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El Toro wins Best Wooden Coaster Golden Ticket 2017

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Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards presented at 2017 host park, Lake Compounce



BRISTOL, Conn. – And the Golden Ticket Award goes to … In an awards show tonight hosted by Lake Compounce – the oldest operating amusement park in the United States – the winners of Amusement Today’s 2017 Golden Ticket Awards were revealed in grand style.

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 prestigious survey asks experienced amusement park voters around the country and world to rate the “bests” in 23 categories.

While the poll indicates consistency in fan favorites, each year there are some twists. In the category of “Best Wooden Roller Coaster,” Lake Compounce’s popular Boulder Dash was edged out this year by El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. There is an annual “food fight” in the category of “Best Food” between Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pa., and Dollywood re-gained this title for 2017. The “Best New Ride of 2017” for amusement parks and water parks are always fun categories to watch with Kings Island in Kings Mills, Ohio, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, taking top honors for their new rides this year.

The list of 2017 winners are:

Best Amusement Park – Europa-Park, Rust, Germany
Best Water Park – Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Children’s Park – Idlewild & SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.
Best Marine Life Park – SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Seaside Park – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Best Wooden Coaster – El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J.
Best Steel Coaster – Fury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C.
Best Kids’ Area – Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio
Friendliest Park – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
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 – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Shows – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Water Ride – Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Best Water Park Ride – Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Dark Ride – Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Ride of 2017 – Amusement Park – Mystic Timbers at Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio
Best New Ride of 2017 – Water Park – Thunder Rapids at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Texas
Best Carousel – Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Indoor Roller Coaster – Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction – Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

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:
 Supplier of the Year – Intamin in Wollerau, Switzerland, for its success story of creating a diverse catalog of products and hundreds of rides in all parts of the world spanning the last 50 years;
 Park of the Year – Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, for its ongoing mission to provide a safe, clean and beautiful environment free of physical and economic barriers; and
 Person of the Year – Jerry Brick of Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn., for his passion and commitment to providing a quality, thrilling and safe amusement park that caters to the New England family audience.

For the 13th 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 Lake Compounce, and nearby park Quassy Amusement Park, as Miss and Mr. Golden Tickets. 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 20-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 2017 winners and survey results, please log on to www.goldenticketawards.com.



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Even though I have Boulder Dash as my #1 wooden coaster (El Toro is 2nd), I'm glad to see El Toro win the award because I am tired of seeing the same rides, parks and categories being the same #1 year after year. 

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Congrats El Toro!

At Riding of the Bull tonight, the park held a really nice "cocktail hour" with snacks, which was right when they announced the winner up at LC. All attendees got a Golden Ticket Award pin for El Toro and a "Thanks for voting" note personally signed by Neal.
All attendees also signed the back of the Golden Ticket sign that Bret, Mark, and Dory screwed into the base of the bull statue.




Also, my friend Frank won Mr. Golden Ticket! Not sure why they didn't have their names in the news release.

Edited by Matt Kaiser
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So my question with these polls is for example.  Since El Toro won best wooden coaster this year and no new WOOD coaster are to be built lets say for the next two years, should El Toro win it the next two years?   I bring this up because when I was at Cedar Point I saw Millennium Forces awards list and it seemed funny to me.  Going to use a few years as examples:  won 1st in 2005  and dropped to 2ns in 2006-2009 and then back to 1st in 2010.  How can a coaster that was knocked out of the top spot by a newer ride reclaim the top spot if the ride that beat it is still around?  Id think once a new coaster is built and takes top honors theres no way for the loosing coaster to reclaim it.  Follow me?

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It's definitely a strange phenomenon, but one factor I can think of, especially for wooden coasters, is how the coasters age. The top three are usually El Toro, Phoenix, and Boulder Dash. While BD was probably great in years past, it was unbearably rough when I rode it 2 years ago. Phoenix is great, but it's also no El Toro. While Toro has roughened up a bit, it's still better than its close competitors.

Boulder Dash just recently had a decent rehab, so maybe that will improve its ranking. It usually takes a year or two to see changes in ranking from when a change in the ride takes place.


Sidenote, the only other time El Toro won the GTA was in 2012.

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On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 4:08 PM, 29yrswithaGApass said:

Has anyone ridden Goliath at Six Flags Great America in IL?  Not much is said about this relatively new coaster.  Doesn't seem to be on many "must ride" lists.

Yes, it's a great ride without any dull moments.  The track length is 3100 feet, but the ride feels short because it is going so fast (72 mph).  The train comes into the brake run with a lot of speed left, so some people think they should have added a couple more elements and possibly another lap before coming into the brake run.


There was a noticeable drop off in enthusiast coverage of Great America after Robb Alvey wrote a scathing review of the park a few years ago for refusing to let his kid ride Viper and for refusing to give his group ERT before the park opened.  Most of the enthusiast coverage in the area goes to Cedar Point, which is fine because Great America is more of a family/thrill park.


EDIT: Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion has a track length of 3361 feet and a speed of 54 mph.  Twisted Cyclone at SFOG has a track length of 2400 feet and a speed of 50 mph.  I am curious if people will complain about these rides being short next year or if the lower speeds will make the rides seem longer.

Edited by Medusa42
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14 hours ago, The Master said:

Shame the operations for ET are not better. Rode it on Sunday night and they are so darn slow at dispatching. Probably the slowest dispatching ride at the park. 

Usually they're pretty fast and can dispatch a train when the previous reaches the brakes but when they try to fit a larger rider in, this can significantly delay operations.

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Six Flags Great Adventure’s El Toro Named 
World’s Best Wooden Coaster



JACKSON, N.J. — September 19, 2017  Six Flags Great Adventure announces that El Toro received the 2017 Golden Ticket Award for the World’s Best Wooden Roller Coaster.

Each year, the Golden Ticket Awards is hosted by Amusement Today magazine and honors the best theme parks, rides and attractions across the globe. Results are determined by votes from park enthusiasts and a panel of industry experts.


This is the second first-place Golden Ticket Award win for El Toro; the first award was received in 2012. El Toro debuted in 2006 and is known for its extreme airtime (moments of negative gravity) and relentlessly smooth maneuvers that leave riders no time to catch their breath. El Toro features the advanced technology of a steel coaster while still bearing the classic look of a wooden coaster.

“We are thrilled and honored to accept the Golden Ticket Award for El Toro,” said Neal Thurman, park president of Six Flags Great Adventure. “El Toro is the perfect example of Six Flags innovation that has stood the test of time and is, without a doubt, the best wooden coaster in the world.”


El Toro’s “out-and-back hybrid” style was inspired by the strength and agility of a raging bull:

·         4,400 feet of fast-changing track

·         Nine airtime hills giving riders a feeling of weightlessness

·         76-degree first drop, plummeting riders nearly 18 stories

·         Classic “out-and-back” hills and drops at speeds reaching 70 mph

·         Finale of highly-banked curves simulating a bucking bull


In addition to the Golden Ticket Awards, El Toro has received many accolades since its debut in 2006. It took top honors from Theme Park Insider and Mitch Hawker’s Internet Poll, was voted one of the 10 Scariest Roller Coasters in the World by Travel Channel, and landed a spot in USA Today’s 10Best Roller Coasters in America and Most Thrilling Coasters in the USA lists, just to name a few.

El Toro is part of an internationally recognized collection of coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure. Nitro was voted among the Top 10 steel coasters in the world for over a decade, while Kingda Ka continues to hold the world record for its jaw-dropping height. Learn more about Six Flags Great Adventure’s 14 roller coasters at www.sixflags.com/greatadventure.




Source:  Six Flags Great Adventure


Click HERE to see photos and video.

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