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Amusement parks are some of the most profitable businesses around the world. With industry giants like Disney Parks and Resorts and Universal Studios leading the market, and companies like Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort following closely behind, the global amusement park market is expected to break $63 billion in 2021, with no signs of slowing down.
Although amusement parks around the world took a loss due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, suffering a total market loss of -29.7%, or $21.83 billion, the industry is bouncing back and continues to be one of the most lucrative markets in the world.
As amusement parks across all global regions begin reopening measures, closely following social distancing and public health guidelines, experts predict that the market will see a growth rate of more than 23% this year alone, surpassing a total gross value of more than $89 billion by 2025.
Globally, there are several major players driving the world’s amusement park market. To break it down, we’ve assembled a list of the ten largest amusement parks in the world.
Ranking the World’s Largest Amusement Parks
This list of the world’s ten largest amusement parks is ranked by the number of annual visitors that attended each park in 2019.
Amusement parks across the globe shut their doors to the public in 2020 due to the international outbreak of COVID-19. As such, to get a more accurate ranking, attendance statistics from 2019 were used when compiling this list.
Each amusement park, even those functioning as part of a larger resort or corporation, was considered and ranked on its own, as they all function independently. Not surprisingly, several of the largest parks in the world are operated by Disney Parks and Resorts.
10 Largest Amusement Parks in the World
Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Orlando, United States
Number of Annual Visitors: 20,963,000
Magic Kingdom ranks as both the largest amusement park in the world and Disney’s most popular destination. Roughly 57,433 people visited the park each day in 2019, which is only about 57% of the park’s full capacity.
The park had grown exponentially since opening in October 1971, when there were just 23 attractions, and the ticket price sat at $3.50. Today, Magic Kingdom Park, home of Cinderella’s Castle and Main Street USA, operates 48 attractions and charges about $124 for a one-day ticket.
Apart from being the largest amusement park in terms of the number of annual visitors, Magic Kingdom, the first of four parks that comprise Walt Disney World, is also one of the most profitable theme parks in the world. The 107-acre park is estimated to earn more than $78 million in a typical day.
Disneyland Park. Anaheim, United States
Number of Annual Visitors: 18,666,000
Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, was the very first Disney park to open its doors to the public and the brand’s only theme park that was entirely designed and built under Walt Disney’s supervision. The amusement park opened on July 17, 1955, with a total of 18 attractions.
In its 65 year history, the park has grown enormously. The first Disney park underwent impressive renovations and expansions between 1966 and 2019, including the addition of New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
In 2001, Disney also unveiled the Disney California Adventure Park, which sits on Disneyland’s original parking lot.
Today, Disneyland Park has more than 50 attractions and charges about $154 for a single-day adult ticket. According to Disneyland, over 700 million guests have attended the amusement park since it first opened in 1955, when a day ticket costs just $1.
Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo, Japan
Number of Annual Visitors: 17,910,000
Next on the list of the world’s largest amusement parks is yet another Disney favorite. Tokyo Disneyland, a 115-acre theme park located just outside of Tokyo in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture in Japan, was the first Disney theme park to be built outside of the United States.
Since opening its doors on April 15, 1983, the park has established several themed areas, including the World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, and Mickey’s Toontown.
Although Disney maintains creative control, Tokyo Disneyland and its companion park, Tokyo DisneySea, are the only Disney theme parks not partially or completely owned by the Walt Disney Company. The Tokyo Disney Resort is owned by The Oriental Land Company, which licenses the Walt Disney theme.
The park is considered the sister park of Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, as it was largely built using the same style as the world’s largest amusement park.
Tokyo DisneySea. Tokyo, Japan
Number of Annual Visitors: 14,650,000
Coming in just after Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea ranks fourth on the list of the world’s largest amusement parks.
The park is one of the more recently opened Disney theme parks, opening to the public on September 4, 2001, shortly after construction was completed at the cost of approximately 335 billion yen, or roughly $3.11 billion at today’s conversion rate.
The grand opening of Tokyo DisneySea attracted more guests than any other amusement park grand opening in the world. Just 307 days after opening, the theme park had welcomed 10 million guests.
Tokyo DisneySea was the ninth Disney theme park to open the entertainment giant’s currently operating worldwide.
The nautically-themed amusement park offers 29 attractions and numerous themed areas, including Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mysterious Island, and Mermaid Lagoon.
The park currently charges adults as much as 8,700 yen, or about $80.66, for a single-use day ticket.
Universal Studios Japan. Osaka, Japan
Number of Annual Visitors: 14,500,000
Universal Studios Japan is one of the six Universal Studios theme parks across the world. Since opening on March 31, 2001, the Japanese amusement park has welcomed millions of visitors each year, including over 11 million in its first operating year alone.
In its short 20-year history, the park has grown substantially, opening the backwards Hollywood Dream roller coaster, the 4K3D Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride, and a new family area dubbed Universal Wonderland.
Most recently, in 2014, the park unveiled The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed area that’s expected to generate more than 5 trillion yen, or roughly $46.3 billion, by 2024.
Although Universal Studios is expected to bounce back in coming years, the entertainment franchise, especially Universal Studios Japan, took a hard hit in 2020 after all of their global locations were forced to shut their doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, equating to a $4 billion drop in revenue.
Universal Studios Japan was closed from February through June of 2020 and temporarily shut down for the second time on April 25, 2021.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Orlando, United States
Number Of Annual Visitors: 13,888,000
This zoological theme park is the largest in the world in terms of size, spanning an impressive 580 acres, and also the sixth-largest global amusement park in terms of annual visitors. The park opened on Earth Day in April 1998 and remains focused on environmental and animal conservation.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the fourth and final amusement park to open in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and differs greatly from other Disney resorts and attraction parks in that it features both traditional rides and attractions and exhibits featuring live animals.
Millions of visitors flock to the animal-themed amusement park each year to visit the famous Tree of Life, a 145-foot-tall artificial baobab tree and get an up-close look at some of the 2,000 animals that call the park home.
Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. Orlando, United States
Number Of Annual Visitors: 12,444,000
Epcot ranks as the third most visited Walt Disney World Resort and the seventh-largest amusement park in the world. The park opened about ten years after Magic Kingdom, on October 1, 1982, with a theme focused on international culture and technological innovation.
The park features two main sections, Future World and World Showcase, and is especially popular for its themed areas modeled after numerous countries and cultures. The 305-acre park features 11 pavilions representing Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, the United States, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico.
Some of Epcot’s most popular attractions include The Seas with Nemo & Friends, home of the world’s second-largest saltwater fish tank, and The Land, which grows more than 30 tons of fruits and vegetables every year for use at numerous Walt Disney World restaurants.
Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. Hengqin, China
Number of Annual Visitors: 11,736,000
As the eighth largest amusement park in the world, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom gives industry giants, like Disney and Universal Studios, a run for their money. The park, which was designed by PGAV Destinations, first opened its doors in 2014 and is part of the Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort.
With a goal of becoming the “Orlando of China,” Chimelong Ocean Kingdom features a variety of traditional rides and animal shows. The theme park is also home to the world’s largest oceanarium, measuring more than 12.87 million gallons of water, and a killer whale breeding center.
Like many other large amusement parks, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is composed of several themed areas. Each themed area represents a different part of Earth’s ocean and includes Ocean Avenue, Dolphin Cove, Amazing Amazon, Ocean Beauty, Polar Horizon, Hero Island, Mount Walrus, and Hengqin Ocean.
Currently, daily ticket prices for Chimelong Ocean Kingdom sit at roughly $86.34.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. Orlando, United States
Number Of Annual Visitors: 11,483,000
Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened on May 1, 1989, and was the third Walt Disney World Resort to open its doors to the public.
Drawing inspiration from the film, television, music, and theatre industries, the park featured various rides, shows, and themed areas and was once home to active film and television production studios.
The 135-acre park was originally named Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park, but, in 2008 it was rebranded as Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
In recent years, the theme park’s popularity has increased dramatically with the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
The Hollywood-inspired theme park is one of the largest in the world in terms of attendance. It’s also one of the most profitable global amusement parks. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is estimated to take in more than $19 million on a typical day of operation.
Shanghai Disneyland. Shanghai, China
Number of Annual Visitors: 11,210,000
Rounding out the top 10 biggest amusement parks in the world is Disney’s Shanghai location, Shanghai Disneyland. Shanghai Disneyland is one of the newest Disney theme parks, opening on June 16, 2016.
In its five-year history, the park, which was a $3.78 billion joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group, has grown considerably and makes roughly $1 billion in annual revenue each year.
Shanghai Disneyland functions as part of the Shanghai Disney Resort, which is celebrated for being the first Disney resort in mainland China. The park is best known for its themed areas, including Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, Tomorrowland, and Toy Story Land.
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