2018 Golden Ticket Awards Announced

The 21st annual Golden Ticket Awards, presented by Amusement Today, were held last night at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. 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 multiple categories. Here are this year’s winners!

Best Park: Europa Park

For the fifth consecutive year, Europa Park took home the title of best park in the world. The Rust, Germany theme park dethroned Cedar Point from this honor in 2014, and hasn’t looked back!

Best New Attractions: Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point and Ray Rush at Aquatica Orlando.

Cedar Point’s”Hyper-Hybrid” from Rocky Mountain Construction was the clear choice for Best New Ride of 2018. I haven’t seen the voting percentages yet, but I’m imagining that no other attraction was close in the voting.

On the water park side, Aquatica Orlando’s “Ray Rush” water slide took home the honors. It was manufactured by Whitewater West.

Best Roller Coasters: Fury 325 at Carowinds and Phoenix at Knoebels

For the third consecutive year, Carowinds’ Fury 325 took home the honors for “Best Steel Coaster.” Opened in 2015, it was the 4th Golden Ticket Award for Fury 325, after winning Best New Ride of 2015. Cedar Point’s Millennium Force and Steel Vengeance, Holiday Park’s Expedition GeForce and Six Flags New England’s Superman: The Ride rounded out the top 5.

For the first time since the award was given in 1998, The Phoenix at Knoebels has taken home the award for best wooden coaster. The 1985 PTC woodie dethroned 2017 Winner El Toro of Six Flags Great Adventure and held off 2007-2011’s award winner The Voyage of Holiday World, 2004, 2013-2016 Winner Boulder Dash of Lake Compounce, and King’s Island’s The Beast, who made up the top 5.

Best Of The Rest:

  • Best Waterpark: Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, TX (21st Consecutive Win in the Category, 21st Win Overall)
  • Best Children’s Park: Idlewild, Ligonier, PA (9th Consecutive Win, 9th Overall)

  • Best Marine Life Park: SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, FL (13th Consecutive Win, 13th Overall)
  • Best Seaside Park: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA (3rd Consecutive Win, 11th Overall)
  • Best Kids’ Area: Planet Snoopy at Kings Island, Mason, OH (18th Consecutive Win, 18th Overall)
  • Cleanest Park: Holiday World & Splashin Safari, Santa Claus, IN (19th Consecutive Win, 19th Overall)

  • Friendliest Park: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN (7th Consecutive Win, 7th Overall)
  • Best Shows: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN (10th Consecutive Win, 10th Overall)
  • Best Landscaping: Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA (21st Consecutive Win, 21st Overall)
  • Best Food: Knoebels, Elysburg, PA (16th win, Defeated 2017 Champion Dollywood)
  • Best Carousel, Knoebels, Elysburg, PA (18th Consecutive Win, 18th Overall)
  • Best Water Ride (Park): Vahalla, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool England (4th Consecutive Win, 6th Overall)
  • Best Water Park Ride: Wildebeest, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, IN (9th Consecutive Win, 9th Overall)
  • Best Dark Ride: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, FL (3rd Consecutive Win, 3rd Overall)
  • Best Indoor Roller Coaster: Revenge of the Mummy, Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, FL (11th Consecutive Win, 11th Overall)
  • Best Fun House/Walk Through: Noah’s Ark, Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA (9th Consecutive Win, 9th Overall)
  • Best Halloween Event: Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, FL (11th Consecutive Win, 12th Overall)
  • Best Christmas Event, Smoky Mountain Christmas: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN (11th Consecutive Win, 11th Overall)

Congratulations to all of the Golden Ticket Award Winners. For more information, visit Amusement Today’s website, or the Golden Ticket Awards Website!

Next year’s Golden Ticket Awards will take place at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, ID!