids vs Krakatau was a much closer race for best new water ride.

Santa Cruz, Morey's, and Blackpool were in a near-dead heat for best seaside park.

Dollywood and Knoebels were in a dead heat for best food.

Intimidator 305 placed as the 13th-best steel coaster, behind Apollo's Chariot and Phantom's Revenge.

Wicked Cyclone tied for 14th-best steel coaster alongside Georgia's Goliath, Twisted Colossus came right behind it in 16th.

Perhaps based on the majority of votes being from the US, Taron placed 21st.

Poor Skyrush nearly bringing up the rear at 23rd.

Goliath at Great America placed 13th for wooden coasters, Balder placed 16th.

New Ghostrider came in a three-way tie for 18th place alongside Troy and White Lightning. Three Great Coasters coasters ranked the same!

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Perhaps due to a slight bias toward coasters, Mystic Timbers handily beat Flight of Passage for best new ride.

I'll bet if you asked most of the people who voted in the Golden Tickets they wouldn't even know what Flight of Passage is. They probably would think it's some B&M Wing Rider at a Happy Valley park. We really need a new "Mitch Hawker" style poll so we don't have to rely on a "best of" list that is a complete fucking joke.

Edited by robbalvey
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Perhaps due to a slight bias toward coasters, Mystic Timbers handily beat Flight of Passage for best new ride.

I'll bet if you asked most of the people who voted in the Golden Tickets they wouldn't even know what Flight of Passage is. They probably would think it's some B&M Wing Rider at a Happy Valley park. We really need a new "Mitch Hawker" style poll so we don't have to rely on a "best of" list that is a complete fucking joke.

 

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I love these awards!

...said no respectable person ever.

 

I mean, I don't really care if enthusiasts agree with these or not. There's no such thing as a "perfect poll" and in the end, they aren't really for us anyways. They mean something to the parks and it's something easy for them to market if they care to. Personally, I like them because they are really the only "high profile" award that comes out regarding amusement parks, and it puts them in the spotlight potentially drawing in visitors. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

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I love these awards!

...said no respectable person ever.

 

I mean, I don't really care if enthusiasts agree with these or not. There's no such thing as a "perfect poll" and in the end, they aren't really for us anyways. They mean something to the parks and it's something easy for them to market if they care to.

Oh, wow. Thank you SO MUCH for explaining to me what the Golden Tickets were! I mean we had NO IDEA AT ALL! I feel so much more enlightened and educated now that I've read your post. I will be able to go out in the world and have a much better understanding of what the Golden Ticket Awards are now! I cannot thank you enough for that important tidbit of information that somehow we have missed all these years!

 

giphy.gif

Edited by robbalvey
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I love these awards!

...said no respectable person ever.

 

I mean, I don't really care if enthusiasts agree with these or not. There's no such thing as a "perfect poll" and in the end, they aren't really for us anyways. They mean something to the parks and it's something easy for them to market if they care to. Personally, I like them because they are really the only "high profile" award that comes out regarding amusement parks, and it puts them in the spotlight potentially drawing in visitors. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

 

Coincidentally, they all purchase advertising in Amusement Today to celebrate their win too

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I enjoy the Golden Ticket Awards, because it's fun to watch everyone throw a fit every year.

I'm not sure it's "throwing a fit" as much as it is the harsh reality of being reminded that the industry is made up more of who can spend the right amount of money towards the correct people instead of efforts and merits being truly rewarded.

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Attending the Golden Ticket Awards in 2016 was one of the most fun work trips I have been on. The event itself with networking opportunities, the food, and an awards show that is put on very well despite the questionable winners and rankings. It feels like there is a group of voters who is reluctant to accept that a park, ride, or attraction that might be a favorite for sentimental reasons could be outclassed by many of the innovative new things that have made the industry so great. For example, stop trying to hold onto the notion that The Beast is a Top 10 wooden coaster. It has been outclassed with so many better rides that have outdone it in airtime, intensity, setting, etc..

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I enjoy reading the Golden Ticket Awards, it's fun to see how most people view the current state of amusements parks. It's also intriguing to examine changes in the what people are liking each year.

 

Most interesting thing to me is Iron Rattler placing as 4th best steel coaster and Fiesta Texas winning best new water ride. While I have never personally never ridden Thunder Rapids, it perplexes me how such a lesser-known Six Flags park won best new water ride at all. It seems that Fiesta Texas is attracting a lot of attention from a lot of people. Good for it.

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I suspect the problem with the Golden Ticket Awards is actually one of demographics. The average voter is likely different then the individuals which visit coaster forums. If the average voter was maybe 10-15 years older then the people commenting here I would expect to see a preference towards smoother slightly less intense coasters. Basiclly a preference for B&M vs an Intamin.

 

I believe this is the same reason the awards are dominated by US parks and attractions. If the majority of the voters live here they will naturally spend more time at US parks and will then more often vote for those parks.

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Hey, they got the Top Steel coaster right, and I can't fault El Toro over The Voyage (I haven't ridden Phoenix or Boulder Dash), so that's cool too! Who cares how the rest of the rankings shake out? Besides, I always felt like these rankings were more for a GP crowd, rather than the hardcore enthusiast crowd anyway... Though that doesn't explain Europa Park beating CP again. Never mind... I can't explain these awards after all! Carry on with the complaining!

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To be honest, a lot of the top 10 rankings on both lists are ones I have in my top 10. So that may mean that they're truly great rides, or it may mean this list is as limited as my own experience is. I really couldn't say with certainty, but I'm leaning toward the latter. I have been outside the U.S., several times in fact, but I've never been to an amusement park anywhere but the U.S., and mainly in the Midwest. There are still several major parks in this country I've not been to. I've never been to a Sea World/Busch park. I've never been to Orlando. So for this list to mirror my own as closely as it does.... I'm going to say that isn't great.

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I just want to see Phoenix finally win the top wood coaster spot one year. I think it would be pretty entertaining to see a ride finally get the award after 30+ years of operation.

 

I take the awards with a grain of salt, but still do like looking through them. From what I heard, Lake Compounce put on a great event for everyone this year.

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