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The Golden Ticket Awards Honour the “Best of the Best” in Amusement Industry


Envelope, please … and the Golden Ticket Award goes to … In an awards’ show today hosted by Give Kids The World Village, Kissimmee, Fla., Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2008 Golden Ticket Awards.

(View the complete list of winners!
Click here to download 2008 Golden Ticket Awards Bonus Section PDF file)

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 2008 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
Superman Ride of Steel
at Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass.

Best Kids’ Area
Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio

Friendliest Staff
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Cleanest Park

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Halloween Event
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla..

Best Landscaping
Busch Gardens Europe, Williamsburg, Va.

Best Christmas Event
Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood,
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Best Food
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Best Shows
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio

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 2008 – Amusement Park
Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park, Erie, Pa.

Best New Ride of 2008 – Waterpark
Dragon’s Revenge 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 11th 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 Paul Harvey and were the topic of a one-hour documentary on the Travel Channel.

“We commend the Golden Ticket Award winners and all of the finalists for their varied achievements, ” says Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today. “These awards are the pinnacle of honors in the amusement industry, and it is nice to recognize parks and attractions around the world who are striving for excellence each and every day.”

Personally chosen by Slade, the Publisher’s Pick Awards are presented in three categories: Park, Individual and Supplier. Respectively, the 2002008 recipients are Xocomil waterpark in Retalhuleu, Guatemala, for its first-class quality and amazing attention to detail; Paul Nelson of Waldameer Park in Erie, Pa., for his remarkable 15-year effort in bringing a venerable wooden roller coaster back to life; and Zamperla in Parsippany, N.J., for its continuous innovation, longevity and creativity.

For the fourth 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 Give Kids The World Village, Weeki Wachee Springs in Spring Hill, Fla., and Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee, 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, as well as to spotlight future leaders in the amusement industry.

Amusement Today newspaper covers international amusement and water park news and trends and in its 12-year history is a five-time winner of various awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

For a detailed outline of the 2008 winners and survey results, please log on to News media may also call the Amusement Today offices at 817.460.7220 for interviews or more information about the Golden Ticket Awards.

Our panel of experts

Since the beginning of the Golden Ticket Awards in 1998, Amusement Today has sought out the most experienced and well-travelled amusement park enthusiasts. Using a fair and balanced protocol of dividing ballots equally among four regions of the United States and another portion for international voters, AT receives representation from all around the world.

But who are these people and what are they like? More than 84 percent of them have been to 50 or more parks, and 88 percent of them have visited parks outside their home country. 92 percent of them own at least one season pass, and 60 percent own two or more. On average, 39 percent report they visit 10-20 parks each year, and 26 percent state they visit more than 20. 47 percent boast that they have been on more than 500 roller coasters, with 41 percent claiming a range between 250-500.

Kudos to this great group of experts!

Gary Slade 817.460.7220
Janice Witherow 419.357.3520

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