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Magic Kingdom castle

Disney's theme parks again occupy the top positions in the industry's annual attendance report, although rival Universal's parks continue to perform well.

Parks at Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort, the Tokyo Disney Resort and the Disneyland Resort Paris fill the top eight positions in the report, released by the Themed Entertainment Assocation. Universal continues to trail the market leader, but does take the final two positions in the top ten with Universal Studios Japan and Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure.

The top 25 global theme parks by attendance in 2011 were:

  1. Disney's Magic Kingdom - 17.1m (+ 1.0%)
  2. Disneyland - 16.1m (+ 1.0%)
  3. Tokyo Disneyland - 17.1m (+ 1.0%)
  4. Tokyo DisneySea - 11.9m (- 5.8%)
  5. Disneyland Paris - 17.1m (+ 1.0%)
  6. Epcot - 10.8m (+ 0.0%)
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom - 9.8m (+ 1.0%)
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios - 9.7m (+ 1.0%)
  9. Universal Studios Japan - 17.1m (+ 4.2%)
  10. Islands of Adventure - 7.7m (+ 29.0%)
  11. Lotte World - 7.6m (+ 36.6%)
  12. Ocean Park - 7.0m (+ 28.7%)
  13. Everland - 6.6m (- 4.6%)
  14. Disney's California Adventure - 6.3m (+ 1.0%)
  15. Universal Studios Florida - 6m (+ 2.0%)
  16. Hong Kong Disneyland - 5.9m (+ 13.5%)
  17. Nagashima Spa Land - 5.8m (+ 30.3%)
  18. SeaWorld Orlando - 5.2m (+ 2.0%)
  19. Universal Studios Hollywood - 5.1m (+ 2.0%)
  20. Walt Disney Studios, Paris - 4.7m (+ 4.7%)
  21. Europa Park - 4.5m (+ 5.9%)
  22. SeaWorld San Diego - 4.3m (+ 13.0%)
  23. Busch Gardens Tampa - 4.3m (+ 2.0%)
  24. Efteling - 4.1m (+ 3.1%)
  25. Tivoli Gardens - 4.0m (+ 7.2%)

Islands of Adventure was the star performer in the US, having registered a 29 percent attendance increase (to 7.7 million visitors). This was driven by the first full year of operations of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and explains Universal's decision to add additional Potter-themed attractions at its Orlando resort. Wizarding Worlds will also open at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood in the next few years.

As in 2010, the overall figures paint a fairly positive picture for the theme park market in the face of economic turmoil around the globe. Attendance at the world's top 25 parks rose by 4.8 percent to 198.1 million guests. The top 20 US theme parks pulled in 127 million visitors, up 2.8 percent. Europe's theme parks defied the eurozone crisis to post a 2.8 percent increase (57.8 million visitors), while Asia's top 20 achieved an impressive 9.4 percent growth to 105.1 million visitors. This came despite a major earthquake in Japan causing attendance drops at the Tokyo Disney Resort's two parks.

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

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