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Disney Themepark Attendance – The Numbers Game

Florida may have all the geographic variance of a pool table, but it’s the west coast theme parks that are flat (or worse) in the 2007 TEA/ERA theme park attendance estimates.

According the LA Times, Disneyland experienced slight growth in 2007, but it’s second gate continued to take a hit with 4.5% decrease over 2006. Most other west coast attractions also experienced decreases. Since nothing new opened at either park, this was to be expected. But California Adventure will see a turn around over the next four to five years.

In the Orlando area news was better. None of the area’s theme parks lost attendance. Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the big winner with 6.5% increased attendance. But it still wasn’t enough to pass Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in total visitor count.

Here are the top ten parks internationally for 2007 attendance:
1 MAGIC KINGDOM at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA 17,060,000
2 DISNEYLAND, Anaheim, CA, USA 14,870,000
3 TOKYO DISNEYLAND, Tokyo, Japan 13,906,000
4 TOKYO DISNEYSEA, Tokyo, Japan 12,413,000
5 DISNEYLAND PARIS, Marne-La-Vallee, France 12,000,000
6 EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA 10,930,000
7 DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena V 9,510,000
8 DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL 9,490,000
9 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN, Osaka, Japan 8,713,000
10 EVERLAND, Kyonggi-Do, South Korea 7,200,000

Of particular note is the 12 million visitors to Disneyland Paris. That’s at 12.1 percent increase over 2006. Even accounting for a boost from the 15th Anniversary those are good numbers. It looks like they’re really on the right track.

Remember these are estimates and some parks dispute their figures.

The full report is available at TEA’s website in PDF form.

5 thoughts on “Disney Themepark Attendance – The Numbers Game”

  1. “It looks like they’re really on the right track.”

    Right track for what? More crowded parks with a worse visitor experience? Unless Disneyland and Magic Kingdom got some major high capacity rides in the works over the next couple of years, this is BAD news for guests even it it is good news for Disney accountants – assuming profitability rose along with attendance which may not always be the case.

  2. I’m sure Disney knows, but would never publicly reveal, how many people attending are annual passholders, and how often those annual passholders are attending, and how many of the same people are attending the other parks at the resort as well.

    Attendence numbers like these don’t reveal the difference between when you have an annual passholder, for example, who visits Disneyland Park for a couple of hours and then visit California Adventure for a couple of hours, and doesn’t spend a dime, as opposed to a once-in-a-lifetime visitor who spends two full days at the parks, spending on dining and merchandise.

    Higher attendence does not necessarily translate into higher profits. Flooding the parks with annual passholders who bring wear and tear and longer waits but do not spend as much, per visit, as other guests, isn’t necessarily a good business move.

    Of course, I am an annual passholder myself.

  3. I always wondered why Disney didn’t really jack the price of an annual pass WAY up. Visiting Disneyland or WDW has been such a *special* thing in their life to do once in a while, some only once in their life. If I lived close and had an annual pass, it would take some of the novelty/magic out of it for me. And as you point out the out of town visitors will spend a lot more money anyway. I’m sure its a numbers game that they have closely analyzed for maximum profits, I’d offer residents a big discount (like 50% off) on hopper passes, but not annual passports, especially considering you don’t need a passport to go eat in one of their Downtown Disney restaurants or buy from those shops.

  4. orlando vacation homes

    The UK is a major feeder market here in orlando and for 2009 it looks like this market could be hurt very bad. It will effect everyone in Orlando as well as the big parks.

    Susan White

  5. Don’t be fooled thinking passholders don’t spend money in the park. For example, the majority of the people hanging out at Ariels Bar in California Adventure are pass holders, this is thier weekend hangout and they easily drop a hundered dollars or more there. Another thing to remember is the pass holders are the ones that go all out with Disney themed decor in their homes, holidays, and pin collecting. I am a pass holder as you can tell, and visit 2-4 times per month, and the magic is always there. My friends and I don’t always go on the rides, as most passholders don’t, we make it a differn’t experience every time we go. I almost always make it a point to visist one of the table service restaurants (Blue Bayou, Cafe Orleans, etc.) Another thing to remember is that most passholders have black out days during the peak season, and the one that don’t like to avoid the parks during those times, and if they do go it is usually weekend evenings. I am concerned as well though with park crowdedness, but i think a lot of it has to do with the growing population of California, so maybe Disney just needs to open a third park in So. Cal. to help spread the crowds around. They are completeley redoing Cal. Adv., and this is sure to help balance the attendance between the 2 parks.

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