The Golden Ticket Awards | Presented by Amusement Today

The Golden Ticket Awards | Presented by Amusement Today

The Golden Ticket Awards | Presented by Amusement Today

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F.A.Q.

How does Amusement Today choose the winners?

Amusement Today relies on a panel of voters from all over the world consisting of experienced park enthusiasts. The U.S. ballots are divided into four geographical regions, with approximately the same number of voters in each region. In addition to the American voters, Amusement Today invites a number of international voters to participate.

As of 2019, AT has invited a specific representation from suppliers, manufacturers as well as journalists who cover the industry to share their views. The perspective of those working within the business was especially valued, and certain categories were directed specifically at these professionals. In other cases, the enthusiasts were the sole voters. Some categories now see a blend of perspectives — similar to Hollywood’s Academy Awards and sports balloting including the All-Stars in baseball, wherein managers, players and writers are involved, as well as fans.

How can I become a voter?

Amusement Today is looking for enthusiastic park fans who visit several parks a year and have had several years of experience. We are always seeking new candidates for our panel. If you feel your experience is high and are actively visiting numerous parks and attractions each year, contact Tim Baldwin at tbaldwin@amusementtoday.com to inquire if you are a good fit for next year’s panel. For our industry panelists, Amusement Today is looking for a single representative from manufacturers and suppliers, as well as those involved with writing about the amusement industry.

So how are the winners chosen?

Amusement Today asks its voters to submit one choice in each of the categories (except best coaster). The results are tallied and the park or attraction with the most votes is awarded the Golden Ticket for that category. For roller coasters, we ask that each voter submit a list of their top 10 coasters — wood and steel — in order from one to ten, taking into consideration the overall experience including capacity, operations, reliability and re-rideability.

Beginning in 2019, AT invited specific representation from suppliers, manufacturers as well as journalists who cover the industry to share their views. The perspective of those working within the business was especially valued, and certain categories were directed specifically at these professionals. In other cases, the enthusiasts were the sole voters. Some categories saw a blend of perspectives — similar to Hollywood’s Academy Awards and sports balloting including the All-Stars in baseball, wherein managers, players and writers are involved, as well as fans.

Does Amusement Today select nominees?

In the core categories, no. Any appropriate ride or park for that category can be voted on.

Beginning in 2019, new categories were created in which industry professionals and parks could make specific nominations. These new categories are BEST NEW SHOW, BEST INNOVATION and BEST NEW ATTRACTION INSTALLATION. Once nominations were received from industry professionals in these categories, then designated panels cast their votes.

Why does it seem like the same parks win all the time?

Change happens gradually but it does happen. As new rides and attraction are built they eventually find their way to the top of the lists. A park that wins best food or best shows or the friendliest park or the cleanest for several years is unlikely to all of a sudden stop serving good food or producing good shows or let their park get dirty or unfriendly. It takes time for one park to overtake another, but several of awards have changed over the years.

Cedar Point for instance, had maintained a lock on best park since the Golden Tickets began and for good reason. It is a consistent favorite among enthusiasts; the park holds events specifically for enthusiasts and it has one of the world’s largest collections of roller coasters and rides. It has beautiful grounds, a scenic shore, and the coasters and rides are well maintained. But in 2014 Germany’s Europa-Park overtook Cedar Point for best park.

In 2019, four categories that had served AT well in the past were retired, and their perpetual winners were  honored as Golden Ticket Awards LEGENDS.

I went to ride one your top-chosen rides and it was closed. How can it be one of the best if it isn’t running?

The parks do what they can to keep their rides running, but unfortunately rides do have to close for various reasons such as weather or operational difficulties. Brand new rides sometimes have some growing pains, and shutdowns that occur are almost always for reasons of safety. We understand the disappointment when an attraction is closed during your visit, but closures occur at every park, no matter how well maintained.

How does Amusement Today choose the winners?

Amusement Today relies on a panel of voters from all over the world consisting of experienced park enthusiasts. The U.S. ballots are divided into four geographical regions, with approximately the same number of voters in each region. In addition to the American voters, Amusement Today invites a number of international voters to participate.

Beginning in 2019, AT invited a specific representation from suppliers, manufacturers as well as journalists who cover the industry to share their views. The perspective of those working within the business was especially valued, and certain categories were directed specifically at these professionals. In other cases, the enthusiasts were the sole voters. Some categories saw a blend of perspectives — similar to Hollywood’s Academy Awards and sports balloting including the All-Stars in baseball, wherein managers, players and writers are involved, as well as fans.

I visited one of the parks on your list and had a terrible time. How can you give that park a Golden Ticket?

There are many factors that can affect a guest’s visit to a park, such as weather, crowds or rides being down. One person can have a spectacular time on one day, while someone else on another day might not have as good a time. Keep in mind that the parks and attractions are chosen by experienced voters who visit a number of parks each year. They are also savvy enough to avoid certain days. If you visited during a holiday or particularly crowded day, your experience could be diminished. If you had a bad experience at a park, we encourage you to stop by guest relations and let them know. You might also consider writing to the park afterward and politely and clearly tell them why you were disappointed. If you still feel the situation is unresolved, feel free to contact us — we might be able to put you in touch with the correct people.

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