Theme Park of the Day: Disney's Animal Kingdom

Which theme parks are you visiting on the Fourth of July weekend?

July 4, 2010, 1:47 AM · It's Independence Day in the United States, which historically is the single biggest day of the year in the theme park business.

Disney Electrical Parade America Float

Sure, some of the Orlando and Southern California theme parks, notably Disney's, might welcome bigger crowds at Christmas. But around the rest of the country, theme parks sleep in their winter hibernation. On the Fourth of July, though, everyone's open for business and the regional theme parks will welcome their largest crowds of the year.

Especially in years when Independence Day falls on a weekend, as it does this year. The industry's been in a bit of a slump over the past two years, as the Great Recession has decimated many families' ability to afford a vacation. Others have hit the road, but been forced to "downsize" their vacation plans, substituting a weekend at a regional park for a week in Orlando, for example.

I'd like to get your report on what you did this holiday weekend. Where did you go? If you went to a theme park, whose did you visit? How were the crowds?

Please take a moment to vote in the poll below, and if you'd like, leave a comment with a short report on where you visited and how were the crowds.

In the poll, we're asking which companies' parks you visited this weekend. The Disney, Universal and Six Flags parks' ownership is obvious, since they all have their parent's name in their names. But for folks who aren't hard-core regulars on the website, here are the top parks owned by other chains in this week's poll:

Cedar Fair: California's Great America, Canada's Wonderland, Carowinds, Cedar Point, Dorney Park, Kings Dominion, Kings Island, Knott's Berry Farm, Worlds of Fun

Herschend: Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Wild Adventures

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment: Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place, plus the SeaWorld parks

You can pick multiple chains, since some theme park fans in Orlando and Southern California hit parks from two or more chains during their visit.

Thanks for your comments, and I hope you're having a wonderful Fourth!

Replies (18)

July 4, 2010 at 1:31 AM · Was at DCA almost all day on the 3rd, crowds were surprisingly reasonable considering the holiday and World of Color show.

I guess all the blocked out APs helps though.

July 4, 2010 at 7:02 AM · Was at Universal yesterday. Somewhat busy, but not too bad. I just saw shows, but I did check mobile wait times and they seemed pretty normal.

Headed off to the park today to mostly relax. Don't think I'm going to do much.

July 4, 2010 at 7:44 AM · Just got back from running the Peachtree Road Race (atlanta). Always on July 4th and it's the largest 10k in the world. Lots of fun, lots of food, lots of music, lots of people(55,000 runners let alone the 150,000 spectators) lots of T-shirts(why we run the race of course) and lots of streets closed(traffic nightmare).
July 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM · We are at Disney World. It's raining, but I don't think that's what is effecting attendace. Much smaller crowds than anticipated. Last night we went in to the Magic Kingdom at 9 PM and by park closing we had seen all the major attractions including Splash Mountain twice. The firworks were AMAZING!
July 4, 2010 at 10:07 AM · I know it's not quite the weekend, but I'll be making my first trip to Kennywood on Monday.
July 4, 2010 at 11:33 AM · I was leaning towards going to Busch Tampa for the fireworks but this weekend is all rain storms in Florida.
July 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM · Monday counts as the weekend this year!
July 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM · Kennywood Park
July 4, 2010 at 12:08 PM · I have been to the Magic Kingdom at least 10 times on the 4th of July, 4 of them with my grandson Zachary, including last year. But this year it's Home Sweet Home and next year, we'll be going to Disney World in August.

For those poor souls in rainy Florida, it's 94 degrees and sunny here in northeast Pennsylvania. Happy Birthday America!!!!

July 4, 2010 at 12:13 PM · Been spending the past week on Universal Orlando property and loving every minute of it! Will probably skip the fireworks at Studios tonight and head back in to Potterverse for the evening! Happy 4th everyone!
July 4, 2010 at 9:47 PM · I went to SeaWorld Orlando for 4th of July... great fireworks... actually, double because one for SeaWorld and one for 4th of July... we also saw the army play some patriotic songs
July 5, 2010 at 2:45 AM · I was at the tail end of my amusement park journey through Ohio, Canada, and NY. I spent Friday July 2 at Darien Lake. Crowd was pretty light, but Ride of Steel and Predator were running only one train, so that increased the queue size for those rides.

Heading to Six Flags Great Adventure in a few hours. It's gonna be beastly hot, but a friend and I are gonna split a Flash Pass and try to make it out by 3 or 4 pm. I don't know how the crowds will be with people finishing up their Holiday weekend.

July 5, 2010 at 1:50 PM · Was at Kings Island last night. No power for the laser light show. Fireworks were nice though. Had all rides working by 8:30 pm almost 5 hours after losing power. But main street was still dark along with the parking lot at midnight.
July 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM · Stacy, that musta been fun trying to find your car by only moonlight. I bet walking out of the park was pretty spooky. Is it Halloween yet?
July 6, 2010 at 6:42 AM · I saw Toy Story 3 finally over the weekend. Best of the 3 movies!
July 6, 2010 at 9:30 AM · We went to Hersheypark on July 3rd... not crowded at all in the evening. Great trip!
July 6, 2010 at 12:55 PM · six flags over georgia. Great park but needs to pay attention to detail just as WDW and Universal do if it wants to be put in their catagory. Great rides!!! the park has potential to become an incredible park.
July 7, 2010 at 12:52 PM · Went to Great America in Santa Clara, CA on the third. The crowds were very small compared to what we expected, even though it was nice weather and there was a pop concert included in admission that day. Park is much improved over what I remember from 10 years ago, much cleaner, and the addition of the Water Park area Boomerang Bay was a nice upgrade.

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