Since 1998, Amusement Today has held an annual event to award notable amusement parks that stand out from the rest. Winners are chosen by vote, with hundreds of experienced coaster enthusiasts sending in their ballots each year. Last night, the awards were revealed at Lake Compounce, featuring categories like Best Park, Best New Ride, and Top 25 Steel Roller Coasters. Let’s take a look at the 2017 winners of the Golden Ticket Awards.

Top Steel Coasters

Image © Carowinds

Last year, Fury 325 made news when it edged the long-reigning Millennium Force out of first place by one ballot. In 2017, Fury holds its place at the top of the list, with Millennium Force and Superman The Ride close behind. Notably, Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas snuck into fourth place, the highest rank ever for an IBox coaster.

  1. Fury 325 — Carowinds
  2. Millennium Force — Cedar Point
  3. Superman The Ride — Six Flags New England
  4. Iron Rattler — Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  5. Expedition GeForce — Holiday Park
  6. Leviathan — Canada’s Wonderland
  7. Nitro — Six Flags Great Adventure
  8. Diamondback — Kings Island
  9. New Texas Giant — Six Flags Over Texas
  10. Maverick — Cedar Point

Top Wood Coasters

Image © Six Flags Great Adventure

This year, El Toro brought an end to Boulder Dash’s four year streak in first place. Lightning Rod, Dollywood’s launched wooden coaster, rose to 5th place. Mystic Timbers, which was picked as this year’s best new roller coaster, came in 11th.

  1. El Toro — Six Flags Great Adventure
  2. Phoenix — Knoebels Amusement Resort
  3. Boulder Dash — Lake Compounce
  4. The Voyage — Holiday World
  5. Lightning Rod — Dollywood
  6. The Beast — Kings Island
  7. Ravine Flyer II — Waldameer
  8. Thunderhead — Dollywood
  9. Outlaw Run — Silver Dollar City
  10. Gold Striker — California’s Great Adventure

Best New Ride

As mentioned previously, Mystic Timbers was chosen as 2017’s best new roller coaster. As the latest addition to Kings Island, the small GCI winds its way through a surprisingly forceful layout before landing itself in a themed shed—quite possibly the most anticlimactic ending of any ride, ever.

Best Amusement Park

Image © Europa-Park

For the fourth consecutive year, Europa-Park holds the title of The Best Amusement Park in the World. The park features some top-class roller coasters, is full of well-executed theming, and serves as a showcase for Mack Rides. There’s a reason I named it the number one park on my European Bucket List.

Additional Winners

Best Water Park Schlitterbahn
Best Children’s Park Idlewild & SoakZone
Best Marine Life Park SeaWorld Orlando
Best Seaside Park Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Best Kids’ Area Kings Island
Cleanest Park Holiday World
Best Shows Dollywood


Click here to see the full results for the 2017 Golden Ticket Awards. What do you think of this year’s winners?

Read next: Top New Roller Coasters for 2017


    • Good question, Dwayne. Steel Vengeance will no doubt take Cedar Point a long way in terms of proving itself The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, but part of me wonders if Amusement Today is taking more than just thrills into account for Best Park.
      On top of having a great ride lineup, Europa-Park has over ten themed lands, each of them representing a different country in Europe. Maybe Cedar Point’s best bet is to put a bit more dedication into theming their rides—something they haven’t done well in the past. Steel Vengeance has a great backstory, but whether the park will add theming to the surrounding area remains to be seen.


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