Disney theme parks lead in 2008 annual attendance report
Published: April 16, 2009 at 9:23 AM
The North American top 20 is largely unchanged except for Canada's Wonderland, which experienced a big upswing due to the addition of their new coaster. However, a new coaster did not help Hersheypark as it experienced a 4% decrease despite the addition of Fahrenheit in 2008.
Busch parks experienced drops across the board, probably related in no small part to the InBev takeover and some animosity to what some folks view as Busch selling out. (Just my opinion).
Cedar Fair and Six Flags experienced some moderate upswings due to additional attractions (Dark Knight coaster at Six Flags) and lowered admission prices (at Cedar Fair).
Disney ruled the roost once again, dominating all markets and bringing in more visitors than virtually all other theme park chains combined. However, their dismal showing at Hong Kong DL should be cause for concern.
Universal experienced attendance downturns largely due to construction at their Orlando destinations and people holding off on vacations until the new rides/lands are complete.
One interesting note: most of the attendance declines occurred after the regional parks had closed for the 2008 season, leaving the destination parks to deal with the faltering economy and therefore taking the brunt of the hit. One member of the reviewing board seems to think that the declines will continue across the board in 2009, with a potential for increases again in 2010.