2006 theme park attendance data released (finally!)
When Amusement Business magazine folded last year, many theme park fans wondered where we would be able to get a list of annual park attendance, since AB wouldn't be around to publish its annual list anymore. Well, AB's partner in producing that data, Economics Research Associates (ERA), has teamed up with TEA (formerly Themed Entertainment Association), to produce the TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report.
As expected, Disney laid the smack down in 2006, posting strong attendance gains while Six Flags and Universal parks largely declined or remained flat.
Here are the world's top 10, for 2006:
- Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, 16.64 million, up 3 percent
- Disneyland, Anaheim 14.73 million, up 1.2 percent
- Tokyo Disneyland, 12.90 million
- Tokyo DisneySea, 12.10 million
- Disneyland Paris, 10.60 million
- Epcot, 10.46 million, up 5.5 percent
- Disney-MGM Studios, 9.10 million, up 5 percent
- Disney's Animal Kingdom, 8.91 million, up 8.6 percent
- Universal Studios Japan, 8.50 million
- Everland, South Korea, 7.50 million
And the top 10 U.S. theme parks, by attendance:
- Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, 16.64 million, up 3.0 percent
- Disneyland, Anaheim, 14.73 million, up 1.2 percent
- Epcot, 10.46 million, up 5.5 percent
- Disney-MGM Studios, 9.10 million, up 5.0 percent
- Disney's Animal Kingdom, 8.91 million, up 8.6 percent
- Universal Studios Florida, 6.00 million, up 1.2 percent
- Disney's California Adventure, 5.95 million, up 2.1 percent
- SeaWorld Orlando, 5.74 million, up 2.5 percent
- Universal's Islands of Adventure, 5.30 million, down 4.8 percent
- Universal Studios Hollywood, 4.70 million, flat
The next 10 North American parks are (in order):
- Busch Gardens Africa
- SeaWorld San Diego
- Knott's Berry Farm
- Canada's Wonderland
- Cedar Point
- Kings Island
- Six Flags Great Adventure
- Six Flags Great America
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
The largest year-over-year percentage attendance gain in the report was posted by Legoland California
, which was up 16.6 percent to 1.66 million.
The full report is available online at http://www.connectingindustry.com/pdfs/TEA-ERAAttendance06.pdf
(Yep, it's a PDF file. And a biggie.) For comparison, here is last year's AB report
[Correction: Reader Travis points out that the reported attendance for Six Flags Great Adventure in the TEA/ERA report is larger than that of Hersheypark, which TEA/ERA lists one slot ahead of SFGAdv. I've flipped them in the rankings on this page as a result.]
Wow - I'm really surprised by this. I was always under the impression Tokyo Disneyland had the highest attendance. I guess I was wrong.
Busch's Williamsburg park hasn't been a top-20 performer for ages, but not having anything from Six Flags above no. 18 for N. American parks is a real stunner for me. Islands of Adventure's slide ought to be scaring the living heck out of NBC Universal, too. I thought it was just the weather when I went there during the Christmas-New Year's week and walked on everything. But their attendance data suggests that's more the norm than the exception these days. Not good. Get thee a new E-ticket, ASAP!
Yeah! Go Six Flags Great America!
Most interesting item to me was that Animal Kingdom had such a huge gain.
All the above I would think!
I best guess with why MK's attendance is so much higher than the other parks is because people spend more time there. You easily need at least 2 days there, possibly 3, whereas AK and MGM are generally regarded as 1 day parks. Why Epcot is so far behind MK is anyone's guess though since you need at least 2 days to cover that park as well. Maybe since it doesn't have as many rides and is more education based, people decided not to spend as much time there.
IOA's slip is not shocking at all. When was the last time they got a first class attraction? What is shocking is that USF actually increased in attendance. I really think that has to do with HHN more than anything.
I guess what is most stunning to me about IOA's slip is that people have been talking about this for years, and Universal's done zip to address it. Disney's awake now, and has been since Eisner left. SeaWorld's taking steps to compete. Universal better wake up and start building, or it will suffer more in attendance in 2007 and beyond.
I agree with Robert...Universal needs to get it's A-game on. Although I dont think cutting BTTF was the right way to go, they do need something new i think at IOA itself. USF has added like what 3 new rides in the past 2-6 years(mummy, neutron and shrek). If my memory is correct IOA hasnt added anything new for like 5 -6years, right??? How old is the flying unicorn and storm force accelatron?
Very good points!
Sea WOrlds attendance is going to skyrocket next year when aquatica finally opens!!! And i dont mean just the water park either, the theme park itself is gonna have some serious attendace boosts. I cant wait!!
Sea World has been listening to what people want. And they've been adding accordingly. They added a whole slew of shopping and resturants with their "Waterfront" area, kept the shows fresh with the new dolphin show, the Shamu show, and the Ski show. They added a whole bunch of kids rides. Now the only thing left is to rehab JTA to its former self, and add a new thrill ride, and it will absolutely kill IOA in attendance.
As for Universal, true they need new attractions, but as I've mentioned many times before, the main reason for their fall off in attendance is their poor customer service and the overall increased cost of attending their parks. The admission price is about the same as all major parks in the area, but they have gotten money hungry in all other areas. Parking costs more than Disney, lockers cost more, most counter service food vendors cost more and the real villian...doing away completely with the "free fast pass system" and now charging a fortune for the same thing that Disney has for free. Lines have gotten much worse than they previously were when everyone was entitled to the fast pass system (dispute this all you want, I know from attending over several years that it's true), you either pay up to $40 per person per day for "the privilege" of getting something that used to be free (and still is at Disney) or you stay in a very overpriced on site hotel to get same so you don't have to wait 1+ hours in line to get on any and all attractions in the park that you've already paid a hefty entrance fee to "enjoy". And sorry folks, but their hotels are not worth the price. These are not 4-5 star hotels we are talking about here, but they are charging rates as if they were (and if your a family and need 2 rooms, you do the math of what it costs compared to similar accomodations in the area). From what I've seen of most comments on this site, I am led to believe that most contributors are either young (teenagers possibly) or do not foot the bill to pay for "their" families of 4-5 or more people to travel and attend these places. If you did, you wouldn't talk about what a great deal it is to get a $40 fast pass, you would be outraged that it's costing you $160 to $200 dollars a day extra to enjoy the same "privilege" that you get for free at Disney...I said it 3-5 years ago when this started and I'll say it again (although no one in managment seems to care), the short term profit gain will back fire in the long run and the past 2 years it's starting doing exactly that. Set up a "class system" anywhere and you just may lose the "same middle class" that was supporting you in the 1st place. Comments welcome....Improvements needed, or this middle class family won't be back!
We live in Jacksonville and make frequent trips to Orlando (about twice a month) to visit family and go to the theme parks. We have never stayed in an Universal hotel, although we may at some point. We feel Universal is a park to go to when Disney is too crowded. We are DVC (Disney Vaction Club) owners, so it is usually "free" for us to stay at Disney when we want.
Somehow or another I knew this was going to turn into a disney vs. Universal thread. I love Universal, more so than disney, but they do have a lot of problems. Amount of items to do and Customer Service is not one of them. Neither is general cleanliness nor cost of additional services. Parking costs a dollar more at Universal than it does at disney, but the cost of an annual pass is more than half the initial cost of a disney annual pass, and the renewal cost is just about 3/4's less at Universal than it is at disney. General items and food costs are also a lot less. So where they are more expensive on some things, they do even out on others. The simple fact remains that as a whole Universal Orlando is indeed increasing or staying the same in attendance as it is drawing in more crowds at the studios, and drawing in people for events at Citywalk. IOA is the problem, not Universal as a whole...if it were then both parks would be down in attendance. It really just seems that the suits dont want to invest anything into IOA which is visible because of the amount of new attractions, shows and rehabs done to the studios. Add the fact that you have major events such as Rock The Universe, Halloween Horror Nights, Macy's Day parade, and Mardi Gras strictly at Universal and you can see why the attendance is slipping at IOA.
Disagree Mr Yates, the only one who seems to be turning this into "Disney -vs- Universal" is you. I am simply commenting on why I believe Universals attendance has dropped significantly the last 2 years (not just this year) and why myself and my family are a part of that statistic. In order to succeed, you must have the attractions...yes, but in order to suceed in the long term you must also have good service, treat your customers fairly and equally and be a "reasonable value". I believe Universal is lacking in all of these catagories from their earlier days.
I'd like to comment on the pricing (for a FL resident).
I'm not going to get involved in the whole Universal vs Disney debate, if for no other reason than I live in Calif.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.