Industry Outlook 2005
THEME PARKS: 'Banner Year'
Florida's attractions started out strong last year but took a major hit after the hurricanes, when attendance dropped by 13% in August and 38% in September, says Donna Ross, president and CEO of the Florida Attractions Association.
"Hurricanes notwithstanding, it looks like it was pretty much a banner year" for Florida's theme parks in 2004, says James Zoltak, editor of Amusement Business magazine. Walt Disney World introduced new Mission Space, Mickey's Philharmagic, and Stitch's Great Escape attractions and saw a boom in attendance, a trend expected to continue this year as Disney touts its 50th anniversary worldwide and opens a park in Hong Kong.
Universal Studios Florida unveiled several attractions, including The Mummy,
a ride that won an industry award for its innovative design and helped Universal ride the wave of resurging state tourism and international visits with a 12% increase in attendance at its two Orlando theme parks.
2005 Forecast: "It all adds up to a positive outlook for theme park tourism in 2005," says James Zoltak, editor of Amusement Business.