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Disneyland unseated by Disney World as most popular theme park

December 21, 1997

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ California’s Disneyland was unseated as the most popular theme park in North America by Florida’s Walt Disney World.

Disneyland’s attendance will slide by about 6.5 percent _ roughly 1 million patrons _ to 14.25 million this year after the Anaheim park axed the intensely popular Main Street Electrical Parade in 1996 for the critically panned Light Magic Show.

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., however, sold 17 million tickets this year, according to Monday’s edition of the trade journal Amusement Business.

Disneyland had captured the top ranking from Disney World in 1995 when the Anaheim park opened its Indiana Jones Adventure thrill ride.

The popularity of the Main Street Electrical Parade pushed Disneyland to its best year ever in 1996, when 15.3 million people visited the park.

It had hoped to generate the same interest with the Light Magic Show, which featured dancing elves, fiber-optic and laser lights and other special effects. But the show opened to poor reviews in May and the attraction was shuttered at the end of the tourism season. A retooled version will appear in summer 2000.

Despite the attendance drop, Disneyland had one of its best years ever.

``We did our best year in 1996, our second-best in 1995 and our third-best this year,″ park spokesman Tom Brocato said Friday.

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