Theme Index 2013 Reveals Most-Visited Parks

For many of the big players in the amusement industry, 2013 was a fun ride.

Last year, 215 million visits to the top 25 theme and amusement parks worldwide represented a 4.3 percent over 2012; and 135 million visits to the top 20 North American parks made for a 2.7 percent increase over 2012, according to the annual Theme Index and Museum Index. The report, called the “definitive annual attendance study for the themed entertainment and museum industries” was released yesterday.


The annual report “identifies the top theme parks and waterparks and the top museums around the world – and reflects their performance for the calendar year.”

Published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM, the report reveals that 2013 park attendance numbers “show substantial growth internationally, with the top North American parks surpassing pre-recession days…”

disney castle christmas

The top 20 parks in North America by 2013 attendance are as follows:

  1. Magic Kingdom (18,588,000)
  2. Disneyland (16,202,000)
  3. Epcot (11,229,000)
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom (10,198,000)
  5. Disney’s Hollywood Studios (10,110,000)
  6. Disney California Adventure (8,514,000)
  7. Islands of Adventure (8,141,000)
  8. Universal Studios Florida (7,062,000)
  9. Universal Studios Hollywood (6,148,000)
  10. SeaWorld Orlando (5,090,000)
  11. SeaWorld San Diego (4,311,000)
  12. Busch Gardens Tampa (4,087,000)
  13. Knott’s Berry Farm (3,683,000)
  14. Canada’s Wonderland (3,582,000)
  15. Cedar Point (3,382,000)
  16. Kings Island (3,206,000)
  17. Hersheypark (3,180,000)
  18. Six Flags Magic Mountain (2,906,000)
  19. Six Flags Great Adventure (2,800,000)
  20. Busch Gardens Williamsburg (2,726,00)

The below map of the United States and Canada show the distribution of the top 20 North American parks.


Brian Sands, vice president of economics of the company behind the report revealed additional insight:

2013 represents the fourth straight year of growth in North American theme parks since the worst of the Great Recession. The estimated 135.1 million visits to the top 20 parks equates to 3.6 million more visits, 2.7 percent higher than in 2012. Compared to 2004 (115.4 million visits), the increase is 17 percent. By contrast, the U.S. population grew about half as quickly, at 9 percent, from 2004 to 2013. All major operators with significant operations in North America reported increased per-capita revenues, some markedly.

More interesting findings found in the report:

  • Magic Kingdom’s attendance grew by nearly 6.0 percent, maintaining its position as the most visited theme park in the world with a total of 18.6 million visits.
  • Transformers: The Ride 3-D’s opening at Universal Studios Florida pushed attendance up significantly to an estimated 7.1 million visits in 2013, an increase of 14.0 percent.
  • Attendance at Disney California Adventure increased in 2013 by 9.5 percent to reach an estimated 8.5 million visits, driven by the continued strong appeal of Cars Land.
  • Both Cedar Fair and Six Flags identified season passes as major drivers for growth in their attendance in 2013.

Below are the top 25 parks worldwide as of 2013:


Figures used to create the report come from a number of sources, including statistics from the parks, historical numbers, financial reports, the investment banking community and local tourism organizations and others.

Download the 2013 report here. Previous years’ reports are also available for download:

Were you surprised by the 2013 results? Discuss in the comments section below.