Recapping the 2017 Golden Ticket Award Winners

Last Night, Amusement Today held their 20th annual Golden Ticket Awards Celebration at Lake Compounce in Bristol, CT. These awards represent the “best of the best” in unique theme park categories.

The Golden Ticket Awards are calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today. The prestigious survey asks experienced amusement park voters around the country and world to rate the “bests” in 23 categories. Here are this year’s winners!

Best Park

For the fourth consecutive year, Germany’s Europa Park took home the honor of Best Park, receiving 27% of the vote. In second place was Cedar Point (18%), who was able to capture the title every year from 1998 to 2013.

Best New Attractions

If you’re still looking for the answer as to #WhatsInTheShed, the answer may actually be the 2016 Golden Ticket Award for Best New Attraction at an amusement park, Mystic Timbers at Kings Island. Mystic Timbers received 45% of the vote for this award, followed not-so-closely in second place by Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Flight of Passage, part of their new Pandora: The World of Avatar. (15%)

On the water park side, Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ new Thunder Rapids Water Coaster took home first place honors with 47% of the vote. It beat out Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay and their Krakatau Water Coaster, which received 31% of the vote.

Best Roller Coasters

After de-throning 10-time winner Millennium Force in last year’s awards, Carowinds’ Fury 325 was announced as the #1 Steel Roller Coaster for the second consecutive year. Rounding out the top five were Millennium Force, Superman the Ride at Six Flags New England, Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Expedition GeForce at Holiday Park in Germany.

As for the #1 Wooden Coaster? After a four year reign as #1 (and 5th win overall) Lake Compounce’s Boulder Dash was replaced at the top by El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure, the second win (2012) for the Intamin Wooden Coaster. Phoenix at Knoebels, Boulder Dash, The Voyage at Holiday World, and Lightning Rod at Dollywood round out the top 5.

Other Golden Ticket Award Winners

Best Water Park – Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas (20th Consecutive Win)

Best Children’s Park – Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa. (8th Consecutive Win)

Best Marine Life Park – SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla. (12th Consecutive Win)

Best Seaside Park – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif. (2nd Consecutive Win, 10th overall)

Best Kids’ Area – Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio (17th Consecutive Win)

Friendliest Park – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (6th Consecutive Win)

Cleanest Park – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind. (18th Consecutive Win)

Best Halloween Event – Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla. (10th Consecutive Win, 11th Overall)

Best Landscaping – Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va. (20th Consecutive Win)

Best Christmas Event – Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (10th Consecutive Win)

Best Food – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (4th Win, Dethrones Knoebels)

Best Shows – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (4th Consecutive Win)

Best Water Ride (Amusement Park) – Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire, England (3rd Consecutive Win, 5th Overall)

Best Water Park Ride – Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind. (8th Consecutive Win)

Best Dark Ride – Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Fla. (2nd Consecutive Win)

Best Carousel – Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa. (13th Consecutive Win)

Best Indoor Roller Coaster – Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla. (10th Consecutive Win)

Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction – Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa. (8th Consecutive Win)


Congratulations to all of the Golden Ticket Award Winners! For the FULL RESULTS, click here. 

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