As a general rule, theme parks keep their attendance figures and projections closely held secrets. But fans and investors want to know how individual theme parks are doing, so the Themed Entertainment Association partners with AECOM each year to give it their best estimate.
No surprise, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom maintains its top spot and Disney holds 9 of the top 10 parks worldwide. But there are a few big changes with the usual contenders and it might be a sign of things to come.
Disney also maintains its spot atop Top Theme Park Companies in the world. #1 is Walt Disney Attractions attracting 134 million guests in 2014, a 1.3% growth over 2013. Merlin Entertainments Group maintains the second spot on the list with 62 million visitors, a 5% growth over 2013. They are followed by Universal Parks and Resorts, OCT Parks China and Six Flags rounding out the top five.
Overall theme park attendance around the world grew by 5.1% last year, a sign that economic recovery continues to free up additional funds for leisure activities. But the recovery isn’t spread evenly around the globe as you can see here.
The top 12 theme parks worldwide with attendance figures in the millions and percentage change are:
- Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom 19.3 4.0%
- Tokyo Disneyland 17.3 0.5%
- Disneyland 16.8 3.5%
- Tokyo DisneySea 14.1 0.1%
- Universal Studios Japan 11.8 16.8%
- Epcot 11.5 2.0%
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom 10.4 2.0%
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios 10.3 2.0%
- Disneyland Paris 9.9 -4.7%
- Disney California Adventure 8.8 3.0%
- Universal Studios Orlando 8.3 17.0%
- Islands of Adventure 8.1 0.0%
Really interesting to see how slow the growth was for The Tokyo Disney resort properties. Maybe they’ve reached their saturation point? The will be dramatically expanding both parks in the near future, so that should help. Disneyland Paris continues its downward slide in terms of attendance. I can’t say I’m surprised as the economic crisis in Europe hasn’t improved much for most families. But other parks in Europe are doing better, so Disneyland Paris had better step up to the plate and earn back those visitors. The good news, Disneyland Paris Resort still attracts double the visitors of its nearest competitor.
Universal Studios Japan is a surprise mover into 4th place after being in 9th place last year. Universal Studios Orlando continued its growth, but Islands of Adventure flatlined. You can see why they’re rushing new attractions to that park now.
Other notables are Hong Kong Disneyland at #15 growing 1.4% to 7.5 million and SeaWorld Florida dropping 8.0% to 4.7 million. Not a good trend for SeaWorld, but after failing to generate much excitement with the Antarctica attraction, they’ve fallen to a distant third choice when it comes to the major attractions in Central Florida. Finally clocking in at 25 on the list is Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris with 4.3 million attendees which is a loss of 4.7% over the previous year.
The whole TEA attendance report is interesting. Read the PDF here. It looks at water parks, museums, and breaks attendance down by continent too. All in all, a healthy report for the world’s theme parks, water parks, and museums. How many do you plan to visit in 2015?