ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s probably not surprising that Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park remains the most-visited theme park in the world.
What You Need To Know
- TEA/AECOM release annual report showing estimated attendance at the theme parks
- Magic Kingdom remains the most-visited park in the world with an estimated 17.13 million visitors in 2022
- Islands of Adventure ranked third in the U.S. with 11 million visitors, while Universal Studios Florida ranked fifth with 10.75 million
- Attendance, while not at pre-pandemic levels, show parks are recovering
The park drew an estimated 17.13 million visitors in 2022, according to the annual index report released by Themed Entertainment Association/AECOM. That was a 35% increase over the previous year’s attendance.
However, despite significant gains, attendance was still below pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when the park had an estimated 21 million visitors. Although, looking ahead, Magic Kingdom might get a bump in next year’s report thanks to the addition of TRON Lightcycle Run, which opened in April.
The second most-visited park in the world was also a Disney park, the original park, Disneyland in California, which had an estimated 16.88 million visitors last year.
Rounding out the top five were Universal Studios Japan in third with 12.3 million visitors, Tokyo Disneyland in fourth and Universal Islands of Adventure in fifth with 11 million visitors.
Islands of Adventure ranking fifth worldwide is notable, but also not surprising. It highlights the gains Universal parks have made in recent years especially when you consider how they are faring against other U.S. parks.
Islands of Adventure—home to popular attractions like Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Jurassic World VelociCoaster—was the third most-visited park in the U.S, beating out Disney World’s other three parks. Universal Studios Florida wasn’t far behind, coming in fourth among U.S. parks with an estimated 10.75 million visitors.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the second most-visited Disney World park, drew an estimated 10.9 million visitors last year. EPCOT had an estimated 10 million visitors, while Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which had the second-highest park attendance at Disney World in 2019, was the resort’s least visited park last year with an estimated 9.03 million visitors.
Rounding out the top 10 parks in the U.S. were Disney California Adventure with 9 million, Universal Studios Hollywood with 8.4 million and SeaWorld Orlando with 4.4 million.
The report highlights how the parks and the attractions industry as a whole continues to recovery from the pandemic. For some of the parks, attendance gains were due to relaxed pandemic restrictions and pent-up demand.
But, as noted by the report authors, many parks used 2022 to focus on improving the guest experience.
"In 2022, operators became laser-focused on improving the guest experience, learning that they were able to achieve or surpass pre-pandemic revenues even with reduced attendance levels, and realizing that in an increasingly competitive entertainment landscape, high-quality and memorable guest experiences are going to drive demand,” wrote Francisco Refuerzo, senior analyst with AECOM Economics, in the report.
While most theme park operators do not release visitation numbers to the public, the TEA/AECOM index is considered a leading report on industry trends. It uses statistics from operators, financial reports and local tourism organizations to compile its report.
To view the full report, visit teaconnect.org.