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Sep 24, 2012

Everyone loves a good roller coaster.  Whether its a fast one or one with corkscrews or one with a 200 foot vertical drop…or one that goes from zero to 80 mph in 3.2 seconds , the need for speed takes many turns on a good coaster.  Coasters are the lightening rods for fun at Amusement Parks; the featured fun…the thrills that give you chills…and, the reason that 3-hour wait lines were invented.  Over 7 million people attend an amusement park every summer and chances are you were one of them.

Amusement Today, a publication that covers the amusement and water park industries recognize the best parks in 25 categories as ranked by “experienced and well-traveled” fans who know their way around the amusement park world.

This year’s winner is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio! The honor will come as no surprise to diehard amusement park fans who track these things, seeing as this Park has ranked No. 1 in the annual competition since it began 14 years ago.

In other categories, winners include industry giants like Universal Studios and Disney, as well as family run enterprises like Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind.

Curiously, though the results were tallied from an international database of fans, according to Amusement Today, not a single non-U.S park landed on the “best” list.

A sampling of  2011 awardees are:

*Best Amusement Park – Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
*Best Waterpark – Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
*Best Children’s Park – Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.
*Best Marine Life Park – SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
*Best Seaside Park – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
*Best Steel Coaster – Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
*Friendliest Staff – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
*Best Halloween Event – Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
*Best Landscaping – Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
*Best Food – Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
*Best Outdoor Night Show Production – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, Orlando, Fla.
*Best Water Ride – Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
*Best Dark Ride – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
*Best New Ride of 2011: Amusement Park – New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas
*Best Indoor Roller Coaster – Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
*Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction – Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

Got an opinion?  Here’s your chance to cast a vote. What’s your favorite amusement park and why?

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