Every year the non-profit Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the firm AECOM collect attendance data at the world’s biggest theme parks, water parks, and museums. Just recently, the two groups published their intriguing findings from the 2017 tourism season.
Overall, Walt Disney Attractions had the highest attendance in 2017 with 150 million guests worldwide. That’s an increase of 6.8 percent from 2016’s numbers. Second and third place in this category went to Merlin Entertainments Group and Universal Parks & Resorts, respectively.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Orlando dominated this year’s list for the most visited theme parks. Study authors note this mainly had to do with the opening of the new Avatar-themed area in Disney’s Animal Kingdom as well as Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay.
First place in the global theme park category went to Disney’s iconic Magic Kingdom in Orlando, which brought in roughly 20.4 million tourists in 2017. While it’s only a 0.3 percent increase from 2016, the Magic Kingdom remains the best performing theme park in the world.
The second most popular theme park in 2017 was Anaheim’s Disneyland and the third was Tokyo Disneyland. Universal Studios was able to clinch the fourth spot with its Osaka theme park, but Disney also took home the number five position with its Tokyo DisneySea.
With a recent $10 billion investment, analysts don’t expect Orlando to lose its dominant position in the tourism industry anytime soon. In fact, study authors believe Orlando will only grow in the ensuing years with the future development of restaurants, shopping areas, and more themed attractions.