The heat wave and the fact that many schools had started before Labor Day made last week a slow one at Southern California theme parks.
"We've been in touch with all our competitors, and everybody was down," said Knott's Berry Farm spokesman Bob Ochsner. "When we hit 106 or 107, people don't come to theme parks like they usually do. They tend to stay home, stay in their motel rooms or head to the beach."
Disneyland officials said the hot summer, foul weather last winter and the Asian economic crisis contributed to a decline in visitors this year. "We did experience some softening of attendance beginning last December," spokesman Ray Gomez said. Considering the unusual factors, he said, "we're pleased overall."
Compared with last year, Knott's attendance fell 20% for the week before Labor Day, normally filled with last-minute visits before people resume their fall grind.