Domestic Disney parks see impressive gains in 2015

The Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM have issued their attendance estimates for the 2015 calendar year.  All six Disney parks located in the United States fared well with attendance increases of up to 9% year-over-year, while the international destinations struggled to keep up.  

Radiator Springs Racers

The 2012 opening of Cars Land drove impressive growth for Disney California Adventure 

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom remains the most-attended park in the world.  TEA estimates place the Florida park's total attendance at 20,492,000 guests, up 6% over 2014.  

The other three Walt Disney World parks were slotted sixth, seventh and eighth overall.  At number six, Epcot attenance rose 3% to 11,798,000 guests.  Disney's Animal Kingom took the seventh spot with a 5% increase to 10,922,000 guests, while Disney's Hollywood Studios also rose 5% and finished eighth at 10,828,000.

Out west, Disneyland park in Anaheim finished second overall with an impressive 9% increase to 18,278,000 total visitors.  These attendance numbers were likely bolstered by the summer 2015 celebration of Disneyland's 60th anniversary.  Meanwhile Disney California Adventure finished with the 11th best attendance in the world, rising 7% to 9,383,000.

In the U.S. alone, Disney took six of the top seven spots on the attendance chart with Universal Studios Florida edging out Disney California Adventure for 6th place.  

Abroad, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea finished third and fifth respectively, while seeing their attendance numbers decline from 2014.  Tokyo Disneyland dropped 4% to 16,600,000 guests and Tokyo Disney Sea was down 3.5% to 13,600,000.

Hong Kong Disneyland saw a greater drop losing 9.3% of its 2014 attendance, down from 7.5 million to 6.8 million guests.  

Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris Resort bucked the trend, rising 4.2% and finishing 9th worldwide.  The Disney Studios theme park in Paris did not make the top 25 worldwide.  In 2014, Disney Studios Paris was estimated to have welcomed around 4.2 million guests, placing 25th worldwide.  For 2015, the 25th rated park managed to draw about 4.6 million guests.

Overall, Walt Disney Attractions finished as the #1 entertainment group worldwide drawing nearly 138 million guests, up 2.7% from 2014.  

The Walt Disney Company does not provide detailed attendance figures.  However, in its quarterly and annual reports to shareholders, Disney exectutives frequently cited rising attendance at its parks located in the United States.  

In June, Disney will open its Shanghai Disneyland in mainland China.  The project has recently come under fire due to its cost overruns and delays.  However, the TEA report expects impressive returns from the new destination:

"Disney Shanghai will be a watershed event. It is expected to do very well and have a positive e ect on the region. The Asian market really likes the Disney product."

The Asian markets are experiencing explosive growth in themed entertainment destinations with Universal Beijing also under construction.  TEA estimates that the Asian market will overtake The Americas by the year 2020 if not sooner.  

While these attendance numbers are not definitive, TEA and its parterns at AECOM gather information from a variety of sources including park operators, financial statements, historical numbers, tourism associations and more.  The complete report can be found at www.teaconnect.org.

Reader Comments
Re: Domestic Disney parks see impressive gains in 2015 -- wdrl
2016 May 26 12:47:43 AM
The full TEA report makes for an interesting read. Not only was attendance at Disney Parks up by an average of 6%, revenue was up 9.9%. Revenue per Disney guest was estimated at $126, an increase of 3.7% over 2014.

There has been much discussion about Shanghai Disney (scheduled to open next month) having delays and cost overruns which may affect Disney's bottom line. However, TEA is estimating that the Asian markets will overtake the Americas by as early as 2020. Disney is probably wise to get into the China market now so that it can tap the expected growth in that part of the world.
Re: Domestic Disney parks see impressive gains in 2015 -- wdrl
2016 May 26 09:51:16 AM
One comment about TEA's methodology is determine attendance numbers at various amusement parks: In previous years' reports, TEA said that if a guest visited two or more Parks in a day, it only counted the first Park that was visited. So if someone spent the morning at the Magic Kingdom and then spent the afternoon at Hollywood Studios, only MK would get credit for a visit; DHS would get no credit.

I scanned through this year's TEA report and I could not tell whether it was using the same methodology as in previous years. Personally, I think it short changes some of the WDW Parks because there are significant numbers of guest who Park Hop.
Re: Domestic Disney parks see impressive gains in 2015 -- TimK
2016 May 26 11:17:01 AM
wdrl wrote:
One comment about TEA's methodology is determine attendance numbers at various amusement parks: In previous years' reports, TEA said that if a guest visited two or more Parks in a day, it only counted the first Park that was visited. So if someone spent the morning at the Magic Kingdom and then spent the afternoon at Hollywood Studios, only MK would get credit for a visit; DHS would get no credit.

I scanned through this year's TEA report and I could not tell whether it was using the same methodology as in previous years. Personally, I think it short changes some of the WDW Parks because there are significant numbers of guest who Park Hop.

I assume that was done for the sake of consistency. Years ago when Disney actually published attendance numbers, they counted guests the same way--only first park counted.

If TEA made that change in their methodology this year, it would have had a much greater impact on the numbers. Epcot numbers would have gone up much more than 3% if they started counting people who hopped over in the afternoon or evening.

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