TEA 2020 Attendance Report

Discussion in 'Rest of the World Parks and Attractions' started by Matt N, 23rd Sep 2021.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Hi guys. TEA released their 2020 attendance report today: https://aecom.com/wp-content/uploads/documents/reports/AECOM-Theme-Index-2020.pdf

    Unsurprisingly, it makes for pretty dismal reading. Some of the main stats of interest include:
    • Magic Kingdom remains the most visited park in the world, but only 6,941,000 guests visited in 2020, representing a decrease of 66.9%.
    • The top 25 parks worldwide saw an overall attendance drop of 67.2%.
    • Chinese properties seemed to fare relatively well compared to the rest of the world, with Shanghai Disneyland now taking 2nd place in the worldwide league table with 5,500,000 guests, and players such as Happy Valley Beijing making the top 10 with 3,950,000 guests.
    • Efteling was Europe’s most visited theme park, with 2,900,000 guests passing through the gates in 2020. Disneyland Park came in 2nd with 2,620,000 guests, with Europa Park (2,500,000), Tivoli Gardens (1,628,000) and Walt Disney Studios (1,410,000) closing out the top 5.
    • In terms of the UK, Alton Towers was the country’s most visited, with 670,000 guests passing through the park’s gates in 2020. The previous UK winner, Legoland, had a dramatic fall to 4th place, only attracting 450,000 guests in 2020.
    • Decreases in attendance varied widely, with some properties reporting as little as 10% and others reporting decreases of above 80%.

    In terms of some of my own personal thoughts:

    • This report definitely shows the impact that different countries/areas’ restrictions had on attendance; some parks fell by almost 90% compared to 2019 figures, while some fell by lesser amounts. Interestingly, some Chinese properties only had around a 10% fall in attendance, which is why some non-Disney Chinese parks are making the worldwide top 10.
    • Legoland Windsor has slipped from top of the UK attendance ranking right down to 4th, with Alton, Thorpe and Chessington all beating it, in that order. LLW suffered the most, with more than an 80% decrease on 2019; the park only attracted 450,000 guests in 2020. I wonder why Legoland was so profoundly dented compared to the rest of Merlin’s UK parks?
    • Neither of DLP’s parks claiming the European attendance crown was intriguing; I’d have expected those to be top. Disneyland Park itself came 2nd only to Efteling, while Walt Disney Studios came 5th, behind Efteling, Disneyland Park, Europa Park and Tivoli Gardens, in that order.
    • I also found the rise of Efteling to top park in Europe incredibly interesting; if any park was to beat Disney, I’d have thought it would be Europa, as EP opened up fairly early relative to others in Europe and had pretty high attendance figures pre-COVID.
    • Shanghai Disneyland claiming 2nd place behind Magic Kingdom was also an occurrence I found quite intriguing, as both Tokyo parks, both California parks, and Universal Studios Japan all got higher attendance figures than Shanghai Disneyland in 2019. I guess that shows the impact that China’s fairly early easing of COVID restrictions had, if nothing else!
    So all in all, I think this report has some very interesting info! Of course, attendance isn’t a competition, especially in times like these, but it’s certainly interesting to see who came out on top with the pandemic in play!

    What are you guys’ thoughts?
    P.S. I should point out that the attendance is ranked in 2019 order as opposed to 2020 order.
     
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    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  2. Craig

    Craig TS Administrator Team Member

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    No major surprises in there in the figures really, they were all to be expected with the impact that Covid had last year.

    You have to remember DLP was closed for a good few months, only opening in mid June I believe it was. France was really heavily locked down in comparison to other EU countries. They rely on foreign tourism a fair bit too, so with that effectively banned for a large period that’ll have hit them hard.

    In terms of Europa-Park, it can’t be overstated just how much they were limited last year. National restrictions, topped off by individual state restrictions heavily affected domestic visitors. They rely heavily of French visitors, and they were prevented from visiting for a huge chunk of the year. Finally there were massive capacity restrictions placed on the park too, meaning they were admitting far, far fewer people than they would normally allow.

    On the Legoland front, that’s another one to be expected. As a southern park and like DLP, they rely on not only UK visitors, but also those from abroad who are visiting London which obviously didn’t take place last year. The south east also had heavier restrictions in place compared to some other areas, so they would have been impacted on that front too.
     
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    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  3. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I don't think on the whole that attendance figures for 2020 are that interesting. Different countries were at different stages at different times with different laws. They're only effectively useful for comparing parks within the same country (certainly not in the US where the individual states had control over restrictions), and not even that useful at that either as they had different capacities in each park.

    I would imagine that's the reason for LLW's decline to 4th is due to capacity. Woefully low capacity rides there so Merlin would have had to cut the numbers back. AT on the other hand is massive, has mostly high capacity rides and even drafted in extra temp flats.

    I suppose there is some interesting discussion about which companies adopted certain approaches to the pandemic, but for the most part these figures don't really tell us anything useful.
     
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    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  4. pluk

    pluk TowersStreet Member

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    I don't think Legos more substantial drop will be due to reduced foreign tourism, more to do with the parks own capacity issues. Famously a festival of throughput nightmares, it'd be no surprise that their self imposed gate figure limits to maintain social distancing will hit parks that are often overcrowded hardest. Many parks spent most of their operating season running at capacity, so that'll be the defining factor making this largely a list of capacity size more than anything.
     
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    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  5. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    TEA figures are a guess, Parks are not obliged to give TEA their internal numbers.
     
    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  6. MakoMania

    MakoMania TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah TEA attendance figures are a bit of a joke. I recall there was one year where they posted a double digit attendance decrease for SeaWorld San Diego whereas in reality attendance was down around 1% from prior year.
     
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    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  7. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    Legoland's capacity isn't actually that low. A lot of the rides are low throughput but the parks larger than the other London parks and offeres more rides and non-ride attractions like Miniland that boost the overall capacity. The park can actually comfortably cope with 3x / 4x the number of guests as Chessington on any given day.

    I suspect the real issue was that Children are the primary market and the park relies heavily on school break periods to hit the big numbers. Missing Easter hurt and a lack of fixed term times probably diluted attendance further.
    There's probably more too it than just that as well but I think that played a major role.
     
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    Posted 23rd Sep 2021
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  8. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    Legoland has Mini Land, but Chessington has the zoo.

    Theme parks don’t normally officially release their capacities, but during Covid a few did that wouldn’t normally. Legoland Florida has a capacity of 12,000. Legoland Florida is probably less than Legoland Windsor’s, and you have to be a bit careful about comparing capacities of parks in different countries, but that suggests Mini Land’s capacity might not add that much to the park’s capacity.

    We know Alton Tower’s capacity is about 28,000, both from ex-staff and from a recent documentary about the park. Chessington gets up to 17,000 guests on a peak day, so for the sake of argument let’s say its capacity is 18,000. Thorpe is allegedly around 20,000.

    If Legoland Windsor’s capacity was triple Chessington’s, it’d have a similar capacity to Europa Park.

    These are all regular capacities, and some parks may have reduced their capacity by a bigger percentage than others during the pandemic.

    A park's capacity isn't a great indicator of annual attendance. For example the Disney parks have very big attendance relative to their capacities, because they're open 365 days a year, often for 12 hours a day. Some of the American parks have very low attendance relative to their capacities, because they're only open about 120 days a year. However, if you're comparing two parks with similar operating calendars and similar attendance, you wouldn't expect the capacities to be wildly different. If they are, one of the parks probably isn't doing very well financially.
     
    Last edited: 24th Sep 2021
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    Posted 24th Sep 2021
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  9. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    Can Chessington really get up to 17,000 guests? That seems awfully high considering I've visited on sold out days and there didn't appear to be 17,000 people around. Thorpe Park seems quite high as well.

    Legoland Windsor's capacity is more than Florida but less than Alton Towers. The difference is during normal times it regularly hits capacity, while Towers in the last 10+ years very rarely does (the park is huge after all).

    I do think though that the Zoo is a factor as to why Chessington suffered less last year. The regulations on zoos were different to parks and so Chessington had some days that it could open (if only as a Zoo) when the others couldn't.
     
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    Posted 24th Sep 2021
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  10. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    Out of interest, what did you think the capacities for Thorpe and Chessington would be?

    There’s a couple of things to bear in mind here:

    1. The queues for the biggest rides aren’t necessarily proportional to the number of visitors in the park. For example, someone might decide they’re going to ride Colossus, see that the queue’s 2.5 hours, and decide to ride the Tea Cups or see the 4D cinema instead. Just because the biggest coaster gets a 90 minute queue when there’s 10,000 people in the park, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll get a 3 hour queue when there’s 20,000. Although the busier the park is, the more likely people are to buy Fast Track, which might at least partially cancel the two out.

    2. Just because there are 20,000 people in the park, it doesn’t mean there are 20,000 people queuing for rides. There are a lot of incidental activities. Buying food and drink. Eating food and drink. Looking at your onride photo. Browsing the gift shop. Playing an HB Leisure game. Playing in the arcade. Meeting an Angry Bird. Going to the toilet. Queuing to complain at Guest Services. Get soaked on the Tidal Wave Bridge. Using the People Drier. With the exception of food and beverage, individually not that many people are doing any of these activities. But they do all add up.

    Let’s stick with Thorpe Park a second. It’s easier to relate capacity and attendance, because Chessington does Zoo Days and a Christmas/February half term event, which complicates things.

    If Thorpe Park’s open daily through the season, that’s about 240 days. I think they have closed on a few offpeak days during the season recently, but they’ve gone back on that. If they get 1.8 million visitors over the season, that’s an average of 7,500 a day. The issue is they have very big peaks and troughs. Particularly between weekends/school holidays and term time, and between days with good and bad weather. They are trying to level out those peaks and troughs, which is why you’ve got an Oktoberfest between the summer and Halloween, but there are still some pretty big swings.

    Chessington seems to get bigger swings than Thorpe does, because more of Thorpe’s clientele can come on a school day.

    It’s very rare for either park to hit its capacity outside of Covid restrictions. Trip Advisor reviews suggest that a lot of guests have a miserable day at least a few thousand below the park’s actual capacities. The parks might also occasionally impose artificially lower capacities. For example the annual pass preview days book out, but that doesn’t mean that Chessington’s got 18,000 guests and Thorpe Park’s got 20,000. They set the gate number much lower for these days. Partly to let the new staff bed in, and partly because there’s no point in packing the park out for an annual pass preview and giving everyone a miserable time.
     
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  11. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    I was under the impression Chessington was closer to 10,000. Thorpe I had assumed was only a little more because the island is tiny and besides queueing and eating there's very little else to 'soak' up the crowds.

    Ok so saying x4 might have been a bit of an exaggeration but Legoland does usually handle significantly more. I remember there was one day that Chessington had a power cut and as a sign of good will they offered all guest free entry to Legoland instead. Now I know that only a fraction of guests would take up that offer, but for a park to make it they have to be confident they can handle both their predicted capacity for that day and the other parks.
     
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