2016 was an excellent year for licensed sets, and the Disney Castle was the best of the lot according to the Gimme LEGO readers. Unlike the previous year's poll where the Temple of Airjitzu quickly opened up an unassailable lead, the Disney Castle and Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters were pretty much neck and neck for most of the time, with the Castle ultimately prevailing.
Although I have to admit that I voted for the Firehouse Headquarters, if it wasn't for my enduring love of Ghostbusters I suspect that I would almost certainly have voted for the Disney Castle instead. While the sheer ambition and size of the set are impressive, as is the excellent overall design, it's the attention to detail that helps to elevate this set above its peers. There are just so many lovely little touches in the form of nods to a host of beloved Disney movies and cartoons, and you just know that the set was designed by someone with a genuine love for, and understanding of, the subject matter.
The final Readers' Choice rankings are shown below, together with the number of votes polled by each of the sets. The Disney Castle, with 22.6% of the overall vote, ended up pipping the Firehouse HQ to the post by just 12 votes, with the Brick Bank following up in a relatively distant third place with just 12.9% of the vote. The Spiderman Ultimate Bridge Battle set came in higher than I'd expected in 4th place, and I was delighted that the relatively unheralded Creator Vacation Getaways set polled enough votes to finish in 5th place and above more high profile sets such as the Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Big Ben. The spread of votes was interesting - fewer than 1 in 4 voters chose the eventual winner - and I think this highlights the sheer number of quality offerings from LEGO in 2016 and the difficult choice facing voters. Thirty people rated a set which wasn't listed in the poll as their favourite of the year, with the likes of The Beatles Yellow Submarine and the most recent version of the Star Wars AT-ST Walker getting some love from the Gimme LEGO readers.
Once again it's been great fun seeing which sets readers liked the most, with the only real disappointment being a decrease in the number of votes cast compared with previous years. The interesting thing is that the Gimme LEGO Awards posting asking people to vote was viewed approximately ten thousand times while the voting window was open, and yet those ten thousand views yielded fewer than 600 votes. It got me wondering whether the ever-increasing use of smartphones to browse the web might be a factor in this; the rudimentary polling plug-in provided by the Blogger platform doesn't work well with smartphones, often requiring readers to visit the web version of the site if they want to vote. This might have put off prospective voters - it would certainly have put me off.... I think therefore that unless I can find a better plug-in I might have to consider alternative ways of conducting future polls.
Many thanks to all those who voted, and thanks also to Brickset for publicising the 2016 Gimme LEGO Awards and Readers' Choice poll - much appreciated!