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Amusement Park Foodservice Trends in the U.S.

Thanks to improving attendance and in-park spending, U.S. amusement park foodservice sales have surpassed prerecession levels, and Packaged Facts’ Amusement Park Foodservice Trends in the U.S. forecasts continued growth through 2014. Make no mistake: food and beverage sales at amusement parks are big business, whether the parks are large or small; national, regional or local; sedate or thrilling; driven by teens, families, or a combination of both. Entertainment district growth, national restaurant brand opportunities, the need for healthier fare, and evolving promotional activity are each helping to shape tomorrow’s amusement park foodservice strategies.

The key to growing amusement park foodservice revenue comes down to matching an amusement park’s unique attributes to guests’ foodservice habits and preferences. This report thoroughly analyzes guest demographics, park visitation behavior, and attendance trends industry participants need to make this connection—and to frame foodservice within the context of the amusement park industry. The report provides the following:

  • Assessment of trends affecting food service in amusement parks, including ticket pricing trends; meal promotions; food healthfulness; popular amusement park foods; quick-service and portability rationales; price promotions; entertainment districts; and branded food options.


  • Analysis of industry amusement park industry attendance trends by demographic (including destination park and regional park categories) and by state of residence and park proximity.


  • Trended demographic analysis of major amusement parks, including each Disneyland and Disneyworld park, each Universal park, Busch Gardens Florida, Seaworld, King’s Island, Cedar Point, Six Flags, and Knott’s Berry Farm.


  • Comparison of snack and beverage, limited-service and full-service restaurant usage among amusement park visitors to the general adult population.


  • Based on proprietary Packaged Facts data, analysis of amusement park visitors’ “last visit” to an amusement park: their choice of companions, the distance they travelled to the park, their mode of transportation, and their decision to use lodging; BYO food and beverage usage; and ticket, food, beverage, souvenir & parking spending.


  • Market size and forecast for amusement park foodservice revenue for 2007-2014.


  • Analysis of the impact of macro-economic drivers shaping amusement park foodservice, including an economic forecast through 2014; consumer confidence and unemployment; consumer spending trends and recreation spending trends; travel and leisure spending trends; hotel travel trends; and amusement park attendance trends.
The report also analyses major amusement park operators’ foodservice platforms, park by park, including those of Cedar Fair, L.P., Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, Universal Parks & Resorts, and the Walt Disney Company.


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope and Methodology
      • Scope of coverage
    • Methodology
      • Consumer survey methodology
      • Market size and forecast
      • Other sources
      • Restaurant categories
      • Limited-service restaurant definitions
      • Full-service restaurant definitions
      • Other definitions
    • Amusement Park Foodservice Market Size and Forecast
    • Amusement Park Foodservice Revenue Drivers
    • Insight Capsule
    • Amusement Park Menu & Food Trends
      • Insight Capsule
    • Amusement Park Attendance Trends: Demographic Analysis
      • Insight Capsule
      • Fast Facts
    • Amusement Park Visitor Restaurant Usage
      • Insight Capsule
    • The Amusement Park Visit: Companion & Travel Analysis
      • Insight Capsule
    • The Amusement Park Visit: BYO and Park Spending Analysis
      • Insight capsule
    • Amusement Park Operator Foodservice Analyses
  • Amusement Park Foodservice Market Size and Forecast
    • Market size and forecast summary
      • Attendance on the upswing
      • For amusement parks, food is big business
      • Walt Disney foodservice revenue higher than next four amusement park operators combined
        • Table Foodservice Revenue, Top Five Amusement Park Operators, 2011
      • Market size estimate
  • Amusement Park Foodservice Revenue Drivers
    • Overview
    • Economic forecast through 2014
      • GDP: A long time getting back, but finally passes pre-recession levels
      • Forecast factors
      • On a positive note
      • On a negative note
      • The projections
      • Consumer confidence showing signs of mending
      • Unemployment remains high but is tapering downward
      • Demographic analysis
      • Amusement park foodservice consequences
      • Promotional activity should continue
      • Spending on recreational services outpaces overall consumer spending
    • Travel and tourism spending
      • Tourism spending
      • Travel spending and volume to moderate in 2012 and beyond
      • Government forecast calls for even higher growth international travel to U.S.
        • Table U.S. Travel Historical Expenditures and Forecast, 2007-2014
    • Hotel travel trends
      • Destination resort relevance
        • Table Hotel/Lodging Use by Miles Travelled to Amusement Park, 2011
      • Amusement parks as hotel operators
    • Hotel industry upswing
      • Table Monthly Hotel Room Occupancy Rates and Revenue by Quarter, 2009-2011
      • Positive forecast
        • Table U.S. Monthly Hotel Room Occupancy and Rate Outlook, 2012-13
      • Attendance passes pre-recession levels
        • Table Theme Park Attendance, Top 20 Theme Parks, 2007-2010
      • Theme park operator attendance trends
        • Table Theme Park Attendance: Top 20 Theme Parks by Theme Park Owner, 2007-2010
  • Amusement Park Menu & Food Trends
    • Overview
      • Ticket pricing trends
      • Incenting longer stays to trigger additional in-park spending
      • Walt Disney World
      • Universal Hollywood
      • Six Flags' multi-year approach to improving ticket yield
      • Meal promotions
      • Universal Studios Orlando
      • Busch Gardens' all-day dining deal
      • If you're looking to eat healthy, go somewhere else
      • Pack a lunch
      • Is that the dietician crying?
      • Noah's Ark: deep-fried foods are a mainstay
      • Deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos
      • Healthy foods are offered
      • Amusement park staples
      • Finger foods
      • Pizza
      • Rules to live by
      • Make it portable
      • Tried and true favorites
      • Food relevance
      • Epcot foodservice at center stage
      • Walt Disney World Swan and the Walt Disney World Dolphin
      • Universal Orlando
      • Price sensitivity means enhancing food value
      • Kalahari Resort responds with combo meals
      • Water World mixes combo meal with ample signage
      • Splish Splash offers size variations
      • Water Park of America offers build-your-own options & mini-sizing
      • Entertainment districts
      • California Marketplace
      • CityWalk Orlando
      • Downtown Disney
      • Branded food options
      • In the park, Disney pulls Houdini on national brands
      • But food retail brands are prominently displayed
  • Amusement Park Attendance Trends: Demographic Analysis
    • Demographic analysis: Amusement park attendance trends
      • Amusement park attendance on the upswing
      • Led by racial/ethnic minority groups and lower- and upper-income consumers
        • Table Amusement Park Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
    • Destination & regional amusement park attendance trends
      • Slight shift to regional parks and away from destination parks
      • Demographic analysis: Destination park attendance trends
        • Table Destination Amusement Park Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Demographic analysis: Regional park attendance trends
        • Table Regional Amusement Park Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
    • Demographic analysis: Visitor geographic distribution analysis: California parks
      • Table Major California Amusement Parks, Visitor Geographic Distribution Analysis, 2011
      • Table Major Florida Amusement Parks, Visitor Geographic Distribution Analysis, 2011
      • Table Major Ohio Amusement Parks: Visitor Geographic Distribution Analysis, 2011
    • Demographic analysis: Attendance trends at major amusement parks
      • Disneyland
        • Table Disneyland Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Disneyworld: Animal Kingdom
        • Table Disneyworld Animal Kingdom Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Disneyworld: Epcot Center
        • Table Disneyworld Epcot Center Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Disneyworld: Magic Kingdom
        • Table Disneyworld Magic Kingdom Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Universal Studios Hollywood
        • Table Universal Studios Hollywood Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Universal Studios Orlando
        • Table Universal Studios Orlando Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
        • Table Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Busch Gardens, Tampa
        • Table Busch Gardens (Tampa) Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • SeaWorld
        • Table SeaWorld Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Knott's Berry Farm
        • Table Knott's Berry Farm Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
      • Six Flags
        • Table Six Flags Visitation Trends: Key Demographics, 2008-11
  • Amusement Park Visitor Restaurant Usage
    • Demographic analysis: restaurant usage among amusement park visitors
      • Serve up the restaurant fare
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: Restaurant Usage and Frequency of Use, by Restaurant Type, 2011
      • Disneyland & Disneyworld
        • Table Disneyland & Disneyworld Visitors: Restaurant Usage and Frequency of Use, by Restaurant Type, 2011
      • Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure
        • Table Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure Visitors: Restaurant Usage and Frequency of Use, by Restaurant Type, 2011
      • Busch Gardens & SeaWorld
        • Table Busch Gardens & SeaWorld: Restaurant Usage and Frequency of Use, by Restaurant Type, 2011
      • Regional theme parks
        • Table Regional Theme Park Visitors: Restaurant Usage and Frequency of Use, by Restaurant Type, 2011
  • The A musement Park Visit: Companion & Travel Analysis
    • The amusement park visit: Companion & travel analysis
      • Not a solitary endeavor
      • What it means for amusement park foodservice
      • Family companionship
      • What it means for amusement park foodservice
      • Bring the kids is the norm
      • What it means for amusement park foodservice
      • A local endeavor
      • What it means for amusement park foodservice
      • Load up the car
      • What it means for amusement park foodservice
        • Table Amusement Park Visitors: Companion Analysis, Distance Travelled, Transportation Choice & Lodging Choice, 2011
      • Age analysis
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: Party Size, Family Members Present, Children Present, Distance Travelled, Travel Method & Lodging Choice, by Age, 2011
      • HH income analysis
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: Party Size, Family Members Present, Children Present, Distance Travelled, Travel Method & Lodging Choice, by HH Income, 2011
      • Race/ethnicity analysis
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: Party Size, Family Members Present, Children Present, Distance Travelled, Travel Method & Lodging Choice, by Race/Ethnicity, 2011
  • The Amusement Park Visit: BYO and Park Spending Analysis
    • The amusement park visit: BYO food and beverage
      • BYO usage a strong competitor to in-park foodservice
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: BYO Food & Drink, 2011
      • Age analysis
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: BYO Food & Drink, by Age, 2011
      • HH income analysis
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: BYO Food & Drink, by HH Income, 2011
      • Parents who bring their children
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: BYO Food & Drink, Parents Bringing Children, 2011
      • Miles travelled
        • Table Theme Park Visitors: BYO Food & Drink, by Miles Travelled to Park, 2011
    • The amusement park visit: ticket, food, beverage, souvenir & parking spend
      • Food and beverage spend is part of the visit
        • Table Theme Park Spending Analysis: Admission Ticket, Souvenirs, Food, Beverages & Parking, 2011
      • Spending by HH income
        • Table Theme Park Spending Analysis: Admission Ticket, Souvenirs, Food, Beverages & Parking, 2011
      • Spending by age
        • Table Theme Park Spending Analysis: Admission Ticket, Souvenirs, Food, Beverages & Parking, 2011
      • Spending by parents who bring their children
      • Kids' influence
      • Pester power
        • Table Theme Park Spending Analysis: Admission Ticket, Souvenirs, Food, Beverages & Parking, Parents Bringing Children, 2011
      • Spending by repeat visitors
        • Table Repeat Visitor Theme Park Spending Analysis: Admission Ticket, Souvenirs, Food, Beverages &Parking, 2011
  • Amusement Park Operator Foodservice Analyses
    • C edar Fair, L.P.
      • Target audience
      • Cedar Point and Soak City: summary of operations
    • Hotel facilities
    • Marinas
    • Cedar Point and Soak City: foodservice
      • Branded chain presence
      • Limited-service variety
      • Full-service in the minority
      • BYO limitations
    • Knott's Berry Farm: summary of operations
      • Hotel facilities
      • Area competition
    • Knott's Berry Farm: foodservice
      • California Marketplace
      • Weddings encouraged
      • Out-of-park competition
    • Other attractions
    • Sales performance
      • 2009
      • 2010
      • 2011
        • Table Cedar Fair, L.P., Key Metrics, 2007-11
    • Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
      • A coaster leader
      • Cartoon characters provide differentiation
      • Regional draw among families, adults and teens
        • Table Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, Demographics, 2010
      • Positive and improving guest satisfaction
        • Table Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, Guest Satisfaction, 2006-2010
      • The parks
        • Table Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, Park Profiles
      • Marketing and promotion
      • Honing the strategy
      • Group sales
      • Season passes
      • Ticketing discounts and promotions
      • A multi-year approach to improving ticket yield
      • Foodservice
      • Foodservice drives in-park sales
      • Six Flags Great Adventure - Food Offerings
      • On-the-go food offerings predominate
      • A smattering of sit-down choices
      • Discounting in the mix
      • BYO limitations
      • Six Flags Great America - Food Offerings
      • Candy, candy, candy
      • Meal discounting and promotions
      • Sales performance
      • 2009
      • 2010
      • 2011
        • Table Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, Key Metrics, 2008-11
    • Universal Parks & Resorts
      • Universal Orlando
      • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter sends attendance skyrocketing
      • On-site Hotel overview
      • Hotel dining options
      • Healthier eating
      • Promotions
      • Wedding and reception packages
      • Theme Park Dining: Universal Studios Florida
      • Theme Park Dining: Universal's Islands of Adventure
      • Dining at CityWalk Orlando
      • Universal Studios Hollywood
      • Wizarding World of Harry Potter coming to Los Angeles
      • Theme Park Dining: Universal Studios Hollywood
      • Restaurant chains welcome
      • Local draw
      • Food centric
      • Sales performance
      • 2011
        • Table NBCUniversal Theme Parks, Key Metrics, 2010-11
    • The Walt Disney Company
      • Parks and Resorts
    • Walt Disney World Resort
      • Magic Kingdom
      • Epcot
      • Epcot foodservice at center stage
      • Epcot's answer to authentic Italian cuisine
      • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
      • Disney's Hollywood Studios
      • Hollywood Studios foodservice: functional and fun
      • Disney's Animal Kingdom
      • Animal Kingdom foodservice: food incorporated into theme
      • Downtown Disney Area
      • Downtown Disney Area foodservice
      • T-Rex theme park restaurant
      • Hotels and resorts
      • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
      • Disneyworld chain branding
      • Rainforest Café
      • Walt DisneyWorld Passholder Program
    • Disneyland Resort
      • Disneyland
      • Disneyland foodservice
      • Name restaurant brands disappear
      • But food retail brands are prominently displayed
      • Disney California Adventure
      • Disney California Adventure foodservice-a taste of California
      • Branded signage eschewed
      • Downtown Disney foodservice
      • Easy access for locals
      • California Food & Wine Festival
      • Hotels and resorts
      • Disneyland hotels and resort foodservice
      • New resort set to open in 2013
        • Table Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Business Unit Summary
      • Sales performance
      • 2010
      • 2011
      • Fiscal Q1 2012
        • Table The Walt Disney Company, Selected Metrics, 2008-11

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