Published: December 27, 2005 at 9:41 PMIm not surprised that my home park Six Flags Great America had a major attendance bump (24%). The addition of the water park worked out great in attracting more people. Hopefully(not that im optimistic)the new management at SF will keep improving the park without making the guests sick by corporate tie-ins.
Published: December 29, 2005 at 4:22 AMUniversal should begin to build something new more than just The Mummy or they will be slammed by the others next year.
Published: December 29, 2005 at 7:11 AMFor the most part, parks that added major new attractions saw noticeable increases in attendance, while parks that were stagnant stayed flat or declined; no suprise there.
However, I simply don't get the public's fascination with the Florida Disney parks. They haven't added anything really significant (unless you count Soarin' at Epcot) in years, yet their attendance is booming. At what point will Magic Kingdom simply reach capacity for the year? As it is, MK is packed much of the time, which really diminishes the experience.
Also, why are the 2005 numbers already out? The Christmas-to-New-Year's week is by far the busiest time of the year for the Florida parks, so to get accurate numbers, they should really wait until the end of the year. Providing the numbers now as as useful as if retail stores estimated their annual sales before Thanksgiving.
Published: December 29, 2005 at 8:44 AMI think the big surprise is Universal Studios! While they may not have added anything within the last few months, they have consistently added new attractions. Mummy is still fairly new. I'm not sure what this data means for Universal. From a financial perspective, you need an E-ticket attraction to attract people more than just one year. The path is much more clear for IOA - build more attractions!
I also think that Universal hurts themselves in the long run by not catering more to children. Kids can do something over and over (and over and over - trust me on this one) and they will love it even more. Adults, well, not so much. They will only repeat visits if there is something new. A theme park will increase its shelf life by being more family balanced. This is why Six Flags is in the toilet and Disney reigns high.
As for Florida, there's nothing special about the parks necessarily. It just has a greater concentration of parks than most places (8 parks and 4 water parks). Also, they are open year round - constant revenue.
Published: December 29, 2005 at 10:55 AMLet's remember that the Florida parks took a hit in 2004, losing several weeks of attendance to hurricane strikes. With hurricanes this year hitting elsewhere, the Central Florida numbers were likely to rebound.
Which makes Universal's dismal performance all the more surprising. Clearly, the parks' new owners need to reinvigorate Islands of Adventure with a new ride (or three), and find more evening entertainment to keep people in the parks throughout the day (instead of heading back to Disney at night).
Finally, the Amusement Business numbers came out a couple weeks later this year. (In fact, they will appear in the magazine's January issue, rather than the December one, as they have in the past.) Don't know why the reason for the switch -- perhaps the point above was part of the reason. But let's not forget that these *are* estimates -- most parks do not release official attendance data.