Tag Archives: Holiday World



Arlington, Texas, Sept. 10, 2009 – Who has the best amusement park food? What about the friendliest staff or how about the best kids’ area in an amusement park? The ballots have been tallied, and in an awards’ show hosted this evening by LEGOLAND California, Carlsbad, Calif., Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2009 Golden Ticket Awards. The Golden Ticket Awards are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today. Surveys were sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories such as “amusement parks,” “roller coasters,” “shows,” “friendliest staff” and “water rides.” The 2009 winners are …

Best Amusement Park Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Best Waterpark Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

Best Children’s Park LEGOLAND California, Carlsbad, Calif.

Best Marine Life Park SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

Best Seaside Park Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Best Wooden Coaster The Voyage at Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Steel Coaster Bizarro at Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass.

Best Kids’ Area Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio

Friendliest Staff Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo.

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 Outdoor Night Show Production IllumiNations: Reflections of the Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, Orlando, Fla.

Best Water Ride Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best Waterpark Ride Master Blaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

Best Dark Ride Amazing Adventures of Spiderman at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best New Ride of 2009 – Amusement Park Prowler at Worlds of Fun, Kansas City, Mo.

Best New Ride of 2009 – Waterpark Congo River Expedition at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

Best Carousel Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Best Indoor Roller Coaster Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

Best Indoor Waterpark Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas

Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction Frankenstein’s Castle at Indiana Beach, Monticello, Ind.

This is the 12th annual year for Amusement Today’s coveted Golden Ticket Awards, which are the most sought-after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. The awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and have garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA TODAY and the Chicago Tribune, by venerable radio newsman the late-Paul Harvey and were the topic of a one-hour documentary on the Travel Channel. “Congratulations to all of the Golden Ticket Award winners and the finalists on their well-deserved honors,” says Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today. “The competition is friendly, but the voting is becoming tighter every year. It’s fun to see parks and attractions the world over vying for a Golden Ticket Award, which truly recognizes superior quality in all facets of the amusement industry.”

Personally chosen by Slade, the Publisher’s Pick Awards are presented in three categories: Park, Individual and Supplier. Respectively, the 2009 recipients are Wonderland Park in Amarillo, Texas, for its dedication, drive and patience as a family-owned park; Dick and Barbara Knoebel of Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pa., for their professional and personal passion, challenges and journeys; and Gary Goddard Entertainment in North Hollywood, Calif., for its creativity, innovation and excellence in thematics.

New this year, the Legends Series will annually highlight an amusement legend who has touched the industry in a unique way. The first honoree of this series is the late Jack Krantz of Adventureland Park in Des Moines, Iowa, for the incredible vision, enthusiasm and business sense he instilled throughout his venerable career.

For the fifth consecutive year, Amusement Today recognized college students who plan to pursue a career in the amusement industry and are employed by the ceremony’s host park of LEGOLAND California and area parks Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., San Diego Zoo and San Diego Coaster Co. as Ms. and Mr. Golden Tickets. These individuals exemplify the spirit and integrity of the amusement park industry by promoting the cornerstones of safety, service, courtesy and cleanliness at the highest level, while consistently exceeding job expectations. This is an annual designation by Amusement Today to promote education in the field of hospitality and amusement. Amusement Today newspaper covers international amusement and water park news and trends and in its 13-year history is a five-time winner of various awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

For a detailed outline of the 2009 winners and survey results, please log on to amusementtoday.com.