Themed Entertainment Association Global Attractions Attendance Report shows relatively flat attendance changes for 2019

Jul 16, 2020 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Thursday July 16, 2020 10:35am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM has today published the 2019 Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report.

This industry report provides a guide to theme park attendance worldwide, giving estimates of attendance change year on year. Disney and most other large theme parks do not provide any official attendance figures, so this report represents the only published estimate of attendance.

Domestic Disney parks are reported as being relatively flat in comparison to the previous year, with Disney's Hollywood Studios seeing the largest uptick of 2%. 

Magic Kingdom remains the most visited park in the world, with estimated 2019 attendance of almost 21 million.

Top 10 Most Visited Parks for 2019

1. Magic Kingdom +0.5%
2. Disneyland 0%
3. Tokyo Disneyland 0%
4. Tokyo Disneysea 0%
5. Universal Studios Japan +1.4%
6. Disney's Animal Kingdom +1%
7. Epcot 0%
9. Disney's Hollywood Studios +2%
10. Shanghai Disneyland -5%
11. Universal Studios Orlando +2.0%
14. Islands of Adventure +6%

At the water parks, both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon saw a 1% decrease in attendance.

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GetachewJul 17, 2020

Yep. I noticed when Rise opened suddenly GE at both parks looked busier than ever.

drizgirlJul 17, 2020

Yes, that's one of Disney's mistakes in this.

GetachewJul 17, 2020

What do you mean? Is WDW attendance that much higher than DL?

GetachewJul 17, 2020

a Ghost town that's still the second busiest theme park in the entire world.

GetachewJul 17, 2020

In fairness, both opened without Rise, and GE opened in late August at WDW.

GetachewJul 17, 2020

Interesting that Galaxy's edge didn't do much to increase DL's attendance. I know it opened in late May, but still. But then again, Rise didn't open up there until 2020.

DDLandJul 16, 2020

I have to concur. Bob Iger on Star Wars Land in early 2019: “And I would say by the way, on the marketing expense side, don't expect much. I'm thinking that maybe I should just tweet, "it's opening," and that would be enough. I think we're going to end up with incredibly popular and in-demand product with these two new lands. They are large, they are beautiful and they're extremely innovative, and they obviously leverage the popularity of the Star Wars brand. And I think that we're going to have absolutely no problem gaining attention for them or to them, and it's not going to take much marketing to do that. That's a signal that I just sent to our parks and resorts people to keep that budget really low...” Again in late 2018: “And so we think that they're going to have a major impact and Disneyland, clearly, it's the biggest thing that we've ever done at Disneyland since it opened in 1955. And we think it's going to drive huge increase in demand, and we think we're going to have some interesting challenges on our hands to manage that demand, but that's a good problem to have.” The opening was botched. Whether that reflects the product, the marketing, the pricing, or Star Wars itself is ambiguous. I also think that Disney Parks may have met a natural saturation point. Tens of millions of people have come through the gates. Maybe a slowdown was inevitable. But to argue that this was what Disney wanted is not compelling. Disney increased Disneyland’s capacity by 20% (and even more with Rise of Resistance later). The quarter Disneyland opened its largest expansion (by footprint) Disneyland’s attendance went DOWN. If Disney wanted to decrease attendance, they could have raised prices and saved the 10s of millions yearly in depreciation and operating costs. The Disney that built attractions to help with overcrowding doesn’t exist anymore. Each expansion has to have clear ROI. If they don’t they will not be approved. Guest experience is not the overriding goal. Take Hollywood Studios for example. Disney spent lots of money, but didn’t tackle the main problem of overcrowding. Disney’s Hollywood Studios still needs 1000s of hourly capacity to make a decent experience. Instead of building rides, Disney emphasized building expensive upcharge experiences, marketable E Tickets, and massive static monumental rock sculptures. Now 2ish billion later, the park remains exceptionally overcrowded. Galaxy’s Edge still has tons of potential and made the Disneyland guest experience better. But did Iger spend 1 billion for flat attendance? Not a chance.

the.dreamfinderJul 16, 2020

They cut a TSR and multiple shops.

danlb_2000Jul 16, 2020

AECOM gives operators who don't report number the opportunity to review them. Why does Disney allow under estimates to be reported?

MisterPenguinJul 16, 2020

AECOM presumably uses a particular strategy and methdology for estimating attendance for those parks that don't advertise it. So, if their methodology underestimates a parks attendance by, say, 10%, then they will likely do the same to all the other parks, and make the same 10% underestimation year after year. So, while the absolute value may be off, the trend line would be accurate. Also, if AECOM were to incorrectly show a park losing guests year after year and that wasn't really the case, you can be sure that that park would dispute those numbers publicly.

denyuntilcaughtJul 16, 2020

I think that's the right question. Also, agree with others saying that attendance isn't the metric to look out for.

SkywiseJul 16, 2020

The numbers might be significantly wrong but are the trends correct? Was attendance flat?

CastAStoneJul 16, 2020

I marvel at the Columbus Zoo's water park making the US Water parks list. Ahead of the water parks for Cedar Point, Dollywood, and several Six Flags parks.

hokielutzJul 16, 2020

Epcot is not surprising... given all the construction