Disneyland's California Adventure was never a hit like the rest of the parks, largely because it lacked the draw of Disney's brands. Now a $1.1 billion overhaul aims to fix all that, starting by tapping into the power of Pixar with a "Cars World" theme pegged to the successful digitally animated feature.
What was wong with California Adventure? It attracted only about six million visitors a year, compared to the seven million first projected when the park launched in 2001.
The park didn't have many rides which visitors seem to like. And it was all about the great state of California, and less about Disney's powerful brands. Not so appealing, especially to visitors from the Golden State. So now, Disney is tapping into its newly acquired Pixar brands and playing that approach.
Disney is investing in Anaheim to get visitors to spend more time: more than just a day visiting Disneyland. Having EPCOT in Orlando gets tourists to spend three days at Disney World (not Disneyland as stated here earlier), and California Adventure has helped extend visits to Disneyland to two days.
Staying more days means more money spent at Disneyland hotels, more money spent at Disney-owned restaurants, and more spent on souveniers and consumer products. And making the park about Pixar characters rather than California state historical characters will only help sell more products as well.