As I understand it , subscribers to Amusement Today do the voting, which as Jeff says puts a whole different spin on the validity of the award.
I guess they reach out to enthusiast types and such too, but I don't remember the exact details. If it were subscribers, people running the parks, I think that would be worse.
It's not a list of subscribers, and the tickets are not "bought" by advertisers. The voters are well-traveled enthusiasts. Some may be subscribers but most of them are not. If you are interested you can download the issue and read how the process works. If not, here is a small excerpt:
"Since Amusement Today introduced the Golden Ticket Awards in 1998, we continue to seek out the most experienced park enthusiasts to participate in our survey. AT follows a fair and balanced protocol of dividing our ballots between four geographical regions (see color map at right) of the United States. In addition to the hundreds of surveys sent to American enthusiasts, international fans are also sought out and we invite such fans to contact us for participation in future years...
Of note, park employees, and Amusement Today staff are not eligible to be on the panel."
The whole issue is here:
They might not be "bought," but they tell you in J-school pretty early on to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. It doesn't help when the owner of Chance says, "Now I'll have to increase my ad budget," as he accepts an award. Filling an issue with congrats/thanks ads, entities that would normally not buy ads, does not help.
Every trade magazine does it. I get it. I just don't agree with it.
And it's ok to use your real name, if you wish to be truly be transparent.
I've gotten a GT ballot for years, have never bought anything from them. I fill one out *most* years, and hope to continue receiving a ballot. I know a significant number of voters personally...and GTAs are used by parks because there is a lot of validity.
Is the voting system perfect? No. Do we also find *issues* wth every other nomination/voting/awards process? Absolutely.
As I've said before, my biggest "gripe" is the idea of voting for rides that I personally haven't ridden. I know I can't go everywhere, every year....and that no one else can either. So I'll vote my conscience based on what I personally have experienced, and go with the best of what I have done. I had to even skip a category this year, "best indoor waterpark", because I've never visited any of them....therefore, IMO, my opinion on that is virtually worthless. But my votes do tend to agree with the results pretty well.
Just wish I'd ridden Zippin Pippin before I had to vote this year....that thing is absolutely amazing.
So, then the awards generally do have some validity?
Let's put it this way. I was planning to visit Holiday World next year for the first time. Because of these awards, I was expecting a clean and friendly park. Am I being mislead?
The real issue is (as we've discussed forever and ever) the bias towards popular rides, regardless of their quality. Especially in the "best new X" category, if I've only ridden 2 out of the 5 nominees, I've already discounted 3 of them, regardless of how good they are or are not. There is some compensation by only asking well traveled enthusiasts to participate.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
I get dead sick of hearing "have you been to Cedar Point!?," "you have to go to Cedar Point if you like roller coasters!," and the especially coy "you should go to Sandusky, Ohio!"
Well, you kinda DO have to go to Cedar Point if you like roller coasters. That's exactly why I made my first trip there 15 years ago.
I've never understood the CP hate myself. I live the place.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
If I could only go to one park Cedar Point would be on a very short list.
I think I'd pick Hershey.
Don't get me wrong; after a 11 year hiatus from Cedar Point, I still love the place. But the coasters - well, they are nice :) Nothing outstanding. It's very well run, huge park. Lots of variety. But no GREAT coasters. It just gets lots and lots of accolades... which is kind of annoying.
It just gets lots and lots of accolades... which is kind of annoying.
That's how I feel about most of the small parks that enthusiasts get all wet about.
^I hear ya. I am trying to spread out my wetness this coming year.
I'm not. I'm sticking to what I like.
You two get a room already! :p
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