Amusement Park Attendance numbers question.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 11:50 AM
In the news section yesterday it was posted about the theme park industry rebounding. There was a link to the top 25 parks.

I got todays Patriot News, and there was an article in there about Hersheypark(I couldn't find the link on their site. Should be able to find it later when they archive it.) Hershey was stating that their attendance numbers that Amusement Business reported were wrong, and that their attendance was at 2.7 million. Up 6% from 2003.

I know it also stated on there that Six Flags thought their numbers were off(which doesn't surprise me.) I could tell that Hershey's attendance had a major increase just because I visited(my home park) so often, and I know the park was a lot busier then 2003.

My question is where does Amusement Business get their attendance numbers from?

*** Edited 12/14/2004 8:26:22 PM UTC by Coasterfantom2***

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:17 PM
I haven't seen the 2004 list, but in the the introductory paragraph for the 2003 list, AB says:

"An * after an attendance figure indicates that it is an estimate, based on information from reliable AB sources."

Nearly everything in the 2003 top 25 list had an asterix. With the exception, interestingly, of Hersheypark. In 2003 AB listed HP as #24 with attendance of 2,551,000.

So, if HP is reporting a 2004 attendance of 3.5 million, that's much more than a 4%'s more like a 37% increase! (Unless, of course, there was mistake in AB's reporting of 2003 figures as well...)


Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:27 PM
I *thought* I saw something where AB reported corrections to last year's figures, sothat MIGHT account for HP's *Giant* fluctuation...;)

I'd be interested to know whether my season pass counts as 1 person, or if I get counted EACH time I visit a park, or if there's some *formula* for guesstimating visits from SP-holders....anyone?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:32 PM
I'm pretty sure you'd count everytime you walk through the gate.

I'm guessing it's not counting the number of *different* people who attend, but rather adding up the daily attendance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 12:53 PM
AB really provides almost no information about how they obtain their data. Here's the complete introductory paragraph from the 2003 list:

Year-End 2003This chart shows how the top parks fared during 2003 and the percentage of change in attendance from 2002. Policies at most parks forbid release of attendance figures. An asterisk (*) after an attendance figure indicates it is an estimate, based on information from reliable A B s o u rces. In the event of a tie, a non-estimated figure gets the higher placement over an estimated figure. Attendance at free admission parks is calculated on formulas developed by park ownership and is based on spending, ridership, etc. (NL) designates parks that were not listed because they did not report or did not qualify on the basis of reported figures in ’01 or ’02. All attractions are paid admission unless otherwise noted. + indicates a tie.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 1:42 PM
The one article stated that they went down in attendance, correct? If the Amusement Business article was correct, then it's a shame that Hershey is trying to lie about it... at least Six Flags blames it on something else, they don't lie about it.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 1:45 PM
Yeah. But Six Flags has blamed weather each quarter for the three years I've been tracking the stock. They don't lie about it do they?
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 1:53 PM
Well, I was being a little satirical, because I know they blame the weather... but at least they dont overstate their attendance by a million, and it has to rain at least once in a while at Six Flags parks... though I dont see how MM would get away with that... maybe they can blame wildfires and smog :) *** Edited 12/14/2004 6:53:23 PM UTC by RamblinWreck***
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 2:07 PM
This is an excerpt from the Newpaper article in the Patriot News today:

Hersheypark attracted 2.5 million visitors, down 2 percent from 2003, said Mike Barnes, executive editor Amusement Business.

Garrett Gallia, a Hersheypark spokesman, disputed the figures. The park attracted 2.7 million visitors this year, up 6 percent from 2.55 million in 2003, he said yesterday.

I thought it said 3.5 million. My bad. ;) That would move them to 21st, and tied with Magic Mountain.

*** Edited 12/15/2004 2:01:54 AM UTC by Coasterfantom2***

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 2:14 PM
Who cares if they went down 2%, it was a year after a major addition. Why do you say that Six Flags would lie about it but Hershey wouldn't? I know that SF make a ton of stupid calls, and that they have lame excuses, but that doesn't automatically categorize them as liars, nor does it give reason to consider the Hershey results to be faulty. At least Six Flags accepts and admits the fact that their attendance went down... sure, you may not like it, but at least the are "man enough" to admit the decline, while other parks try to contradict the report... *** Edited 12/14/2004 7:14:43 PM UTC by RamblinWreck***
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 2:57 PM
RamblinWreck I am just curious to know where Amusement Business gets their information, and how reliable it is. I don't care whether Hershey has 2.7 or 2.5 million. I just thought it was interesting that Six Flags disputed the figures, and now Hersheypark.

At the current time, Hersheypark is a much more financially stable park then the Six Flags chain, so if they are disputing the numbers there has to some validity I'd think.

Here is a link to the top 25 North American parks in terms of attendance.

*** Edited 12/14/2004 7:58:48 PM UTC by Coasterfantom2***

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 3:19 PM
Im sorry, I just dont see where Six Flags disputed the figures.

From that website:
"Debbie Nauser, vice president of public relations for Six Flags, said the Oklahoma City-based company doesn't comment on attendance figures at individual parks. In its third-quarter report, the company acknowledged that attendance at its parks for the first nine months of the year declined by 4.5 percent, or by 1.4 million visitors. The company, which dominates the regional market, owns and operates 31 parks in North America and Europe.

"We still don't know how (the researchers) get their numbers, but they certainly don't get them from us," Nauser said."

I dont think that they have ever "commented" on parks individually, and it even says that they acknowledged a decline.

What I was talking about was that AB said Hershey's attendance was at 2.5 million, while the second post in this thread said that Hershey is reporting 3.5 million, which is a huge difference, which is where I would consider such a discrepancy to be suspiscious, on either end (Amusement Business or Hershey miscalculating the attendance)

I now see the edit by CoasterFantom. Forget most of this, it seemed like a HUGE void.

*** Edited 12/14/2004 8:36:20 PM UTC by RamblinWreck***

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 3:28 PM
I certainly don't trust these numbers. They claim that Great Adventure is flat at 2.8 million. When has Great Adventure's attendance EVER been below 3 million. Last year was the lowest I have ever seen posted and it was 3.1 million
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 3:34 PM
Attendance figures can be subjective.

How AB get's them is a mystery, but internal numbers are the same. Are employees visiting the park attendees? What about free (non-season pass) entry? Is it bodies (like LGonch suggests) or is it some other method.

This probably plays a role in why some parks choose not to release numbers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 4:05 PM
You know the funniest thing? It doesn't matter.

That is right, these figures are as important as the braille numbers on a drive up ATM.

The only thing this accomplishes is getting the industry in the media spotlight during a traditionally slow time of year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 4:56 PM

My question is where does Amusement Business get their attendance numbers from?

Carl Eichelman

For gated-parks, visitors with "comp" tickets (ex. from bring a friend free) are counted in attendance numbers. Every visit a season passholder makes increases attendance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 7:26 PM
Does anyone know where I can find AB's complete top 50 list for 2004? So far all I can find is the top 25 pointed out above.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 7:36 PM
I'm not sure about top 50, but The Morning Call ran an article today stating that Dorney is 37th at 1.42million (1.4% increase over 1.4 million in 2003),0,1602839.story?coll=all-businesslocal-hed

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 7:54 PM
Each year, AB offers the stats for a small fee

2004's numbers aren't available for purchase yet.

I imagine if you read enough different sources, you'd be able to piece together whole list. (you have 1 through 25 linked above, you can put Dorney in at 37 thanks to the Morning Call, etc) - but that just sounds like a pain.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 8:24 PM
I think its funny as hell that our little ol Adventuredome with a single coaster has pulled in 4.4 million to be #11 and SFMM has 2.7 million.

Given, that SFMM isn't open daily year around and the Adventuredome doesnt charge general still is kinda funny to me. Guess those season pass promotions didnt do the trick this time around...


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