The annual attendance report has been released by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and as always, the numbers are fascinating. Overall, the theme park industry has seen steady growth thanks mostly to investments in Orlando and China. According to the report, attendance for attractions at the major operators globally is almost half a billion visitors and that’s more than double all the major sporting leagues combined.
Looking at the top 25 attended theme parks worldwide, you can notice a few major changes. Most notably, Disney’s Animal Kingdom jumped 15.3 percent and saw an increase in attendance of over 2.5 million people. Remember those naysayers who said no one cares about “Avatar” and this was a mistake? Where are those people now?
Also, notice that Disney’s Hollywood Studios only took a .5 percent hit in attendance which is not too shabby considering the numerous attractions that closed during 2017. It shows just how strong the Disney brand truly is. Also notice that Disneyland Paris took a huge 15 percent gain last year thanks to investments made in the park for their anniversary year, which also gave a bump to Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris as well.
Overall, the movers and shakers are all rising fairly steady. It’s also fair to mention that Merlin Entertainments is still the #2 attractions group in the world, not Universal. Although the amount of attractions Universal is building over the next five-to-10 years, they could give them a run for their money for that second place spot. SeaWorld Parks are still losing traction, but as we noted in a previous article, they are turning around as of 2018.
Looking at water park numbers, Chimelong water park in China is the top dog in the world yet again for 2017, only followed by Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Make no mistake though, what everyone is watching is Universal’s Volcano Bay whose first-year attendance hit 1.5 million guests. This number only reflects visitors from late May through the end of the end of the year since the park wasn’t open prior to that. No doubt, it will move up the chart during 2018.
Moving on to the top 20 parks in North America, Disney Parks still reign supreme taking the top five spots on the list. Universal Studios Hollywood saw a 12 percent increase thanks to the investments made in the park with Harry Potter still paying off. It’s also important to note that even though SeaWorld Parks are taking a hit, SeaWorld Florida, SeaWorld California and Busch Gardens Tampa are still within the top 20 parks. That still shows that they are doing quite well compared to other regional parks and perhaps, they will turn around and start to show gains in 2018.
If you want to read even more about the theme park and attractions attendance report, click this link. It’s always fascinating and a great read. All images and work in this article is thanks to the Themed Entertainment Association.
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