SAN DIEGO, Calif., Sept. 6, 2014 – In an awards’ show hosted today by SeaWorld San Diego, Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2014 Golden Ticket Awards, which are presented annually to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry. Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey that is 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.
The poll revealed some surprises. For the first time in the 17-year history of the Golden Ticket Awards there was a new winner for “Best Amusement Park” when Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, took top honors; 16-year perennial favorite Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, came in second place. And in a tight race for “Best Landscaping,” Gilroy Gardens in Gilroy, Calif., came within one percent of the votes to nearly beat always-favored Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va., for the first time ever. The list of 2014 winners are …
|Best Amusement Park||Europa-Park, Rust, Germany|
|Best Water Park||Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas|
|Best Children’s Park||Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.|
|Best Marine Life Park||SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.|
|Best Seaside Park||Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.|
|Best Wooden Coaster||Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn.|
|Best Steel Coaster||Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio|
|Best Kids’ Area||Mason, 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||Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.|
|Best Shows||Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.|
|Best Outdoor Night Show Production||IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, Orlando, Fla.|
|Best Water Ride||Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.|
|Best Waterpark Ride||Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.|
|Best Dark Ride||Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.|
|Best New Ride of 2014 – Amusement Park||Flying Turns, Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.|
|Best New Ride of 2014 – Water Park||Verrückt, Schlitterbahn Kansas City, Kansas City, Kan.|
|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 Indoor Waterpark||Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas|
|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 categories of (Co)-Person of the Year, and the Turnstile Award. Respectively, the 2014 recipients are:
The honoree of this year’s Legends Series, which pays tribute to an amusement park legend who has impacted the industry in a unique way, is the late-George Millay. The leading creative force behind SeaWorld and the father of the water park, Millay passed away in 2006 leaving behind a legacy of entertainment. His concepts of participatory fun and promoting conservation and showcasing the natural wonders of our world were pure genius and have set a new standard for the amusement industry.
For the 10th 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 SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo and Belmont Park – all located in San Diego – as Ms. and Mr. Golden Tickets. These individuals exemplify the spirit and integrity of the amusement 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 was founded in 1997 and covers international amusement and water park news and trends. In its 18-year history, it is a five-time winner of various awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.