Published: January 30, 2015 at 12:21 PM
That hasn't been the case in years, though. Huge numbers of local annual passholders typically crowd the park on Sundays, when fewer passes are blocked out than on Saturdays. The lack of an NFL team in the Los Angeles area for a generation has helped make going to Disneyland on a Sunday more of a local tradition than going to a pro football game, and Super Bowl Sunday is no exception.
In Orlando, crowds typically have been relatively light on Super Bowl Sunday, but that probably has more to do with the day not being part of any school holiday week or weekend, which always hold down attendance in the tourist-dependent Orlando-area theme parks.
No matter what happens on Sunday, after the game, the most valuable player is going to Disney World.
Over the years, the parks in Central Florida have started programming more and more special events during the non-holiday weeks between New Year's and the start of summer, in an effort to boost attendance among locals and those who don't have kids in school. Up until recently, the parks haven't tried very hard to compete with Super Bowl Sunday, but now even this weekend isn't spared. Universal Orlando is hosting a big "Celebration of Harry Potter" event this weekend as counter-programming for the big game. (Update: While Universal Orlando tries to compete, Universal Studios Hollywood is playing along. The California park just announced that it will run a national commercial during the Super Bowl pre-game for its new "Fast & Furious" Studio Tour encounter. The Super Bowl airs this year on NBC, which is owned by Universal's parent company.)
Theme parks often support their local pro sports franchises when they're playing for a championship. But Seattle doesn't have any major parks, and all the parks in New England are closed for the season this time of year. The only theme parks in the United States open on Super Bowl Sunday are in Southern California and Central Florida, and neither Los Angeles nor Orlando have NFL teams. (Maybe parks would get on board with promoting the game if the San Diego or Tampa teams were playing, as they have in the past, but it's been a while since either franchise made it to Super Bowl.)
The NFL also has been battling public backlash against domestic violence by players, a concussion epidemic that's shortened the lives of many league veterans, and lingering public distaste with the use of taxpayer money for stadiums. Still, the Super Bowl sets television ratings records more times than not in recent years, and the NFL remains the most popular sport in America.
So what will you be doing on Sunday? Will you be watching the game, or will you be going to a theme park? Given that many of you don't live in a city with an open park this time of year, let's ask instead which you would rather be doing this weekend, instead.
There's no wrong answer here. We'd just love to hear about any special or notable plans that you have for this weekend. Whether you're going to the park or watching the game, we hope you have a great weekend, and thank you for spending any part of it with us here on Theme Park Insider!
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