As expected, Disney laid the smack down in 2006, posting strong attendance gains while Six Flags and Universal parks largely declined or remained flat.
Here are the world's top 10, for 2006:
The next 10 North American parks are (in order):
[Correction: Reader Travis points out that the reported attendance for Six Flags Great Adventure in the TEA/ERA report is larger than that of Hersheypark, which TEA/ERA lists one slot ahead of SFGAdv. I've flipped them in the rankings on this page as a result.]
I am actually really suprised IOA did make it into the top 10 or the other Orlando parks were not higher. Sure, Magic Kingdom is the most popular, but you would think that those people would go to EPCOT, MGM, or Animal Kingdom. Same deal with IOA and USF.
That seems to be saying that people are only going to the Magic Kingdom
Do you think this is because:
1. Expedition Everest opened last year
2. Animal Kingdom has finally got it's act together with the changes they've made over the years
3. There are so many people at the other Disney parks that guests are visiting AK to get away from them!
Or some other reason?
Animal Kingdom always had a place in my heart for some reason! I always thought it was a potentally solid park. The first time we went there it was so so. I think their big and smart move (besides Everest) was the opening of Asia. That added much more to the park. I truly believe that Animal Kingdom tops the other parks in theming and counter service (Flame Tree BBQ? Tuskers? mmmmmmm).
So again, all the above would be my guess. Please bring on Beastly Kingdom or something to that affect! I can't believe they passed on a Dueling Dragons-esque ride!
I was actually very impressed with Seaworld the last time I went there. I think they are getting ready for an explosion soon.
Yes, I like Disney, but I like IOA too since the theming there and the rides have been top notch. It saddens me that they haven't done anything big lately. This so called dino coaster will be a great addition. I also just realized how small toon lagoon was! They should have made that land better and placed more family rides there as well as thrills!
Nobody does animals like BGA. I will admit they are the best.
Not a fan of AK food? I think comparativly, they have the best counter service. Of course thats also true because they do not have too many places to eat. Think about it, what is Disney's most thrilling park? AK? All the rides (except Tricer Tops) are rough and could be considered thrill rides. Again, not too many rides as well!
Anyway, we don't go to Universal as much. Losing the fast pass at Universal was not a huge deal to us, because it was always sold about around noon to one for the rides we would have used it for (Spider-Man being one). In addition, I have noticed the lines are worse at Universal, so I was a little surprised to see attendance is down. I don't know if that is from lack of free fast passes or not.
Universal has too big of rides for my family, although my wife likes big rides but too much of a good thing is not always good. They don't have a lot of medium rides, which we enjoy together at Disney.
I don't know if this helps the conversation or not. As frequent theme park attenders (word?), we normally hit Disney because there is just so much more to do and more "family" rides to us. Universal never seems to change and the workers are not exactly friendly. A different crowd of people go to Universal (I won't expand on this).
I hope this adds to the conversation and does not detract.
I didn't mean to make this a Disney v. Universal thread. I didn't grow up with either really. When I first moved to Jacksonville, I could only afford Universal tickets so that is where we went (100 bucks compared to 400+ for Disney). We spent a very nice year at Universal and we still love Universal.
The problem was we just got bored with not a lot to do. We spend the extra money because with Disney we get 4 parks, which just shakes things up. Sometimes we are in EPCOT mood, sometimes AK. Sometimes IOA.
With Disney, we also get all the hotels, resturants, boating, fishing; all with good customer service. Disney wins for us based (if nothing else) solely on size and amount of things to do.
We do love Universal and it has a special place in our heart during our first year of marriage.
Personally, I get the preferred Annual Pass to Universal (free parking and 20% of everything). It is 169.99 and 99.99 for every year after.
Disney, I go with the seasonal pass. 230.00 (I think) and 207.00 to renew. I think these numbers are right, or pretty darn close.
I find this is the best value. It is not Disney vs Universal, but Disney AND Universal. I like both parks. I like Disney off season, Universal when Disney is busy. Does that make Universal number 2? Yes and no. Disney is too busy for me in certain months, so I don't "buy" those months (i.e. I get seasonal pass). This saves me 100-200 bucks a year, which I buy Universal and Seaworld passes with the extra money.
I love both and don't want either to change!
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Hersheypark had a higher attendance than Great Adventure? Even when I go to Six Flags in early May, it always seems so packed, whereas the crowds at Hershey never seem that bad. I'm also surprised Busch Gardens Europe wasn't on the list at all.