New coasters fail to push attendance at SeaWorld parks

August 1, 2023, 1:05 PM · Despite opening three new roller coasters, attendance and revenue dropped at the SeaWorld theme parks in the second quarter of 2023 compared with the same period one year ago, according to numbers released by the company today.

SeaWorld Entertainment announced preliminary second quarter financial results today, one week ahead of its scheduled financial results announcement. The company reported attendance of approximately 6.1 million visitors across its theme and water parks in the three months ending June 30 this year, down 3% from 6.3 million guests in the same period one year ago.

The company attributed the decline to adverse weather across a number of its markets during the period. SeaWorld Entertainment runs SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio, Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia, and Sesame Place parks outside Philadelphia and San Diego, as well as several water parks near its theme parks.

Lower attendance meant lower revenue and income for the company. SeaWorld estimated revenue of $494-$497 million for the quarter, down from $504.8 million in the second quarter of 2022. An increase in revenue per capita partially offset the effect of the lower attendance. But an increase in interest expense along with the lower revenue led to a decline in quarterly income from $116.6 million in 2022 to about $85-$88 million for the same period this year.

In its press release today, the company noted, "preliminary estimates are subject to revision as the Company prepares its financial statements and disclosures for the three and six months ended June 30, 2023, and such revisions may be significant, in particular, the Company has not finalized its tax provision or review of deferred tax balances and related valuation allowances.... Accordingly, the final results and other disclosures as of June 30, 2023 and for the three and six months ended June 30, 2023 may differ materially from the preliminary estimated data."

In the three months ending June 30, Busch Gardens Williamsburg opened DarKoaster, SeaWorld Orlando opened Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, and SeaWorld San Diego opened Arctic Rescue. A SeaWorld-branded park also opened on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi during the quarter, but SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is owned and operated by Miral, so its attendance and revenue will not affect SeaWorld Entertainment's financial results beyond any royalty and licensing payments made to the company by Miral.

In case you missed them, here are our reviews and videos from these openings:

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Replies (27)

August 1, 2023 at 1:37 PM

As if this wasn't predictable enough, they use weather as an excuse.

August 1, 2023 at 1:42 PM

I know it was cooler than normal in San Diego this spring, but could someone in Orlando remind what the adverse weather was in Central Florida then?

August 1, 2023 at 2:20 PM

I love me some Sea World but they're going to have to try the family ride concept again at some point in the future.

August 1, 2023 at 3:09 PM

All the money is going into tech/apps. The golden are of theme parks is past us.

Disney is barely braking even. We are in a theme park recession.

My electricity bill was over $300.00 this summer. I have no idea how parks make money off of anything. It's not a lucrative business model after paying out all the design and staff and advertisement to keep parks running.

August 1, 2023 at 3:13 PM

Its becoming more and more apparent that the Florida parks are all caught in the overall tourism decline in Florida related to politics. Universal saw a pullback, Seaworld is seeing a pullback, Disney is seeing a pullback, etc. Counties around the State are reporting declines in tourism revenue as well.

August 1, 2023 at 3:39 PM

Orange County is reporting a 6.7 % decline in tourist tax revenue and Orlando occupancy down 2.5% - Miami Dade lost 79k in population, sounds like Florida leaders are doing a wonderful job with the Florida economy ?

August 1, 2023 at 5:01 PM

all of this is also somewhat expected given how absolutely bonkers 2022 was. I don't disagree that there are factors outside of, "everyone and their grandma went to orlando in 2021-22" but I think we're starting to see a new normal take hold.

August 1, 2023 at 5:33 PM

A big consideration is that the class of 2022 coasters all had February or March debuts, while the class of 2023 rides were May and June openings. As such, I'd expect any significant impact from the new rides to show up in Q3 rather than Q2. That said, I think these numbers are more in line with what should be expected going forward, as the revenge tourism bubble from fall 2021 to summer 2022 really inflated the periods being used as a comparison to unsustainably high levels.

August 1, 2023 at 6:59 PM

I see a couple other things at play here...

1) Domestic travel demand is waning - Just look at what JetBlue had to say this morning:

2) Inflation is starting to catch up with discretionary spending - It is a lot easier to find a seat at just about every restaurant these days.

Theme parks got a nice bump coming out of the pandemic, but those days are over.

August 1, 2023 at 10:20 PM

Florida population is up, but Bidenomics has kicked in.
Nice try, TipTop. Thanks, Pinocchio Joe.

August 1, 2023 at 10:59 PM

I will spare this thread of all my thoughts about Sea Worlds recent business practices, however will say that when Manta opened it didn't really do anything to Sea Worlds attendance, and when Mako opened it didn't really do anything to Sea Worlds attendance, so it shouldn't really be surprising that Pipeline (by far the worst of the 3) isn't pushing attendance either.

August 2, 2023 at 5:51 AM

Florida highest inflation in the country 9+% vs the rest of the country at 4% - could that be because of Florida insurance market and home prices ?

Florida epicenter for leprosy and malaria

Great job Florida leaders !

August 2, 2023 at 6:31 AM

Tiptop22 once again showing his/her typical nastiness and negativity without contributing to general discourse.

August 2, 2023 at 6:45 AM

No doubt the political climate has influenced some to choose other vacation destinations.

Sea World has been gutting the guest experience. 5% surcharge on every purchase, insane wait times on low crowd days and capping or cutting live entertainment options on most days. They started closing food stands at the food festival this past Friday night at 7:45pm. It was opening night and a Friday night in the middle of the summer. By 8pm, you couldn't find a food stand open anywhere.

Peek a look at the number of dates removed from HOS for this year. Friday and Saturday will be almost unmanageable to attend.

And they will dance for their shareholders by cutting the experience even more. Then blame whatever random hurricane or snowstorm shows up for why their next quarter's attendance is low.

August 2, 2023 at 12:36 PM

Florida’s state population has been growing 1-2% per year since the pandemic. But it sounds like people are moving out of large cities like Orlando and Miami due to high housing costs.

August 3, 2023 at 6:35 AM

I think it is coaster overload, that's the problem, you get coasters everywhere. I think they need to come up with more imaginative experiences. I also think theme parks need to stick with their core product and focus on making that better. I know seaworld parks have had difficulties with animal welfare, but If I go to seaword it is for the aquatic life (I personally don't like animal shows, but love seeing them in well themed and comfortable environments), now I have started to think of Seaword as a coaster park and I wouldn't go (Obviously I aprecaite Busch Gardens IS a coaster park, but now its seems the Seaworld parks are too. In my mind even Disney is at risk of going too far down the coaster route). I have never been the biggest fan of coasters, though do still enjoy many of them, especially the more themed all-age ones, but once you start getting into more mature years, big & fast coasters become less appealing. So maybe the 50+ year olds market is tuning out a bit?

August 3, 2023 at 7:06 AM

The only parks seeing massive increases in attendance with new attractions is Universal.

August 3, 2023 at 8:33 AM

Is this TH Creatives rival twin brother?

August 3, 2023 at 8:50 AM


August 3, 2023 at 10:25 AM

i think everyone is still scratching their heads on what's going on since covid. i think all bets are off at least 5 years removed.

August 3, 2023 at 10:50 AM

@smclaugh99 Hearing actual facts is offensive to you?

Who would go to Florida right now? I mean besides straight white christian nationalists. The rest of us are decidedly UNWELCOME.

August 4, 2023 at 6:24 AM

thecolonel (and especially his wallet) is always welcome in Florida. :)

August 3, 2023 at 1:12 PM

@James Trexen - lol!
I was going to suggest that he get a MAGA hat but I’ve heard that they cause delusional happiness, and there’s no way I want to mess with thecolonel’s “Life ain’t right unless I’m pissed about something.” vibe.

August 3, 2023 at 1:38 PM

MmmClaw ya have a point - Maybe I’ve gotten too hateful and negative. So I’m gonna stop watching and reading Fox, DAilymail and Epoch Times as much - they tell me everything is real bad and the US is not great at all, in fact it’s bad, real bad. I assumed the parks were doing real real bad with all the real real bad news plus it could only be national leader folks not state ones that’d be responsible for Florida being real real bad.

I’ll let ya know what I find out from other sources of information if it’s real real bad !

Thanks again for shining the light !

August 3, 2023 at 1:39 PM

@timhellman Aww Tim, I can assure you I'm having a much better time than you. But I don't cotton to hateful white nationalists, and there sure are a lot of them running around here lately. Unless and until y'all pipe down and put your hoods back on, I'm going to keep bringing the heat!

And hey, soon enough the people of Florida will come to their senses and reject that pathetic little hater in the same way the country keeps rejecting his bright orange uncle. And if they don't, things will just keep getting worse and worse, hahaha, that's the great thing about far-right policies, they're always self-defeating. Enjoy your day!

August 3, 2023 at 3:09 PM

@thecolonel - I knew it! Under that veneer of anger and disgust, you are secretly happy! Good for you!

Rest assured that the people of the great State of Florida will not re-elect Ron DeSantis to the govenor’s office in 2026. We’ve learned our lesson. Anybody who is responsible for all of the cases of malaria and leprosy and urinary incontinence in the state of Florida doesn’t deserve another term in the govenor’s office. Worst of all that rascal let all those Northeasterners move down here from those blue states and drive up housing prices!

Personally I’m ready to send him to one of those sanctuary cities like Washington DC just to get rid of him.

August 7, 2023 at 5:24 PM

@tiptop lol hilarious
@tim I wish I shared your optimism, but y'all can keep him

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