Attendance at Disney's Animal Kingdom jumped 15 percent in 2017


  • Photo via Disney
Following the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar, millions flocked to Disney's Animal Kingdom, which saw an increase in attendance of over 15 percent.

According to a report by AECOM, Disney's Animal Kingdom saw a drastic increase in 2017, bouncing from 10.8 million visitors in 2016 to 12.5 million. Disney property Epcot saw a 4.2 percent increase last year, jumping from 11.7 million to 12.2 million visitors.

Walt Disney attractions remain No. 1 worldwide with a total of 150 million visitors, leading its competitors by nearly 88 million in attendance, says the report.

But it wasn't all smiles this year, as Disney's Hollywood Studios took a dip in attendance in 2017, dropping from 10.77 million to 10.72 million people – a .5 percent decrease.

Over at Universal Studios, the park experienced a 2 percent increase, rising from 10 million to 10.2 million attendees. Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando had an increase of 2 percent, as well, going from 9.3 million to 9.5 million attendees.

The 2017 attraction Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon also opened in Universal Orlando in April 2017, which caused an increase in attendance.

Universal's Volcano Bay debuted in May 2017 and has brought in 1.5 million tourists to Universal Orlando. The park also placed No. 6 in the Top 20 water parks worldwide, behind Orlando competitors Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, which decreased 5 percent in attendance, and Blizzard Beach at Disney World, which also decreased 7 percent in attendance.

Attendance at SeaWorld Orlando dropped 20 percent, sliding down from 4.4 million to 3.9 million patrons.

"Representing a third of North American attendance, Orlando should continue to develop with $10 billion of investment in future attractions, RDE (retail, dining and entertainment zones), and hotels slated for the next five years," the report stated.

In Orlando, overnight tourism and international travel also went up, in part with the development of hotels by Universal such as Sapphire Falls, Cabana Bay and others.

The rise in attendance at local theme parks coordinates with last year's record increase of Orlando visitors. In 2017, Orlando hosted 72 million visitors.

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