Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Season Snapshot 2009

How was business this season at your park or attraction? Let us know, then read on for reports from venues on three continents, starting with Tivoli in Copenhagen.

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Copenhagen institution Tivoli welcomed 2,810,000 guests during its summer season (April 16 to September 26) – on a par with 2008.

“In light of the economic crisis, we are very satisfied with a number of visitors in the same range as last year,” remarked Tivoli CEO Lars Liebst. “We chose to maintain a high investment level, including a new ride, despite the gloomy outlook and were rewarded by our visitors, especially during the second half of the summer season.

The park recently concluded its Halloween celebrations and is now gearing up for Christmas in Tivoli (as above), which runs November 20 to December 30.

Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo Disney Resort enjoyed a combined attendance of 12,301,000 guests at its Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea during the first half of the fiscal year (April 1 to September 30).

This amounts to 94.3% (746,000 persons less) of the attendance figure for the same period last year. However, as this year follows immediately after a record 25th anniversary season in 2008, a decline in turnout was expected and the figure is still the third highest attendance for the first half of a fiscal year. Accordingly, there will be no change to the forecasted annual attendance of 25,600,000 persons for the two parks.

The favourable figures are attributed to the opening of Monsters Inc Ride & Go Seek!, the first new Tokyo Disneyland attraction in five years, in addition to a new Halloween event at Tokyo DisneySea.


City centre amusement park Liseberg, in Gothenburg, Sweden, welcomed nearly 2.4 million guests during its summer season (up to October 11) – a leap of around 10% over last year.

“Home tourism has been a huge boom and we’ve really got proof that it pays to invest in economically uncertain times,” says Liseberg CEO Mats Wedin.

Thanks to its pricing structure, the park is able to assess the popularity of individual attractions and the figures show that its new Rabalder family coaster (pictured above) was enjoyed by roughly one in five guests (415,000).

Still the park’s most popular ride, however, is its Schwarzkopf hillside coaster, Lisebergbanan, with 1.4 million riders. This was followed by its Kållerado raft ride (1.2 million), Flume Ride (1.1 million), Balder wooden coaster (1.1 million) and Kanonen launch coaster (700,000). The park also hosts a popular concert programme.

Liseberg’s 10th Christmas season kicks off on November 13.


Europa-Park near Freiburg in Germany has just celebrated the best season in its 34-year history. The new Blue Fire Megacoaster (pictured) is credited with creating much of that success. The launch coaster, by Mack Rides, sits inside the new Iceland themed area of the park and was ridden by 54% of park guests during the season.

Around 80% of Europa-Park visitors are now repeat guests. Occupancy rates at the park’s four themed hotels so far this year have been up, averaging in excess of 90%. Planning for a new hotel has now started. Despite a blip at the start of the year, the park’s “Confertainment” event department generated good business and is now preparing for a busy Christmas period.

“Europa-Park is one of the most significant tourist attractions in Germany“, highlights Andreas Braun, director of tourism marketing in the state of Baden-Württemberg. “Not even towns with millions of inhabitants have such a high inflow of tourists.”

Starting November 28, Europa-Park will open for its latest winter season (through until January 10). By the end of the winter season, Europa-Park is expected to welcome in excess of four million guests.

Learn about the park’s 2010 plans here.

Adventure Island

Although precise figures are hard to come by (the park has no turnstiles), approximately 13% more people are thought to have visited Adventure Island this season in Southend-on-Sea, England.

With around 2 million guests, the park can now claim to the title of the UK’s no.1 free admission amusement park, replacing the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, which imposed a new entry fee at the start of the season.

Philip Miller, Adventure Island’s chief executive, believes the weak economy is responsible for his park’s strong performance: “Due to the financial situation, more and more people are having ‘staycations’ – choosing to stay and holiday at home rather than go aboard. With Southend being proved as the warmest and driest part of the UK, it’s no surprise people are coming here for a great family holiday.”

Adventure Island continues to open winter weekends.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Holiday World & Splashin Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana, finished its 63rd season by setting a new seasonal attendance record.

“This is the fourth year in a row we’ve topped one million in attendance,” reveals park president Will Koch. “This season we grew by nearly 3%. We’re very grateful to all the families who came to visit our park.”

With a final count of 1,039,359 guests, Koch credits the season’s growth with the addition of Pilgrims Plunge, the world’s tallest water ride, plus the parks’ free soft drinks offer and continued concentration on cleanliness and friendliness.

“So much of the credit goes to the incredible service and hospitality provided by our outstanding hosts and hostesses,” Koch says. “It doesn’t matter how great your rides are if the employees are rude and the bathrooms are filthy.”

Koch believes the parks’ strong growth pattern should continue next year with the addition at the Splashin’ Safari waterpark of Wildebeest, the world’s longest waterslide coaster.


“Overall, Kennywood’s 2009 season was successful, but not without challenges,” says the Pennsylvania park’s Jerome Gibas. “Unseasonably cool summer temperatures and wet weather created attendance difficulties on several days, but we’re very familiar with Pittsburgh’s unpredictable weather and how to manage the situation. While we experienced a decrease in the number of corporate picnics, we saw an increase in school and small group sales. Kennywood is the epitome of summer tradition in Western Pennsylvania and our guests are the best you’ll find anywhere. We’re already looking forward to a very busy 2010 season and the introduction of a new launch coaster.

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