Florida Theme Parks
A large proportion of Florida's income comes from tourism. For example, in 2004, tourists spent a record $57 billion, up over 10% on 2003 and that is despite Florida being hit by four major hurricanes in 2004. A significant proportion of that money was spent in the many theme parks in Florida.
When it comes to theme parks, Florida probably has more
than any other place in the world
Disney Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle
Though there were parks in Florida before the Second World War (Cypress Gardens opened in 1936 and started ski shows in the 1940's) it was Walt Disney's vision in 1964 to purchase 27,500 acres of swamp and rough bush land near Orlando that really started the theme park business in Florida combining roller coasters, flight simulators, family rides, firework spectaculars and musical shows.
The first Disney park, Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, followed eleven year later by Epcot (Walt Disney never lived to see his dream of the future, having died in 1966), then Disney's Hollywood Studios and finally Disney's Animal Kingdom.
In addition, Disney also opened two water theme parks, namely Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Meanwhile other parks were built around Orlando including SeaWorld (the largest marine park in the world) and "a href="http://www.floridareview.co.uk/things-to-do/universal-orlando-resort">Universal Studios and further afield Busch Gardens Africa opened near Tampa.
For a number of years, Florida has boasted 8 of the 12 top spots for most visited theme parks in North America (i.e. including Canada) according to TEA/ERA in their annual Theme Park Attendance Reports. Figures show estimated 2008 numbers (with 2007 numbers in brackets):
- #1 Magic Kingdom, 17.1m million (flat, from 17.1 million)
- #2 Disneyland at Anaheim in California, 14.7 million (-1.0%, down from 14.9 million)
- #3 Epcot, 10.9 million (flat, from 10.9 million)
- #4 Disney's Hollywood Studios, 9.6 million, (+1.0%, up from 9.5 million)
- #5 Disney's Animal Kingdom, 9.5 million (+0.5%, up from 9.5 million)
- #6 Universal Studios Florida, 6.2 million, (+0.5%, up from 6.2 million)
- #7 SeaWorld Orlando, 5.9 million (+2.2%, up from 5.8 million)
- #8 Disney's California Adventure at Anaheim in California, 5.6 million (-2.0%, down from 5.7 million)
- #9 Islands of Adventure, 5.3 million, (-2.5%, down from 5.4 million)
- #10 Universal Studios Hollywood at Universal City in California, 4.6 million (-2.5%, down from 4.7 million)
- #11 Busch Gardens Africa, 4.4 million (flat, from 4.4 million)
- #12 SeaWorld San Diego in California, 4.1 million (-2.6%, down from 4.3 million)
Today there are literally dozens of theme parks in Florida. For more information, click on the related links in the sidebar (right of page).
See also:- Buying Theme Park Tickets