Saturday, June 24, 2006
By the Numbers, Part II
Epcot continued to see attendance growth in 2005, according to attendance estimates from Amusement Business (which were released a while ago, so I'm way late in discussing this). So, it continues to be a head-scratcher why Disney seems to put such little creative effort into developing Epcot. In 2005, the park got a ride transported from Disney's California Adventure; closed an entire pavilion; saw two people die on a controversial thrill ride/vomit machine; and allowed its Living Seas pavilion to become the latest victim of Pixarization.
(Don't get me wrong, please -- I love Pixar ... but, they didn't have to do it like this.)
Here are the top five North American theme parks for 2005. Epcot's growth slowed substantially from 2004, but it actually came close to welcoming 10 million visitors last year, which would have put it into the very rarified realm of eight-figure "population."
1) The Magic Kingdom, 16.1 million, up 6.5% vs. 2004
2) Disneyland, 14.5 million, up 8.5%
3) Epcot, 9.9 million, up 5.5%
4) Disney-MGM Studios, 8.6 million, up 5%
5) Disney's Animal Kingdom, 8.2 million, up 5%
Epcot is like the middle child starving for attention. It continues to succeed despite Disney's best efforts to dumb it down, make it wear stupid clothes (or, at least, a stupid magic wand and big glove -- photographic evidence above) destroy its spirit and make it be like all the other kids when it's clearly different.
You gotta love it for that, at least!
It's like the Jan Brady of Disney theme parks.