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TRAVEL AND TOURISM : Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm Make Plans to Lure More Tourists

Compiled by Chris Woodyard, Times staff writer

Orange County’s tourism industry enters the new year hoping to improve on its 1994 performance.

The number of visitors to Southern California declined drastically after the Northridge earthquake in January and never quite recovered. At Disneyland, for example, annual attendance was off 10% to an estimated 10.3 million guests, according to a survey by Amusement Business, a trade publication based in Nashville, Tenn.

As has been the case in recent years, local attendance helped make up for the loss of domestic and foreign tourism at Disneyland. One big boost in 1994 was the new $99 annual pass. More than 100,000 were sold, Disneyland officials say.

The theme park remained the second most popular in the nation, just behind its sister attraction in Florida and just ahead of Epcot Center, also part of Walt Disney World near Orlando.

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Knott’s Berry Farm fared a bit better, according to Amusement Business. Attendance was estimated at 3.8 million, up 4% over the previous year. Knott’s moved to No. 8 in the magazine’s listings of top attractions, up from ninth place for 1993.

This year, the park hopes to capitalize on a new family-oriented roller coaster.

It will face stiff competition from the biggest gainer among Southern California theme parks: Magic Mountain, which had attendance of 3.5 million and was listed in 12th place. The 6% gain was attributed to the drawing power of the park’s new Batman The Ride roller coaster.

Disneyland, meanwhile, is planning a big comeback. The park is spending lavishly to promote its new offerings this year, including a float in Monday’s Tournament of Roses parade promoting its new Indiana Jones Adventure ride.

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It is also planning celebrations for its 40th anniversary and will present a stage show to coincide with the release of the animated film “Pocahontas” this summer.


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