Golden Ticket Awards

In this year’s Golden Ticket Awards, Orlando’s theme parks picked up some important trophies from the Amusement Today Magazine’s annual survey.

After a very rough few years, SeaWorld not only snapped up the ‘Best Marine Life Park’ award, but they also scooped a very important Publishers Pick Award for their SeaWorld Animal Rescue Teams in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.
This latter award will carry lots of weight for SeaWorld who have been locked for some time in a three way battle with OSHA and PETA over their North American park operations.

Other very notable awards in Orlando were gained by Universal, and not surprisingly eclipsed the efforts of the Disney Parks over recent years.
In Islands of Adventure, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls won the best water ride, and was also joined by Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, picking up the best dark ride.
IOA’s sister park in Orlando did a great job too, with the Revenge of the Mummy being awarded with ‘best indoor roller coaster’.

Walt Disney World, as the long time ‘king of theme parks’ fared less well however, with Illuminations at Epcot grabbing the only award of 2014 for its 4 Orlando theme parks.

The WDW trophy cabinet won’t get much fuller in 2015 either, as the effects of Diagon Alley come into play for the next awards survey.
With only the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the frame to grab the attention of voters, Universal do look set to pick up the lion’s share again.

Do the Golden Ticket Awards really matter?

In a word, yes.
But…..

Not as much as people might think.
The awards single out specific attractions, or specific theme parks. (This year’s overall award winner, for best theme park was Europa Park in Germany, which knocked Cedar Point Ohio off top spot for the first time in 16 years).

When you think about it though, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is currently way ahead in terms of visitor numbers, brand recognition and aspirations to visit, yet it came away without an award.

Sure, Disney will be disappointed, and even concerned, by its nearby competitor that appears to be ‘doing no wrong!’
Awards, as meaningless as they might seem are far better off in your trophy cabinet than someone else’s!
Disney might have to get used to the idea though, as guests await another few years before any original attractions arrive at WDW.