Dollywood earns five Golden Tickets

Parks honored at industry gathering for best new ride, best food
Sep. 10, 2013 @ 11:19 PM

Fresh on the heels of the announcement it will be adding a resort, Dollywood announced that it received five best-of-the-best awards from an industry magazine.

Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country brought home five Golden Ticket Awards at Amusement Today’s awards ceremony over the weekend in Santa Cruz, Calif. That included Best New Ride-Waterpark for the RiverRush water coaster in Splash Country, the state’s first and still its only water coaster, and repeats in Best Food, Friendliest Park, Best Shows and Best Christmas Event.

“We’re the only park to ever win five and we’ve done it two years in a row,” said Pete Owens, spokesman for the park.

Dollywood won best new ride last year for the Wild Eagle coaster, which placed number 24 this year on Amusement Today’s top 50 best steel coasters. The park’s Thunderhead coaster placed fifth among wooden coasters.

The park tied with Knoebels Amusement Resort for best food, won friendliest park for the second straight year, took best shows for the fifth consecutive year and won Best Christmas Event for the sixth time in a row.

“News of our five 2013 Golden Ticket Awards just absolutely blows me away,” Dolly Parton said. “I’m absolutely humbled but truly so very proud of my great team at the Dollywood Company. Having just announced plans for next year’s FireChaser Express at Dollywood and my new Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort in 2015, all of these Golden Ticket Awards let me know that we’re on the right path to expanding our family destination so that more and more folks can experience what our industry has so kindly and sweetly honored among the best our business has to offer.”

Dollywood and Splash Country also placed fourth for best park and best waterpark, second for cleanest park and fifth for best landscaping. The Mountain Slidewinder ride took fifth place for best water ride.

Amusement Today’s awards are determined by an international poll sent to a database of amusement park fans from around the world. They’re asked to rate the best  in 25 categories.

In 2010, Dollywood won the Applause Award from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. The award is considered the most prestigious in the industry and is given out every two years to a park “whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have insired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development.”

jfarrell@themountainpress.com