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2016 Theme Park Attendance Report - TEA Theme Index 2016


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Here it is: http://www.teaconnect.org/images/files/TEA_235_103719_170601.pdf

 

Time to open the discussion floor!

 

Here's their press release about this year's report:

 

The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is a collaboration of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the economics practice at AECOM, a global provider of technical-professional and management-support services. This calendar-year study of global attractions attendance is a free resource for park operators, land developers and the travel industry. Top worldwide theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, museums and theme park group operators are named, ranked by attendance, and industry trends are identified. The global market is studied as a whole, and each of its main regions is also studied separately: the Americas, Europe and Asia. There is also a table of the top waterparks in the world and in the United States, and of the top global chain operators.

 

The study is published in late May or early June of each year. It is distributed electronically via TEA’s and AECOM’s websites, and a print edition is created by AECOM for additional distribution at trade events.

 

TEA and AECOM have collaborated on the Theme Index since 2007, although the study itself has been in existence for much longer. It began as an attendance report of major U.S. theme parks, produced by ERA (now part of AECOM) with Amusement Business magazine (now defunct). Over the years, this study evolved to add waterpark figures and address the international scope of the industry. The Museum Index was added for the 2012 study.

 

Inclusion in the annual Theme Index is a benchmark of success among operators. AECOM obtains the figures used to create the TEA/AECOM Theme Index through a variety of sources, including statistics furnished directly by the operators, historical numbers, financial reports, the investment banking community and local tourism organizations, among others.

 

To be included in the study, a facility in general must be gated (entry ticket required). North American parks must have annual visits above one million. To be included on the top chains list, a chain operator must have theme parks in its portfolio.

 

Every year TEA and AECOM hear from parks desiring to share their attendance increases and earn a place on the list. Operators who believe their properties should be included in the Theme Index are encouraged to contact the AECOM office in their region, after studying the current edition of the Theme Index and familiarizing themselves with the criteria. The more feedback and information received, the more accurate this report will become.

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My first take is that Six Flags is making some serious strides. Probably thanks in large part to the addition of holiday events, but there have certainly been some chain wide improvements in the guest experience.

 

Geez, what's going on with Ocean Park? Don't follow them enough to know the situation, but -18.8% is nuts. Disney France still struggling hard too? Again, I haven't followed them much but I thought they were making improvements.

 

The industry as a whole is growing at a rapid pace. While we have lost a lot of small parks in the U.S. over the years, the big parks keep getting bigger with no sign of stopping. I seem to remember less than ten years ago a lot of the biggest U.S. parks were seeing around 2 million? That was with shorter seasons though - so much has changed with how parks operate in the last decade.

 

The sudden expansion in China and other countries has been a godsend to the global industry as well. A lot of those parks on the Asia list are pretty new.

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This is always interesting to read. The one thing that really jumps out to be is how much Sea World Orlando got hammered. A 7.9% drop the year you add a hyper coaster is pretty disastrous. Obviously there are a lot of factors at play here like Brazil and their ongoing PR problems but a 7.9% drop is huge.

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Disney France still struggling hard too? Again, I haven't followed them much but I thought they were making improvements.

 

I think several major terrorist attacks have influences the big attendance drop (-14,2%). According to this site, there was a drop in foreign visitors to Paris of 15% from the beginning of 2016.

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Geez, what's going on with Ocean Park? Don't follow them enough to know the situation, but -18.8% is nuts. Disney France still struggling hard too? Again, I haven't followed them much but I thought they were making improvements.

 

Curious to see if Ocean Park pulls bigger numbers in 2017. They opened up a metro station right at the park the last week of 2016 so I'd imagine that would help. They're also building a hotel. In fact, some people could have been turned off by the place in 2016 as it looked like a giant construction zone up front.

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Let's see here...

 

Universal Orlando parks are creeping up the list. Islands of Adventure is now above Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland Paris, which took a pretty sizable drop. Both of the Songcheng parks on the top 25 last year are now gone, replaced by Shanghai Disneyland, and, surprisingly, the Paris Studios park. Shanghai Disneyland opened in June of last year, right? It could very well end up in the top ten for 2017. Also, Tivoli Gardens dropped a place! C'mon, Tivoli, I believe in you!

 

Six Flags Great America (!) bumped Busch Gardens Williamsburg out of the top 20 in North America.

 

The OCT Group and Fantawild are dominating the bottom half of the Asia list. Wanda who?

 

Only a tiny bit of shuffling in Europe / Middle East / Africa.

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Both HKDL and Ocean Park were significantly down, maybe it's a regional thing?

 

Surprisingly, every SoCal park but Disney went up (or stayed the same). Universal had a huge gain with WWoHP. In my selfish mind, I hope the rise in attendance can sustain the rise in new capital at all my local parks!

 

The Shanghai Disney number is deceivingly low, expect huge numbers next year!

 

And that's a huge bummer about SWO having lower numbers again, hopefully they can regain traction after that raft ride opens in 2018. Maybe they needed to focus in the family market vs the adult-centered Mako market? Regardless, it's still pulling huge numbers.

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Something to keep in mind: from what I understand Disney does NOT give their numbers to TEA and from what I'm told by people who do have a much better idea of the actual Disney numbers, is that the TEA report is usually off when it comes to their Disney estimates (report is usually lower than the actuals.)

 

I have nothing to back this up other than hearsay so if anyone else has any more factual info about that, please feel free to post. While I find the reports fascinating and I do reference them quite often, I also don't take the information as 100% "fact" but are very useful nonetheless.

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To echo Robb's point - a few folks I know who had access to actual numbers always told me the report is in the ballpark but never 100% fact. I recommend listening to the episode of The Season Pass Podcast with Tim O'Brien (formerly of Amusement Business who started the report many years ago). He goes into details about how some numbers were straight from off the record convos with parks, whereas others they had to guess. Here's the link: http://seasonpasspodcast.libsyn.com/tspp-330-the-tim-obrien-interview-71516

 

Back in the early 2000s when the report came out Six Flags actually issued a press release saying how off the numbers were.

 

This is always interesting to read. The one thing that really jumps out to be is how much Sea World Orlando got hammered. A 7.9% drop the year you add a hyper coaster is pretty disastrous. Obviously there are a lot of factors at play here like Brazil and their ongoing PR problems but a 7.9% drop is huge.

 

I think it looks bad because it is SeaWorld but in reality it isn't as awful it sounds. Mako opened halfway through the year (in the midst of the terrible news cycle for Orlando), which meant soft attendance leading up to it as people held off on trips and Orlando in general was soft last year. They reported that attendance was up for the second half at the park.

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I think it's impressive that Knott's finally overtook CP. In fact it was the number one non-Disney/Universal park in North America aside from Sea World Orlando and BG Tampa Bay (and both those parks were down). It says a lot and tells me that Knott's is very valuable to the company. No way they're going to waste that on anything less than a massive big time or innovative attraction. No more low capacity twenty second coasters. And if they are keeping Boom's station foundation then that means no dive coaster. I'm still putting my money on an RMC T-Rex, not a Raptor.

 

Of course some naysayers could say that Knott's is year round and CP is seasonal but don't forget that Knott's does all of their maintenance and refurbs during the winter months because though it's open it's almost dead during that time. Everything was open when we went in December for my daughter's birthday with the grandparents and everything aside from GR was a station wait. We rode every coaster plus Supreme Scream, Log Ride and La Revolucion in the first hour and a half then settled down and let the kid enjoy herself. Apparently the week before half the rides were closed for work and then a couple weeks later the other half went down. I don't know if there is ever really a slow time at CP but I imagine it's always pretty packed.

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To echo Robb's point - a few folks I know who had access to actual numbers always told me the report is in the ballpark but never 100% fact

Yeah, I can't help to think that something seems a bit "off" with all the Disney numbers in that report. Every one of the parks reported taking a decrease in attendance, but oddly enough I've actually visited every single Disney park in the last 12 months and everything we saw (especially here in Orlando) points to those parks being constantly busy. The only exception may have been Disneyland Paris where so much of the park was closed this year to prepare for their 25th Anniversary.

 

But seriously, here in Orlando, I feel like the parks are busy all year round now during periods where they never used to get busy before. Something just doesn't seem to add up with those numbers. Obviously I have no way of proving anything, but at a time where the parks seems to be doing very strong from my own personal experiences, I find it hard to believe they all took a hit this past year.

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Yes I know that the numbers of Disney are estimated like Robb already said, but how does it come that literally every Disney Park (except for Shanghai obivously) lost a decent amount of visitors?

 

Also congratz to Europa Park being the second most visited themepark in Europe now!

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Well remember that we as guests will not see it with the decrease being as low as half of a percent. On a day that lets say Magic Kingdom is doing 70,000 people, half of a percent less than that is 69,650. We will not feel the 350 less people so of course it still seems busy to us.

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One small thing I noticed was in this image, they list it as the National Air and Space Museum, but it's the Udvar-Hazy Center. Side note, It amazes me that the attendance at the UH Center isn't higher, Its way better than the Air & Space museum on the national mall and the best of the Smithsonian Museums IMO.

 

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I have stopped and spoken with park managers at Cedar Fair parks before and just flat out asked about the numbers in these reports. I have been told the numbers are wrong. Kings Island, Cedar Point, and Canada's Wonderland do have similar attendance but the positions swap more often then the reports show based on weather and new attractions. They had no idea about the other parks but the numbers they know are wrong.

 

You also have to understand to the parks a season pass holder is not the same as someone buying a day ticket. Profits are more important than attendance. Which is why reading the annual report and looking at how much each park makes will show you where the money goes a lot easier than this report.

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What is really interesting, is that Efteling has taken the fourth place from Tivoli Gardens (now 5th) for biggest theme park in Europe. That's great news! Disneyland Paris, Europa-Park and Walt Disney Studios are - as always - taking place 1, 2 and 3. Only 200k more, and Efteling will be the 3th biggest theme park in Europe!

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Talking North American water parks, Six Flags White Water in Atlanta continues to hold strong among the big tourist water parks that own the list, and it has had big growth too. It's amazing considering the park hasn't added much. It just shows that they have a monopoly in a very large city. I feel like another large water park could be developed in the Atlanta metro and be a huge success. It's the only big water park in a region that has some 10 million people. The only other sizable water park is Lake Lanier Islands which is well north of the city and more a part of a recreational resort.

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Geez, what's going on with Ocean Park? Don't follow them enough to know the situation, but -18.8% is nuts. Disney France still struggling hard too? Again, I haven't followed them much but I thought they were making improvements.

 

Apart from recent construction which might have put people off, Ocean Park is also probably suffering from lack of mainlanders who now have Disneyland Shanghai and many other more than decent theme park options popping up everywhere.

 

Disney France is making improvement but to be honest it's been a construction site for the past 2 years, with at least a major ride being closed for refurbishment at any point in time. Hopefully next year will be better now that most things have opened again but to be fair that'd be surprising, I feel their severely lacking significant new additions.

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When two parks in such close proximity (Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disney) both have over 10% drops, that definitely speaks to the economics of the area. From 2014 - 2015 Hong Kong Disney showed a larger % drop. Looking at both parks 2014 -2016

Ocean Park down 24%

Hong Kong Disney down 19%

 

That's not a good 2-year trend for either park

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What I am most curious about and it is because i am closest to these is there is 200k difference in Kings Island and Cedar Points attendance. I wonder if by adding the Winter Fest event if they will be able to top Cedar Point next year.

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