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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Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards presented at 2019 host park, Silverwood Theme Park

ATHOL AND COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Where is the best amusement park food? The best dark ride?  The best steel roller coaster?  The ballots have been tallied, and in an awards show hosted this evening by Silverwood Theme Park, Amusement Today announced the winners of its prestigious 2019 Golden Ticket Awards.    

 The Golden Ticket Awards are presented annually to honor the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry and are calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today.  The survey asked experienced amusement park voters around the country and world to rate the “bests” in 22 categories. This year, to keep the awards current and relevant, voters not only included industry fans, but also – in some categories – industry suppliers, manufacturers and journalists.  New categories were added and others were tweaked to create a fresh approach to the awards.

For the first time, four past categories were recognized for their long-running status and achievements and were retired after consecutively taking top honors over the years. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Calif., for “Best Seaside Park”; The Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pa., for “Best Carousel”; Noah’s Ark at Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pa., for “Best Walk-Through/Funhouse” and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando for “Best Indoor Roller Coaster” were honored as Golden Ticket Awards Legends.

The 2019 Golden Ticket Awards recipients are …

Best Amusement ParkEuropa-Park, Rust, Germany
Best Water ParkSchlitterbahn Waterpark Resort,
New Braunfels, Texas
Best Family Park of 2019Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster, Pa.
Best Wildlife/Marine Life ParkSeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Water Park RideWildebeest at Splashin’ Safari,
Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Wooden CoasterPhoenix at Knoebels Amusement
Resort, Elysburg, Pa.     
Best Steel CoasterFury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C.
Best Kids’ AreaDollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Guest ExperienceDollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Breakout Family
Entertainment Center of 2019
C.J. Barrymore’s, Clinton, Mich.
BestHalloween Event of 2018Halloween Horror Nights at
Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.  
Most Beautiful Park  Busch Gardens Williamsburg,
Williamsburg, Va.
Best Christmas Event of 2018Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Food of 2019Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.  
Best New Show of 2019Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure at Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo.
Best Water RideValhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Best Dark RidePirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure
at Shanghai Disneyland, China
Best New Attraction Installation
of 2019
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Roller Coaster of 2019   The Steel Curtain at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.      
Best New Family Attraction of 2019  Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif.
Best New Water Park Ride of 2019  Cutback Water Coaster at Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Va.
Best Innovation of 2019Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario

Personally chosen by Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, this year’s Publisher’s Pick Awards were presented in the following categories:

  • Park of the Year – Morey’s Piers, Wildwood, N.J., for celebrating 50 years of innovation and creative success and for taking the lead in bringing big rides to vacationing families along the Jersey Shore;     
  • Renaissance Award – Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio, for respecting its roots and being committed to guest experience as evidenced in the installation of the Kings Mills Antique Autos and makeover of historical park attractions and aspects; and
  • Turnstile Award – Silverwood Theme Park, Athol, Idaho, for its imagination through the magic of storytelling and charm, which has resulted in bringing people through the gates and providing a lifetime of memories.            

For the 15th consecutive year, Amusement Today recognized college students who plan to pursue a career in the amusement industry and are employed by the host park of Silverwood Theme Park. These individuals exemplify the spirit and integrity of the amusement 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.

Amusement Today newspaper was founded in 1997 and covers international amusement and water park news and trends.  In its 22-year history, it is a five-time winner of various awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.  For a detailed outline of the 2019 winners and survey results, please log on to

View release as PDF or online.
View the 2019 Golden Ticket Awards issue digitally here.