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By the Numbers

While attendance levels continue to remain relatively steady at Disney, and attendance at Universal Orlando has increased exponentially (thanks to the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), SeaWorld hasn't been so lucky. Across the board, Orlando's theme parks (including Disney, and even Universal to some extent) continue to feel the effects of the economic downturn. Though predictions state that attendance levels will continue to rise over the next few years, they will likely do so at a much slower pace (with Universal's wildly high attendance figures likely to drop as the newness of the Wizarding World begins to wear off). The parks, however, continue to entice visitors to return and to stay longer by offering special deals, discounts, and the addition of wild and wonderfully new attractions. Here are the 2010 attendance estimates (and their national rankings) for all of the major Orlando parks according to TEA, Inc., and Economic Research Associates:

  • No. 1: Magic Kingdom, 17 million (-1.5%)
  • No. 3: Epcot, 11 million (-1.5%)
  • No. 4: Disney's Animal Kingdom, 9.7 million (+1%)
  • No. 5: Disney's Hollywood Studios, 9.6 million (-.1%)
  • No. 7: Islands of Adventure, 5.9 million (+30.2%)
  • No. 8: Universal Studios Florida, 5.9 million (+6.1%)
  • No. 9: SeaWorld, 5.1 million (-12%)

(Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure rank 2nd and 6th, respectively.)

Behind the Scenes

You'll never catch a glimpse of, say, Mickey relaxing with his head off, or Pluto taking a candy-bar break -- that would ruin the entire illusion (and this is a world built on fantasy). The people inside the characters, as well as other cast members, take breaks and travel around the park through an intricate system of underground tunnels that are off-limits to the public -- unless you pay a premium for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Did you Know?

  • Walt Disney World employs 60,000 cast members, making it the largest single-site employer in the United States.
  • Mickey Mouse has more than 175 outfits, ranging from scuba gear to formal wear. But he's second banana to Minnie, who has 200.
  • The number of Disney T-shirts sold by the parks each year could plaster the image of Mickey Mouse on the chest of every Chicagoan.
  • Since 1971, the total miles logged by Walt Disney World monorail trains would be equal to more than 30 round-trips to the moon.
  • Mowing the lawn at WDW is no joke. The staff mows 450,000 miles each year -- the equivalent of 18 trips around the Earth's equator.
  • The WDW Laundry handles 240,000 pounds of laundry a day! To get the equivalent, you'd have to wash and dry a load every day for 44 years.
  • More than a million pounds of watermelon are served every year at Walt Disney World Resort (watch out for flying seeds!).
  • Walt Disney World gift shops sell about 500,000 character watches annually. Not surprisingly, most of them are Mickeys.
  • According to Kodak estimates, about 4% of the amateur photographs snapped in the U.S. are taken at Walt Disney World.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.