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Cars Land, Transformers drive huge attendance increase at Southern California theme parks in 2012

Cars Land neon signs

Disney California Adventure and Universal Studios Hollywood saw huge attendance increases in 2012, boosted by the debuts of Cars Land and Transformers: The Ride - 3D respectively.

Figures released in the 2012 TEA/AECOM Global Attendance Report show a massive 23 percent rise in visitor numbers to Disney California Adventure, which attracted 7.8 million visitors. Over at Universal Studios Hollywood, attendance was up by 15 percent, with a total of 5.9 million visitors.

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom remains the world's most popular theme park, drawing in 17.5 million guests (up 2 percent from 2011). Disneyland saw a slight attendance drop to 15.9 million, although in reality this reflects the likely scenario that many guests visited Cars Land at Disney California Adventure in the morning and later "park hopped" to Disneyland (in which case they were counted as a Disney California Adventure visitor for the purposes of the figures).

In Asia, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea continue to show strong growth, with both seeing a 9 percent attendance increase. Universal Studios Japan also had a strong year, with visitor numbers rising by 14 percent to 9.7 million.

The top 25 global theme parks by attendance in 2012 were:

  1. Disney's Magic Kingdom - 17.5m (+2.3%)
  2. Disneyland - 16.0m (-1.1%)
  3. Tokyo Disneyland - 14.9m (+8.5%)
  4. Tokyo DisneySea - 12.7m (+8.5%)
  5. Disneyland Paris - 11.2m (+1.9%)
  6. Epcot - 11.1m (+2.2%)
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom - 10.0m (+2.2%)
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios - 9.9m (+2.2%)
  9. Universal Studios Japan - 9.7m (+14.1%)
  10. Islands of Adventure - 8.0m (+4.0%)
  11. Disney California Adventure - 7.8m (+22.6%)
  12. Ocean Park - 7.4m (+6.9%)
  13. Everland - 6.9m (+4.3%)
  14. Hong Kong Disneyland - 6.7m (+13.6%)
  15. Lotte World - 6.4m (+10.4%)
  16. Universal Studios Florida - 6.2m (+2.5%)
  17. Universal Studios Hollywood - 5.9m (+15.0%)
  18. Nagashima Spa Land - 5.9m (+0.5%)
  19. SeaWorld Orlando - 5.4m (+3.0%)
  20. Walt Disney Studios, Paris - 4.8m (+1.9%)
  21. Europa Park - 4.6m (+2.2%)
  22. SeaWorld San Diego - 4.4m (+3.5%)
  23. Busch Gardens Tampa - 4.3m (+1.5%)
  24. Efteling - 4.2m (+1.8%)
  25. OCT East - 4.2m (+7.9%)

The full set of attendance figures can be seen in the TEA/AECOM attendance report.

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