TEA releases 2010 theme park attendance numbers, Potter and Kong give Universal huge growth but Disney remains on top

in Busch Gardens, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's California Adventure, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld Orlando, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

The annual Global Attractions Attendance Report from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has been released for 2010 revealing, once again, that Disney leads the pack with nine of the 11 top spots on the list. But Harry Potter and King Kong have propelled Universal Studios forward on both United States coasts, drawing millions of additional guests in the past year.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla. remains at the top of the list with 16.97 million visitors in 2010, a giant number that’s surprisingly a 1.5% decrease over 2009 when the park welcomed more than 17 million guests. Likewise, Epcot dropped 1.5% to 10.83 million guests putting it in fifth place. But Disney’s decline in 2010 ends there, with Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. sticking at the number two spot with 15.98 million visitors, up 0.5% over 2009.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks round out the Orlando rankings at seventh and eight place, both with just under 10 million guests, and Disney California Adventure again takes 11th place with 6.28 million visitors, up 3.0% from 2009, in part due to the debut of World of Color.

But it was Universal Studios, both in Florida and California, that saw the biggest increases in attendance in 2010. The introduction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Universal Orlando created attendance leaps for both of its theme parks. Islands of Adventure, which saw a 13.8% drop in attendance in 2009, jumped an astounding 30.2% to 5.95 million visitors as a result of Potter excitement. Universal Studios Florida enjoyed the Potter ride as well, with a 6.1% attendance increase in 2010 up to 5.93 million visitors after having been down 12% in 2009. While they still sit at 12th and 13th place on the list and are still millions of guests behind Disney’s Orlando parks, these numbers are a huge boost to what were in 2009 two failing theme parks.

Meanwhile in California, Universal Studios Hollywood enjoyed a chest-pounding 26% jump in attendance to 5.04 million visitors as a result of the debut of King Kong 3-D. King Kong may not be Harry Potter, but the big ape did work some magic on the park.

But none of that Disney or Potter magic rubbed off on SeaWorld Orlando in 2010. That park dropped 12.1% in attendance, reaching 16th place on the list with 5.1 million guests. Tampa sister park Busch Gardens increased 2.4% to 4.2 million visitors. And Sea World California dropped several spots to 25th (and last) place on the TEA attendance list, falling 9.5% to 3.80 million visitors.

Overseas, Disney enjoyed more dominance with Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea both rising nearly 6% and taking hold of the third and fourth places on the list with just under 15 and 13 million visitors in 2010, respectively. However, the recent earthquake disaster will likely leave the parks recovering in many ways when 2011’s results are released next year. The same should be true for Universal Studios Japan which increased by 2% in 2010, up to 8.16 million visitors.

Disneyland Paris fell 2.6% but still brought more than 10 million people to the park, while its companion, the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, also dropped by 2.6% but remained far lower on the list with just 4.5 million guests in 2010.

Andy at DLP.info points out that the percentages released by TEA for the two Disneyland Resort Paris parks are not correct. Disneyland Park in Paris dropped far more than 2.6% as indicated on the report, actually falling 17.6% in 2010 to 10.5 million visitors. Walt Disney Studios Park, however, saw a massive increase in guests jumping to 4.5 million visitors, a 69.5% increase over 2009.

But out of all of Disney’s overseas parks, Hong Kong Disneyland did the best with an increase of 13.0% to 5.2 million visitors, a number that’s sure to rise when the park’s expansion completes in the coming years.

Other notable mentions around the world include Everland and Lotte World in South Korea at 6.88 and 5.55 million visitors, respectively, as well as Ocean Park (5.10 million) Nagashima Spa Land in Japan (4.47 million), Europa Park in Germany (4.25 million), Yokohama Hakkejima Sea Paradise in Japan (4.02 million), and Deefteling in Netherlands (4.00 million).

Disney also tops the water park list with Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach both seeing more than 2 million visitors in 2010, though both were down 1% from 2009. SeaWorld’s Aquatica, however, dropped 6.3% down to 1.50 million visitors.

When the 2011 attendance report is released next year, Disney will likely see boosts from the introduction of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure and the updated Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But Harry Potter will continue to cast a spell over Universal Orlando, drawing solid crowds throughout the year.

The full 2010 TEA Global Attractions Attendance Report can be viewed online.


  1. Wild Ol' Dan

    Howdy Pards,

    Well now ya know…it don’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the reason attendance at Disney theme Parks like the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is down is because PRICES ARE UP! Disney may have some coorporate executive with a chart saying we can raise prices again…but, let me tell ya most Moms and Dads have budget charts that reflect entirely different facts and figures. The facts on those charts clearly show that Disney is pricing itself out of it’s own market!

    Disney is sending folks to other parks…to more affordable parks.
    Compare Universal’s Annual Pass with Disney’s…and, of course Hogwarts looks far more attractive than construction walls at Disney.

    Walt would have seen this problem years ago…and FIXED IT. The most important thing to Walt was PEOPLE…not profit lines. And because of that image…profit lines grew by leaps and bounds.

    It is a fact that Disney has image problems. Instead of a family friendly company…the image it used to have…Disney’s corporate offices
    today are looked on much the same as Mr. Potter’s Bank from
    “It’s A Wonderful Life”…cold, calculating, and profit centered…

    15 people could have walked through the gates at Disneyland on opening day for the same price that it costs to PARK YOUR CAR for one day at Disney World today!

    In fact, it will cost your car $105 for seven days “vacation” in the
    “sunny” Disney Parking lots before you and your family even get to the
    gates of the parks, unless you are staying at a Disney hotel…which are also way, way overpriced…

    I love Disney’s legacy…the things Walt brought into our world…but,
    like Walt Disney himself, I have no love for banks…and no love for corporate greed.

    I believe that if Disney were to LOWER it’s prices both attendance AND profits would go up…way up. Because all of us still WANT to believe in the things Walt Disney and his company used to stand for…
    yes we want to be in those Disney Parks…all of us…rich and poor.

    Disney is still deep in our hearts…even if the new corporate executives are pricing things off our financial wall charts…

    Meanwhile that Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice over there in Hogsmeade tastes mighty fine…

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol’ Dan

    1. Quentin

      You can’t say Disney raising prices is the only thing contributing because the prices at Disneyland went up but the attendance also went up. So i don’t think the prices are the reason attendance fell at WDW i think it’s because competition in the Orlando area got stiffer. While in SoCal it did not.

  2. Wild Ol' Dan

    The Sustained Power of the Boy Wizard…

    Howdy Pards,

    Did you notice those figures in Ricky’s Report? Islands of Adventure attendance up by 30.2 percent! That is almost a ONE THIRD increase! And
    I don’t believe the popularity of all things Harry Potter is gonna fade anytime in the near future. Not with the huge and final movie coming out next month. And now…something mysterious…”the owls are gathering” for a special announcement from J.K. Rowling herself about an all new thing that is being called “POTTERMORE”.

    I believe the real magic of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found in the delightful details…

    I just recently returned from 15 days of visiting Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. I can report that the minute the gates to Islands of Adventure open most guests make a B line to the Wizarding World!

    I had lunch in the Three Broomsticks every one of those days, and I can report that, if you look up while enjoying lunch, you might well see the shadow of a House Elf hard at work upstairs, or the shadow of an owl delivering a letter, or the shadow of an enchanted broom and dust cloth busily cleaning all by themselves. And if anyone can tell me how that wand is floating in mid air over that pillow in the window of Ollivander’s…I’d sure like to know.

    I’ve stood in Dumbledore’s office and listened in amazement as he welcomed Muggles to Hogwarts…I’ve watched Ron make it snow in the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom…and I’ve enjoyed both Pumpkin Juice and Butterbeer while relaxing at the tables behind the Hogs Head Pub.

    And I’ve enjoyed the unbelievable adventure of flying with Harry over
    Hogwarts dodgin’ dragons and spiders and dementors…

    All this and so much more will keep muggles coming back time and time again…especially when they figure out that buying an Annual Pass
    is the way to go…no parking fees and…I saved well over $60 by using my AAA card at the Three Broomsticks and throughout Hogwmeade during my 15 day visit…

    The point of all this is that the magic of Harry Potter is growing
    stronger…not weaker. I don’t believe that even the folks at Universal could have anticipated the real power of the Boy Wizard.

    What a truly wonderful thing it is to escape into Harry’s world…
    chocolate frogs and all…

    Harry’s magic is like a magnet drawing in muggles from far and wide…
    I know…I’m one of them…and I’ve stood in line with a whole bunch of others…

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol’ Dan

    1. walkingdisneyfreak

      Dude, calm down…

      1. Wild Ol' Dan

        Howdy Pards,

        Calm down? O.K…good advice. Thanks.

        Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

        Wild Ol’ Dan

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  4. anistajha

    what years????


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