Golden Ticket Awards 2023 List of Winners

Industry professionals from across the nation and beyond gathered at Dollywood today to enjoy the 25th annual Golden Ticket Awards ceremony and talk about best practices in the theme park and amusement industry.

Started in 1998, the Golden Ticket Awards were established by Amusement Today to shine a spotlight on the amusement park industry and attractions by recognizing the “Best of the Best.”

Today, they are among the most sought-after awards among theme parks, amusement parks, family entertainment centers and water parks. In 2023, Amusement Today celebrates the 25th anniversary of the coveted accolades.

Below are the winners of the 2023 Golden Ticket Awards:

Best New Attractions:

Courtesy of Hersheypark

Best New Roller Coaster: Wildcat’s Revenge at Hersheypark

Best New Attraction: ArieForce One at Fun Spot America Atlanta

Best New Water Park Attraction: Rocket Blast at Waldameer Park and Water World

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge

Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Best New Family Attraction: Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood

Best New Show: “Le Mime et l’Etoile” at Puy du Fou in France

Best Rides:

Best Steel Coaster: Fury 325 at Carowinds

Best Wooden Roller Coaster: Phoenix at Knoebels

Courtesy of Dollywood

Best Family Coaster: Big Bear Mountain at Dollywood

Courtesy of Disney Parks

Best Dark Ride: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Best Water Park Ride: Mammoth at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari

Best Water Ride: Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Best of the Best:

Best Water Park: Schlitterbahn

Best Park: Dollywood

Best Family Park: Dutch Wonderland

Best Kids Area: Wildwood Grove at Dollywood

Breakout Family Entertainment Center (FEC): Fun Land of Fredericksburg

Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Most Beautiful Park: Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Best Guest Experience: Dollywood

Best Food: Knoebels

Best Halloween Event of 2022: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

Courtesy of Dollywood

Best Christmas Event: Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood

All Other Awards:

Best Innovation: Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) for its 208 RetraK as a solution for wooden coaster maintenance

Leadership Award: Eric Anderson, president of Quassy Amusement Park

Renaissance Award (Publisher’s Pick): Kennywood, for its “ongoing restoration and renewed guest experience with countless enhancements throughout the park”

Courtesy of Carowinds

“Landing” at Aeronautica Landing in 2023 will be:

Turnstile Award (Publisher’s Pick): Carowinds, for its “new Aeronautica Landing area, which created new experiences to keep people coming back”

Legend Awards:

The 2023 Golden Ticket Awards included three Legend awards.

SeaWorld Orlando took the first as the Best Marine Life/Wildlife category was retired. “The park, with its dynamic mix of animal experiences, iconic rides and mission of conservation had been the sole winner for 17 years.”

The founders of Great Coasters International, Inc. (GCI), Clair Hain Jr. and Mike Boodley, were also awarded a Legend Award for “their innovative design in wooden coaster building moved the industry forward.”

The final Legend award recognized three people whose “impact on the industry was accomplished with core values that treat people in the best way possible: Pete and Jack Herschend, founders of Silver Dollar City, and Dolly Parton, who partnered with the Herschends in the 1980s.

The Golden Ticket Awards also includes rankings of the top steel and wooden coasters:

2023 Top 25 Wooden Coasters

  1. Fury 325 at Carowinds
  2. Millennium Force at Cedar Point
  3. Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Islands of Adventure
  4. Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point
  5. Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa
  6. Expedition GeForce at Holiday Park
  7. Superman The Ride at Six Flags New England
  8. Taron at Phantasialand
  9. (tie for 9) Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion
  10. (tie for 9) Maverick at Cedar Point
  11. Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  12. Phantom’s Revenge at Kennywood
  13. Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland
  14. Lightning Rod at Dollywood
  15. (tie for 15) Intimidator at Carowinds
  16. (tie for 15) Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  17. Mako at SeaWorld Orlando
  18. Helix at Liseberg
  19. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Islands of Adventure
  20. Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure
  21. X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain
  22. Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City
  23. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot
  24. Candymonium at Hersheypark
  25. ArieForce One at Fun Spot America Atlanta

2023 Top 25 Wooden Coasters

  1. Phoenix at Knoebels
  2. Voyage at Holiday World
  3. El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
  4. Thunderhead at Dollywood
  5. Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce
  6. Beast at Kings Island
  7. Mystic Timbers at Kings Island
  8. Ravine Flyer 2 at Waldameer
  9. GhostRider at Knott’s Berry Farm
  10. Outlaw Run Silver Dollar City
  11. Balder at Liseberg
  12. Gold Striker at California’s Great America
  13. Wildfire at Kolmården
  14. Wodan at Europa Park
  15. Jack Rabbit at Kennywood
  16. Cyclone at Luna Park
  17. Shivering Timbers at Michigan’s Adventure
  18. Thunderbolt at Kennywood
  19. Troy at Toverland
  20. Rutschebanan at Tivoli Gardens
  21. Legend at Holiday World
  22. Lightning Racer at Hersheypark
  23. Flying Turns at Knoebels
  24. Prowler at Worlds of Fun
  25. Comet at Six Flags Great Escape

Congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s Golden Ticket Awards. For more, see past year’s Golden Ticket Awards recipients here.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.