Walt Disney theme parks dominate theme park attendance in 2009
Written by Robert Niles
The Themed Entertainment Association, along with AECOM Economics, has issued the 2009 theme park attendance report. [PDF file]Tweet
Here are the Top 20 United States theme parks for 2009:
1. Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom: 17.2 million +1.0%
And the Top 20 theme park worldwide:
1. Magic Kingdom
Analysis? The global economic recession battered everyone in 2009 - except Disney, which rode a brilliant get-in-free-on-your-birthday promotion to attendance gains at all six of its U.S. theme parks last year. Only one non-Disney park in the U.S. Top 20 managed to increase its attendance in 2009: Hats off to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for pulling off that impossible-for-everyone-else feat.
The worst attendance losses were at the non-Disney theme parks in Orlando, especially at the Universal parks. Islands of Adventure suffered the worst drop-off among the top 20 in 2009, which I will attribute to IOA fans holding off last year, waiting instead to visit in 2010, when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter debuts. Throw in the delayed opening of Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit at Universal Studios Florida, and many Universal Orlando fans clearly chose to sit out 2009.
Finally, should we quit calling Cedar Point the flagship of the Cedar Fair chain, now that the Sandusky, Ohio theme park is fourth in that chain for annual attendance? Heck, Cedar Point's no longer the most popular Cedar Fair park in the state of Ohio, as Kings Island rode the debut of its Diamondback coaster to pass its northern neighbor last year. (Actually, a better way to describe that would be to say that, thanks to Diamondback, Kings Island lost fewer visitors than Cedar Point did in 2009.)
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