Theme Park Report Has Walt Disney World Attendance Down At All U.S. Parks In 2016, Universal’s Numbers Rise

The theme park attendance report for 2016 has finally made its way out, and The Walt Disney Company can’t be overly thrilled with what they’re seeing. The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM published their attendance report for attractions around the world in 2016, which has numbers reflecting what Disney said last year. On the flip side of things, Universal Studios has seen its attendance rise in what can only be a promising sign for the future.

Disney did reveal last year that attendance was down at most of their parks and with the release of this official report, they weren’t lying. According to the official publication from the TEA, attendance in 2016 was actually down at all Disney Parks across the world except for Shanghai Disneyland which is still in its first year.

When looking at the list, all of the theme parks in Central Florida had lower attendance in 2016 except for two – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the 2010 opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter had been a huge momentum carrier for the company year in and year out.

[Image by Danny Cox]

Dennise Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, said that a number of the new additions and attractions have kept Universal Studios moving ahead at full steam.

“Since Comcast jumped on the Universal property, they haven’t had a loss yet. I think they’ve been introducing a product that really tickles the fancy of the tourists and the visitors to Florida.”

Walt Disney World does have a number of huge projects on the horizon and has already been experiencing big early summer crowds. The opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has seen spikes in attendance and now, they are heading toward the openings of Toy Story Land (TBA) and a Star Wars-themed land (2019).

Here are the top 25 theme parks around the world as far as attendance went for 2016 and they’re percentage drop (-) or rise from 2015:

  1. Magic Kingdom: -0.5 percent
  2. Disneyland: -1.8 percent
  3. Tokyo Disneyland: -0.4 percent
  4. Universal Studios Japan: 4.3 percent
  5. Tokyo Disney Sea: -1.0 percent
  6. Epcot: -0.7 percent
  7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: -0.7 percent
  8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: -0.5 percent
  9. Universal Studios (Florida): 4.3 percent
  10. Islands of Adventure: 6.5 percent
  11. Disney’s California Adventure: -0.9 percent
  12. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (China): 13. percent
  13. Disneyland Paris: -14.2 percent
  14. Lotte World: 11.5 percent
  15. Universal Studios Hollywood: 13.9 percent
  16. Everland (South Korea): -3.0 percent
  17. Hong Kong Disneyland: -10.3 percent
  18. Ocean Park (Hong Kong): -18.8 percent
  19. Nagashima Spa Land (Japan): -0.3 percent
  20. Europa Park (Germany): 1.8% percent
  21. Shanghai Disneyland: —
  22. Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris): -1.6 percent
  23. De Efteling (The Netherlands): 1.8 percent
  24. Tivoli Gardens (Denmark): -2.0 percent
  25. Seaworld (Florida): -7.9 percent

Disney also saw drops in Central Florida at its two water parks with 2016 attendance at Typhoon Lagoon down 0.7 percent and Blizzard Beach was down 0.8 percent. SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park saw a 4.0 percent drop in attendance last year.

[Image by Disney]

Some people may look at the percentage drops up above and think it doesn’t amount to much, but it does all add up. Magic Kingdom had 97,000 fewer visitors in 2016 from 2015 and there are people who believe that isn’t a lot, but no-one ever wants to lose money.

The New York Times reported that Disney seeing an all-at-once attendance decline at all 13 parks is something that rarely ever happens. In the last 10 years, attendance has declined just a single time at Magic Kingdom, but this is the first time it has happened at all Disney Parks at the same time.

Each and every single year, the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM publish their attendance report for theme parks around the world. Even with a decrease in guests visiting the parks, Disney is still sitting pretty with the top three spots on the chart as well as seven of the top 10. Disney Parks may have seen decreased attendance in its parks around the world while Universal Studios saw jumps, but that only makes for friendly competition and better experiences for guests.

[Featured Image by Danny Cox]

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