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New Rides, Tourism Create Record Disney Attendance of 13 Million

October 15, 1987|MARY ANN GALANTE

Disneyland is more popular than ever.

Anaheim's Magic Kingdom will soon announce record attendance of almost 13 million visitors during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, sources said this week. That compares to about 12 million in each of the two previous years.

Although the park has not yet released turnstile numbers, sources confirmed Tuesday that Disneyland will report in several weeks that attendance approached 13 million in fiscal 1987.

Disney's name has been magic in the Southern California tourism industry since its yearlong 30th birthday bash in 1985. In what was widely viewed as one of the best marketing moves in the park's history, Disneyland gave park visitors more than 500 General Motors cars and other prizes valued at more than $20 million over two years.

That promotion, which ended in September, 1986, helped boost attendance even though the park had not added a major new ride since 1979. Last year, the splashy Captain Eo ride opened and was soon followed by Space Tours.

Industry observers attribute 1987's record attendance to the two new attractions, along with an increase in foreign tourists. "The dollar is back down, so the Japanese yen or English pound buys more dollars," explained one source. Devaluation of the peso has brought more tourists from Mexico as well, he said.

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