Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Golden Ticket Awards
While last year’s Golden Ticket Awards, presented by Amusement Today to the best-of-the-best in the theme park industry, looked a little different, this year, the publication’s annual award show returned a little closer to normal. While there was not a live awards presentation, the 2021 Golden Tickets were presented online through a series of YouTube videos, with the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives serving as perhaps the most creative background for an awards show that we’ve ever seen.
Without further adieu, let’s get into the awards!
Best Park: Europa Park, Rust, Germany
We are thrilled to hear that the voters of the 2021 Golden Ticket Awards elected #EuropaPark as Best Park for the 7th time! What an amazing recognition after 2 challenging years for our industry. @amusementtoday #BestOfTheBest pic.twitter.com/YSbstmPMkc
— Thomas Mack (@ThomasMack_EP) September 9, 2021
Europa Park has won this award for the seventh straight year it was presented, claiming the title each year since 2014.
Best Waterpark: Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, Tex.
23 YEARS! ? Schlitterbahn has added another record-breaking year to its World’s Best Water Park reign.
— Schlitterbahn (@Schlitterbahn) September 9, 2021
Schlitterbahn becomes the longest-tenured consecutive Golden Ticket Award winner with its 23rd consecutive win.
Best Family Park: Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster, Penn.
We are truly honored to be awarded by @amusementtoday the 2021 #GoldenTicketAward for "#BestFamilyPark!" Our team is incredibly grateful and would like to express our royal thanks to the voters, our season passholders, and guests for helping us to make this possible! ? pic.twitter.com/xgBDDP8Guu
— Dutch Wonderland (@FUNatDW) September 9, 2021
This is Dutch Wonderland’s second consecutive win in the category.
Best Wildlife/Marine Park: SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Reminder: you’re all 10s in our book ?
— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) August 26, 2021
SeaWorld Orlando has won this award each year since its inception in 2006.
Breakout Family Entertainment Center: Fun Spot America Atlanta, Fayetteville, Ga.
We are proud to announce that we have been awarded a 2021 Golden Ticket Award for Breakout FEC! We want to thank our team for this amazing achievement as we could not have done it without them, everyone who voted for us and thank you to @amusementtoday pic.twitter.com/8Nnp4swWLd
— Fun Spot America Atlanta (@FunSpotAtlanta) September 9, 2021
Fun Spot America Atlanta will continue to break out with the addition of a custom-built RMC coaster in 2022.
Most Beautiful Park: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
A category that had been won by Busch Gardens Williamsburg each year of its existence, Dollywood wins the category for the first time.
Best Kids Area: Wildwood Grove, Dollywood
Dollywood retains the award that it won for the first time in 2019, following a lengthy streak by Kings Island.
Best Water Ride: Valhalla, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, England
Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is being reimagined and will now return in 2022. pic.twitter.com/Zb3dpS2XdW
— Expedition Theme Park (@ExpThemePark) November 12, 2020
This is Valhalla’s eighth win and sixth straight in the category. The ride is being reimagined for 2022.
Best 2020 Halloween Event: Fright Fest, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Tex.
— Fiesta Texas (@SF_FiestaTexas) September 7, 2021
A category traditionally won by Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, when that event took a year off in 2020, Six Flags Fright Fest stepped in!
Best New Show: Rock The Night, Six Flags Fiesta Texas
What better way to spend the holiday weekend than with fun and fireworks?! ??Join us in Lone Star Lil's all weekend long for your last chance to experience our Rock the Night Finale, it is a show that you definitely won't want to miss! ??#fiestatexas pic.twitter.com/zwUltXyO07
— Fiesta Texas (@SF_FiestaTexas) September 4, 2020
Best Waterpark Ride: Widebeest, Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind.
Wildebeest has been voted the #1 Water Park Ride on the Planet since it debuted in 2010. It proved that air time isn't just for roller coasters and is celebrating its tenth season with us this year! pic.twitter.com/72TqqjNxXe
— Holiday World (@HolidayWorld) August 7, 2020
Wildebeest has won this award each year since 2010
Best Innovation: Engineered Pre-Cut Wooden Track, The Gravity Group
Have you heard about ENGINEERED PRECUT TRACK by The Gravity Group? It just won the INNOVATION OF THE YEAR at the Golden Ticket Awards hosted by @amusementtoday!! #woodencoasters #ThouShaltNotSteel #innovation #engineeredprecuttrack pic.twitter.com/tsOTfjCM47
— thegravitygroup (@thegravitygroup) September 9, 2021
This pre-cut track was installed on the racer.
Best New Roller Coaster: VelociCoaster, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Confirmed. The hype is REAL. ? pic.twitter.com/OsmrJnoYmL
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) June 10, 2021
Universal Orlando also won best new roller coaster in 2019 with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventures.
Best New Water Park Ride: Cheetah Chase, Holiday World
Race to the finish on Cheetah Chase at @HolidayWorld & Splashin’ Safari!
— Santa Claus, Indiana (@SantaClausInd) February 24, 2021
This is the first win in the category for Holiday World since the debut of Mammoth in 2012.
Best New Family Attraction of 2020/2021, Best New Attraction Installation of 2020/2021, Best Dark Ride: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Seems as if most of the voters have been able to get a Boarding Group!
Best Guest Experience: Dollywood
Dollywood has held this award since 2012, back when it was known as “Friendliest Park.”
Best Food: Knoebels, Elysburg, Penn.
— CraigsCache (@CraigsCache) May 16, 2021
This is Knoebels’ 17th outright win in the category.
Best Christmas Event of 2020: Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dollywood
Dollywood has won this award each year since 2008.
Best Steel Roller Coaster: Fury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C.
Fury 325 is now a six-time Golden ticket award winner, winning best steel coaster each year 2016-2019, as well as best new coaster in 2015.
Best Wooden Roller Coaster, Phoenix, Knoebels
Phoenix claims the best wooden coaster award for the third straight time, and third time overall.
Top 10 Steel Coasters
- Fury 325, Carowinds
- Millennium Force, Cedar Point
- Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
- Superman: The Ride, Six Flags New England
- Candymonium, Hersheypark
- Expedition GeForce, Holiday Park
- Lightning Rod, Dollywood
- Leviathan, Canada’s Wonderland
- Maverick, Cedar Point
- Taron, Phantasialand
Top 10 Wooden Coasters
- Phoenix, Knoebels
- Voyage, Holiday World
- El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure
- Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce
- The Beast, Kings Island
- Mystic Timbers, Kings Island
- Ghost Rider, Knott’s Berry Farm
- Ravine Flyer II, Walda Meer
- Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City
- Thunderhead, Dollywood