Universal Park to become Orlando’s Fourth Biggest by 2015
Orlando Theme Park Attendance Figures Figures 2013
The 2013 Theme Park Attendance Figures arrived this week from the Themed Entertainment Association and offered the welcome news that overall, Orlando’s theme parks have been continuing in popularity yet again.
One exception appears to be the SeaWorld/Busch group of parks, who did experience a notable dip in gate attendances at three of its its Orlando area locations.
Interestingly, although the figures changed up and down to varying degrees, the rankings themselves remain unchanged. Disney still hold the top four spots in 2013 and as nearest contender Islands of Adventure is 1.5m visitors away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Universal are however, the real winners in 2013.
In recent years, the annual growth of the gate figures is typically around the 4% mark, but in 2013, the recent investment in park attractions really began to pay off for Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. With Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Transformers The Ride, the Simpsons Springfield area all featuring during 2013, Islands of Adventure jumped up a very respectable 6% and Universal Studios rocketed by 14%.
The figures truly show that Universal really mean business, and the value of Diagon Alley and the Cabana Bay Beach Resort will certainly propel the 2014 and 2015 figures even further.
Disney on the other hand, also showed improvements across its 4 theme parks and two highly themed water parks, but the results won’t be as great as Disney had hoped for.
Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios came in with 2% annual growth in attendance, which in this industry is almost certainly the ‘minimum figure’. Epcot however offered a much lower result than we were expecting at 1.5% after a year with hardly any highlights in their development program for the huge park that held on to second spot.
Can the rumoured Frozen attraction alone regain those Epcot growth figures?
The Magic Kingdom, did however make up for a lot, with New Fantaslyand responsible for a healthy 6% growth in its annual gate figures. Again, despite the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train still under construction during 2013, there seems to be a clear signal that new attractions do in fact mean more guests, which is of course, no shock to any of us theme park fans.
Disney though have little in the pipeline for a while until Pandora: The Land of Avatar finally opens in 2017.
The biggest upset in the figures is over at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld.
These parks experienced a 6% and 5% decline in 2013, but we can expect to seem some improvement over at Busch Gardens Tampa in 2014 thanks to Falcon’s Fury.
SeaWorld appear to be managing their PR well, and hopefully, they can also recover soon.
2014 is going to be the year to watch as Diagon Alley emerges from the JAWS ride area over at Universal. The global Harry Potter following is so intense, that this one new development will actually add regional tourism growth in Orlando.
Parks won’t be just fighting for a stable share of visitors. More tourists than ever will head to Orlando from this summer onwards, and an important chunk of that increase will be all down to the boy wizard himself. The competition will be furious as park operators battle furiously to attract guests to their parks for ‘those unplanned days’.
In effect though, rather like the Hogsmeade opening in 2010, all of the parks could see a big gain in 2014 as a result of Harry Potter.
Our prediction for 2015 is that Islands of Adventure or indeed Universal Studios might just take fourth spot from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If we are out a little, then 2016 is almost guaranteed to be a headache year for Disney.
The success of Diagon Alley is without doubt going to propel Universal’s parks forward, but the one attraction that is going to cause a huge amount of upset is of course that cunningly created Hogwart’s Express.
To ride it, you need a two park pass.
If you ride it, you technically enter both parks in a day. Watch those Universal figures soar!
If ever there was an obvious story to tell, “new attractions make guests come to the parks!”