Golden Ticket Awards return in person
Morgan's Wonderland, Six Flags Fiesta Texas welcome industry
SAN ANTONIO — After stepping away for two years, owing to the global pandemic, the in-person networking event returns. Amusement Today was thrilled to plan the Networking Event of the Year again and bring the industry back together for the Golden Ticket Awards.
Two host facilities engaged attendees with everything from haunted attractions to wonderful entertainment to accessibility for park guests.
Morgan’s Wonderland welcomed industry professionals Friday evening, September 9. There, attendees saw firsthand the vision of park founder Gordon Hartman and his ongoing efforts to create multiple properties that rank among the nation’s forward thinking and noteworthy, all unified with a common mission.
“What a privilege and pleasure it was for Morgan’s Wonderland to host the 2022 Golden Ticket Awards’ opening reception,” said Hartman, founder of the unique, nonprofit park inspired by his daughter with special needs, Morgan. “We’re truly grateful to Amusement Today for its ongoing interest in and support of our ultra-accessible, fully-inclusive ‘family’ of ventures that has grown to include Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex, year-round Morgan’s Wonderland Camp and the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, or The MAC, which will open next month. Our Golden Ticket goal was to offer all attendees legendary Texas hospitality.”
Morgan’s Wonderland opened in 2010 and immediately gained national attention. In addition to all 50 states, visitors from 71 countries have been welcomed to the first theme park of its kind.
Another unique property opened in 1992. Built within the Redland Quarry, Fiesta Texas was one of the first components of the La Cantera development. Owned by USAA insurance company and Gaylord Entertainment Company, Fiesta Texas was a sister park to Opryland in Nashville. In 1995, the park became part of the Six Flags chain and was renamed Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Over three decades, the park has continued its legacy of top-tier entertainment while growing its impressive arsenal of attractions.
For 2022, Six Flags Fiesta Texas has enjoyed a year-long 30th anniversary celebration. Among the many ingredients of fanfare that have welcomed visitors is the brand-new Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger, the nation’s latest dive coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard.
The park’s grand Zaragoza Theater opened its doors for the Golden Ticket Awards ceremony.
“The entire Six Flags Family is humbled to be a host park for the epic return of the largest celebration of industry awards and recognition, the 2022 Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards,” said Park President Jeffrey Siebert. “As Six Flags Fiesta Texas commemorates our 30th anniversary this season, we are thrilled to welcome our industry colleagues and fans in person to celebrate with us.”
Following years of unprecedented challenges in the industry, the celebration of The Best of the Best was the icing on the cake of a networking weekend to connect and share best practices with one another.
“It was very difficult not to host the live event in 2021,” said Amusement Today Publisher Gary Slade. “We weighed the decision for some time, but we knew parks were still emerging from so many challenges. In the end, we knew it was the right decision. But it is so great for us to welcome everyone again. We’re proud to showcase some great Texas hospitality.”
“We are so grateful to our host parks and our many sponsors that make the event possible,” said Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. “How fun to bring the event back with a big Texas ‘Howdy.’ Human connection is so important, both personally and in our business. We needed this. Amusement Today is very proud to showcase all that’s good in the industry.”
All stories this issue
by Tim Baldwin
unless otherwise noted