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Tokyo Disneyland overtakes the original Disneyland in park visitors

Attendance at Tokyo Disneyland jumps 15.9% in 2013
SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San Diego see attendance drop in 2013.
Tokyo Disneyland overtakes the original Disneyland in attendance

With a surge in theme park attendance in Asia, Tokyo Disneyland has surpassed Disneyland in Anaheim as the second-most-popular theme park in the world.

Attendance at Tokyo Disneyland jumped 15.9% in 2013 to 17.2 million visitors, surpassing the original Disneyland, which had tepid growth of 1.5% to 16.2 million visitors, according to an annual estimate from Aecom, a Los Angeles consulting firm.

The world's most popular theme park remained Disney's Magic Kingdom in Florida, with 18.6 million visitors in 2013, up 6% from 2012, according to Aecom.

Overall, theme-park attendance in North America grew 2.7% in 2013, according to an annual estimate by the Themed Entertainment Assn., a trade group for designers and artists.

Most theme-park operators don't disclose attendance numbers but concede that Aecom's estimates are very accurate.

The most dramatic growth in attendance came at theme parks in Asia. In addition to the 15.9% attendance boost at Tokyo Disneyland, the report estimates an 11.3% increase in attendance at Tokyo Disney Sea, a 4.1% increase at Universal Studios Japan, a 10.4% increase at Hong Kong Disneyland and a 15.9% jump at Lotte World South Korea.

In Southern California, Disneyland remained the most popular theme park, followed by Disney California Adventure, which hosted 8.5 million visitors, up 9.5% from 2012. The report attributed the growth to the popularity of the park's Cars Land attraction, which opened in June, 2012.

Universal Studios Hollywood had 6.1 million visitors, a 4% increase, the report said.

Meanwhile, attendance dropped 5% at SeaWorld Orlando and 3% at SeaWorld San Diego as those parks grappled with criticism from animal-rights groups over the treatment of the killer whales used in daily shows. SeaWorld has attributed the decline to a hike in entrance fees last year.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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