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DOLLYWOOD SWEEPS 2012 GOLDEN TICKET AWARDS WITH FIVE 'BEST OF THE BEST' HONORS

   PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.—Dollywood won five “best of the best” awards, ranked as finalists in five additional categories and landed two coasters on Amusement Today’s annual Best Steel and Best Wooden Coaster lists at the magazine’s prestigious 2012 Golden Ticket Awards on Saturday, Sept. 8.

                The awards were handed out at Dollywood, this year’s Golden Ticket Awards host park, in a ceremony attended by Dolly Parton, accepted the awards and performed.

               “I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed by the five Golden Ticket Awards that Dollywood won,” Parton said. “I understand the voters are a who’s who of folks who know the theme park industry, and I’m just tickled for our family that Dollywood can lay claim to the best food, shows, new ride, Christmas event and friendliest park in the world. And to be there and accept all of the awards at Dollywood while we hosted the event just makes these wins even sweeter for me.”

               Dollywood’s five Golden Ticket Awards include first-time recognition in three categories and repeats in two categories :

  • Best Food, besting longtime winner Knoebels Amusement Resort;
  • Friendliest park, upsetting 13-time winner Holiday World;
  • Best New Ride for Wild Eagle, the country’s first wing coaster;
  • Best Shows, Dollywood’s fourth consecutive win in this category;
  • Best Christmas Event, Dollywood’s fifth consecutive win in this category.

   Dollywood also ranked in five additional categories:

  • Best Park, third place;
  • Best Waterpark for Dollywood’s Splash Country, fourth place;
  • Cleanest Park, second place;
  • Best Water Ride for Dollywood’s Mountain Slidewinder; fourth place;
  • Best Landscaping, fourth place.

   Dollywood’s Wild Eagle coaster is the highest-placing new-for-2012 coaster on Amusement Today’s annual Best Steel Coaster list while the park’s Thunderhead wooden coaster placed fourth on the Top 50 Best Wooden Coaster rankings.

            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 “bests” in 25 categories such as amusement parks, roller coasters, water rides, shows, landscaping and Halloween and Christmas events. 

   The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. The awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA TODAY and the Chicago Tribune, and by the late radio newsman Paul Harvey. The awards also were the topic of a one-hour Travel Channel documentary.

   Dollywood was recognized in 2010 at the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions with the Applause Award in recognition of a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development.

   Based in the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park which operates nine months a year (late March through December) and offers more than 40 rides and attractions; award-winning live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region, and Wild Eagle, the country’s first wing coaster. A family-friendly vacation destination, Dollywood also includes the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country, voted America’s “Must-See Waterpark.” Dollywood offers all-inclusive vacation planning with a variety of overnight lodging options. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com.   

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Media: Contact Dollywood Public Relations Manager Pete Owens at 865-428-9486, 865-755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com for B-roll, photography and more information. Check the Dollywood Press Room at http://www.dollywood.com/Media/Media-Room.aspx for updates and new images.