Amusement park attendance up 4.2 percent

Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 10:40 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Powered by strong investment in new rides, the 50th anniversary of Disneyland and a hurricane season that bypassed the theme park capital of Orlando, attendance at North America's 50 most popular amusement parks rose 4.2 percent in 2005. An estimated 176 million visitors went to North America's most popular parks, according to an annual survey to be released Monday by the trade publication Amusement Business and the research firm Economics Research Associates.

Read in AP stories from FloridaToday.com, Dayton Daily News and Forbes.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 10:42 PM
Jeff's avatar Wow, Disney has really been beating the crap out of Universal in Orlando. I noticed on ABC this morning the cheesy "parade" they had was basically a big Disney resort commercial.
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Sunday, December 25, 2005 11:03 PM
Excellent numbers for Disney and the anniversary celebrations chainwide definitely helped with that. I'm looking forward to new attractions coming for AK and DCA so we can round out those parks to full day experiences. Now if only Universal would add *something* spectacular to IOA so we can get off the edge of our seats. Some of us have been there for going on seven years. =p

I'm really disappointed in PKI's numbers in the way they marketed Italian Job and should have had enough hold and pass sales from Boomerang Bay to keep it steady. I wonder if Winterfest was included. I'm sure seeing Delirium and SOB down for a lot of the season was hurting their pass sales at the end of the year as well and one day I went and the only thing open in Action Zone was Top Gun and I think that was during Fearfest.

Outrageous day, but oddly enough, a friend that went with me that day and had never been there before liked it more than CP. Honestly, I've been to both parks a lot and it was definitely sagging in the operations department that day and I wouldn't have been so happy with it. Being a SP holder, I enjoyed what I had and didn't mind though and maybe that's the mindset a lot of people that just go into a park to take it all in have as well. Nice that PP is up overall as well as CF and SF. Hoping for some more variety in CP attractions in the future though to get some overall interest back in. Sally dark ride or water coaster please? ;)

+Danny

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Sunday, December 25, 2005 11:26 PM
In 2006, the ownership of two prominent park chains could change hands. Viacom has said its Paramount Parks unit is for sale, and Six Flags put itself on the auction block following a contentious proxy battle led by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder that led to the ouster of two top executives.

"I think we're going to move into a period of some interesting mergers and acquisitions in 2006," Zoltak said.

I would have to agree... :)

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Monday, December 26, 2005 12:07 AM
DWeaver-

Six Flags took itself off the auction block after the naming of Shapiro to CEO. Paramount is the only one you really need to look at for an ownership change next year.

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Monday, December 26, 2005 12:14 AM
I'm surprised... for the first time since the opening of DCA, it beat (by a slight margin still) IOA in attendance. In that case... that should send an alarm signal to Universal. Look at what you're doing wrong and why all those new tourists coming to Orlando for WDW aren't spending at least a day at your parks.
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Monday, December 26, 2005 12:20 AM
Word is out on Disney resort packages for all budgets. I myself like the Universal properties better, but Disney can take in boatloads more money.

And...Disney is someone who is finally happy to be celebrating the big 5-0. And... those Pixar movies are doing well. The moons are lined up for them.

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Monday, December 26, 2005 12:28 AM
Well, Agent Johnson, reports are in that the whole 50th thing at WDW is a flop... that merchandise is not selling too well and I think its like you said, the packages as well as the 2 new attractions that got people there. Strange through that the "higher gas price" that Universal blames didn't affect them! That sounds like the classic SF "weather is bad" excuse.
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Monday, December 26, 2005 12:34 AM
Jeff's avatar If kicking the ass of your competition and posting gains in attendance is a flop, what does it take for success?
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Monday, December 26, 2005 12:52 AM
Jeff, if the 50th anniversary merchandise is not selling well at all at WDW, does that make that publicity campaign a success? They're pushing it real hard on TV, but once there, people don't care about it or else they would be like DL and buying that stuff by the truckload!

Agent Johnson resumed part of the equation for the success of WDW, packages for all wallets and also new attractions to market. Universal just could not manage to grab enough of those tourists making their way to Orlando and have them visit the parks.

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Monday, December 26, 2005 1:35 AM
"Six Flags took itself off the auction block after the naming of Shapiro to CEO. Paramount is the only one you really need to look at for an ownership change next year".

And do you honestly think that means all the parks are safe from being sold?

Because I don't.

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Monday, December 26, 2005 3:19 AM
Jeff's avatar Absimilliard: Attendance is up, competition is suffering, the analysts in the story are happy. So which part of that is failure? I don't understand how you're gauging success by how many T-shirts they sell.
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Monday, December 26, 2005 5:10 AM
It sort of seems to be a long shot to be interested in buying anniversary merchandise for another park anyways even if it is Disney. As a DisFreak myself, if I only went to WDW this year, getting something from the DL anniversary would be highly unlikely compared to something from WDW. I don't get what role this plays on the Disney park success either.

+Danny

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Monday, December 26, 2005 5:27 AM
I'll be the first to admitt. My fifteen to thirty non visits to PKI were a small drop in the bucket.

But that will remain till the flyers return

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Monday, December 26, 2005 9:19 AM
I bet Busch Gardens could be factored in to the formula of why Universal attendance was down this year.
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Monday, December 26, 2005 1:12 PM
According to Jeff Siebert, PKI's woes were weather related. Too many days above 90 degrees. He said attendence peaked on days when the high was between 75 and 85 and even the water park suffered when it got much hotter. It could explain some of CP's dip as well.
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Monday, December 26, 2005 1:27 PM

And do you honestly think that means all the parks are safe from being sold?

Because I don't.


Actually, yes I do. They spent all this time putting themselves in a position to see what they can do, just to sell it before they have a chance to implement their ideas? Doesn't sound like a viable option to me. Not only that, nobody made a legitimate offer. Maybe in a few years if their plan falls through could you see a sale, but not this year.

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Monday, December 26, 2005 2:15 PM
As I last heard, the Pixar/Disney relationship ends with "Cars," which comes out in 2006. Anyway, I watched Modern Marvels last night on the History Channel about Disney, and it's quite amazing how they approach technological challenges. I like how the imagineers sometimes come up with simple solutions to complex tasks or structures such as the oil rig which supports the Tree of Life at AK.
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Monday, December 26, 2005 4:56 PM
Does anyone know how the Busch parks did?
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Monday, December 26, 2005 5:22 PM
My family is taking a trip to Orlando in Feb and for the first time Universal is not on our list. There are a couple of reasons

1. The ability not to park hop. When I looked online at ticket options I didnt see it, I might have missed it though. I cant see just doing one day at IOA or just one day at USF.

2. There simply isnt enough to do at either park for my family since we have seen it all already.

3. Ties in with 2. There is nothing new that would entice me to spend a day at either park. Sure I would like to ride The Mummy and Shrek 4D, but neither are going to draw me back to the park. IOA hasnt had anything new since it opened (The X-Men teacups dont count)

On the other hand, BGT is on our list. While we have been there before, Sheikra is a big draw, plus I still havent ridden Gwazi. It also helps that my son likes animals. Universal better gets its act together, because it may have won a battle when IOA, but its still losing the war.

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