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News TEA/AECOM 2018 Theme Index Released

seascape

Well-Known Member
Lets look at possible themepark mergers. I say start with the reality that Merlin, Disney and Universal can't possibly merge. Then we should eliminate the Chinese companies. That leaves 4 possible companies in the top 10. Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Seaworld and Parques Reunidos. Then there is Herschend Family Entertainment, that owns Silver Dollar City and is partnered with Dolly Parton's Dollywood.

Universal should consider going after Cedar Fair and Disney should go after Seaworld. Cedar Fair would give Universal a second park in the LA market and many other regional parks that could feed into their destination resorts. Seaworld makes sense for Disney for several reasons. They need immediate capacity in Orlando and Seaworld would help even though it would need lots of investments over the next few years. They would also gain a Virginia park they can use some of their Disney's America plans for rides and attractions. As for Tampa and San Antonio they could sell them to Six Flags. Finally,San Diego could be kept or sold as there are reasons for both.
 

Bairstow

Well-Known Member
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Universal wanted VB to beat the smack out of both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. It's best chance of doing that was its first full year of operation. It didn't happen. So yes I'm sure they're disappointed. Keep in mind both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are not open year around. They both have months long annual periods of closing. Though these two closing periods do not overlap with each other, Volcano Bay is open year around and still did not beat them in attendance.
Marketing hype aside, did they? As others have pointed out, Volcano Bay simply never had the capacity necessary to rival either of the Disney waterparks for raw attendance. Volcano Bay's main purpose was to drive Universal's on-site resort bookings, by establishing the resort as a true 3-park destination rather than an add-on to a long Disney trip. I feel like Universal's park attendance numbers are only telling half the story- even though their gate numbers were kind of flat for 2018, if a larger number of those guests were staying on site, that could potentially be huge growth for them overall.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
Universal wanted VB to beat the smack out of both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. It's best chance of doing that was its first full year of operation. It didn't happen. So yes I'm sure they're disappointed. Keep in mind both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are not open year around. They both have months long annual periods of closing. Though these two closing periods do not overlap with each other, Volcano Bay is open year around and still did not beat them in attendance.
Hotel and vacation packages are probably a better gauge of VB’s performance for them than just admissions.
In addition to the average family’s limit when it comes to vacation time and spending, I think Volcano Bay also suffers from a general lack of awareness. Everybody has heard of Universal Studios, but bring up Volcano Bay in casual conversation and you’ll probably get blank stares.
This is going to be a huge problem for Fantastic Worlds (“The one with Nintendo”) and it will probably hurt them more than Disney through canabalization.
 

seascape

Well-Known Member
Hotel and vacation packages are probably a better gauge of VB’s performance for them than just admissions.

This is going to be a huge problem for Fantastic Worlds (“The one with Nintendo”) and it will probably hurt them more than Disney through canabalization.
I believe you are right that Universal's Fantastic Worlds will take much more from their existing parks than add customers or take from Disney. It is possible that by having 3 parks will discourage the single day WDW guest from going as it will be impossible to visit all 3 parks in one day to ride the top attractions. It will actually make guests choose between the 2 resorts for their 1 vacation. And you can count on WDW adding more attractions than are currently announced.

Its hard to believe but just 2 to 5 years ago many people here said Disney was doomed and Universal would have one or both of their parks ahead of at least 2 of Disney's. That is not going to happen. All 4 of Disney's existing parks will stay well ahead of Universal's for years to come.
 

Bairstow

Well-Known Member
In addition to the average family’s limit when it comes to vacation time and spending, I think Volcano Bay also suffers from a general lack of awareness. Everybody has heard of Universal Studios, but bring up Volcano Bay in casual conversation and you’ll probably get blank stares.
To be fair, this is probably true of Disney's waterparks as well, and waterparks in general.
They don't get the exposure and advertisement of the main theme parks, in large part because they are often already utilized at or near their capacity much of the time.
 

seascape

Well-Known Member
To be fair, this is probably true of Disney's waterparks as well, and waterparks in general.
They don't get the exposure and advertisement of the main theme parks, in large part because they are often already utilized at or near their capacity much of the time.
You should know that the number 1 company for water park attendance in the US is Six Flags. Its not even close. Water parks are nice but no one goes to Orlando for the water parks. Maybe someone will take a weekend trip in the winter to get away to a resort that has a water park but the trip is to get away for the weekend and not take a multi day vacation. People go to Orlando for the real themeparks.
 

seascape

Well-Known Member
It's crazy that no one comes to Orlando for the waterparks but the top 4 waterparks in the country are in Orlando.
The fact that the top 4 water parks are in Orlando has to do with the fact that Orlando is the number 1 tourist location in the world. There are more timeshares in Orlando than anywhere else. There are oy 4,274,000 visitors to WDW water parks while thete are 58,311,000 visitors to the 4 WDW parks. People use the water parks as an off day.
 

egg

Well-Known Member
AND of the top water parks, it is easily the most beautiful.
But at the end of the day it’s certainly less of a “water theme park” than either of WDW’s water parks. The slides themselves in Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are actually fairly themed whereas Volcano Bay’s slides are not and hardly even attempt to be.* I do like Volcano Bay a lot and think it looks nice for what it is but I don’t think it raises the bar.


* They've gone with a meta storyline about how the native people decided to build a water park, which is lazy and reminiscent of attractions like DinoRama or the IncrediCoaster.
 

imarc

Well-Known Member
The fact that the top 4 water parks are in Orlando has to do with the fact that Orlando is the number 1 tourist location in the world. There are more timeshares in Orlando than anywhere else. There are oy 4,274,000 visitors to WDW water parks while thete are 58,311,000 visitors to the 4 WDW parks. People use the water parks as an off day.
Which is still impressive given Disney has 4 theme parks which by themselves could fill a vacation.
 

Disone

Well-Known Member
Marketing hype aside, did they?
Yes, they absolutely did. And only now are you seeing the narrative that the park doesn't have the capacity to compete with Typhoon Lagoon. Which honestly is not true. Which park is bigger? Which park has more water slides? This is universal corporate spin in its best. It is the better water park. It is not the most immersive Water Theme Park in the world. Hard to be when you're built right next to an interstate freeway in the back side of your icon is an exposed infrastructure of pipes and staircases. But that doesn't mean it's not the better water park. It truly is. That said It did not win the water park battle.
 

Bairstow

Well-Known Member
Yes, they absolutely did. And only now are you seeing the narrative that the park doesn't have the capacity to compete with Typhoon Lagoon. Which honestly is not true. Which park is bigger?....
I'm not sure if I'm following your arguments, but the Disney waterparks are way bigger; Blizzard is 66 acres to Typhoon's 56, both more than twice the size of Volcano Bay.
 

Disone

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure if I'm following your arguments, but the Disney waterparks are way bigger; Blizzard is 66 acres to Typhoon's 56, both more than twice the size of Volcano Bay.
Just that prior to this I did not hear the argument that it will never beat Disney's water parks because it was too small.
 

donsullivan

Premium Member
One of the things about the Orlando water park marketplace is that even when players have left the market and new ones have joined the market share between the 3 largest players really doesn't change all that much. Ever since Sea World built Aquatica the market share numbers have been pretty constant.

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imarc

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure if I'm following your arguments, but the Disney waterparks are way bigger; Blizzard is 66 acres to Typhoon's 56, both more than twice the size of Volcano Bay.
They don't look twice bigger on satellite. I wonder if that larger number includes undeveloped space or the parking lot.
 

Lensman

Premium Member
They don't look twice bigger on satellite. I wonder if that larger number includes undeveloped space or the parking lot.
I measured the areas of Volcano Bay and Blizzard Beach in Google Earth Pro. Both seemed to come in around 25 acres, just counting what looked to be guest areas. Unless I'm using the area measuring tool wrong, it's hard for me to figure out how one gets to 66 acres for Blizzard Beach without including the big cast parking lot, retention pond, and guest parking lot. Where is that figure from, @Bairstow?

Typhoon Lagoon seems to barely be 20 acres.
 
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Volcano Bay's max capacity is reportedly 6,000 people per day (Theme Park Insider).

Based on those numbers, they're averaging 80% capacity which I would think is really good considering weather and seasonality.

Or the reported 6,000 figure is wrong.
The figure is wrong. In the first several months of operation Universal scaled back capacity at Volcano Bay while they got a handle on the operation. The park had a rough opening. Since then they've allowed the park capacity to edge back up to about what the park was originally designed for- 10,000. The number of open attractions always determines what is the handling capacity at any given time. Also, since not all guests will stay all day long daily attendance can exceed the park's handling capacity.
 
In 2018, MK had 34 Halloween parties and 23 Christmas parties. Based on the piecemeal information I've been able to gather, there were also at least 13 After Hours events and weekly-ish(?) Early Morning Magic events for most of the year. Depending exactly how many of the non-events there were, that essentially increases the number of "days" MK takes admission by 1/4-1/3 over the competition. Even if daily attendance is flat, they continue to grow annual attendance by adding days to the calendar.

Or do we really believe that MK averaged over 57,000 people every single day in 2018, when the park's capacity hasn't significantly changed in nearly 3 decades? I'm sure many days were at or above that number, but I have a hard time believing that's the average.
This report is not supposed to account for hard-ticketed special events, park buyouts, after hours Halloween events etc., unless the event is included with regular admission. The point of the report is to try to put all parks on a level playing field for comparison sake. Magic Mornings while restricted to hotel guests would count since it is considered part of the regular operating day.

Why do you find it so hard to believe that Magic Kingdom averaged 57,000 people per day. That's an average. Some days are much higher and that means that other days have fewer guests. Park capacity is defined as how many guests the park can accommodate at any one time, but daily attendance is the number of unique guests who walked into that park at any time during the day. Most guests don't spend all day in the park, which allows the park to host more guests than the capacity is at any one time.
 
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