Smaller Parks Popular Among Enthusiasts

Smaller Parks Getting Props
As I looked at the Golden Ticket Awards, I was surprised to see the smaller parks scoring so well. I was especially surprised to see Knoebels ranking third overall. Of course Knoebels will never surpass Cedar Point, but it is getting more votes every year. The smaller parks like Knoebels and Holiday World also won other categories. I think this reiterates that the surveys are sent to coaster enthusiasts, not just thrill seekers. Both of those parks have a homy amusement park feel as opposed to a corporate feel like a Six Flags park might have. The parks also offer world-class wooden coasters like The Voyage, Phoenix, and the fan favorite Raven. There’s a large contingency of enthusiasts that are undyingly loyal to woodies, no matter what steel coaster height or speed barrier just got broken. There weren’t too many entries for the larger park chains like Six Flags and Paramount.

Here are a few of the winners in some of the other categories:
Cleanest Park – Holiday World
Friendliest Park Staff – Holiday World
Best Food – Knoebels
Best Landscaping – Busch Gardens Europe
Best Marine Life Park – SeaWorld Orlando
Best Water Park – Schlitterbahn

My Favorite Park
Busch Gardens Europe, formerly Busch Gardens Williamsburg, scored well in many of the secondary categories. It’s won Best Landscaping every year for the last decade or so. I can easily see why, it’s a really beautiful park with lots of greenery, the Rhine River, and exquisitely designed Euro-inspired buildings. BGE also scored 4th for Best Food, 3rd for Best Shows, and 2nd for Cleanest Park. Also, Apollo’s Chariot was ranked at number 5 on the Top Steel Coasters of 2006. Not bad for a coaster that’s seven years old. I’ll get more into the coaster categories in my next post.

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