Oct 17, 2022, 1:28 PM ·
If Common was the big winner in the new 2021 TEA/AECOM Concept Index attendance report, it really is also crystal clear which enterprise was the large loser past yr – SeaWorld. [Please see Universal Makes Big Gains in 2021 Theme Park Attendance Report, if you have not yet read our coverage of the new attendance report.]
States preserved distinct rules about when and how topic parks could open up in 2021, so evaluating outcomes from parks in unique states involves more asterisks than a battle in an aged-college Batman comic. But SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay function in Florida, which had most likely the most permissive Covid regulations in The us in 2021.SeaWorld and Busch Gardens usually lag the Walt Disney World and Common Orlando topic parks in the TEA/AECOM North America leading 20, as they did again final yr. Even so, both of those parks captivated much less readers last calendar year than Cedar Position and Kings Island also conquer SeaWorld, even with the two Ohio parks functioning only seasonally.Piling on, Knott’s Berry Farm in tremendous-restrictive California beat both equally of people Florida parks parks handily, and even 6 Flags Magic Mountain trailed SeaWorld Orlando by a scant 4,000 site visitors for the 12 months.Elsewhere in California, SeaWorld San Diego captivated the next-to-fewest site visitors among the the U.S. concept parks in the TEA/AECOM North America top 20 in 2021, slipping driving Magic Mountain for the 1st time. Plainly, even accounting for point out rule differences, the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens parks missing floor to its topic park competition in 2021. So what did the SeaWorld parks get erroneous final yr? They chose not to open any of their new roller coasters. For the 2020 period, the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens topic parks introduced an ambitious line-up of new coasters for their parks in Orlando, Tampa, Williamsburg, Va., San Antonio, and San Diego. But only the San Antonio coaster opened before Covid forced the closure of concept parks about the earth in early 2020.The lockdowns remaining parks all over the environment to determine what to do with their new-for-2020 attractions at the time the parks began receiving acceptance to reopen, typically with potential limitations. Do you debut your new experience right away or wait until eventually capability regulations elevate and you can advertise that attraction without having restriction? Practically each park experienced to halt construction for the duration of lockdowns, and everybody faced severe cashflow concerns with their parks closed, so a lot of parks that could reopen in 2020 made a decision to postpone their new rides right until the 2021 season.SeaWorld went even much more conservative and selected to maintain off until eventually 2022 in Orlando, Tampa, Williamsburg, and San Diego. That remaining those parks to function in 2021 with practically nothing new to encourage, conserve for remaining open yet again. If you think the TEA/AECOM numbers, it appears that the public’s reaction to this was a collective yawn, shrug, and the concern, “So, who’s up for visiting Common alternatively?”
The pandemic lockdowns did not just delay the opening of 2020 points of interest. It also delayed the growth of new points of interest for 2021 and outside of. The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks did get to open a bunch of new rides this year, though some of their opponents experienced almost nothing new to offer. But the SeaWorld parks entered 2022 from a lesser foundation of support than these competition. SeaWorld demands a significant 12 months in 2022 earn again the ground it misplaced in 2021 and to continue to keep relocating ahead in a recovering journey marketplace. If the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks this yr do not recuperate to the positions they relished relative to all those competitors back on 2019, the company faces the probability that its delay in 2021 may well have completed long lasting problems.SeaWorld administration is trying to combat that. The firm is organizing a total line-up of new attractions in 2023 for its major parks in Virginia, Florida, Texas, and California. And once again, the company is wanting to new coasters to travel attendance at its major 5 parks in the yr ahead.In the most effective-situation scenario, SeaWorld’s choice to sit out 2021 resulted in a limited-term setback that the business managed to get over with new rides in 2022 and 2023. In the worst circumstance, the firm’s decision demoted SeaWorld and Busch Gardens to a new, lessen baseline of assist that will require a significantly extra impressive – and high-priced – line-up of new sights for the firm to gain back concept park supporters.* * *
Like Topic Park Insider? Aid us! Get the weekly e mail, or acquire attraction tickets, or just Venmo Robert.