Disney tops 2008 U.S. theme park attendance; Busch is 11th

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay ranked 11th nationwide in North American theme park attendance in 2008 – the same as 2007 – and 19th worldwide last year in an annual report by a non-profit theme park industry firm and a research consultant.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay drew 4.4 million visitors, down 2 percent in the Themed Entertainment Association/Economics Research Associations’ 2008 Attraction Attendance Report.

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista ranked first worldwide with 17 million in attendance.

Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., ranked second in North America, followed by Disney’s EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Florida, all in the Orlando area.

“While faring well the first part of the year, many of the major parks (in North America) saw a poor fourth quarter due to the recession,” the report stated.

Aquatica, Busch Entertainment Corp’s water theme park that opened in April in Orlando, drew 950,000 people to rank eighth worldwide and fourth in the United States in water parks. Busch’s Adventure Island in Tampa ranked sixth in North America with 603,000 patrons, down 2 percent from 2007.

The report is created through a variety of sources, including statistics furnished by the operators, financial reports, the investment banking community and local tourism organizations, among others.

U.S. theme parks typically do not reveal attendance beyond what figures they might divulge in financial reports.


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