August 30, 2005
Pigeon Forge, TN — Dollywood theme park's Thunderhead took top honors in the Best Wooden Roller Coaster category at the eighth annual "Golden Ticket Awards" presented this past Saturday in San Antonio.
Considered the Academy Awards of the amusement industry, the Golden Ticket Awards are presented to the "best of the best" in 22 categories based on the results of an international poll conducted by Amusement Today newspaper. Amusement Today covers international amusement and water park news and trends.
Dollywood Vice President and General Manager Barbara Joines and Amusement & Attractions Director Doug Messer were on hand to accept the award along with Chris Gray of Great Coasters International.
"The recognition of the many theme park enthusiasts makes this award even more special to everyone at Dollywood," Joines said. "And we are delighted to offer our guests an opportunity to experience the world's best wooden coaster."
In addition to the 2005 Golden Ticket Award, Theme Parks magazine's 2004 Readers' Choice Awards named the coaster Favorite "New for 2004" Ride or Attraction. Thunderhead was named "the number one wooden coaster on the planet" in 2004 by ThrillRide.com. Thunderhead was named Coaster of The Year and Best New Wood Coaster at the 2005 Coasters' Choice Awards, the first wooden coaster to take the top honor in the awards' five-year history.
The $7 million Thunderhead made its debut in 2004. The ride's 3,230-foot track crosses over and under itself 32 times in addition to a 100-foot drop, a top speed of 55 mph and 22 turns. Thunderhead also features the world's first "fly through" station where the coaster actually races through the loading station at 40 mph on a track located only eight feet above the exit platform where guests are waiting to board.
Dollywood also was a finalist in the "Friendliest Park," "Best Food," "Best Shows," and "Best Water Ride" Golden Ticket categories. Dollywood's Splash Country was a finalist in the "Best Landscape" Golden Ticket category for water parks.
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