2008 Golden Ticket Awards Announced

Golden Ticket Awards – The Oscars of the Amusement Industry
Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards were recently announced. Holiday World’s The Voyage & Six Flags New England’s Superman Ride of Steel both retained their Golden Ticket Award titles for another year. This is Superman Ride of Steel’s 3rd consecutive year and The Voyage’s second year in a row. This year, neither of the top 10 lists have a new entry. Expedition GeForce (which consistently battles for the top spot in Mitch’s Poll) moved up to 5th. Also, Six Flags Over Georgia’s Goliath and Six Flags Great Adventure’s El Toro both moved up a few spots.The Golden Ticket Awards seem to carry less weight in enthusiast circles than Mitch Hawker’s Internet Poll, although Mitch’s methodology came under fire last year when Eagle Fortress ranked 3rd. One common criticism of the GTA’s is its lack of international coasters. Another criticism is that the same parks win every year. Pat McCabe over at A Walk in the Park Podcast outlines a list of criticisms.

Below is the complete Top 10 for both steel and wooden roller coasters:
*=Coasters that I’ve ridden.

Golden Ticket Awards – Top Steel Coasters of 2008
1 Superman: Ride of Steel* – Six Flags New England
2 Millennium Force* – Cedar Point
3 Nitro* – Six Flags Great Adventure
4 Apollo’s Chariot* – Busch Gardens Europe (Williamsburg)
5 Expedition GeForce – Holiday Park
6 Goliath* – Six Flags Over Georgia
7 Magnum XL-200* – Cedar Point
8 Phantom’s Revenge* – Kennywood
9 Top Thrill Dragster – Cedar Point
10 Montu* – Busch Gardens Africa (Tampa)

Golden Ticket Awards – Top Wooden Coasters of 2008
1 The Voyage* – Holiday World
2 Thunderhead* – Dollywood
3 Phoenix* – Knoebels Amusement Resort
4 El Toro* – Six Flags Great Adventure
5 Boulder Dash* – Lake Compounce
6 Hades* – Mt. Olympus Theme Park
7 Shivering Timbers – Michigan’s Adventure
8 Beast* – Paramount’s Kings Island
9 Lightning Racer* – Hershey Park
10 Raven* – Holiday World

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

Bottom line, these are highly regarded roller coasters and amusement parks that, for the most part, deserve praise. However, the title of “Best of the Best” and the thinking that these are the best in the world, may be in question. Like with any survey or poll you have to look at the participants. And if they are ultra fanboys (ie. someone that has a blind devotion to one or just a few parks/rides) as McCabe as described them then that could be the cause of the questionable results.

Here’s the full 2008 Golden Ticket Award results. See my Golden Ticket Award posts for results and analysis from 2006 and 2007. What’s your take on the GTA results? Do you agree with the coaster rankings? Leave a comment below.