Amusement Today has awarded multiple parks, rides and dark rides with their 2021 Golden Ticket Awards. The award ceremony was held on September 9th, albeit strictly online due to COVID-19 measures. Among the winners in the main category, were several dark rides and semi-dark rides.
Most categories in the Golden Ticket Awards are awarded for the best ride of the year and not specifically new rides for 2021. In the category ‘Best Dark Ride of 2021’, all operating dark rides could be nominated. The top 5 turned out to be:
1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Walt Disney World – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 2019).
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure (Shanghai Disneyland – 2016).
3. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (Universal Orlando Resort – Universal Studios Florida – 2014).
4. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Walt Disney World – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 1994).
5. Reese’s Cupfusion (Hersheypark – 2019).
In the category of Best Water Ride of 2021 we can find some more (semi-) dark rides. 1st place went to Valhalla (Blackpool Pleasure Beach – 2000) even though it is currently closed for renovation works. 3rd place went to semi-dark ride Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (Universal Orlando Resort – Universal’s Islands of Adventure – 1999) and 5th place was also given to a semi-dark ride: Timber Mountain Log Flume (Knott’s Berry Farm – 1969).
The category of Best New Family Attraction of 2021 also contains rides that opened after September 9th 2019. Due to Covid-19 measures, this price was not rewarded in 2020. 1st place is again for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Walt Disney World – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 2019) with the winner of 2nd place found at the same park: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Walt Disney World – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 2020). 4th place was won by last year’s second installation of the popular Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Disneyland Resort – Disneyland – 2020). Finally, 5th place was awarded to Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair (Knott’s Berry Farm – 2021).
Best New Rollercoaster of 2021 might not be a category in which you expect to find a (semi-) dark ride, but 3rd place went to F.L.Y. (Phantasialand – 2020), the famous flying launch coaster featuring a small dark ride section.
Last but not least is the category for Best New Attraction Installation for 2021, which according to Amusement Today mainly focuses on ”uniqueness, popularity, theming and effect on the industry”. Hence it’s no surprise again the number 1 spot goes to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Walt Disney World – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 2019), which means it received a total of 3 awards this year. Also the 3rd place went to F.L.Y. (Phantasialand – 2020). Check out Amusement Today’s magazine for an overview of all winners or their YouTube channel for videos on select 1st price winners.