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

in Disneyland Resort, 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.

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