2009 Golden Tickets

Monday, September 14, 2009 3:29 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

5 years ago SFGAdv was one of the worst parks around. Today, it's a really nice park that just needs some flats to spread crowds a little more.

If you're going to take polls like this seriously, ou have to remember who is voting in them - enthusiasts. I don't mean that as a dirty word or anything, but over the years I've learned that what enthusiasts look for and like in a park is often a little different than what the average family or teenager (basically the GP) looks for in a park.

SF as a company doesn't have a real good rep in enthusiast circle. It doesn't help that enthusiasts wrote them off a long time ago when the parks really did suck bad. In the past few years huge positive strides have been made at park in the SF chain. Unfortunately, the rep with enthusiasts hasn't made the same progress and many people still talk of the parks like it's 2003 (and haven't been to a SF park since then either).

My advice? Don't take these polls so seriously, but if you are, understand the forces that mold the voting. :)


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Monday, September 14, 2009 3:33 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Jimmy Boy said:
I was pretty happy with the polls this year... too bad to see that fiesta texas no longer has the best shows (this park is incredibly different from any of the other six flags parks... if it wasnt for signs and characters you'd have no idea you were at one)... Bizarro is still #1 which is a great relief although things were closer this year.

Most people are having to vote based on past experiences. You can't go to every park and ride every coaster every year. As more people see what Bizarro is like now, their opinions may or may not change.

I have a problem with Knoebels being rated so high.... first off let me say that its a tremendous park and a great loving experience but its a tiny small park thats run as a family park... the food is good but not the best (best price though) and the employees aren't always even paying attention to the rides. Its not worth a #2 spot.

I'm not sure what to say here. There seem to have always been an unusually high loyalty to this park. I don't know many people who have anything bad to say about the park. Even when you bring up the fact that the Flying Turns is still not open.

When and why are Great Adventure and Magic Mountain never in the top parks. They have made great strides every year... I have never seen any garbage or anything at these parks. They are well organized beautiful and have terrific coasters and themeing... I'm shocked why they never show up.. Plus they have great capacity on all of their rides with the only real exception being deja vu at MM. The parks have unique rides and high rated coasters.

Again, most voters are going off of past experiences. If the parks are truly getting better, the vote will eventually start to come in as people make return visits and word spreads. I would venture a guess that most voters don't visit these kinds of forums. I had fun at the parks. But, I have no desire to go to them every year. I haven't spent a full day at either of them in a while. Maybe my opinion will change after I get a chance to visit them again.

I cannot make any complaints on the waterparks... Sclitterbahn is the greatest by far.. .nothing really compares to its excellent experience although Holliday Worlds waterpark is great and they are getting that new ride Wildebeast for next year.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Wildbeast as best new Water Ride for 2010.

Ok another thing I have a bit of a problem with... not one coaster with an inversion is in the top 10 anymore and I think there may be a bias program going against coasters with inversions. I believe Montu and X2 should be higher up on the list. X2 is the best coaster ever and i countinue to wonder why its only #13

X2 is the best coaster ever? I nearly got a concussion riding it. A friend of mine had a very similar experience. I realize this isn't the case for everyone. But, if 1 out of 10 people got punched in the face every time they walked into a park, I don't think it would be very long before it got a bad reputation.

and how tatsu is #34 that puzzles me a bit.

Tatsu, which I love by the way, is a very intense coaster. Not everyone can handle coasters like that.

I do like how BBW got in the top 25 for its last year though.. that was nice by amusement today.

Lastly, it's not Amusement Today ranking these things. It's the voters, which aren't necessarily readers of the magazine. I'm certainly not.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Monday, September 14, 2009 3:43 PM
crazy horse's avatar

El toro, x2, tatsu, bizzaro(medusa), collosess, goliath, riddlers revenge, and nitro(when it was built) were not cookie cutters. Beyond that, there are only so many differant kinds/ types of coasters out there that a park can afford to put in or even have the room for. I don't think the general public cares if a six flags in california has the same ride that six flags in New Jersey has. If you went that route, you can say that cedarpoint is too much like dorney park because they both have an impulse coaster or a hyper coaster or a inverted coaster, or a....well, you get the point.

And you can't compare sfkk to any other sf park, because it has to be the worst park out of all of them that I have been to. Been there once, and don't plan on going back anytime soon.

I have not ran into anymore rude employies at a six flags park this year, than I have run into at any cedarfair park. If you want the best employies, go to Disney, holiday world, or dollywood.

The flash pass may piss a few people off, but it makes a hell of a lot more happy. I wish cedarfair would join everyone else in using a flash pass system. Dollywood does it, and it does not seem to ruin anyone elses view of that park.Disney uses it as well, and I and many other people think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Look at some of my "day in picture" reports on six flags parks, and you will see a lot of improvement over what it was a few years ago. I used to sit here and bash six flags everyday, but wow...how things have changed. The employies(for the most part) are much better than in the past. The only six flags park I can say that has slow operations is great escape. I also see a bunch of empty seats go out at almost every park I have been to. Most parks train there employies to try and fill all empty seats, but after a while they just get tired of trying to deal with it and let it go. The biggest problem is finding teenagers that actualy want to work.

You can't judge an entire park on one rides restraint system even though it is bad. I was at magic mountain last year, and could not do all the rides in one day. I had to go back a second time to get the rest of the coasters in. So to say there is a lack of rides is kinda crazy. Even after a second full day at the park, there were a few rides I still did not make it on.

You say your home park is sfga?

I hope the rumor is not true about them bringing in chang from sfkk. That would be a bad move.


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 4:24 PM
Jimmy Boy's avatar

Hey its good to see that a lot of people are seeing improvements in the six flags parks. If you havent gone recently- check back- they are actually trying really hard and if you dont support them they will be gone just like astroworld.... Chang to Great Adventure actually doesnt seem aweful... i love Chang... it would fit in pretty good behind dark knight and exploratarium and if they could open back up that old country section... .they may give CP a run for its money

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Monday, September 14, 2009 4:35 PM
rollergator's avatar

Jason Hammond said:
Lastly, it's not Amusement Today ranking these things. It's the voters, which aren't necessarily readers of the magazine. I'm certainly not.

While I agreed with you point by point up to the last statement, I believe this last one may be in error. IIRC, I saw something in the past year which made me think that 51% of the vote now comes from AT staff, and 49% from the ballot responses. I sure wish someone would either confirm that for me, or rebut the statement. The not knowing (or, the waiting)...is the hardest part.

Oh, and for Jimmy Boy - inversions (save for Anton loops and inverting tophats) are highly overrated....and overutilized. ;)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Monday, September 14, 2009 4:40 PM

I have a problem with Knoebels being rated so high.... first off let me say that its a tremendous park and a great loving experience but its a tiny small park thats run as a family park... the food is good but not the best (best price though) and the employees aren't always even paying attention to the rides. Its not worth a #2 spot.

Are you sure you were at Knoble"s?

I was VERY happy with how the employees payed attention to the rides AND the guests. Granted, my stop was short (2 hour pitstop on the way home from Indianapolis). If somebody was looking for something to do in central PA, I'd send 'em to KG in a heartbeat, even with the it's small flaws.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Monday, September 14, 2009 4:44 PM

Jimmy Boy said:
Hey its good to see that a lot of people are seeing improvements in the six flags parks. If you havent gone recently- check back- they are actually trying really hard and if you dont support them they will be gone just like astroworld.... Chang to Great Adventure actually doesnt seem aweful... i love Chang... it would fit in pretty good behind dark knight and exploratarium and if they could open back up that old country section... .they may give CP a run for its money

umm just so you know the rumor is that Chang might go to SF Great America, not Great Adventure.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 5:22 PM
Jimmy Boy's avatar

First off Chang is not rumored to go to Great America (They already have iron wolf) A park wouldnt have 2 B&M Standups (they wont get rid of iron wolf)... its rumored to go to SFGA if KK closes down.... which seems probable because of that whole fiasco with twisted twins and that whole area of that park being closed for some time now..

And as for Knoebels exactly spoken it is a fantastic experince park with great rides such as twister, pheonix, haunted mansion, and looper but really passed that there isnt much. Dont mix up my words... its a great park with an awesome atmosphere but it really cant be ranked as the 2nd best amusement park that the country has to offer...

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Monday, September 14, 2009 5:43 PM

You're right. That honor SHOULD go to Canobie Lake. ;)


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Monday, September 14, 2009 5:44 PM
Jeff's avatar

New kids: Please dispense with the silly rumors. Thanks.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, September 14, 2009 6:19 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

rollergator said:
IIRC, I saw something in the past year which made me think that 51% of the vote now comes from AT staff, and 49% from the ballot responses. I sure wish someone would either confirm that for me, or rebut the statement. The not knowing (or, the waiting)...is the hardest part.

It doesn't say anything to that regarding the survey form they send out. The following was the best information I could find in this years edition of the results:

From Page 27

Since the beginning of the Golden Ticket Awards in 1998, Amusement Today has sought out the most experienced and well-traveled amusement park enthusiasts. Using a fair and balanced protocol of dividing ballots equally among four regions of the United States and another portion for international voters, AT receives representation from all around the world.

But who are these people and what are they like? More than 84 percent of them have been to 50 or more parks, and 88 percent of them have visited parks outside their home country. 92 percent of them own at least one season pass, and 60 percent own two or more. On average, 39 percent report they visit 10-20 parks each year, and 26 percent state they visit more than 20. 47 percent boast that they have been on more than 500 roller coasters, with 41 percent claiming a range between 250-500.

I also do not see anything on the Wiki Page

I'm not saying it isn't true. I just don't recall ever hearing that. And, I can't find any information to support it either. Jeffrey Seifert who posts here occasionally would be able to speak to that matter more knowledgeably than I can.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Monday, September 14, 2009 6:30 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

rollergator said:
Since "respondents votes" no longer determine the winners, and voters are encouraged to vote for rides they themselves haven't ridden.....well, I like Mitch's poll (under the rubric of "If I haven't experienced it myself, who am I to judge?") ;)

The exact line on the ballot reads as follows:

We realize it is impossible to get to all the new attractions each year. For parks and rides that you have not been to, please utilize the various sources - amusementtoday.com, web sites, chat sites, You Tube, trip reports and reports you've heard from other fans - to help make your vote the best it can be.

I would think any amount of people following these instructions could only help the smaller parks that don't normally make it on the list. I would assume that a high percentage of people make it to some of the big parks every year. I believe if this method wasn't followed, there would be even fewer winners from the smaller parks. It's not a weighted poll like Mitch's poll. Personally, I think I make it to enough parks each year to make my own educated choices without relying on other people accounts. But, when it comes to things like waterparks, I'm the complete opposite. I go to very few if any water parks. In the case of voting for these things I have no choice but to go on what I've heard.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Monday, September 14, 2009 8:19 PM
rollergator's avatar

Thanks Jason. Been trying to attribute that 51-49 statement, and have been unable to ID the source. So, credibility comes into question.

As far as the ballots themselves, if they keep coming, then I'll keep sending them in....I'm a conditioned voter (and probably know more about coasters than politics...not that I'm uninformed about either, LOL).


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Monday, September 14, 2009 8:24 PM
LostKause's avatar

CoasterDemon said:
... Flash pass pisses a lot of people off, that's not family fun. Waiting in line for any one of many B&M rides for any amount of time - watching loads of empty seats going out - and having people walk up with flash passes - pretty much a slap in the face to people who are paying the regular price to be there.

I think that I'm in love with you. ;)

(We now resume to normal conversation.)


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Monday, September 14, 2009 8:36 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

crazy horse said:
El toro, x2, tatsu, bizzaro(medusa), collosess, goliath, riddlers revenge, and nitro(when it was built) were not cookie cutters. Beyond that, there are only so many differant kinds/ types of coasters out there that a park can afford to put in or even have the room for. I don't think the general public cares if a six flags in california has the same ride that six flags in New Jersey has. If you went that route, you can say that cedarpoint is too much like dorney park because they both have an impulse coaster or a hyper coaster or a inverted coaster, or a....well, you get the point.

El Toro was a good ride, but I'm not too much about being completely painfully stapled to my seat with extreme "uplift forces" (read: NOT airtime). The overall experience of being in such a huge park with huge mediocre coasters (if you were lucky enough to actually get to ride them) doesn't do it for me. As far as I'm concerned, SFGAdventure had its best ride in the Chiller, and with that gone, I have no reason to go there anytime in a long time from now (last time for me was 2006).

When it comes to CF/CPoint and Dorney, similar (however, those parks are run in tip top shape, excellent service compared to MOST SF parks), I was at CPoint in 2000 for the opening of Millie, nice ride. I have no desire to rush back to Dorney now that Laser is gone. Except for Thunderhawk, the rides there I can pretty much experience at most other parks.

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Monday, September 14, 2009 10:43 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jason Hammond said:

The exact line on the ballot reads as follows:

We realize it is impossible to get to all the new attractions each year. For parks and rides that you have not been to, please utilize the various sources - amusementtoday.com, web sites, chat sites, You Tube, trip reports and reports you've heard from other fans - to help make your vote the best it can be.

In other words, don't think for yourself. If you've never been on a ride (or to a park, etc) but everyone else thinks it is super duper awesome then you should too and you should vote accordingly. Now it's obvious why the results stay the same for decades at a time.

Seriously, that's the most disheartening thing I've ever read on the subject of amusement park polls.


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Monday, September 14, 2009 11:02 PM
Jeff's avatar

Did I mention how it's a conflict of... nevermind. I think I did.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 12:01 AM
mlnem4s's avatar

crazy horse said:
The biggest problem is finding teenagers that actualy want to work.

Actually, I blame the parks more today than I do teenagers or anyone who might be interested in working for them. The grooming guidelines are a farce, as a former HR Manager I can't tell you the number of times I had to terminate employees over silly things such as length of hair on a guy, hair color, side burn length, facial hair, pierced ears on a guy, tattoo on a bicep,etc...the list is endless. If the summer job choice is between "Happy Land" which has an endless list of grooming guidelines out of 1955 (thank you Walt Disney) and only pays minimum wage or any number of other customer service jobs that pay above minimum wage and come with no ridiculous grooming guidelines, well there is your answer why seasonal theme parks are constantly understaffed and have to important thousands of foreign employees to staff parks across the USA.

I and others have advocated for simple changes such as allowing guys to have a pierced ear or tattoo and goatees for example or hair coloring for girls. These in no way impacts the guest experience in a seasonal park and would allow human resources to actually spend more time on service training and other initiatives that actually impact the park guest experience versus spending countless hours of filling the revolving door of open positions. The answer is always a firm NO and the revolving door continues to spin and spin and spin and little effort is put into developing better tools for enhancing guest service/experiences.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:39 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
In other words, don't think for yourself. If you've never been on a ride (or to a park, etc) but everyone else thinks it is super duper awesome then you should too and you should vote accordingly. Now it's obvious why the results stay the same for decades at a time.

I know I'll probably never convince you, Jeff and anyone else otherwise. But, why do you have to read it like that? Why can't it be that you should use your own opinions when ever possible. But, when necessary and you have no means to formulate your own opinion solely on your own, read up at several sources, gather different opinions of others and try and make an educated decision. Lets say I never rode Ravine Flyer II last year and the only new coaster I rode was one of the Dark Knights at one of the Six Flags. Does that mean I should only vote for Dark Knight as best new coaster? Maybe in some people's minds. But, not mine. If DK was the only coaster I'd ridden, I'd talk to my friends who've ridden Avatar Airbender, Steel Hawg, Ravine Flyer II and so on. I'd ask them to compare them to other rides I had ridden and see what they thought about each, what they liked or disliked and try and form my own opinion based on that and other things like website videos and other sources.

Do I need to eat a handful of mud to know I won't like it? No. Do I need to eat a new flavor of Ice Cream to know I'll like it? Maybe. But, If Joe said it tastes just like Moose Tracks, then I know I'm going to love it. Because, Joe and I both love Moosetracks.

I think you see my point. Is this a foolproof method? No. But, at least I don't have to vote for Dark Knight. And, even though it's a year later, I've had the Ice Cream and it was just as Joe described.

If you say you shouldn't vote on things you haven't done, what's the time limit. I haven't ridden Dania Beach Hurricane since 2006. But, several people I know have ridden it and have said it's just as good now as it was then? By using their opinion to keep it at a certain point on my best coaster list am I "not thinking for myself"? No, I am taking past experiences and accounts of others who I know and have similar tastes with in order to make an educated decision.

Is the poll perfect? No. But, what poll is. Mitch's sure isn't. It has good and bad point's like any other. AT's is more or less a popularity contest. But, isn't that the point? Mitch's, some might say is more accurate because it gives weighted values to votes based on how well traveled a person is. But, that obviously can skew the results if a few well traveled people all happen to vote for the same ride. If a handful of people say the best coaster in the world is in Denmark, does that make it so? Maybe. But, most people participating in the polls will never ride it.

Is there a way to make a poll that everyone will agree with when the results are tabulated? No. Does that mean we should never take a poll on anything? Of course not. Just take it at what it's worth. It's for fun. It certainly seems to give all the coaster sites a few more page views every year.

I agree the marketing aspect of the paper is a bit shady. But, if Charmland won Friendliest park of the year, are you telling me that the marketing department wouldn't want to take advantage of that. Regardless of how the conclusions were reached?

I had more points I wanted to make. But, it's 2:30 in the morning and I've forgotten what they were. :)


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:40 AM

^^^^ I feel the same way. No wonder the results never change. That line on the ballot explains a lot.

^^^^^^ If there are that many empty seats, the problem is not that flash pass is available. The problem is that the queue is not being regulated properly.

Last edited by SFMMAddict, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 2:41 AM

My mother (1946-2009) once asked me why I go to Magic Mountain so much. I said I feel the most alive when I'm on a roller coaster.
2010 total visits: SFMM-9, KBF-2
2010 total ride laps: 437

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