Golden Tickets Award Recap

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Photo by Scott McCaulley

by: Scott McCaulley

The Showboat Branson Belle was the site for the 2018 Golden Ticket Awards Ceremony, honoring the Amusement Industries Top Parks and Attractions based on a survey done by Amusement Today Magazine of experienced Amusement Park Voters from around the World.

Below is a complete list of Saturday’s Winners plus some interviews and pictures collected during the ceremony:

CATEGORY WINNER
Best Amusement Park Europa-Park, Rust, Germany
Best Water Park Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Children’s Park Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.
Best Marine Life Park SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Seaside Park Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Best Wooden Coaster Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Steel Coaster Fury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C.
Best Kids’ Area Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio
Friendliest Park Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Cleanest Park Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Halloween Event Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Landscaping Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
Best Christmas Event Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Food Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Shows Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Water Ride Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Best Water Park Ride Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Dark Ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Ride of 2018 – Amusement Park Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Best New Ride of 2018 – Water Park Ray Rush at Aquatica in Orlando, Fla.
Best Carousel Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Indoor Roller Coaster Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

Personally chosen by Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, this year’s Publisher’s Pick Awards were presented in the following categories:

  • Innovation of the Year – Chance Rides, Wichita, Kan., for its green initiatives  specifically involving the all-electric C.P. Huntington train.  This attraction has changed the way the industry is evolving in terms of environment reliability, operator satisfaction and guest experience.
  • Turnstile Award – Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo., for its commitment to excellence, willingness to push themselves and take risks. These characteristics are proof in the park’s Time Traveler attraction introduced this year, which has helped create jobs, increase attendance and define a new area of the park.

Click below for Scott McCaulley’s interview with Amusement Today Publisher Gary Slade:

Gary Slade
Photos by Scott and Karen McCaulley

Click below for Scott McCaulley’s interview with Herschend Family Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wexler and Chief Operating Officer Jane Cooper:

HFE

Click below for Scott McCaulley’s interview with Dr. Roland Mack and Thomas Mack of Mack Rides:

Mack 2

Click below for Scott McCaulley’s interview with Dick Knoebel of Knoebels Amusement Park of Pennsylvania:

Dick Knoebel

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Silver Dollar City getting honored for the Turnstile Award.
Fireworks Show
Fireworks Show seen from the Upper Deck of the Showboat Branson Belle helped wrap-up the night’s activities.