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Cedar Point named Best Amusement Park

September 13th, 2010

As Academy Award winners often say, it’s an honor to be nominated by one’s peers and to win is just the icing on the cake. The same goes for the Amusement Park industry awards known as the Golden Ticket Awards. These are the destinations that industry insiders consider to be the top of the top.

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey that is 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,” “landscaping” and “water rides.”

The 2010 winners are …

Best Amusement Park
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Best Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

Best Children’s Park
Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.

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
Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

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 Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.

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

Best Food
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Best Shows
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

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
Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Dark Ride
Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best Indoor Waterpark
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas

Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction
Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

Best Carousel
Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

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

Best New Ride of 2010 - Amusement Park
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best New Ride of 2010 - Waterpark
Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

This is the 13th annual year for Amusement Today’s coveted Golden Ticket Awards, which are the most sought-after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. This year’s host park, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, has won the Best Landscaping title every year since the poll has been in place.

“We are very proud of the men and women who maintain Busch Gardens’ landscaping. The park’s landscaping complements the park experience for our guests. It’s something we take great pride in, so this award is especially meaningful,” says John Reilly, president of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. “We are thrilled to host this year’s Golden Ticket Awards and welcome the industry to our park.”

Personally chosen by Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, the Publisher’s Pick Awards are presented in three categories: Park, Individual and Supplier. Respectively, the 2010 recipients are Beech Bend in Bowling Green, Ky., for its perseverance in overcoming unexpected health and flooding challenges; Jeff Novotny of Larson International in Plainview, Texas, for his donation of land and labor to make the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives a reality; and Environs in Jacksonville, Fla., for its generous $650,000 gift of a scenic ship to Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Fla.

Read more…

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Harry Potter’s Magic World Opening Soon in Orlando

March 15th, 2010

Hogwarts Express stands at the entrance to Hogsmeade
Hogwarts Express stands at the entrance to Hogsmeade

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant. Set to open this spring the immersive experience will wow guests with three major rides and a host of smaller shops, attractions, and dining locations that will put you right into the world of Harry Potter.

From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:

  • At the entrance of Hogsmeade, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station
  • Across the way is Zonko’s, a joke shop with a collection of tricks and jokes, including Extendable Ears, Boxing Telescopes and Sneakoscopes
  • Honeydukes is next door and full of treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans
  • The Three Broomsticks and adjacent Hog’s Head pub will feature traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice
  • Across from the Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery
  • The Owl Post sends letters with a certified Hogsmeade postmark and sells official stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Ollivanders wand shop is an incredible interactive experience where the wand chooses the wizard
  • Completing Hogsmeade is Dervish and Banges, the magical instruments and equipment shop featuring Quidditch equipment, Triwizard apparel, Spectrespecs and Remembralls
  • The first attraction, Dragon Challenge, features a twin high-speed roller coaster with many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament
  • Next is Flight of the Hippogriff, a family coaster simulating a Hippogriff training flight over the grounds of Hogwarts castle
  • Located in Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a thrilling new state-of-the-art attraction that uses entirely new technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced
  • Before exiting back into Hogsmeade, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is full of Ministry of Magic and magical creatures merchandise, Omnioculars, and even remote control Golden Snitches

If you’re excited about booking your own journey to Orlando to explore the magical world of Harry Potter, you’ll be happy to hear that Universal Orlando has set a date for which you’ll be safe to book — May 28th. Technically Universal has announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open in Spring 2010, but enough of the world should be open by May 28th to let you explore. Specific opening information will come as soon as it is available.

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