Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Amusement Today

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Editor-in-Chief  Gary Slade
Circulation  3,000
Founder  Gary Slade
Categories  Amusement parks
Publisher  Gary Slade
Year founded  1997

Amusement Today is a monthly periodical that features articles, news, pictures and reviews about all things relating to the amusement park industry, including parks, rides, and ride manufacturers. The trade newspaper, which is based in Arlington, Texas, United States, was founded in January 1997 by Gary Slade, Virgil E. Moore III and Rick Tidrow. In 1997, Amusement Today won the Impact Award in the services category for "Best New Product" from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). A year later, in 1998, the magazine founded the Golden Ticket Awards, for which it is most known throughout the amusement park industry today. On January 2, 2001, Slade bought out his two partners, giving him sole ownership of the paper. The paper has two full-time and two part-time staff members at its Arlington office, along with two full-time writers and several freelance writers in various parts of the world.


As of Summer 2016, editorial staffers in addition to Slade, who serves as both editor-in-chief and publisher, include Jeffrey Seifert, who handles special projects and covers water parks; Dean Lamanna, brought on as the publication’s first U.S. West Coast bureau chief in 1997, currently social media editor and U.S. West Coast reporter; Tim Baldwin, general reporter and primary polling/content writer for the publication’s annual Golden Ticket Awards issue; B. Derek Shaw, U.S. Northeast/Mid-Atlantic reporter; and Pam Sherbourne, carnivals/fairs reporter. Other regular contributors include Dan Feicht (photography), Bubba Flint (cartoons), Andrew Mellor (international reporting), Richard Munch (amusement history) and Janice Witherow (industry employee spotlights). John Robinson produces the publication’s daily Extra! Extra! industry news roundup, distributed directly to subscribers via email.

Golden Ticket Awards

Every year, Amusement Today gives out awards to the best of the best in the amusement park industry in a ceremony known as the Golden Ticket Awards. The awards are handed out based on surveys given to experienced and well-traveled amusement park enthusiasts from around the world. The awards, which were first handed out in 1998, have been featured on the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel. Despite the magazine's attempts to prevent bias by separating surveys into balanced geographical regions, some claim the awards are biased towards American parks and roller coasters due to the use of a "total point system" to calculate the award winners. Using the total point system, the awards usually favor a park or ride that more voters have visited, regardless of quality

Host Park

  • From 1998–2000 there was no Host Park, the awards were announced from Amusement Today's Arlington, Texas office instead. The 2008 awards were announced at Give Kids the World Village in Orlando, Florida.
  • Repeat winners

  • Best Amusement Park – Cedar Point for 15 of 17 years.
  • Best Water Park – Schlitterbahn for all 17 years.
  • Best Landscaping – Busch Gardens Williamsburg for all 17 years.
  • Best Children's Park – Idlewild and Soak Zone for the past 5 years.
  • Cleanest Park – Holiday World for the last 15 years.
  • Friendliest Park – Holiday World for 13 out of the last 17 years.
  • Best Halloween Event – Universal Studios Orlando for 9 out of the 11 years the award has been given.
  • Best Food – Knoebels for 16 out of last 17 years (tied once).
  • Best Kids Area – Kings Island for the last 14 years.
  • Best Steel Roller Coaster – Millennium Force for the past 5 years, and within the top 2 for the past 15 years.
  • Best Shows – Dollywood for the last 6 years.
  • Best Indoor Waterpark – Schlitterbahn Galveston Island for the last 8 years.
  • Best Outdoor Production Show – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot for 12 out of the 13 years the award has been given.
  • Best Seaside Park – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for 7 of the last 8 years.
  • References

    Amusement Today Wikipedia