Amazing how Universal can't beat any Disney park even with Harry Potter! What will it take? free butterbeer?
In 2012 though? Well, then things get interesting.
While the Disney dip in Orlando is certainly noteworthy, the loss seems rather insignificant (especially compared to Sea World's debacle). Considering the size of SWO's drop, one wonders how long trainers will stay out of the water.
Potter fans can spin away, but there's no doubt that, once again, Disney DOMINATES.
Disney's six U.S. parks take the top six domestic spots by welcoming 69.3 million guests -- boasting an average of 11.55 million visitors per park.
By comparison the three Universal parks brought in 16.92 million guests -- averaging 5.64 million visitors per park, or less than half that of the Disney parks.
Worldwide Disney holds slots one thru eight. The sum total attendance of the planet's eleven Disney theme parks is an ASTOUNDING 116.6 million guests. Correct me if I am wrong, but that's like, the entire population of a country that has 116.6 million residents!
AND WHAT WILL BE THE BIG STATS TO LOOK FOR NEXT YEAR?
(1) The impact the earthquake has on attendance at the parks in Japan.
(2) What (if any) will be the drop-off at Islands of Adventure after Potter is no longer "the new thing."
Gotta go with TH here... saying "Universal Orlando closes the gap with Disney..." is like saying, "The Monkees matched the Beatles" because of their initial wave of success in 1967.
One thing no one really saw coming was that IOA's Harry Potter expansion would have such a dramatic impact on SeaWorld. Sure, people thought IOA would pass SWO, but did anyone think it would be at the expense of SWO? It looks like vacationers did change their Orlando plans: instead of venturing off WDW property to go to SeaWorld as they had in previous years, they went to IOA. Interesting.
Also, the fact that BGW slipped a bit shows that you can't just rip out a classic and beloved coaster (Big Bad Wolf) and not impact your bottom line!
Can we finally pencil in Knotts Berry Farm as the flagship Cedar Fair park? ;)
I'm shocked Worlds of Fun has not yet made the list. Shocked, I tell you!
As for 2012, DCA is gonna have an even bigger attendance boost. Cars Land is going to be a monster hit.
One other park that struck me was Universal Studios Hollywood. Recovering from the backlot fire and adding King Kong 360/3D helped the park score a huge attendance increase. Add that to the Disneyland Resort's continued strength, as well as Legoland California's self-reported growth, and I suspect that while Harry Potter hurt SeaWorld in Orlando, it's been the triple-team of Disneyland, Legoland and Universal Hollywood cutting into SeaWorld in San Diego. The new Manta can't arrive quickly enough.
As for those Disneyland parks, I don't think the price increase will matter one bit. Attendance will rise this year due to Star Tours and Little Mermaid and next year due to Cars Land.
On the international list, I expect to see Universal Studios Singapore knocking SeaWorld San Diego from the top 25 in 2011. But, again, my batting average on these predictions would get me cut from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Its interesting to see that Disney really still takes the cake in what is being considered a "bad" year. Even with Harry Potter, IOA can't take AK or DHS! Heck even the park everybody loves to hate, DCA, is doing great.
Good for IoA. That's a pretty amazing jump. If they want to keep that position, they better spruce up the rest of the park, much of which is dilapidated.
What's Legoland California's numbers? I'd be surprised that they didn't reach 2 million guests in a year.
I Respond: I certainly agree with that assessment. I also think MK attracts a more international audience. The economy of Brazil seems to be pretty strong and (although this is anecdotal) friends and family who are WDW cast members have remarked on an increased presence of Brazilian guests over the past year. God Bless them we love them. I am hoping with all of my heart that rumors of a planned Brazilian Showcase at EPCOT come to pass.
Mr. Perkins writes: "On the other hand, the intimacy of DL is the reason why it is the best park in the world."
I Respond: While I disagree with that assertion I will contend that regardless of how the parks match-up in terms of quality there should be little (if any) doubt that when the Fantasyland expansion opens (with the Disney NextGen features) WDWMK will be (hands down) a far better park than its predecessor.
Mr. Perkins writes: "The thing that holds Disneyland back from surpassing Magic Kingdom is the issue of capacity. DL just doesn't have it in abundance like MK does, even though DL squeezes in many more attractions."
I Respond: I certainly agree with that assessment. I also think MK attracts a more international audience. The economy of Brazil seems to be pretty strong and (although this is anecdotal) friends and family who are WDW cast members have remarked on an increased presence of Brazilian guests over the past year. God Bless them we love them. I am hoping with all of my heart that rumors of a planned Brazilian Showcase at EPCOT come to pass in 2014.
I Respond: While I disagree with the assertion I will contend that regardless of how the parks match-up in terms of quality there is little (if any) doubt that when the Fantasyland expansion opens (with the Disney NextGen features) WDWMK will be (hands down) a far better park than its predecessor.
Does anyone know if the park's daily capacity limits would prevent it from reaching 20 million?
Another thing that surprised me was Kings Island again surpassing Cedar Point. Does it have a longer operating season than CP? Also I wonder how far off Six Flags Magic Mountain was from the top 20 (#21?). I wouldn't be surprised if SFMM reentered the top 20 next year with the launch of Superman Escape from Krypton and the soon to be open Green Lantern First Flight. Also Knotts Berry Farm is getting close to surpassing Sea World San Diego for CA's #4 park, maybe next year?
Maybe if Islands was a little higher on the list they would hurry up with the much needed Animal Kingdom addition to make it more of an all day park.
Walt Disney World were always going to face drops this year. Ticket and hotel deals were less attractive and there has been no major new attractions to boast. Star Tours, if marketed properly, will likely see Hollywood Studios overtake Animal Kingdom once again this year.
SeaWorld is the big story, that's a huge drop. Universal have clearly made up some ground on Disney and took guests away from WDW for a day or so, SeaWorld need to get on that bandwagon and start clawing back so visitors.
Nice to see a great place like Hersheypark also getting an attendance boost. A notable decline for me was Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, although it wasn't as big as I might have suspected. Kings Dominion whiffed with Intimidator when they shouldn't have (not completely their fault)...not to mention they have some work to do in other areas of their operation.
As great as the IOA comeback is, the Disney machine rolls on in terms of winning attendance battles. I suspect it will always be that way too. The multiple small parks and all of the hotels and ways to entice people to stay on the property multiply their attendance, regardless of the costs. Whether or not people are actually spending money in the Disney resort might be another story, but they certainly are buying tickets. For IOA, the magic of Harry Potter probably has another couple of years before it becomes just another great attraction, but I don't see it bringing another 30% increase. If Universal wants more Orlando market, they can't stop now. Disney is still in autopilot and perhaps even still recovering a bit from the freebie extravaganza of 2009-10. That won't last forever.
USF attendance dropped over 4 years. The new coaster is always broken, and the Simpson ride is just a simulator.
The big question, is what makes so many people visit Disney?
I think it's babies growing up in Disney rooms, the moms take the kids to Disney year after year, as a way to show they're experts. Do you hear about kids growing up in Sea World rooms? They may have a stuffed Shamu toy, but that's about it.