Theme parks bounced back in 2022 from pandemic lows with revenue, if not attendance

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. par / pɑr / (n.) – a level of equality in value or status

    He got promoted because his performance is at par with the senior staff members.

  2. surpass / sərˈpæs / (v.) – to be better or greater than someone or something

    The number of international travelers this year is expected to surpass last year’s record.

  3. bounce back / baʊns bæk / (phrasal v.) – to start succeeding again after a challenging time

    Airline companies are now bouncing back after the pandemic.

  4. tolerance / ˈtɒl ər əns / (n.) – the ability to endure unpleasant or difficult situations

    The teacher has a high tolerance for students’ negative behavior. He doesn’t get impatient easily.

  5. buoy / ˈbu i / (v.) – to keep something at a high level, such as profits, prices, etc.

    The CEO is looking for new business partners that would help to buoy the company’s growth.


Read the text below.

Last year marked a return to normal for the theme park industry around the world with operators reporting revenues, and in some cases attendance, at par or above pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report.

Globally, the theme park industry hit a peak in 2019, the year before the spread of the COVID-19 virus forced many parks and attractions to shut down temporarily and then reopen with restrictions on attendance.

Many operators focused on improving visitor experiences through adapting app-based technologies and that paid off with revenues in 2022 that surpassed 2019 levels, even if attendance had not bounced back in the same way, according to the report by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM, the design and engineering firm.

“The pandemic revealed a sophisticated consumer base that is willing to pay more for out-of-home entertainment and experiences. However, consumers also demand more in terms of comfort, ease, quality, and satisfaction,” the report said. “Overall tolerance for big crowds and long waits seems to have gone down.”

The theme parks also found ways to add days for lucrative special events that attracted local visitors such as Halloween celebrations at Universal, Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks. In Orlando, Florida, the theme park capital of the U.S., attendance was driven by domestic visitors rather than international travelers, a segment that was hurt by travel restrictions during the height of the pandemic response. The new Super Nintendo World buoyed attendance for Universal Studios Japan, the report said.

Some of the most attended theme parks were: Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had 16.8 million visitors, almost double the attendance in 2021 but still below the 18.6 million visitors in 2019; Tokyo Disneyland with 12 million visitors, close to double the numbers from the previous year but still only about two-thirds of 2019’s attendance; Tokyo DisneySea with 10.1 million visitors, a three-quarters jump from 2021 but still down two-thirds from 2019; and Universal Studios Japan with 12.3 million visitors, which was more than doubled the attendance from 2021 but still lagging the 14.5 million visitors in 2019.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to the article, overall tolerance for big crowds and long waits seems to have gone down for out-of-home entertainment and experiences. Why do you think this is so? Discuss.
  • Do you have a high or low tolerance for big crowds and long waits? What makes you say so? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Why do you think some consumers are willing to pay more for out-of-home entertainment and experiences? Discuss.
  • What out-of-home entertainment would you be willing to pay more for (ex. movie theaters, waterparks)? Why? Discuss.