For those of you not familiar with the Golden Ticket Awards, they are a series of awards that recognize industry excellence given out by an amusement industry publication, Amusement Today. Over the past couple years, Morey’s Piers has been ranked as the 3rd Best Seaside Park in the world and Ghost Ship as the 3rd Best Dark Walkthrough Attraction. A panel of judges that are specially selected by the publication travels the globe and votes on several categories of excellence. This year the awards where hosted by Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, a small regional theme park located in, get this…. Santa Claus, Indiana! The park has been recognized year after year as being one of the friendliest parks in the world, and the truth is, they are; the place is full of Midwest Charm.
But back to the awards, Lindsey, our Marketing Manager, and I had never been to the Golden Ticket Awards before, nor had we visited Holiday World, so it was a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and really see what all the hype was about. We arrived at Philadelphia International on a sun filled Friday morning and 570 miles later, we landed in Louisville, Kentucky (Lindsey seemed to think we were in Missouri). Just a short 1.5 hour car ride (around a detour) later, we found ourselves checking into Santa’s Lodge, on Snowball Lane, in Santa Claus, Indiana (no, I’m not kidding, we have pictures to prove it).
The experience of the park was unique in its own right; the park is charmingly themed and perfect for the surrounding area. The Koch Family, who owns and operates the park, is truly an inspiration. They are present in every aspect of the park- it really is a family affair. The park won several awards, including Best Wooden Coaster, Friendliest Staff and Cleanest Park, just as they have for many years. We rode Voyage, got a sneak peek at what makes Wildebeest (the worlds longest water coaster) work and met some really great people along the way.
And through it all, although we did not take away a first place Golden Ticket (this year) we were surrounded by other parks, big and small, and it really cemented (at least for me) that this business of amusement and waterparks is all about one thing- creating moments, memories and smiles, no matter how big the park is or where in the world it resides.