Disney slams Universal in 2005 theme park attendance
More big news today:
The Walt Disney Company's decision to mark flagship theme park Disneyland's 50th anniversary with newly installed shows and attractions at all its theme parks around the world paid off with significant attendance gains. Amusement Buisness magazine's annual estimate of global theme park attendance gives Disney's parks in the U.S., Japan and France the top 8 spots.
In North America, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom continued to lead the nation, with an increase of 6.5 percent, pushing the park's 2005 attendance to more than 16 million visitors. Nationwide, attendance at the nation's top 50 parks increased 4.2 percent.
The big loser in this year's report was Disney's archrival, Universal, which saw attendance at all three of its U.S. parks decrease, led by twin 8.5 percent slides at Universal Orlando's Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Apparently, new "Fear Factor" shows on both coasts weren't anywhere near enough to draw fans from the competing Disney parks down the road.
Universal's Islands of Adventure lost the top spot in the annual Theme Park Insider Awards to Tokyo DisneySea this summer, in part due to a lack of new attractions at the Orlando park. Now IoA has suffered the further indignity of dropping behind Disney's California Adventure in annual attendance. (Though it must be noted that DCA's attendance was helped greatly by sopping up the overflow crowds from Disneyland's blockbuster 50th aniversary celebration.)
Here are the numbers for the top 25 parks in North America, courtesy Amusement Business:
- Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 16.1 million, +6.5 percent
- Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. 14.5 million, +8.5 percent
- Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 9.9 million, +5.5 percent
- Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 8.6 million, +5 percent
- Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 8.2 million, +5 percent
- Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando, 6.1 million, -8.5 percent
- Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., 5.8 million, +3.6 percent
- Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, 5.76 million, -8.5 percent
- SeaWorld Orlando, 5.6 million, +0.2 percent
- Universal Studios Hollywood, 4.7 million, -6 percent
- Adventuredome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, 4.5 million, +2.3 percent
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, 4.3 million, +5.1 percent
- SeaWorld San Diego, 4.1 million, +2.5 percent
- Paramount Canada's Wonderland in Maple, Ontario, 3.6 million, +7 percent
- Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., 3.47 million, -3 percent
- Paramount's Kings Island in Kings Island, Ohio, 3.3 million, -5.1 percent
- Morey's Piers in Wildwood, N.J., 3.1 million, +1 percent
- Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, 3.1 million, -2 percent
- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Calif., 3 million, flat
- Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., 2.9 million, +6 percent
- Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., 2.8 million, +24 percent
- Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., 2.8 million, +5 percent
- Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., 2.7 million, flat
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg, 2.6 million, +8.3 percent
- Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 2.3 million, +7.3 percent
Im 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.
Universal should begin to build something new more than just The Mummy or they will be slammed by the others next year.
For 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.
I 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!
Let'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.
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