Out of all the Orlando theme parks, SeaWorld had a pretty crappy year


  • Photo via SeaWorldThemeParks.com

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has released their annual amusement park attendance numbers for 2014 and once again Florida dominated the top 20. The annual report is unofficial but most in the industry do view it as the most accurate count of the world’s leading amusement parks. With seven of the top 20 theme parks Florida leads the world in theme park attendance. 

Magic Kingdom saw a 4% growth with attendance of 19,332,000. Globally Disney was the leading theme park group with a global combined attendance of 134,330,000, an increase of 1.3%. Merlin Entertainments, the parent company of Legoland and the majority of the I-Drive 360 attractions, came is second with just under 63 Million visitors, an increase of 5%. Universal Parks and Resorts was third with just over 40 Million visitors globally, an increase of 10.4%.

In North America, the top 20 theme parks saw an average growth of 2.2%, the only Florida park on the list to see a decline was SeaWorld Orlando which saw a decline of 8%, clocking in 4,683,000 guests last year. SeaWorld San Diego saw the only other double digit decline on the North America list with a 12% decline year over year.

The most talked about park on this year’s list is definitely Universal Studios Orlando. With Diagon Alley opening in July of last year Universal Studios Orlando saw a whopping 17% increase in attendance last year. Universal Studios Orlando and its sister park in Hollywood were the only two theme parks in North America to see double digit growth last year. Universal Orlando welcomed 8,769,000 guests while Hollywood had 6,824,000 guests. Islands of Adventure’s attendance was flat at 8,141,000.

Walt Disney World’s four theme parks were all in the top 5 most visited in North America (Disneyland was the only non-Florida park in the Top 5). Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom kept their usual 2% growth. The reported growth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios have been questioned by many in the industry, which likely saw smaller growth than what was actually reported if crowd calendars are to be believed.

The big news is Universal Orlando Resort’s aggressive expansion plans look to be paying off as they quickly come up behind Walt Disney World, who for now still dominates the North America list.  With no major new additions this year next year’s numbers will likely be steady but going forward Universal has announced numerous additions to the resort including a new hotel, a new water park and new additions to both theme parks.

SeaWorld and Busch Gardens should also have steady numbers this year with next year’s numbers going up due to new coasters in both parks. Meanwhile at Epcot the new Frozen replacement for Maelstrom will help its 2016 attendance. Hollywood Studios may see the first of its new rides opening in 2016 as well. Animal Kingdom may see a bump due to its new nighttime show debuting next year while Magic Kingdom’s growth looks steady despite no new attractions announced for that park.

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