Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
1. Magic Kingdom; 14 million, down 5%
2. Disneyland; 12.7 million, UP 3%
3. Epcot; 8.3 million, down 8%
4. MGM Studios, 8 million, down 4%
5. Animal Kingdom, 7.3 million, down 6%
6. Universal Studios Florida, 6.9 million, down 6%
7. Islands of Adventure, 6.1 million, UP 10%
8. Universal Studios Hollywood, 5.2 million, UP 10%
9. Sea World Orlando, 5 million, down 2%
10. California Adventure, 4.7 million, down 6%
In addition, Tokyo Disneyland recieved 13 million visitors this year, way down from nearly 18 million last year. Tokyo DisneySea recieved 12 million visitors this year.
Credits can be given to the following sources:
I'll post more estimates as I get them.
The Sentinel's talk of Universal's attendance being down was either wrong, or attendance at Universal Studios Japan must have tanked far enough to drag down the gains at USF and IOA.
These figures tell you why "Boffo/Socko" and all other new, planned attractions at Universal Orlando are going into Universal Studios Florida instead of Islands of Adventure. If USF had held steady, it would have inched ahead of Animal Kingdom in the rankings. Part of the switch in attendance from USF to IOA is surely due to Halloween Horror Nights. But USF needs help.
Overall, Disney's worldwide attendance was UP almost two percent, if you do the math on the figures in the Yahoo story. Six Flags was down by about 1.3 percent.
So now I also understand why they are focusing so much on USF. They have lost more than a million since 2000. USF has proven that attendance can grow with a new attraction, like in 2000 when they opened MIB. 2001 brought nothing at the attendance sure showed that. 2002 only brought a couple show rehabs and the park still dropped. Next year will bring Shrek and Jimmy Neutron, and hopefully a two-park HHN, and USF should bounce right back. The Mummy coaster in 2004 should cement that park for a while.
WDW is basically in trouble. They dropped 2.1 million from last year, which was a HORRIBLE year for them. They are also 5.6M down from 2000. And it wasn't like 2000 was the BEST year since that was the year AK started its slide. Still, 2000 proved that WDW needs more than half-assed celebrations like this 100 Years of Walt thing and that the celebrations need something BIG, like the Millenium Village. E-Tickets, like RnRC help too. Next year has a major E-Ticket and about a D-Ticket. But neither of these will help AK, which appears to be the day that people are opting for Universal instead.
The strangest thing, about the Orlando area at least, is that Busch Gardens Tampa didn't vault onto the Top Ten list. They must not have had that good a year since they had 4.6M last year. DCA had 4.7M, so an increase should have dumped a Disney park out of the Top Ten. Weird.
BTW, I said for a long time that the Sentinel... and a certain writer... was full of crap in constantly referring to theme park attendance in Vivendi's money problems. Vivendi only owns about half of UO and even less of the foreign parks. Revenue from the parks is only a few percent of Vivendi's total income anyhow. So even if all the parks tanked, it wouldn't have affected Vivendi much at all.
Yes, they would, but it would not have been by as much.
>>>But neither of these will help AK, which appears to be the day that people are opting for Universal instead.<<<
I really thought that USF would have beat AK this year, and from what I have seen personally I think that AK's attendance estimates from AB are a little too high, but only by couple of hundred thousand or so.
>>>Busch Gardens Tampa didn't vault onto the Top Ten list.<<<
I still haven't gotten BGT's attendance estimate yet. There is a slight chance that AB has estimated a higher attendance for them than DCA, but I highly doubt it.
I should also state that I am 100% certain that DCA's attendance is way too bloating according to AB. I would put an estimate in the 4.2 million range, and not 4.7 million.
>>>I said for a long time that the Sentinel... and a certain writer... was full of crap in constantly referring to theme park attendance in Vivendi's money problems.<<<
At Six Flags, New Jersey's Great Adventure beat out Magic Mountain for top attendance: 3.25 million to 3.1 million.
They pretty much held steady then, as BGT pulled in 4.6 million last year.
Do you happen to have Busch Gardens Williamsburg's numbers?
AK's numbers really make me wonder how they figure all this out. AK has less to do than IOA, yet it never has lines. IOA at least gets lines during the summer.
BTW, Robert, I see your colleague at the Times enjoys the Verrier style of writing. Why point out how poorly WDW and Universal Studios Florida are doing while conveniently ignoring how well IOA did? Because it would ruin the flow of the "Florida's theme park industry, which is much more dependent on out-of-area visitors, had another grim year" stuff? Ummmmm, no matter what USF did, Universal ORLANDO was UP. Nice skew!
I'm pretty certain that AB does not figure in Horror Nights attendance with IOA's regular numbers.
>>>AK has less to do than IOA, yet it never has lines. IOA at least gets lines during the summer.<<<
IOA had a MUCH higher daily attendance over the summer than AK thanks to strong local support and lots of out-of-towners giving the park a shot. However, AK's attendance in the off-season is higher because of being part of Disney's multi-day hoppers. Many people go to AK solely because it is there and is part of their vacation package. However, more and more people are not staying at Disney's resorts, and it would not surprise me to see AK's attendance drop again in 2003.
Another sign that has been very telling is that Universal gained a lot of market share on Disney in North America this year. The only parks that Disney have that truly have much higher attendance than the competition are the two Magic Kingdoms. Once you take those out the playing field becomes much more level. For example, the attendance difference between Epcot (Disney's highest non-MK park) and Islands of Adventure (Universal's lowest park) last year was 3.5 million. This year that difference was only 2.2 million.
>>>Because it would ruin the flow of the "Florida's theme park industry, which is much more dependent on out-of-area visitors, had another grim year" stuff?<<<
They also ignored the fact that the LA market is MUCH, MUCH weaker than Orlando's market.
I don't see how SoCal is weaker than Orlando. Disneyland was up 3 percent, in spite of not adding a major attraction since 1995. In addition, Universal Hollywood posted a 10 percent gain. True, that was due to discounting, but parks in other markets discounted aggressively this year as well, and didn't see USH's gains.
In fact, the 15 million residents in the SoCal market help protect it in lean times, as they stay at home, making up for the loss in national and international visitors. The Orlando area has fewer than two million residents, making that market more susceptible to a travel downturn.
That said, Universal Orlando still found a way to increase its overall attendance, and Disney World didn't. Which validates what the people on this site have been saying colectively about the relative quality of Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World in recent years.
This isn't a Florida vs. California thing. Or even a international tourism is down thing. Yes, those are both elements of the larger story. But I think the most newsworthy thing here is the fact that Universal has refused to accept that attendance must go down in lean times, and that it is trying to do something about it.
Part of that story is Halloween. Halloween events saved several parks' bacon this year -- including Universal Orlando's. Knott's was packed for its event on the west coast, and could have added more dates. Look for Universal to expand HHN in Orlando next year. Strong Halloween events help bring out the locals, shoring up attendance when out-of-town visitors aren't coming.
But this wasn't concrete enough for me.
So I set out to perform a little survey. I spent half an hour today walking round my local shopping centre, getting some strange looks, and asking people questions. Things like:
'Could you tell me where Islands of Adventure is?'
'Which company is celebrating 100 years of Magic?'
'What is an animatronic?'
'Can you lend me some change for a bus fare?'
I got some very interesting results.
2/14 people knew what Islands of Adventure was, but one thought it was in Kentucky.
3/11 people knew that Disney was celebrating 100 years of magic.
No-one knew what an animatronic was!
1/18 people knew there was a Disneyland in California. Everyone else related the word JUST to Paris.
No-one knew which park in the world had the most roller coasters, and 7 of those people thought it was Alton Towers.
And finally, no-one gave me any change.
I think what this proves, is that companies like Disney shouldnt even bother talking to the public about new rides and such, or at least not in Europe, because half (or more) of the time, the public don't know what they're talking about anyway!
And it also proves the people of Basingstoke are stingy when it comes to handing out money.
Don't even get me started on IOA. Though, I did note in my last Orlando trip report that people seemed like they were discovering IOA, at least on the East Coast. It seemed many Brits had discovered it also. But mention IOA anywhere in WDW in 2000 and NO ONE - outside of CMs - had any clue what you were talking about. These numbers are proving something that I must have seen just starting.
Maybe instead of focusing on the damn train, WDW should be focusing on becoming better parks!
I would also like to see the list. Can somebody who has it type it up?
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort