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The most visited theme parks in 2021

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The most visited theme parks in 2021
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Curious to see which theme parks were the most visited in 2021? We were shocked at which Disney Parks were visited the most in 2021.

Travel Returns

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Travel was booming in 2019 and at the start of 2020. I (Donna) visited Walt Disney World the third week of February 2020. The Parks were packed and my family was thrilled to be at the “Most Magical Place on Earth.” In just weeks, it seemed as though the world stopped due to the growing pandemic.

Disney Parks as well as countless businesses, schools, theme parks, and travel destinations were closed for months. In time, reopening plans were in place and travel resumed. Many have wondered how the pandemic has affected the entertainment industry.

Although the 2020 numbers were quite low, the 2021 numbers are very encouraging. We now have a full listing of which theme parks welcomed the most visitors in 2021.

Source of Attendance Reports

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The annual calendar-year study is presented by Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics practice at AECOM. “The TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index is an annual guidepost for the global leisure industry,” said TEA International Board President Chuck Fawcett of Medici XD.

Many have been curious about Disney’s attendance in particular with Park Reservations still in place for the unforeseeable future. Although The Walt Disney Company does not release attendance numbers, the TEA/AECOM Theme Index is a credible estimation of attendance.

#1 Theme Park Attended for 2021

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At the very top of the list of the most visited theme park for 2021 is the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom was in spot #1 in 2019 and has remained the most visited theme park.

It is estimated that in 2021 alone they welcomed an estimated 12,691,000 guests. Although this was not quite the amazing number of 2019 (at 21 million), it is still an 83% increase compared to 2020 visitation numbers.

At the very top of the list of the most visited theme park for 2021 is the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom was in spot #1 in 2019 and has remained the most visited theme park.

2021 started the 50th Anniversary for Walt Disney World and in 2023 we see the opening of Tron Lightcylce Run at Tomorrowland and a new reimagining for Splash Mountain in Frontierland. With new attractions and new rethemes, Magic Kingdom will continue to bring large crowds.

Universal Creeps in at Spot #2 and #3

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We have heard growing concerns from Disney fans that Disney vacations are growing more and more complicated with Park Reservations, increasing prices across the Disney Parks, and frustration around the new Disney Genie system. For 2021, Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal claimed spot #2 which was once held by Disneyland in 2019.

The third most visited theme park in 2019 was Universal Studios Florida at Universal. In 2019, this spot was held by Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

#4 Most Visited Park in 2021

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios rose to the top among Disney guests in 2021. Previously in 2019, Hollywood Studios was ranked at #5 and was the least visited park at Walt Disney World. This park has seen a huge change with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019 and the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction just before the parks closed in March 2020.

In 2021, Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomed approximately 8,589,000 visitors.

#5 Most Visited Park in 2021

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Although Disneyland reopened its magical gates at the end of April 2021, the Disney Park that started it all ranked as the fifth most visited theme park in 2021. They welcomed 8,573,000 visitors in 2021, which was down from 28,666,000 visitors in 2019.

As the park was only open for 8 full months this is still quite impressive. Attendance was up 133% from 2020 as the park was only open for two full months before the shutdown. 2023 will be a banner year for Disneyland with the great Disney 100th Celebrations starting in January 2023. My family was impressed with this ranking and prefers Disneyland to Walt Disney World.

#6 Most Visited Park in 2021

Credit: KtP

EPCOT remains in a state of reimagining with the dream of the full transformation of EPCOT in 2023. In 2021, EPCOT opened Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and welcomed 7,752,000 guests. 2022 is a big year for EPCOT with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in May.

EPCOT also celebrated its 40th Anniversary earlier this month. This is the third most visited park at Walt Disney World in both 2019 and 2021. We suspect EPCOT will have big attendance numbers in 2022 as well.

#7 Most Visited Park in 2021

Credit: KtP

Finally, we come to the ranking of the final Walt Disney World Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In 2019, Animal Kingdom was the 3rd most visited theme park. In 2019, Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed 7,194,000 guests. There may be a few reasons for the shift of visitors.

Entertainment returned in a big way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom summer of 2022, but many characters and shows were modified or missing altogether in 2021. In 2021, Disney removed a big attraction from Dinoland USA. Disney recently announced a new reimagining of Dinoland USA. We hope that this reimagined land may help guests return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Overall, it appears that travel has returned in a big way. However, visitors are beginning to look outside of the Disney bubble. It will be interesting to see the 2022 theme park rankings.

What do you think of these rankings? Do you agree with these rankings? Do you think Disney needs to consider these rankings when making price adjustments at their parks? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.

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