Theme park attendance numbers for 2015 released by TEA


Thanks to the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) we have our 10th year of accurate theme park growth trends and analysis. The latest report covers the theme park industry in 2015 including estimated attendance figures for the top parks. Estimated since most theme parks don’t report their attendance numbers publicly.

Top theme park and amusement groups around the world

  1. Walt Disney Attractions* – 138M, 2.7% growth
  2. Merlin Entertainment Group – 63M, 0.2% growth
  3. Universal Parks & Resorts – 49M, 11.8% growth
  4. OCT Parks China – 30M, 7.8% growth
  5. Six Flags – 29M, 11.4% growth
  6. Cedar Fair – 24M, 4.9% growth
  7. Chimelong Group – 24M, 26.4% growth
  8. Fantawild (New) – 23M
  9. SeaWorld – 22M, 0.3% growth
  10. Songcheng – 22M

*It’s interesting to note that Disney reported a slight decline in its overall attendance for 2015, but TEA has them growing. It’s also a bit of a misnomer to have Merlin Entertainments on the list. Why they do have some theme park and amusement park properties (LEGOLAND comes to mind), they also include a lot of exhibits and museums in that count.

Disney still has a commanding lead. Even nearly 12% growth from Universal still leaves them at just a third of Disney’s reach. Still those guests have to come from somewhere and those include Disney customers. What’s really sad is SeaWorld’s number. Without Aquatica in Texas, you have to wonder if they would have grown at all.

When it comes to individual parks, there are some interesting changes too. The Magic Kingdom remained at the top with 20.5M visitors, at 6.0% growth over 2014. Disneyland grew even more (9.0%) and reclaimed the #2 spot on the list with 18.3M guests as opposed to Tokyo Disneyland which fell to third place and actually saw a decrease in attendance of -4.0% to 16.6M. Disney had also better keep an eye on Universal Studios Japan, it grew 17.8% last year (in large part due to Harry Potter) and past Tokyo Disney Sea, which shrank by -3.5% and had 13.6M guests, for 4th place.

Top Theme Parks Worldwide:

  1. Magic Kingdom – 20.5M visitors, 6.0% growth
  2. Disneyland – 18.3M, 9.0% growth
  3. Tokyo Disneyland – 16.6M, -4.0% growth
  4. Universal Studios Japan – 13.9M, 17.8% growth
  5. Tokyo Disney Sea – 13.6M, -3.5%
  6. EPCOT – 11.8M, 3.0% growth
  7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 10.9M, 5.0%
  8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 10.8M, 5.0%
  9. Disneyland Park, Paris – 10.4M, 4.2%
  10. Universal Studios (Orlando) – 9.5M, 16.0%
  11. Disney’s California Adventure – 9.4M, 7.0%
  12. Islands of Adventure – 8.8M, 8.0% growth

18. Universal Studios Hollywood – 7.1M, 4.0% growth
19. Hong Kong Disneyland – 6.8M, -9.3%
22. SeaWorld, FL – 4.8M, 2.0% growth

Alarm bells should be going off for Hong Kong Disneyland. You don’t drop nearly 10% in a year unless something is wrong. Is the unrest in Hong Kong really impacting the numbers that much or is it symbolic of a general weakness in China’s tourism market. That might signal bad things for Shanghai Disneyland too. SeaWorld had better make some improvements if it wants to stay on the list. With only one of its three parks in the top 25, and anemic growth, they’re really struggling (of course, that’s not news).

For 2016, keep an eye on Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which should drop drastically (a huge portion of the park is behind construction walls right now), and Universal Studios Hollywood, which should rise considerably (they just added Harry Potter).

Still, it’s a good year over all for theme and amusement parks. Overall attendane is up about 5.4% and there are a lot of big projects set to open in the future. Which theme or amusement park is your favorite? How do you think they’re doing.

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3 thoughts on “Theme park attendance numbers for 2015 released by TEA

  1. Jack Fussell

    Interesting things happening in the parks right now. Magic Kingdom will always be my home but I really love the calmness and beauty of Disneyland Paris. It reminds me of the MK of my childhood.

  2. Gary Pearson

    I’m surprised EPCOT showed any growth at all. EPCOT needs some new and exciting attractions. A couple of new pavilions in the International Showcase would certainly help, too. There are many of parts of the world not represented. Has anyone suggested that Illuminations needs a reboot? While Animal Kingdom and Disney Studios parks are being upgraded with new and large additions, Epcot is being left behind. I know a Frozen ride is on the way, replacing Maelstrom, and a refresh of Soarin’, but there needs to be so much more than that.

    1. Disney Mike

      Yes, Epcot needs some serious attention. I suspect we’ll have to wait a couple of years, though. With New Fantasyland having been only recently completed, Avatar Land under construction, and construction at DHS only just getting started, Epcot’s revitalization is probably not even on the drawing board yet.

      A new country or two in World Showcase would be great, but it’s Future World that really needs serious work. The whole land needs to be re-thought and re-themed, I think. There’s so much real estate being ignored or underutilized right now (especially Innoventions and the Wonders of Life pavilion), and pavilions like the Universe of Energy and Imagination need to be updated in some way.

      That said, even without any new countries in the World Showcase, adding a couple of attractions to pavilions that don’t have any (Germany, Italy, and Japan come to mind) would add much-needed freshness to the park. Even adding the Ratatouille ride from Disney Studios Paris would be a nice addition.

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