Florida's theme parks saw a sharp spike in attendance in 2018. TNS
Florida’s theme parks saw a big jump in attendance in 2018, a fact that will come as a surprise to no one who stood in line for a roller coaster, the train to Hogwarts or a character meet-and-greet.
In Florida, which gets more theme park visitors than any country in the world or any state in the U.S., 87.5 million people visited its eight biggest parks last year, the largest number on record.
The increase in visitors was led by SeaWorld, making a comeback after years of declining attendance, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, during its first full year since the World of Avatar opened. And with only a 2% increase, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom remains the most popular theme park in the world, despite higher ticket prices.
Across North America, the number of people going through the gates of the 20 largest theme parks increased by 4% to 157 million, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association and the Economics Practice at AECOM, released last week. Around the world, more than half a billion people visited theme parks, the biggest number in history.
In Florida, the report covers its eight biggest parks — four Disney parks, two Universal parks, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. Legoland’s attendance is not big enough to be included.
Magic Kingdom had 20.8 million visitors, leading its closest competitor — Disneyland in California — by more than 2 million people.
SeaWorld had 4.6 million visitors, a 16% increase over 2017, which was its worst year in recent history. Infinity Falls, a whitewater thrill ride, opened in October 2018 and is likely to have a bigger impact on 2019 numbers.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom jumped 10% in one year — 27% in the last two years — to 13.7 million guests, largely boosted by the opening of World of Avatar in May 2017. It’s now the second most popular park in Florida.
Florida’s other parks:
Epcot grew 2% to 12.4 million visitors.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where Toy Story Land opened in 2018, grew 5% to 11.2 million visitors.
Universal Studios, which opened the Supercharged: Fast and Furious ride in April 2018, had 10.7 million visitors, a 5% increase.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure had a 2.5% increase in visitors, to 9.8 million.
Busch Gardens jumped 4.5% to 4.1 million.
For the Disney and Universal parks, the numbers are their largest ever. Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, both owned by the same parent company, have had higher attendance figures.
What’s driving the increases? The growth of attractions tied to intellectual properties including Harry Potter at Universal and Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom played a big role, the report said. That influence will continue with Star Wars lands opening in Disney’s Florida and California parks this year.
Tribune News Service
The Gran Hotel Manzana, the first ever five-star establishment in Havana, opened in 2017 in a sumptuous historic building that was, at the beginning of the 20th century, the island's first shopping mall.
Cubans, in the region's only communist country with a still mostly state-led economy, face very high prices and not much selection at all.
Researchers and volunteers from eight countries will set off from the Bulgarian port of Varna, hoping their Abora IV reed boat will take them the 700 nautical miles through the Bosphorus, the Aegean and as far as the island of Crete.
According to researchers some people seem to be able to more consistently meet their goals than others, but it remained unclear if personality traits encourage individuals to achieve long-term goals in their day-to-day lives.
The world’s first children’s restaurant White and the Bear seeks to be a game changer in the UAE with its healthy food concept.
"Mudlarks" have scoured the foreshores of London's rivers for centuries, searching out lost or discarded items to sell, and the tradition lives on today in a small band of devotees.