ANAHEIM, Calif., Dec. 20 -- Attendance at Disneyland has plunged 10 percent this year to 10.3 million, the biggest decline among the nation's leading theme parks, a trade journal reported Tuesday. Disney officials steadfastly refuse to release attendance figures, but Amusement Business said Disneyland's attendance was due to overall sluggish tourism conditions in Southern California. Those factors include continued concern among visitors about the region, which were heightened by the destructive Northridge earthquake on Jan. 17, and the state's relatively slow economy, which has begun to rebound this year. Disneyland, flagship of Walt Disney Co. and the nation's second most popular theme park, is opening its most expensive attraction, a $100 million Indiana Jones ride, in February. It also is planning on a $3 billion Westcot expansion in its parking lot, due to open in 1999, although Orange County's bankruptcy filing may have thrown the project in jeopardy. Amusement Business also reported that attendance at the nation's leading theme park, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., had seen attendance drop this year by 6.5 percent to 11.2 million. The magazine cited a soft tourist market for the decline. The third-largest theme park, Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, saw attendance fall 3 percent to 9.7 million, but the decline was not as steep as in recent years due to new attractions. The Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando was stable at 8 million this year with its new Sunset Boulevard and Tower of Terror attractions helping draw visitors. Universal Studios Florida, owned by Matsushita Electric Industrial, finished fifth with 7.4 million, up 4 percent due to special events.
Universal Studios Hollywood and Sea World of Florida tied for sixth with 4.6 million. The Los Angeles park lost 7 percent due to the soft market and the marine park, owned by Anheuser-Busch, gained 2.5 percent. Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., came in eighth with 3.8 million, a 4 percent gain due to the opening of its Mystery Lodge attraction. Sea World of California and Busch Gardens Tampa tied for ninth place with 3.7 million, with both posting stable attendance.