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3 Questions Raised by This Year's List of the World's Top 20 Theme Parks

Disney California Adventure

The 2013 TEA/AECOM annual attendance report was released several days ago. Tucked away in the facts and figures are some interesting trends worth paying attention to.


 A quick word on methodology: The statistics cited in the TEA/AECOM report are a combination of self-reported statistics from parks and publicly available financial reports. Though these numbers are great for looking at overall trends, they are no means exact, and are at best, rough estimates of overall attendance at theme parks. 

For quick reference, here's the TEA's list of the top 20 best-attended theme parks in the world in 2013:

  1. Disney's Magic Kingdom (18.6 million visitors)
  2. Tokyo Disneyland (17.2 million)
  3. Disneyland (16.2 million)
  4. Tokyo DisneySea (14 million)
  5. Epcot (11.2 million)
  6. Disneyland Paris (10.4 million)
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom (10.2 million)
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios (10.1 million)
  9. Universal Studios Japan (10.1 million)
  10. Disney California Adventure (8.5 million)
  11. Islands of Adventure (8.1 million)
  12. Ocean Park (7.4 million)
  13. Hong Kong Disneyland (7.4 million)
  14. Lotte World (7.4 million)
  15. Everland (7.3 million)
  16. Universal Studios Florida (7.1 million)
  17. Universal Studios Hollywood (6.1 million)
  18. Nagashima Spa Land (5.8 million)
  19. SeaWorld Orlando (5.1 million)
  20. Europa Park (4.9 million)
Now, let's take a look at 3 questions raised by these figures.

1. Disney California Adventure’s redesign and expansion is paying off – could similar redesigns hit other Disney Parks?

Disneys California AdventureDisneys California AdventureImage © DisneyDisney California Adventure increased attendance in 2013 by a whopping 9.5% over 2012, which makes puts in second place for attendance growth for 2013 (read on for #1). That’s certainly a staggering number, and worth paying attention to, especially as other Disney parks like EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios grew at a paltry 1.5% and 2.0% respectively during the same time period. Could similar redesigns/expansions be in the cards for these two flagging parks?

Redesigns for EPCOT have been rumored for some time, and the addition of an expanded Star Wars “land” could inject some much-needed enthusiasm into Hollywood Studios. With the California Adventure expansion bringing much needed growth to that park, it could be a compelling reason for Disney to re-invest some time and money into updating EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Meanwhile, European Disney fans will be dreaming of a major upgrade to the much-maligned Walt Disney Studios park.

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There are 6 comments.

Pandora is not supposed to open until 2017. Have I missed something?

Disney will open part of Avatar in 2015. I am a cast member and work at DAK. Camp Minnie & Mickey is gone and they are building now. The new Lion King theater is open and running ( check out our new Harambe Nights!) and the blue lights are in the branches of The Tree of Life!!!

WTF. Disneyland and DCA are ONE theme park, the Disneyland Resort. And Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot are all ONE park, Walt Disney World. I mean if you play by the rules this article is using, then Universal Studios get on twice for its two halves.

Well both universal Orlando parks are on the list. Guess you missed that

The Walt Disney World theme parks ARE separate parks though. You have to pay separate admission to each one unless you pay extra for the "park hopper" tickets. Same for the two Universal Studios parks. By your logic, 9 out of the top 10 parks should be listed as one, since they're all Disney owned. Then you'd never know the disparity between visitors of Epcot and visitors of Magic Kingdom. Thousands of people visit MK each year and never set foot in Epcot.

Really???? Clearly you cannot read and are not a fan of Disney theme parks.... smh


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