Disney Parks Lead the Way in Global Theme Park Attendance

Disney Parks Theme Park Attendance 2018

Disney has the Most-Visited Theme Parks in North America and Around the Globe

Disney has a commanding hold on theme park attendance figures around the globe, with four of the top five parks globally being Disney Parks and eight of the top 10. All Disney Parks in the top 10 had attendance increases year-over-year from 2017 to 2018, according to a report recently released by Themed Entertainment Association.

The Top 25 Theme Parks by Attendance 2018

The Top 25 Global Theme Parks by Attendance 2018

Disney theme parks hold a dominant position in global theme park attendance. (Graphic/Data Source: Themed Entertainment Association)

Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland Park in California held the top two positions globally, underscoring the strength and enduring appeal of these classic original Disney Parks. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park had the biggest attendance increase in 2018 — an impressive 10 per cent jump — driven by the continued strength of it’s Pandora Avatar land.

The Top Five Disney Theme Parks by Attendance

Globally, the top five Disney theme parks in 2018 were:

  1. Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park
  2. Disneyland Park
  3. Tokyo Disneyland
  4. Tokyo DisneySea
  5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Global Theme Park Attendance Crossed Half a Billion in 2018

One of the biggest takeaways from the 2018 study is that for the first time in history, global theme park attendance passed the 500,000,000 visitor mark. That’s an impressive number and reaffirms the strength of the industry globally across many theme park groups. The study notes that “This noteworthy achievement has been accomplished by focused capital investment, technology enhanced products, intellectual-property-based stories, and destination tourism development.”

On a regional basis, Florida leads the way with 78.8 million visitors across its six largest parks. This is followed by Japan, with 52.8 million visits across its four major parks and California, with 37.7 million visits across its three biggest parks.

Top 25 Water Parks by Attendance in 2018.

Top 25 Water Parks by Attendance in 2018. (Graphic/Data Source: TEA 2019)

Disney Water Parks Also Saw Growth

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks also saw growth in 2018, landing in the second and third positions in the global top 25 attendance list for water parks. However, with lower growth than major competitors their peer group, Disney likely has an opportunity to add some water park enhancements if Disney wants to maintain or increase its positioning among this group of 25.

Top 20 Theme Parks in North America

Top 20 Theme Parks in North America. (Graphic/Data Source: TEA/AECOM)

The Biggest Theme Park Draws in North America

When it comes to North American theme parks, it’s no surprise that Disney is a dominant player.

“The increase of more than six million visits at North American parks was led by growth among top operators Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, with particularly good performance from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Universal Studios Florida.”

This is good news for Disney, since Toy Story Land appears to have done its job in working some magic around Hollywood Studios while the park undergoes a rash of construction leading up to some major new openings in 2019.

Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

2019 is Expected to be an Even Bigger Year for Disney

While the 2018 numbers were impressive, 2019 is expected to bring even bigger attendance numbers to Disney Parks in particular.

“We can expect that [2019] numbers will likely show a massive attendance impact for Disney in North America, from the 2019 openings of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in May and Walt Disney World in August. Attendance at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks bounced back in 2018 after a decline in 2017 attributed to poor weather. These water parks continue to be the most visited in North America.”

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Mike Belobradic, The Finer Side of Travel™
A Luxury Disney Travel Blog