Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2013 Theme Index Attendance Report Released

The Themed Entertainment Association, along with AECOM, has released the 2013 Theme Index, which details annual attendance figures for theme parks, water parks, and museums around the globe.  Without fail, it is a yearly must-read for fans of our industry.

2013 was another year of overall growth for the theme park industry, though the largest growth was seen in Asia - probably not a surprise to any of us.  It seems new parks are popping up throughout the continent at a rapid pace.  The report shows that the top ten global park operators saw an overall growth of 5.4%.

The Disney Parks around the globe continue to be the most visited chain, seeing an estimated 132.5 million guests in 2013.  That's more than double the second most visited chain, Merlin 9Entertainments, which came in at just under 60 million guests.

© Disney
The most visited theme park in the world remains the Magic Kingdom in Florida, with 18.5 million visitors in 2013 - which is a 6% increase over 2012.  Tokyo Disneyland is the second most visited park, with 17.2 million through the gates, a 16% increase year over year.  Of the top ten busiest parks on the list only one - Universal Studios Japan - is not a Disney Park.

The amazing growth of water parks in Asia is evident in the list of the top attended water parks, with Chimelong Waterpark in China at the number one spot with 2.7 million visitors.  That's on par with most of the larger amusement parks in North America.  The top attended water park in North America remains Typhoon Lagoon with 2.1 million visitors.

© Knott's Berry Farm
Drilling in on North America, there's a few movements, both up and down, worth mentioning.  First, Knott's Berry Farm has overtaken Canada's Wonderland as the most attended Cedar Fair park, 3.68 million guests versus 3.58.  Cedar Point had a good year from GateKeeper, up 5% to 3.38 million.

Universal Studios Florida saw a big increase, 14%, to 7.06 million - thanks Transformers and Simpsons!  Disney California Adventure continued its attendance ascent, up 9.5% to 8.51 million on continued Cars Land popularity.

Things weren't so rosy for the SeaWorld and Busch parks, seeing declines of 3 to 6 percent across the board, though the Texas park does not make the top 20.  The top Six Flags park remains Six Flags Magic Mountain with 2.9 million, followed by Six Flags Great Adventure with 2.8 million.

The full report can be downloaded via this link, there's tons more data to look at if you're interested.  I know the report is aimed at a global audience, but I still wish the list went further than 20 for North American parks - but I'm grateful that someone is still publishing these figures.