On Saturday the 8th of September 2018 the annual Amusement Today Golden Tickets Awards were held at Silver Dollar City in the USA. The event brings together industry professionals to vote for who they think has the best rides and parks from all across the globe. We’ve put all the winners from this years event in to a handy list.
BEST NEW RIDE 2018
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
Steel Vengeance, formerly known as Mean Streak, is a steel roller coaster at Cedar Point in Ohio. The ride was manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) and opened to the public on May 5, 2018. It features RMC’s patented I-Box Track technology utilising a significant portion of Mean Streak’s former support structure. Upon completion, Steel Vengeance set 10 world records.
BEST NEW WATERPARK RIDE 2018
Ray Rush, Aquatica (Seaworld Orlando)
Triple your fun with the three-in-one thrills of Ray Rush, new at Aquatica Orlando. Ray Rush is the fully-loaded water adventure with three ways to slide, splash and soar like never before. First, water jets launch your raft from zero to awesome in just seconds. Your adventure takes a twisting turn as you spin inside a colossal water sphere. Finally, dive into the giant manta wings, swooping up and down a different path each time. Fill your raft with family and friends for three times the thrills on the exciting Ray Rush at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark.
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK
Europa-Park, Rust Germany
Across an area of 95 hectares, over 100 attractions and more than 23 hours of daily show program get hearts racing at Europa-Park. Since its opening in 1975, more than 115 million visitors have visited Europa-Park. Today, guests can look forward to 15 European themed areas full of adventures and surprises. Decorated beautifully for all seasons, there is variety and adventure for visitors both young and old at the best theme park worldwide.
BEST WATER PARK
Schlitterbahn, Texas USA
At the center of Schlitterbahn there are miles of rivers. The waterpark started on the banks of the Comal River. Tube chutes, rides, tube slides, and pools use spring fed river water that always stays a cool 72 degrees and flows right back into the river. Ride the famous black tubes for hours in the Original Section featuring the iconic castle. Have a family picnic at one of the shaded picnic tables found all around the park. Of course rivers are only the beginning. Only a short tram ride away within the Blastenhoff and Surfenburg sections, visitors to New Braunfels can ride a continuous wave on the Boogie Bahn, fly high on the Sky Coaster, tube on the Torrent wave river, and get rocketed uphill on the Master Blaster Water Coaster.
BEST INDOOR ROLLERCOASTER
Revenge of the Mummy, Universal Orlando Resort
Digging your nails into the safety rail, you’ll hold on tight as you thrash forwards and back on the track, fleeing from the evil Mummy Imhotep. He’ll throw everything he’s got at you: swarms of insects, warrior mummies and fire so intense you’ll definitely feel the heat. Just as it seems you might’ve escaped, you’ll plunge straight down into a pitch-black abyss with no end in sight. Will you ever see daylight again? Or will you remain sealed inside this tomb forever?
BEST STEEL COASTER
Fury 325, Carowinds
Feel The Sting on the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster – Fury 325! Riders begin their adventure on one of three 32-passenger, open-air trains to the peak height of 325 feet – following a dramatic 81-degree drop. Then, like an angry hornet chasing its target, riders race into a massive 190-foot tall barrel turn and a high-speed S-curve reaching speeds of up to 95 mph.
Just above the front entrance of Carowinds, riders experience an astonishing 91-degree overbanked horseshoe turn, and then take the “HIVE DIVE” underneath a pedestrian bridge, swarming at full force into the back half of the ride, through a high speed banked curve, camelback hill and an intense double maneuver.
Fury 325 is North America’s longest steel coaster, and is over 1.25 miles long. The average ride time is 3.25 minutes, and the ride crosses both North and South Carolina state lines. Fury 325 does not let up during its full throttle swarm!
BEST WOODEN COASTER
Phoenix, Knoebels Amusement Resort
This classic wooden roller coaster offers a thrill that won’t disappoint. A fast ride with upwards acceleration and a “double out and back” layout has passengers flying through the air and catching a bird’s eye view of the rolling, tree-covered hills. Rising from the ashes of its history as the Rocket Roller Coaster built in 1947 in San Antonio Texas, the Phoenix was reborn at Knoebels in 1985. It has consistently been ranked as one of the top wooden coasters! While it may be named after a myth, the thrill of the Phoenix is REAL.
BEST WATER RIDE
Valhalla, Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Embark on a watery journey through ice, fire, wind and snow on Valhalla. The effects are breathtaking and the drops thrilling. A must ride for anyone visiting the Pleasure Beach on the world’s biggest indoor dark ride, Valhalla.
BEST WATER PARK RIDE:
Wildebeest, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
When we say Wildebeest is long, we really mean it. Wildebeest is one-third of a mile long and it thrills riders for two-and-a-half soaking minutes of hills, drops, twists and turns. The ride begins with a conveyor ride up the water coaster’s lift hill. Following the four-story drop at a 45-degree angle, linear induction motors (LIMs) propels the four-person boats up seven additional hills, through two underground tunnels, and around a helix.
BEST DARK RIDE
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando
You’re invited to take a tour of the Hollywood Tower Hotel—and experience an unforgettable ride—on a stormy night very similar to the evening when the unexplained event occurred. Be welcomed by Rod Serling as you journey to the 5th Dimension.
Grand Carousel, Knoebels Amusement Resort
Choose your favorite hand-carved horse or carriage on Knoebels 100 year-old carousel and enjoy a ride set to the beautiful organ music. Try you luck at catching the illusive brass ring, an on ride game that is offered on few carousels today! Every ride is guarantied to have one brass ring with the winner receiving $1.50 in ride tickets…and family bragging rights of course!
BEST FUN-HOUSE / WALK THROUGH ATTRACTION
Noah’s Ark, Kennywood Park
Kennywood opened Noah’s Ark in 1936, the first Ark built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It has stood the test of time thanks to an assortment of odd and quirky gags, playing off the well-known story of a great flood, gathering of animals and those special effects to become a memorable attraction for generations of Kennywood visitors. Now 80 years after first thrilling those brave enough to enter, Noah’s Ark has been transformed to hearken back to the classic funhouse feel.
Dollywood, Tennessee USA
Dollywood offers you the chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains and the incredible spirit of its people, all at a place fun for all ages. We invite you to taste award-winning recipes, experience heart-pounding thrills and witness incredible performances sure to become memories you’ll treasure always.
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Pennsylvania USA
Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family-owned and operated amusement park, picnic grove, and campground in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. It is and has been America’s largest free-admission park for 91 years. Opened in 1926, the park has more than 60 rides, three wooden roller coasters, one steel roller coaster, a 1913 carousel, and a haunted house dark ride. The park and its rides have won awards from organisations such as Amusement Today, American Coaster Enthusiasts, and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Dollywood, Tennessee USA
Dollywood is more than just a world class theme park. It’s the complete getaway for families looking to disconnect from the world’s distractions and reconnect with each other while nestled in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood’s properties provide ample opportunity to overwrite life’s daily stresses with new family memories
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Indiana USA
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is a combination theme park and water park located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 231 in Santa Claus, Indiana, United States. The theme park is divided into four sections that celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July with rides, live entertainment, games, and attractions.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia USA
Whether you’re a kid, teen or adult, fun is always in season. With thrilling coasters, family-friendly shows, world-class dining and unique seasonal offerings, there’s something to do all year long.
BEST KIDS AREA
Kings Island, Ohio USA
For families with young kids or even those who are simply young at heart Planet Snoopy is the perfect place to spend the day. It’s a special place for you to share this planet with your little ones – a planet made especially for them. Voted “Best Kids’ Area in the World” for 18 consecutive years by the international industry trade publication, Amusement Today, Planet Snoopy features an elaborate collection of PEANUTS-themed kiddie rides and attractions, including four roller coasters specifically designed for children. And if you have children less than 48 inches tall, it would likely get your vote too. Many of the kids’ attractions in Planet Snoopy are designed for children and their parents or grandparents to enjoy together, such as the Character Carousel, Woodstock Gliders, Snoopy’s Space Buggies, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Kite Eating Tree, The Great Pumpkin Coaster, Woodstock Express and Race for Your Life Charlie Brown.
BEST MARINE LIFE PARK
Seaworld Orlando, Orlando USA
Guests are immersed in wonder at SeaWorld Orlando, where the aquatic world comes alive. Experience one-of-a-kind attractions, thrilling coasters and up-close animal interactions.
BEST SEASIDE PARK
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California USA
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is recognised as the best seaside park in the world. Their vibrant, bustling amusement park is renowned for its great rides, remarkable history, spectacular beach setting, and friendly attitude. The Boardwalk has been operating since 1907, and it hasn’t missed a beat! They believe in affordable family fun – that’s why admission is free, summer entertainment is included, and ride tickets are affordable.
BEST CHILDREN’S PARK
Idlewild & SoakZone, Pennsylvania USA
With two Pittsburgh theme parks in one, this is what family fun is all about! Whether it’s watching your child conquer their first roller coaster, venturing through Story Book Forest, or splashing and sliding at SoakZone, Idlewild & SoakZone’s is a place full of smiles and long-lasting memories.
BEST HALLOWEEN EVENT
Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando Resort
As the sun sets on days filled with thrills in all of Universal’s theme parks, the night awakens with a frightening chill at Universal Studios Florida. It’s the World’s Premier Halloween Event–bringing together stories and visions of the most notorious creators of horror and taking them to the next level. This year, time twists and turns on itself—ripping cinematic greats, cult classics and even original nightmares from decades past into a new era of fear with more terrifying haunted houses than ever, sinister scare zones and outrageous entertainment.
BEST CHRISTMAS EVENT
Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dollywood
See the Smokies’ most spectacular light display and a lineup of live Christmas shows that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, all at Dollywood. Dollywood’s musical Christmas tradition features a 14-member cast performing hometown holiday favorites that celebrate the joy of the season. Gather the family for the Parade of Many Colours! This returning spectacle is sure to become one of your favorite traditions. Catch it nightly on operating days!
INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
All-Electric C.P. Huntington Train, Chance Rides Inc.
Go Green! Introducing the zero emissions, solar-battery powered Electric C.P. Huntington Train. Forget oil changes, spark plugs, transmissions, radiators, and exhaust. The new solar-battery powered Electric C.P. Huntington Train requires virtually no maintenance while showing your guests that you care about the environment.
PUBLISHERS PICK TURNSTILE AWARD
Silver Dollar City, Missouri USA
Silver Dollar City is a special place in the heartland of America where families can gather together in fun, where traditions are created, memories are shared and where time stops for you to celebrate each other. The 1880’s theme park will turn an ordinary day into a best-ever day with fun that awaits you from a spring-time getaway to a Christmas celebration. What are you waiting for? Come explore new adventures. Experience record-breaking thrills. Discover a world of surprises. And create memories you will remember forever.
Golden Ticket Awards 2018 Verdict
What are your thoughts on this year’s Golden Ticket Awards? Did your favourite parks, rides and attractions win the awards you think they deserved? If not, who do you think should have won? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…