I think Universal's attendance continues to disappoint because they never had a 40th anniversary celebration for USH in 2004. Also, they never had any new attractions. Maybe if they threw a worldwide bash in 2004 at all the Universal Parks as well as new attractions from all over the globe (Like Disney did) then maybe their attendance would have gone up.
Anyway, that's just my opinion.
Unfortunately, the Universal parks seem to be fairly low on the totem pole of their company . The funny thing is that Universal's success was the result of the company investing in it, now they are on the slide, as a result of the company pretty much leaving their cheese in the wind. Disney on the other hand, continues to build and invest in it's parks because they are cash cows.
I think that Busch is comfortable with their position in the industry. Their parks, though few, are highly regarded and successful in their own right. Let's not forget that Busch's main focus isn't theme parks, it's beer...much like Universal's main focus is moviemaking. I don't look for them to be too aggressive with expansion, although the new owners of Kings Dominion may force their hand a bit.
Six Flags is a company in transition. Good transition? perhaps. We keep hearing about this list of good things that will happen to your nearest Six Flags park. Most of those folks have just gotten higher parking and ticket prices so far. To the new management who thinks this site is anti Six Flags, trip reports haven't gotten much better on any website, let alone this one. Cedar Fair already moved Six Flags out of Ohio, now they have joined the ball game in Dan Snyder's backyard. The clock is ticking on Six Flags to make some things happen. I truly am rooting for them. I want there to come a day when I will be excited to visit a Six Flags park when I'm out on the road. Right now, that just isn't the case. I will however, be cashing in on that season pass Cedar Fair will hopefully be selling next year.
So what's next? I think the next few years will see the rise of some of the smaller, more regional operations. Holiday World in Indiana continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Their attendance goes up every year, and this year they will probably see more double digit increases with the introduction of the Voyage. There have been rumblings that Kennywood in Pittsburgh is ripe for a rather large expansion in the next few years. The Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach is in the works. Dollywood will be working on expanding it's borders. Legoland is talking of a new park. There have even been rumblings of a Coney Island renaissance. Word is that there are a couple of investors buying up land in the Brooklyn neighborhood for amusement purposes. (see below link)http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/realestate/features/14498/index.html)
Business will probably still be done as usual at Disney. Busch will continue to deliver the goods at their properties, Six Flags will probably be in an eternal fight to the death with Cedar Fair for attendance, and Universal? Well they may be the next chain to consider themselves sold....the victim of another movie company wanting to "streamline operations". Perhaps there will come a day when all the companies in the industry will be in it for the right reason...to entertain the public.