2020 Golden Ticket Awards announced to acknowledge industry excellence

By | September 24, 2020

ARLINGTON, Texas — Amusement Today, a leading trade publication of the amusement industry, announced its annual Golden Ticket Awards on September 23. For more than two decades, the prestigious honors have been the most sought-after awards in the world of amusements and themed entertainment.

“This has been a challenging year, but there is still a tremendous amount of hard work going on. Amusement Today didn’t want to miss an opportunity to recognize those who continue to move the industry forward,” said Publisher Gary Slade.

While the world grapples with an ongoing health crisis, Amusement Today realized its traditional core categories involving best water rides, parks, food and roller coasters were not the appropriate approach to take.

“Global events may have caused a temporary reimagining of the Golden Ticket Awards this year, but in these times, it is still a way to acknowledge the positives that are so desperately needed. Amusement Today is thrilled to recognize so many achievements,” said Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator.

For 2020, a new series of acknowledgements were dedicated to facilities, companies and individuals that exhibited leadership, resilience and strength during unprecedented times. For these reasons, five Industry Leader categories were created.

Industry Leader: Park was bestowed on Knott’s Berry Farm for its creative solutions in creating attendance and revenue through sell-out food events when the theme park was prohibited from opening for normal operations.

Industry Leader: Supplier was given to Gateway Ticketing Systems for its immediate reaction in informing and educating the industry through weekly webinars as the pandemic started. The sessions became a support system as the health crisis took on a global scale.

Industry Leader: FEC was presented to Urban Air Adventure Parks for efforts that efficiently guided the company into the right decisions regarding guests, facility operators and team members. Customer service was elevated, and money management programs guided team members through temporary financial setbacks.

Industry Leader: Outdoor Entertainment was given to Talley Amusements for unifying the carnival industry operators in lobbying the government to reopen safely and efficiently. Efforts reached government officials, policy advisors and the desk of the state’s governor.

Industry Leader: Association was bestowed to New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. NEAAPA members from multiple states networked and collaborated to navigate the forward path through regulations, health information and state regulations. Chaired by Ed Hodgdon, the weekly online meetings and informative information summarization put member facilities in a position to open as quickly and safely as possible.

Innovation of the Year resulted in a tie vote. Six Flags Over Texas was honored for its Trash Reduction System, reducing the parks environmental footprint with a 75% to 90% reduction in trash. Six Flags Theme Parks introduced Improved Entrance Initiatives. Even under the pandemic, the new procedures permitted guests to enter the park more quickly without stopping as both temperature checks and metal detection took place simply by walking through the system.

Amusement Today’s Publisher’s Picks are presented by Publisher Gary Slade to acknowledge exemplary work exhibited within the amusement industry:

Supplier of the Year — Great Coasters International, Inc., for evolving the development of the wooden coaster.

Person of the Year — Gene Staples, for rescuing Indiana Beach from permanent closure through his business expertise.

Renaissance Award — Europa-Park, for bringing back Pirates in Batavia, a beloved dark ride attraction lost in a horrific 2018 fire, bigger and grander than ever.

Turnstile Award — Arnolds Park, for investing in its history and using beautification and preservation to keep guests returning year after year.

Pamela Landwirth of Give Kids The World Village was acknowledged as a Golden Ticket Awards Legend. Recognizing her work serving families with critically ill children, the award notes her 25 years at the organization’s helm. During that time, the Village has seen exponential growth.

Amusement Today was founded in 1997 and covers international amusement and water park news and trends. In its 23-history, it is a five-time winner of various awards from the International Association of Amusement parks and Attractions. The full Golden Ticket Awards issue is available to read online and download for free at: AmusementToday.com/digital and GoldenTicketAwards.com