Theme park attendance passed half a billion mark for first time in 2018: report

At Elephant Valley Thailand, in Chiang Rai, tourists are instructed to observe the animals from a safe distance.
Sri Lankan tourists ride on an elephant during a sightseeing tour in the ancient Sri Lankan city of Sigiriya, about 100 miles north of Colombo. Lakruwan Wanniarachichi/Getty
a large clock tower in front of a flower: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

For the first time, attendance at amusement parks exceeded half a billion visits in 2018, a figure that represents nearly seven percent of the world population. 

That’s according to the latest edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, which paints a portrait in numbers of the theme park and museum industries every year. 

In 2018, attendance at the world’s biggest theme park operators — Disney, Merlin Entertainment, Universal etc. — reached 501.2 million visits, representing a five percent growth over 2017. 

With 20.86 million visitors in 2018, Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida was the most visited amusement park in the world, followed by Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland.  

Authors of the report attribute the worldwide growth to new investments, innovative experiences, rides and programming, destination tourism development and, most importantly, story-based or intellectual property attractions. Think “Toy Story Land” which opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios last June, and the ongoing popularity of “Pandora – The World of Avatar” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando. 

Looking forward, 2019 is also poised to be a good year for theme park attendance, with the openings of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” at Disneyland and Walt Disney World this year. 

Here are the top 10 amusement parks of 2018: 

1. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 2. Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California 3. Tokyo Disneyland at Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo 4. Tokyo DisneySea at Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo 5. Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan 6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 7. Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida8. Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai, China 9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 10. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Hengqin, China 
In the category of waterparks, Chimelong Water Park in Guangzhou, China was the most visited splash park in the world with 2.74 million visitors.

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