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Theme Parks - US - April 2009

The domestic theme park industry has enjoyed several years of growth but is hitting a bump in 2009 with the global recession and cutbacks on vacation spending. Theme park operators have kept busy not only with new rides and attractions, but also with aggressive new pricing promotions. In this report, Mintel offers a review of recent theme park activity and proprietary consumer data on spending and attitudes.

Analysis and insights offered include:

  • How strategies differ for destination and regional theme parks
  • Why destination parks may suffer more than regional parks in 2009
  • Which alternative entertainments consumers are turning to
  • How parks differentiate themselves through advertising
  • What new rides/attractions and promotions are on offer from leading parks
  • Which demographics drive the theme park business
  • Where park visitors are buying their tickets and what they would pay more for
  • How different types of theme park attractions rank in popularity
  • Which consumers are most likely to visit theme parks on overnight vacation

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Growth of theme park revenues slows with economy
                      • Disney parks dominate in number of visitors drawn
                        • Attendance growth challenged by pullback in tourism
                          • Theme parks face competition from at-home entertainment and cheaper alternatives
                            • Most parks find unique point of differentiation in television advertising
                              • Families with children drive the theme park business
                                • Visitors strongly drawn by new rides and features
                                  • The internet is a critical channel for price promotions
                                    • Empty nesters are a growing segment worth targeting
                                      • Asian Americans and the late teen female demographic are also notable
                                      • Insights and Opportunities

                                        • Appeal to teen girls, aging Boomers and non-traditional families for growth
                                          • Target teenage girls with pop culture
                                            • Non-traditional families
                                              • Over-45s
                                                • Innovating the next generation of theme park entertainment
                                                  • Turn the recession into a reason to escape
                                                  • Inspire Insights

                                                      • Trend: Staying Connected
                                                        • A theme park community
                                                          • Trend: Rise of the Screenager
                                                            • Making it bigger
                                                              • Counter-trend marketing
                                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                • Market size
                                                                  • Figure 1: Total U.S. revenues for amusement and theme parks, at current prices, 2003-13
                                                                  • Figure 2: Total U.S. revenues for amusement and theme parks, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2003-13
                                                                • Attendance
                                                                  • Figure 3: Total U.S. admissions for amusement and theme parks, 2003-13
                                                              • Competitive Context

                                                                • At-home entertainment increases in time consumption
                                                                  • Figure 4: Hours of filmed entertainment change in consumption per person per year, 2003-07
                                                                • Internet
                                                                  • Video games
                                                                    • Camping out as a more economical family alternative
                                                                      • Zoos and aquariums are another lower-cost substitute
                                                                        • Live entertainment has exploded nationally
                                                                        • Segment Performance

                                                                          • Introduction
                                                                            • Admissions revenue strong, ancillary revenues weaker
                                                                              • Figure 5: U.S. revenues and forecast for amusement and theme parks, at current prices, by segment, 2003-13
                                                                              • Figure 6: U.S. revenues for amusement and theme parks, by segment, 2006-08
                                                                          • Admissions

                                                                            • Operators grow per capita revenue faster than attendance
                                                                              • Figure 7: U.S. revenues and forecast for amusement and theme park admissions, at current prices, 2003-13
                                                                          • Merchandise and Dining

                                                                            • Ancillary revenues suffer directly from lower attendance
                                                                              • Figure 8: U.S. revenues and forecast for amusement and theme park merchandise & dining, at current prices, 2003-13
                                                                          • Other Revenues (Amusement Machines, Advertising, etc.)

                                                                            • Ad revenue falls in the wake of recession, flat attendance
                                                                              • Figure 9: U.S. revenues and forecast for other revenues*, at current prices, 2003-13
                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                            • Recession reduces discretionary spending on travel
                                                                              • States with destination theme parks see decline in tourist traffic
                                                                                • Currency shifts may reverse admissions growth
                                                                                    • Figure 10: Visitors to the U.S. from Western Europe and the dollar/euro exchange rate, 1999-2009
                                                                                  • Theme park consumer base growth to lag behind general population
                                                                                    • Figure 11: U.S. population theme park visitation, by age group, 2008-13
                                                                                • Leading Theme Parks

                                                                                  • Disney parks lead in attendance and growth
                                                                                    • Figure 12: Top 20 theme parks by attendance in North America, 2007
                                                                                  • Disney
                                                                                    • New offerings
                                                                                      • Other
                                                                                        • Six Flags
                                                                                          • New rides
                                                                                            • New attractions
                                                                                              • Other
                                                                                                • Universal Studios
                                                                                                  • New offerings
                                                                                                    • Other
                                                                                                      • Busch Entertainment Corporation
                                                                                                        • New offerings
                                                                                                          • Other
                                                                                                          • Television Advertising

                                                                                                            • Overview
                                                                                                              • Figure 13: Media expenditures of destination theme parks, 2006-07
                                                                                                            • Disney
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Disney Parks TV ad – Celebratory Moments, December 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Disneyland Resort TV ad – Halloween, October 2008
                                                                                                            • Six Flags
                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Six Flags – Resolve TV ad, December 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 17: Six Flags – Fright Fest TV ad, September 2008
                                                                                                            • Universal Studios
                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Universal Orlando Resort – Inner Super Hero TV ad, February 2009
                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Universal Studios Hollywood – Simpsons Ride TV ad, June 2008
                                                                                                            • Sea World/Busch Gardens
                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Sea World – Discover the World TV ad, January 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 21: Sea World – Fun Card TV ad, January 2009
                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Busch Gardens – Fun Card TV ad, January 2009
                                                                                                              • Figure 23: Busch Gardens – Summer Nights Concerts TV ad, July 2008
                                                                                                            • Other regional parks
                                                                                                              • Figure 24: Cedar Point – Family Road Trip TV ad, July 2008
                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Knott’s Berry Farm – Walking Dead TV ad, October 2008
                                                                                                          • Pricing Promotions

                                                                                                            • Overview
                                                                                                              • Disney
                                                                                                                • Six Flags
                                                                                                                  • Universal Studios
                                                                                                                    • Sea World/Busch Gardens
                                                                                                                    • Incidence of Theme Park Attendance, and Parks Visited

                                                                                                                      • Domestic visitor base shows large decline, possible rebound
                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Attendance of theme parks, by year, 2000-08
                                                                                                                      • Age and presence of children determine attendance rates
                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Attendance of theme parks, by various demographics, July 2007-Sept 2008
                                                                                                                      • Variety offered by Disney World is a powerful draw
                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Theme parks visited, July 2007-Sept 2008
                                                                                                                      • Six Flags is the leader among 18-24-year-olds
                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Theme parks visited, by age, July 2007-Sept 2008
                                                                                                                    • Change in Spending

                                                                                                                      • Higher income means less cutbacks but not more spending
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Change in spending on theme parks, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Children drive spending despite recession
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Change in spending on theme parks, by presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                    • Attitudes Towards Theme Parks and Ticketing

                                                                                                                      • Visitors want new rides, grown-up attractions, and shorter lines
                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Attitudes towards theme parks, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Internet an important channel for ticket distribution
                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Attitudes towards theme park ticketing, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Under-35s like new rides and more grown-up entertainment
                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Attitudes towards theme parks, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Parks can cater to higher-earners with grown-up entertainment and line-bypass
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Attitudes towards theme parks, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Respondents with children look to save money but may pay for convenience
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Attitudes towards theme parks, by presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Purchase of Discounted Admissions

                                                                                                                        • Respondents with children most likely to seek out discounted admissions
                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Purchase of discounted tickets, by various demographic factors, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Internet is the most popular source of discount tickets
                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Source of discounted tickets and coupons, by presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • The Draw of Thrills and Attractions

                                                                                                                        • Physical thrill rides are the top draw
                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Interest in thrills & attractions, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Live entertainment most likely to draw over-55s
                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Interest in thrills & attractions, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Respondents with children are more active
                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Interest in thrills and attractions, by presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Duration of Trip Involving Theme Parks

                                                                                                                        • Back-to-school families and empty nesters most likely to take overnight trips
                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Duration of trip involving theme parks, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Higher-income respondents more able to spend on vacations
                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Duration of trip involving theme parks, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Respondents with children less likely to visit on day trips
                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Duration of trip involving theme parks by presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Ancillary Purchases

                                                                                                                        • Merchandise purchased by at least half of respondents who visit
                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Purchase of food and merchandise at amusement park, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Sales of most merchandise not strongly determined by income
                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Purchase of food and merchandise at amusement park, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                        • Family visits more likely to be memorialized
                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Purchase of food and merchandise at amusement park, by presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                        • Asians more likely to visit theme parks
                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Theme parks visited, by race/Hispanic origin, July 2007-Sept 2008
                                                                                                                        • Hispanics more likely to spend on theme parks
                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Change in spending on theme parks, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Duration of trip involving theme parks, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Purchase of food and merchandise at amusement park, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Teenage Visits to Theme Parks

                                                                                                                        • Teens are largest component of visitor base, older female teens in particular
                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Theme parks visitation by teens, by age and gender, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                                                      • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                        • Traditional two-parent families are one of the most important sources of growth
                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Change in spending on theme parks, by marital status and presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Duration of trip involving theme parks, by marital status and presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Purchase of food and merchandise at amusement park, by marital status and presence of children, January 2009
                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                          • Discounters
                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                • Day Trippers
                                                                                                                                  • Who they are
                                                                                                                                    • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                      • Passers
                                                                                                                                        • Who they are
                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                            • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Change in spending on theme parks, by theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Attitudes towards theme parks, by theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Purchase of discounted tickets, by theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Thrills & attractions, by theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Overnight trips, by theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Purchase of food and merchandise, by theme park clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Theme park clusters, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 64: Theme park clusters, by age group, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Theme park clusters, by household income group, January 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 66: Theme park clusters, by Hispanic origin, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                            • Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Theme parks visited, by gender, July 2007-Sept 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Theme parks visited, by HH income, July 2007-Sept 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Change in spending on theme parks, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Attitudes towards theme parks, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Source of discounted tickets and coupons, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Source of discounted tickets and coupons, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Purchase of food and merchandise at amusement park, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                              • Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc
                                                                                                                                              • Avis Budget Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • Busch Entertainment Corporation
                                                                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • Federal Reserve System
                                                                                                                                              • Flickr
                                                                                                                                              • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                              • InBev USA
                                                                                                                                              • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
                                                                                                                                              • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • MTV Networks
                                                                                                                                              • National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)
                                                                                                                                              • Nintendo of America Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
                                                                                                                                              • Paramount Parks Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • Pixar Animation Studios Inc
                                                                                                                                              • Public Broadcasting Service
                                                                                                                                              • Six Flags, Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • Sony Corporation of America
                                                                                                                                              • Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA)
                                                                                                                                              • The Conference Board
                                                                                                                                              • The Hertz Corporation
                                                                                                                                              • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                              • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                              • Universal Studios Inc.
                                                                                                                                              • US Department of Commerce
                                                                                                                                              • Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

                                                                                                                                              Theme Parks - US - April 2009

                                                                                                                                              £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)