Theme Index: Disney reigns supreme as attendance at major theme parks top 500 million for first time
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Theme Index: Disney reigns supreme as attendance at major theme parks top 500 million for first time

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Overall, it’s been an outstanding year, as the themed entertainment industry has matured and been recognised not only as a significant driver of international development, economic impact, and tourism but as a common shared global experience

2018 was a landmark year for the themed entertainment industry, with the latest edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme and Museum Index showing the world's major theme park operators exceeding combined visitor totals of more than 500 million people for the first time ever.

Marking a 5.4 per cent rise in global attendance across the world's top 10 theme park operators, 501.2 million people visited major theme parks across the globe, with the rise representing a visitor increase of 25.4 million visitors.

According to the report, the achievement has been accomplished by focused capital investment, technology-enhanced products, intellectual property based stories, and destination tourism development.

Of the top 10 operators, OCT Parks China had the largest visitor percentage increase compared to 2017, with a 15.1 per cent rise to 49.35 million visitors – an increase of 6.47 million people.

Disney remains king of the jungle, with its 157 million visitors for the year dwarfing second-placed Merlin Entertainments, which welcomed 67 million visitors through 2018. Visitation at Disney increase by 4.9 per cent, while Merlin attendance rose by 1.5 per cent.

Disney's Magic Kingdom remains the world's most-attended theme park, with 20.86 million visitors marking a 2 per cent increase in attendance. Disney also occupies second through to fourth place on the list, with 11 of the top 25 theme parks in the world being Disney properties.

"Honorable mentions are in order this year for a number of players including: SeaWorld

Parks & Entertainment which turned around a 5 per cent drop last year to an almost 9 per centincrease this year," said John Robinett, senior vice president of economics at AECOM.

"Several individual parks also experienced double-digit increases including Chimelong Paradise in Guangzhou, Parque Warner in Madrid, Parque Xcaret in Mexico, and Changzhou Dinosaur Park in China.

"Overall, it’s been an outstanding year, as the themed entertainment industry has matured and been recognised not only as a significant driver of international development, economic impact, and tourism but as a common shared global experience. We’re looking forward to what next year brings with several special new attractions coming online such as Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening in both California and Florida."

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2018 was a landmark year for the themed entertainment industry, with the latest edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme and Museum Index showing the world's major theme park operators exceeding combined visitor totals of more than 500 million people for the first time ever.
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