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Theme parks in North America saw attendance jump in 2011

June 01, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Visitors walk through the Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Fla.
Visitors walk through the Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter… (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Bloomberg )

This post has been corrected

The top theme parks in North America enjoyed an estimated 2.9% increase in attendance in 2011, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Fla., accounting for about half of that rise.

The attendance estimate was released Thursday by the Burbank-based Themed Entertainment Assn., a trade group for designers of theme parks, casinos, museums, zoos and other entertainment venues. The assessment is based on an annual estimate of theme park crowds by AECOM, a Los Angeles engineering and consulting firm.

At Universal's Islands of Adventure, home to the Harry Potter theme park, attendance jumped to 7.7 million in 2011, a 29% increase compared with the previous year, according to the report.

Without the jump in attendance brought on by the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, overall theme park attendance growth in North America would have been 1.6%, the report said.

All of Southern California's major theme parks enjoyed modest increases in attendance in 2011, according to the report:

  • Disneyland, Southern California's most popular theme park, drew 16.14 million visitors, a 1% increase over 2010.
  • Disney California Adventure hosted 6.34 million visitors, a 1% increase.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood had 5.14 million visitors, a 2% increase.
  • SeaWorld San Diego hosted 4.29 million visitors in 2011, a 13% increase.
  • Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park drew 3.65 million visitors last year, a 1.5% increase.
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia hosted 2.7 million visitors in 2011, a 3.8% increase.

[For the record, June 1, 2:22 p.m.: A previous version of this item incorrectly said Disney California Adventure hosted 3.34 million visitors.]

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