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2013 Readers' Choice Awards for Theme Parks and Water Parks

The Best New Rides, Coasters, Shows, Restaurants, and Events from 2012

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Readers -- that's you, park fans -- get to voice your opinions once again. About.com's annual Readers' Choice Awards feature the stuff that dazzled us last year at parks. It was a mucho busy year with lots of high-profile debuts, so the competition should be fierce this go-around.

I know, I know. There are other laudable online awards programs for parks, but the Readers' Choice Awards is unique in that it is the only one that focuses exclusively on new achievements in the previous year. (Well, not exclusively. This year we have a new Best Restaurants category that is open to park restaurants regardless of when they first opened.) Think of it as the Oscars or the People's Choice Awards for parks. There aren't any statues for the winners, nor is there any awards ceremony with absurd song-and-dance numbers -- just bragging rights that come with getting honored by the readers of one of the Web's biggest networks.

You can get weekly updates about the park awards as well as the latest news about the world of theme parks, water parks, and themed attractions, by subscribing to About.com's Theme Parks Newsletter.

This is the third year that the Theme Parks site has participated in the Readers Choice Awards. Do you want to know which parks got the nod for last year's crop of awards? Check out last year's RCA winners and runners-up.

The Winners' Circle

About.com, 2013.
Once again, the readers have spoken and chosen their favorite parks. If you didn't have a chance to vote, check back in January 2014 for next year's Readers' Choice Awards. Now, on to this year's winners.

You can click through to see all of the 2013 Readers' Choice Awards winners and runners-up. Or you could jump to a specific 2013 category by clicking on a link below:

Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2012

Six Flags, 2011. Used with permission.
This category includes any new ride or park attraction that debuted anywhere in the world during 2012 except a roller coaster, show, or ride in a water park (which have their own categories below).

The five finalists are:

Vote now for the Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2012.

Best New Theme Park Show of 2012

© Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.
Which park gets your vote for the best new park show that opened anywhere in the world during 2012? A "show" is any indoor theater-type presentation or an outdoor presentation, including a parade.

The five finalists are:

Vote now for the Best New Theme Park Show of 2012.

Best New Roller Coaster of 2012

Cedar Fair, 2011. Used with permission.
What's your pick for the best new coaster that debuted anywhere in the world during 2012?

The five finalists are:

Vote now for the Best New Roller Coaster of 2012.

Best New Water Park Ride of 2012

Holiday World, 2011. Used with permission.
What will you vote for as the best new water park ride? It could be at either outdoor or indoor water parks (including indoor water park resorts) that debuted anywhere in the world during 2012.

The five finalists are:

Vote now for the Best New Water Park Ride of 2012.

Best Full-Service and Quick-Service Park Restaurants of 2012

© Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.
This is a new category -- actually two sub-categories -- and is a little different. All of the other categories recognize the best in new achievements from the previous year. But the finalists include any restaurant, as long as it was operational during 2012, regardless of when it first opened. Got that? The two sub-categories are Best Full-Service Park Restaurant and Best Quick-Service Park Restaurant.

The five finalists for the full-service restaurants category are:

Vote now for the Best Full-Service Park Restaurant of 2012.

The five finalists for the quick-servicve restaurant category are:

Vote now for the Best Quick-Service Park Restaurant of 2012

Best Theme Park Halloween Event of 2012

© Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.
Which park will get your vote for last year's best Halloween event? This award is not for any one attraction, but for the best overall presentation, including scare zones, shows, haunted houses, and decorations.

The five finalists are:

Vote now for the Best Theme Park Halloween Event of 2012

Best Theme Park Holidays Event of 2012

© Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.
Which park will you vote for as last year's best Christmas holiday event? As with the Halloween award, this category is for the best total presentation, including decorations, shows, holiday lights, festive food, and special attractions.

The five finalists are:

Vote now for the Best Theme Park Holidays Event of 2012

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