For more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and continues to impact various companies and individuals around the world.
In the theme park industry, COVID-19 caused massive shutdowns. For several months, many of Disney’s theme parks around the world were closed. We discussed how this affected the company on several levels during 2020, but we now have more details on how attendance levels at all Disney theme parks around the world were affected during 2020.
Recently, the Themed Entertainment Association (“TEA”) and AECOM’s economic practice published its thematic index for 2020. The index serves as a attendance report at attractions around the world, including Disney theme parks. Their numbers clearly show the difference in attendance at theme and water parks in 2020, compared to 2019.
For most of their report, TEA and AECOM maintained the 2019 ranking for the most attended parks. They pointed it out “Decreases in attendance in 2020 were largely due to the agency’s restrictions that limited the operational days and capabilities of the COVID-19 pandemic.. Therefore, we have kept the 2019 ranking in place for the 2020 report. “
Therefore, while ignoring the rankings for the purposes of this article, the TEA and AECOM report shows dramatic changes in attendance levels from 2019 to 2020. Magic Kingdom, for example, saw a 66.9% decrease in attendance in 2020 compared to 2019. The park went from almost 21 million visitors in 2019 to almost 7 million in 2020. Of course, the park was closed for several months in 2020, so it makes sense, but seeing it represented with real numbers makes the l impact is even clearer. .
Disneyland Resort’s Disneyland Park saw an even bigger decline than Magic Kingdom, with nearly 80% fewer visitors in 2020 compared to 2019. This also fits well with the situation given that Disneyland was closed for most of 2020.
Disney’s other theme parks also saw a significant decline in participation: Animal Kingdom experienced a 70% decrease, EPCOT decreased by approximately 67%, Hollywood Studios decreased by approximately 68%.
Disney California Adventure Park recorded a decrease of 80%, and Disney’s international parks were also affected. But Disney was not alone. There were also large decreases in attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and other theme parks.
Worldwide, the TEA / AECOM report notes that the the change in attendance at the 25 best amusement parks and amusement parks from 2019 to 2020 meant a decrease of just over 67%. But the numbers are even more shocking when you consider the attendance figures. The top 25 amusement parks and amusement parks had close to 253.7 million guests in terms of attendance for 2019. In 2020, that figure dropped to just 83.1 million. This means a loss of more than 150 million guests.
The TEA report also takes a look at attendance at water parks. Like theme parks, water parks saw a substantial decrease in attendance in 2020. Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park saw an 84% decrease in attendance in 2020 compared to 2019 levels.
The report also reviews the figures, as they relate specifically to North American theme parks …
… Asia-Pacific …
… Europe, Middle East and Africa, and more.
Again, none of these results are particularly surprising given the impact of COVID-19 and the expanded park closures we witnessed throughout 2020. But, it makes it even more shocking to see these changes quantified.
In mid-August, Christine McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Disney Company, said during the third quarter of fiscal year 2021 “Attendance levels were at or near daily capacity levels that increased throughout the quarter.”
McCarthy also indicated yes waiting for the parks to be fully equipped by the end of this calendar year, And this they will increase capacity as they see an increase in demand.
We have certainly seen fairly high levels of people on some days, while it has been low on other occasions. No doubt it will be interesting to see how the 2021 figures are finally compared to 2020 and 2019. But it will be some time before we get those figures.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more news on Disney parks capacity and attendance and let you know what we find. Stay tuned for all the latest information.
Click here to see Disney CEO’s latest comments on the Delta variant and its impact on the multitude of theme parks.