2021 Theme Park Attendance Report Shows Disney World Park Ranking Shakeup & Road to Recovery

    The 2021 Global Attractions Attendance Report has been published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM. The TEA attendance report is the industry standard in estimating attendance at the top theme parks and museums worldwide. While Disney does not release attendance figures publically, the TEA index is widely accepted within the industry as having accurate estimates. TEA/AECOM released their 2021 Global Attractions Attendance Report and the data shows a strong bounce-back by Disney World and other theme park operators in 2021 as the industry attempted to get back to normal, or at least establish a new normal. The high-level report did not address how the Disney Park Pass reservation system may have impacted figures, but most days in 2021 had reservation availability at one or more Disney World theme parks. Let’s jump into the data!

    Magic Kingdom – 12.7 Million (+83%)

    Magic Kingdom reigned supreme in 2021, welcoming an estimated 12,691,000 guests, an increase of 83% over 2020 numbers, but still short of the nearly 21 million estimated guests who visited in 2019.

    Magic Kingdom is in the middle of an expansion in Tomorrowland that will actually add an attraction to the theme park’s lineup. At the D23 Expo, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro presented a Blue Sky vision to expand the theme park “beyond Big Thunder Mountain” into mostly unused space. In the concept presented, D’Amaro and other executives imagined lands and attractions based on Coco, Encanto, and Disney Villains.

    Another upcoming project is the reimagining of Splash Mountain into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Magic Kingdom has a built-in advantage of being the most popular theme park at the most popular theme park resort in the world, but it is in desperate need of expansion and we hope to see some of the Blue Sky concepts come to fruition at the world’s busiest theme park.

    Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 8.5 Million (+134%)

    Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes the number two spot from Disney’s Animal Kingdom with an estimated 8,589,000 visitors in 2021. Hollywood Studios has been poised to take over the number two spot at Disney World despite being a smaller theme park. Investments into the park have reached billions of dollars with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

    Disney’s Hollywood Studios was ready to hit its stride in March 2020 with the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway just weeks before the theme parks shut down. Since then, Rise of the Resistance has opened up its standby line and with Fantasmic! set to return in November 2022, we only expect crowds to grow with the promise of some actual nighttime entertainment at a park that is only second place to Animal Kingdom – which has basically no nighttime entertainment or appeal.

    EPCOT – 7.8 Million (+92%)

    EPCOT has a strong third-place finish despite the fact that it largely remains a construction zone. Remember, these are 2021 attendance figures, so while offerings like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Harmonious were a draw in the fourth quarter, there was still quite a bit of work taking place in 2021.

    Looking forward to 2022, we expect that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will only strengthen EPCOT’s position as construction drags on in World Celebration, targeting a late 2023 finish.

    Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 7.2 million (+73%)

    Sliding from second place in 2019 to last place in 2021 is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora – The World of Avatar remains a strong draw for the park, but with no more nighttime entertainment, a DinoLand that is struggling to make it to a retheme, and a daytime kite show that didn’t even make it a full year, Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a lot going for it right now.

    In 2021, an estimated 7,194,000 guests visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

    Going back to D23 Expo and the man in charge of the theme parks, D’Amaro revealed a more mature piece of concept art for a Moana retheme of DinoLand USA and a possible Zootopia takeover of the DINOSAUR attraction. With no timeline given for the project, we remain hopeful that Disney is able to breathe some life into a theme park that seems to be trying to find its way in the world as it approaches its 25th Anniversary.

    Here’s a look at the top 20 theme parks with attendance numbers from 2021, 2020, and 2019.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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