I’m just going to say it. I’m proud of the place I get to work. I grew up coming here and made so many memories of this place that I’m glad I’m able now to help families make those same memories. It always makes me happy to see other people experience Dollywood for the first time and then leave with an understanding of why the park is so special. That obviously is the reason we’ve had a successful few days in terms of earning some major awards.
On Saturday night, Sept. 7, we earned three more of Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards. Dollywood earned finalist placement in seven total categories and won more awards than any other park. To give you an idea of how prestigious the Golden Tickets are in our industry, I’ll explain more about them.
The awards are calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the industry’s leading trade publication. The Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world in balanced geographical regions. Voters are asked to rate the “best” in a number of categories such as best parks, roller coasters, water rides, kids’ area, food and more. The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought after awards in the business of amusements and attractions.
Two categories Dollywood has dominated for a number of years—Best Shows and Friendliest Park—have been retired and replaced with new categories. Best Guest Experience combines the previous Friendliest Park award with the Cleanest Park award into one prestigious new category. On Saturday night, Dollywood became the inaugural winner for Best Guest Experience of any theme park in the world. Wildwood Grove also won Best Kids’ Area (the first time we’ve won the award), while the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival earned its 12th consecutive win for Best Christmas Event. Dollywood is the only park in the world to ever win the Christmas award.
- Best Food, second place;
- Best Park, second place;
- Most Beautiful Park, third place
- Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod, seventh place
If those awards weren’t enough, on Friday, Sept. 6, USA Today announced we were the winner of their 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event, an award voted on by the general public! These awards are also very special to us because they are voted on by you, our guests. You come and experience our events and then show us the overwhelming support you do to help us win these awards.
Our main goal is not winning awards, but for more families to come experience Dollywood and create more of those same lifelong memories that I—and so many of you—have made through the years! We appreciate your votes and support because it helps us illustrate why Dollywood is such a special place for families.