World’s most popular theme parks

It's no surprise that Disney dominates among theme parks, and upcoming Star Wars land openings are likely to give the entertainment behemoth a big attendance boost. Credit: Gene Duncan/Disney Parks via Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Disney dominates among theme parks, and upcoming Star Wars land openings are likely to give the entertainment behemoth a big attendance boost.

That’s according to the authors of the 2018 Theme Index and Museum Index, an attraction attendance report from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM.

The most popular theme park in the world — Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida — welcomed 20.9 million visitors in 2018, a 2% increase in attendance from 2017, according to the report.

Of the world’s 25 most-visited theme parks, a dozen are Disney properties.

And among the top 10 theme park groups worldwide, No. 1-ranked Walt Disney Attractions welcomed 157.3 million visitors in 2018.

By comparison, No. 2-ranked Merlin Entertainments Group welcomed fewer than half that number, with 67 million visitors in 2018, and No. 3-ranked Universal Parks and Resorts saw 50.1 million visitors.

“Looking ahead, we can expect that next year’s numbers will likely show massive attendance impact for Disney in North America, from the 2019 openings of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in May and at Walt Disney World in August,” wrote report contributors Brian Sands and Kathleen LaClair of AECOM.

Globally, all major markets saw a roughly 4% increase in theme park attendance in 2018.

About 252 million people visited the world’s top 25 theme parks, up 3.3% from 2017.

For the first time ever, attendance at themed attractions operated by the major companies exceeded half a billion visits in 2018.

“This is equivalent to almost 7% of the world population,” wrote John Robinett, senior vice president of economics at AECOM, in the report. “And not only that, but this number keeps growing. Just five years ago, the market capture of the industry was only 5% of the global population.”

So for the millions who are planning or weighing a visit to a theme park this year, here are the world’s most popular parks:

World’s most visited theme parks in 2018

1. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida – 20.9 million visitors

2. Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California – 18.7 million visitors

3. Tokyo Disneyland at Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan – 17.9 million visitors

4. Tokyo DisneySea at Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan – 14.7 million visitors

5. Universal Studios Japan, Osaka – 14.3 million visitors

6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida – 13.8 million visitors

7. Epcot at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida – 12.4 million visitors

8. Shanghai Disneyland, China – 11.8 million visitors

9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Florida – 11.3 million visitors

10. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Hengqin, China – 10.8 million visitors

11. Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort – 10.7 million visitors

12. Disney California Adventure at Disneyland, Anaheim, California – 9.9 million visitors

13. Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, France – 9.8 million visitors

14. Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida – 9.8 million visitors

15. Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City, California – 9.1 million visitors

16. Hong Kong Disneyland – 6.7 million visitors

17. Lotte World, Seoul, South Korea – 6 million visitors

18. Nagashima Spa Land, Kuwana, Japan – 5.9 million visitors

19. Everland, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea – 5.9 million visitors

20. Ocean Park, Hong Kong – 5.8 million visitors

21. Europa-Park, Rust, Germany – 5.7 million visitors

22. Efteling, Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands – 5.4 million visitors

23. Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, France – 5.3 million visitors

24. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark – 4.9 million visitors

25. Chimelong Paradise, Guangzhou, China – 4.7 million visitors

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