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Disney leads, but Harry Potter fuels the growth in annual theme park attendance report

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Published: May 25, 2012 at 2:17 PM

The Themed Entertainment Association's annual TEA/AECOM Global Attendance Report will be out in a few days, but TEA's promoting the report today with a press release [PDF], teasing a few facts and figures from the report.

Still champion

The top four parks worldwide in attendance are unchanged from 2010, which is remarkable considering that Disney's Tokyo parks were closed for a month following the deadly earthquake, tsunami and power crisis in Japan last year. But strong attendance following the disasters (in part driven by Japanese tourists staying close to home rather than traveling abroad) helped the Tokyo Disney Resort to attendance gains in 2011.

Here are the top five, and again, they're all Disney:

  1. Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
  2. Disneyland
  3. Tokyo Disneyland
  4. Tokyo DisneySea
  5. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris bumped Epcot from the fifth spot in 2011, thanks to an attendance increase that outpaced European parks' average for the year.

Overall, the top 25 parks in the world drew 198.1 million visitors in 2011, up 4.8 percent from 2010. The top 20 theme parks in the United States counted 127 million visitors, combined, last year, up 2.8% from 2010. Half that US attendance increase, however, came from a single park - Universal's Islands of Adventure, which continued to enjoy the huge appeal of its hit Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Makes sense that Universal's rolling Harry out to three more of its parks in the years to come, doesn't it?

We'll have more news here on Theme Park Insider from the full TEA/AECOM Global Attendance Report when it is released.

Readers' Opinions

From Richard Faraci on May 25, 2012 at 3:56 PM
If I'm reading that correctly, and my math is correct, islands of adventure saw (at least) a rise in attendance of 1,756,000 people for 2011.
From O T on May 25, 2012 at 6:30 PM
I understand why Disneyland Paris is up, in the Netherlands they give tickets away for free when you are a AAA member and they continue to give hundreds of euros discount on hotel stays (and little kids are free).
From on May 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM
From the PR it sounds like the 1.7 million increase may be for both Universal Orlando parks and not just IOA.
From on May 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM
WWoHP is going to USH. Where do you get 3 parks from? It is NOT going to USJ or USS, so why make the comment?
From Robert Niles on May 26, 2012 at 2:43 PM
Not only has it already been announced, but Universal Studios Japan is getting Harry Potter next, before Hollywood.
From TH Creative on May 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM
New Harry Potter attractions are going to three parks: Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida (where it is replacing 'Jaws').
From Michael Owen on May 27, 2012 at 7:59 PM
Staggering figures for Island's of Adventure if accurate, a real testament to just how right they got it with Harry Potter.

The addition of Potter to Universal Studios Hollywood will undoubtedly increase attendance considerably on the West Coast, too. Though I'm still in doubt as to whether Universal will be able to dig into Disneyland's attendance quite as much as they have with Walt Disney World.

Potter Land in Universal Studios Japan will be incredibly interesting. Just how much will it vary from the Orlando version? Will the Japanese market expect something different?

And, most importantly for the money men in the Far East, how appealing will Harry Potter merchandise be over at Universal Studios Japan.

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