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Amusement Parks: Holiday World Ride Again Among Nation’s Favorites


Related: Holiday World adds to Directors Staff / Holiday World Launches Online Shop / Holiday World – ‘Voyage’ Named #1 by ‘Los Angeles Times’ 

Holiday World’s Voyage roller coaster has been voted the nation’s top wooden coaster in the National Amusement Park Historical Association’s 24th Annual Amusement Parks and Attractions Survey. The southern Indiana amusement park ranked third behind Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens for Favorite Theme Park. Holiday World also was listed as the fourth best park for families.

The National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA) released the results of its eagerly awaited 24th Annual NAPHA Amusement Parks and Attractions Survey.

Voyage (Holiday World, Santa Claus, IN) and Millennium Force (Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH) topped the list for the favorite wood and steel coasters, respectively. Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA) was once again was named by NAPHA members as the world’s favorite traditional park, and Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, FL) won honors as the top theme park. In addition, Busch Gardens (Williamsburg, VA) was voted the most beautiful park for the twentieth consecutive year. Three roller coasters were named the Best New Attractions of 2009 – Diamondback at Kings Island (Kings Island, OH), Manta at Sea World in Orlando, and the Worlds of Fun’s Prowler (Kansas City, MO).

The survey, the oldest of its type, is highly regarded within the amusement park industry and within enthusiasts’ circles. “NAPHA’s survey results are important not only to park enthusiasts, but to the industry. Many parks feature the results prominently in their marketing and advertising materials, ” noted NAPHA’s Survey Coordinator, Marlowe McClasky Futrell.


As noted above, Voyage nabbed the top spot as Favorite Wood Roller Coaster for the second consecutive year. Phoenix (Knoebels Amusement Resort) followed at number two, while Thunderhead (Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN) was the third favorite wooden coaster. These three coasters have held the top three positions for the past four years.


1) Voyage, Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN)
2) Phoenix, Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)
3) Thunderhead, Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)


In the Favorite Steel Roller Coaster category, Millennium Force (Cedar Point) nabbed the top spot for the eighth consecutive year. Magnum (Cedar Point) was second, followed by Phantom’s Revenge (Kennywood). Phantom’s Revenge has not been in the top three since 2006.


1) Millennium Force, Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)
2) Magnum XL200, Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)
3) Phantom’s Revenge, Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA)


Kennywood and Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA) have been neck and neck in the standings since1996 with each in holding one of the top two positions in this category. In this year’s survey, Kennywood edged out Knoebels, with Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Blackpool, UK) in the third position.


1) Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA)
2) Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)
3) Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Blackpool, UK)


Walt Disney World, once again was named as NAPHA members’ Favorite Theme Park, a position that they have held since 2002. Busch Gardens (Williamsburg, VA)) came in at number two, with Holiday World and Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure in the third and fourth spots.


1) Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, FL)
2) Busch Gardens (Williamsburg, VA)
3) Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN)
4) Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL)


Walt Disney World topped Knoebels Amusement Resort as the Best Park For Families for the second straight year. Since 1999, Knoebels has been named as the Best Park For Families eight times.


1) Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, FL)
2) Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)
3) Idlewild and Soak Zone (Ligonier, PA)
4) Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN)


As noted above, for the twentieth consecutive year, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, has been voted the World’s Most Beautiful Amusement Park. Walt Disney World was named the second most beautiful, a position it has held since 2005.


Three roller coasters were named by NAPHA members as the Best New Attraction for 2009 – Diamondback (Kings Island), Manta (Sea World Orlando), and Prowler (Worlds of Fun). In 2008, the honors went to Waldameer & Water World’s Ravine Flyer II. Other past winners include Maverick (Cedar Point) (2007), Mystery Mine (Dollywood) (2007), Renegade (Valleyfair!, Shakepee, MN) (2007), Voyage (Holiday World) (2006), and Hades (Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, Wisconsin Dells, WI) (2005).

The National Amusement Park Historical Association, founded in 1978, is an international, educational and enthusiast’s organization dedicated to preserving and documenting the heritage of the amusement park industry, past, present and future.

For more information about the survey, please contact Marlowe McClasky Futrell, Survey Coordinator, at (412) 831-6315 or at 
For more information about NAPHA, please call Steve Schwahn, Marketing/Media Relations Coordinator, at (630) 378-4710 or via email at, or go to

This study was conducted for NAPHA by MMc Marketing Research, which can be reached at (412) 813-6315, or via email at

Source: National Amusement Park Historical Association

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