TEA Theme Park Attendance Report Released

The Themed Entertainment Association(TEA) and Economics at AECOM have released their joint publication, the TEA/AECOM 2010 Theme Index today. The chief statistics are the estimated attendance numbers for the major theme parks world wide. 2010 was generally a good year with many of the destination theme parks experiencing strong growth. Disney theme park attendance was a mixed bag in 2010, however.

There were some notable exceptions to the growth. Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT all declined slightly. Only Disney’s Animal Kingdom showed any growth continuing it’s trend from last year when it passed DHS for the first time for third place among Disney’s four Orlando parks.

The two Tokyo Disney parks had great years in 2010, but that will no doubt be offset by the quake caused problems in 2011. We wish them luck!

The Disneyland Paris parks continue to struggle. Struggles with the union, reports of poor maintenance in the parks, and depressed economies in Europe are no doubt to blame. Meanwhile Hong Kong Disneyland showed that if you invest, they will come. Hopefully that’s a good trend for the future.

Speaking of investment in attractions, the Original Disneyland, with no new attractions, saw only minor growth, but California Adventure saw a decent improvement. That’s odd considering the park was undergoing a lot of construction at the time and lost its parades. However, the night time is the right time as ElecTRONica and World of Color draws them in after dark. So that growth probably included a lot of park hoppers.

The two SeaWorld parks both lost big. A lot of SeaWorld Florida’s decrease can be attributed to guests heading to Universal Orlando to catch the boy wonder. However, there was also the bad press received when a killer whale trainer was killed in an accident and the parks were still transitioning away from being a ‘Free as in Beer’ property to a Conservation based property. They seemed to be sleep walking through much of 2009 and 2010. Thankfully, the parks appear to have come out of that slumber recently. And Busch Gardens Tampa did show some strength.

The real winner, of course, was Universal Studios. Islands of Adventure showed 30%+ growth for the year and Harry Potter was only open for about 2/3rds of it. The boy wizard also lifted Universal Studios Florida. In Hollywood King Kong 360 3-D opened, but I’m not sure that explains the huge growth. I have to wonder if they got a little boost from the boy wizard too. That must have made for some disappointed tourists.

Attendance in M, Growth or Loss in Percentage, Name, Location
16.97 M -1.5% Magic Kingdom, Orlando, FL
15.98 M +0.5% Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
14.45 M +5.9% Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan
12.66 M +5.5% Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo, Japan
10.83 M -1.5% EPCOT, Orlando, FL
10.50 M -2.6% Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee, Fran ce
9.87 M +1.0% Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Kissimmee, FL
9.60 M -1.0% Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, FL
8.16 M +2.0% Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan
6.88 M +11.6% Everland, South Korea
6.29 M +3.0% Disney California Adventure, Anaheim, CA
5.95 M +30.2% Islands of Adventure, Orlando FL
5.93 M +6.1% Universal Studios, Orlando FL
5.55 M +22.4% Lotte World, Seoul, South Korea
5.20 M +13.0% Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong
5.10 M -12.1% SeaWorld Florida, Orlando, FL
5.10 M +6.3% Ocean Park, Hong Kong
5.04 M +26.0% Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City, CA
4.50 M -2.6% Walt Disney Studios, Marne-la-Vallee, France
4.47 M -5.0% Nagashima Spa Land, Kuwana Japan
4.25 M 0.0 Europa Park, Rust Germany
4.20 M +2.4% Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa FL
4.02 M -6.0% Yokohama Sea Paradise, Japan
4.00 M 0.0% De Efteling, The Netherlands
3.80 M -9.5% SeaWorld California, San Diego, CA

The full press release is below the jump:

“The Themed Entertainment Association(TEA) and Economics at AECOM have released their joint publication, the TEA/AECOM 2010 Theme Index – the definitive annual study of attendance at major theme parks, amusement parks and waterparks around the globe,” announced Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) president Rick Rothschild of FAR Out! Creative Direction. “Looking at 2010 performance, the figures portray the resurgence of destination parks. Both Disney and Universal brought visitors back to their turnstiles with irresistible new attractions – World of Color (Disney California Adventure in Anaheim) and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Orlando). These two outstanding attractions – both honored by TEA with Thea Awards – stand as symbols of the resilience and recovery of the international themed entertainment industry.”

Returning to pre-recession levels in US & Europe
“Both residents and tourists are coming back to the parks,” confirmed John Robinett, Senior Vice President, Economics at AECOM. “The 2010 TEA/AECOM Theme Index reveals an average attendance increase of 1.8% in North American parks, with many sectors at or close to pre-recession levels. The trend was generally positive. Both Universal and Disney parks reaped the rewards of substantial reinvestment, with outstanding new attractions in Orlando and Los Angeles. Orlando saw regional tourism grow by 10.5 and preliminary estimates indicate 8% in Los Angeles.”

“Despite the recession, European theme parks turned in a pretty strong performance in regard to attendance,” said David Camp, Vice President for AECOM in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “In most cases, parks in Europe are back to where they were two years ago: The totals for 2008 and 2010 are about the same.”

Asia bounces back; Chinese tourism drives development
“The recession appears to be officially over in Asia,” reported Chris Yoshii, Global Director Economics Asia. “2010 was a solid bounce-back from ’09. China and South Korea exhibited the strongest growth, helped by a surge of visitors from mainland China.”

Disney parks in Asia prospered in 2010. “The attendance increase at Disney parks in Japan and Hong Kong (800,000 and 600,000 increase respectively) can be attributed to three things: increased tourism from China, aggressive marketing and new attractions,” said Chris Yoshii. “The growth of the middle class in Asia is phenomenal and will drive huge investments in theme parks in the coming decade.”

Ocean Park Hong Kong posted a record year in terms of attendance: 5.1 million visits, and Universal Studios Singapore, which held its grand opening in May 2011, tallied more than 2 million visits during its 9-month soft-open period in 2010.

Visitation totals for 2011 will likely suffer at the Tokyo Disney parks, which closed for one month due to the earthquake and subsequent disruptions in Fukushima.

Waterparks – growth, and room for more
In US waterparks, “Attendance at the top five declined somewhat, but overall attendance at the top 20 was up by over one million visitors,” said Brian Sands, Vice President, AICP, Economics at AECOM. “The largest portion of this increase was from the new Wet N’ Wild in Phoenix, Arizona, opened for its first full year in 2010.”

Theme park development in the Mideast is largely dormant with the exception of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which opened in October and is the largest indoor theme park in the world. But two Dubai waterparks, Aquaventure and Wild Wadi, appear on the Top 20 Worldwide Waterparks list for 2010. “Waterparks are a natural leisure solution for a hot-weather region,” noted David Camp.

Waterparks in Asia also did well. In South Korea, Caribbean Bay at Everland posted a very good 2010 with a 20 percent uptick in attendance. “Jakarta is emerging as a new market, with a lot of interest in waterparks as well as theme parks and indoor attractions,” said Chris Yoshii.

Latin America & Mexico – Brazil leads
“The addition of Parque Mundo Aventura in Bogota, Columbia to the reporting list increased visitation by nearly one million for the top ten theme parks in Mexico-Latin America,” said Brian Sands. “However, Hopi Hari in Sao Paulo, Brazil, had the biggest increase among parks reporting in previous years, with close to 500,000 additional visitors, driven by a combination of the opening of several major new rides plus very strong economic growth in Brazil.”

Key Figures from the TEA/AECOM 2010 Theme Index – Calendar year 2010

189.1 million: The total theme park attendance for top 25 worldwide parks, an increase of 1.9 percent from 2009
123.6 million: Total visits to the top 20 theme parks in North America, an increase of 1.8 percent from 2009
83.3 million: Total visits to the top 15 Asian theme parks up 7.3 percent from 2009
56.3 million: Attendance for the top 20 European theme parks, a decrease of 1.8 percent from 2009 numbers
22.2 million: Top 20 worldwide waterparks attendance in 2010 – an increase of 7.3 percent from 2009. (Since 2006, total attendance for top 20 worldwide waterparks has grown by 27.4 percent.)
15.1 million: Total visitation to the top 20 waterparks in the US, a growth of 2.9 percent from 2009
13.3 million: Total attendance for the top 10 theme parks in Mexico and Latin America up 8.2 percent from 2009. (Total attendance for top 10 Mexico and Latin America theme parks has grown by 20.5 percent since 2006

About the TEA/AECOM 2010 Theme Index
The 2010 TEA/AECOM Theme Index identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance for the calendar year. Global attendance data are broken down by geographic region, by chain and by type of venue. The report is a valuable business reference and resource for the visitor attractions industry.

This annual, global attractions attendance study is jointly produced and distributed by the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) – the leading international trade alliance for the creators of compelling experiences and places – and the Economics practice at AECOM, formerly Economics Research Associates (ERA) – a top international consulting firm providing economic analysis for the entertainment and leisure industry worldwide.

AECOM obtains the figures used to create the TEA/AECOM Theme Index through a variety of sources, including statistics furnished directly by theme park operators, historical numbers, financial reports, the investment banking community and local tourism organizations, among others. The global market is studied as a whole, and each of its four main regions is also studied separately: North America, Mexico/Latin America, Europe and Asia. There is also a table of the top waterparks in the world and in the United States, and of the top global chain operators.