After reporting record earnings and booming attendance in 2022, two regional theme parks saw attendance drop off between April and June this year.
SeaWorld and Cedar Fair reported a decline in year-over-year attendance figures by 3 and 6 percent, respectively. Both chains blamed the same culprit: weather.
“Unfortunately, anomalous weather patterns – including unprecedented rainfall in California and wildfires in Canada – have significantly disrupted year-to-date attendance, as well as sales of 2023 season passes, creating a headwind on demand,” said Cedar Fair president and CEO Richard Zimmerman during the company’s second quarter earnings call Thursday.
Zimmerman noted that attendance was down 17 percent at the chain’s two California parks — Knott’s Berry Farm and California’s Great America — while its Midwest parks saw 7 percent more guests compared to the same period last year.
Cedar Fair’s adjusted EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] was $151 million for the second quarter, down 11 percent from the prior year.
SeaWorld announced preliminary results on Wednesday. Attendance throughout the chain fell from 6.3 million guests between April and June 2022 to 6.1 million in the same three-month period this year. The chain also blamed “adverse weather” in its press release for the decline; its full earnings report will be released by Aug. 8.
The two regional chains aren’t alone in seeing fewer guests come through the gates. Multiple media reports have noted the apparent decline in attendance at Walt Disney World.
The Mouse’s archrival, Universal Orlando, also saw a drop in attendance in the second quarter. On the plus side, the company reported record profits at Universal Hollywood following the debut of Super Nintendo World earlier this year.