Disneyland crowds return to 90% of 2019 levels, report says – Press Enterprise

Attendance at Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other Southern California theme parks has not quite reached pre-pandemic levels despite crowds and lines that might make visitors think otherwise.

Southern California theme park attendance in 2022 nearly bounced back to pre-pandemic 2019 crowd levels, according to a new report from the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland announces virtual queue for Avengers musical — What you need to know

Southern California attendance in 2022 (90% vs. 2019) was on par with U.S. theme parks (88% vs. 2019) and well ahead of parks worldwide (79% vs. 2019) compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the TEA/AECOM report.

Disneyland’s 16.9 million visitors in 2022 was 90% of the 18.7 million that came to the park in 2019, according to the TEA/AECOM report. Disney California Adventure did slightly better at 91% — tallying 9 million visitors in 2022 compared to 9.9 million in 2019.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm did slightly better than the Disney parks — each reaching 92% of 2019 attendance levels in 2022. SeaWorld San Diego (89% vs. 2019) and Six Flags Magic Mountain (85% vs. 2019) did slightly worse than the Disney standard bearer.

Universal saw attendance reach 8.4 million visitors in 2022 compared with 9.2 million in 2019. Attendance in 2022 at Knott’s (3.9 million), SeaWorld (3.5 million) and Magic Mountain (3 million) fell just short of pre-pandemic levels.

SEE ALSO: Solar-powered roller coasters coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain

Southern California theme parks were forced to close in March 2020 due to COVID-19 health concerns as the pandemic shuttered businesses and curtailed social life around the globe.

Disneyland and DCA reopened in April 2021 after a yearlong pandemic closure. State-mandated attendance capacity restrictions were lifted in June 2021 at California theme parks, but the Disney parks have continued to require reservations as a way to control attendance and avoid large crowds. Disney officials announced in August 2021 that theme park attendance was being steadily increased in an aggressive but measured way.

Global attendance in 2022 was mostly dragged down by theme parks in China, where COVID-19 restrictions lingered longer, according to the TEA/AECOM report.

Southern California theme parks have seen attendance steadily rebound from a pandemic trough in 2020 to robust improvement in 2021 to near normal in 2022.

Disneyland’s attendance numbers nearly doubled (up 97%) from 2021 to 2022 while DCA saw a similarly big bounce (up 81%) during the same period, according to the TEA/AECOM report. Universal Studios Hollywood crowds increased 53% from 2021 to 2022 while SeaWorld San Diego (up 25%) and Knott’s (up 6%) grew at slower rates. Six Flags Magic Mountain was the only local amusement park that saw a year-over-year attendance decline in 2022 — dropping 2%.

SEE ALSO: Mickey’s Toontown troubles plague Disneyland 3 months after land reopens

Disneyland attracted an average of 51,000 visitors per day in 2019 before the pandemic when Disney California Adventure pulled in an average of 27,000 daily visitors, according to TEA/AECOM. In 2022, average daily attendance checked in at 46,000 visitors per day at Disneyland and 25,000 per day at DCA, according to the latest report.