Following an international poll, and the tallying of those results, smiles are even more evident today at Silver Dollar City, the 1880s theme park in Branson, newly named the “Friendliest Park” in the entire theme park industry.

The Golden Ticket Awards were held last night at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California, hosted by Amusement Today newspaper. Considered a prestigious annual show by industry insiders and theme park aficionados, Amusement Today oversees the process which seeks to define “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry.

While this is the 12th annual year for Amusement Today’s coveted Golden Ticket Awards, this is the first year Silver Dollar City has taken top honors in a key category. Other awards won by the park this year: #2 in Best Christmas Event; #2 in Best Food; #3 in Best Shows and tied #5 in Best Landscaping.

Surveys were sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories such as “amusement parks,” “roller coasters,” “shows,” “friendliest staff” and “water rides.”  Silver Dollar City notes that recent events hosted for the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), such as the 2009 national convention, and the European Coaster Club (ECC) in 2008, showcased all the park has to offer to industry advocates who had never visited before.

“Congratulations to all of the Golden Ticket Award winners and the finalists on their well-deserved honors,” says Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today. “The competition is friendly, but the voting is becoming tighter every year. It’s fun to see parks and attractions the world over vying for a Golden Ticket Award, which truly recognizes superior quality in all facets of the amusement industry,” Slade said.

Silver Dollar City General Manager Brad Thomas was present to accept the awards. “For five decades, Silver Dollar City has been about our people as they are the individuals who create the heart and soul of this park. The friendliness of our staff is a hallmark in defining this company,” said Thomas. “This award will be shared with every citizen of each decade celebrated at Silver Dollar City.”

Silver Dollar City next presents the National Harvest Festival, opening tomorrow, September 12, running through October 31, Wednesdays-Sundays. For more information, 800-831-4FUN or

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