Will Cars Land Elevate DCA Enough

The LA Times wonders if the changes to the entrance to the park and the addition of Cars Land to Disney California Adventure will be enough to elevate the park to a full day experience. There’s a lot of room for improvement:

In 2010, California Adventure drew slightly more than 6 million visitors, while Disneyland welcomed about 17 million, according to estimates issued by the Themed Entertainment Assn. and the AECOM engineering and consulting firm. Disney does not release attendance figures.

To make matters worse, analysts said, many of those who visited California Adventure probably owned annual passes that gave them access to both parks. Disney had hoped visitors would spend a full day in each park and stay at a Disney hotel overnight.

Disneyland recently hiked annual pass prices by as much as 30% to try and cut down on the number of locals using DCA and Disneyland as their private playground. The move is a bit controversial, but really one of the few avenues Disney had to address the problem without major capital expenditure (which, after all, is what they’ve just completed at DCA).

As in Orlando, there is increased competition from Universal Studios and even Knott’s Berry Farm and Magic Mountain. The Disneyland resort as a whole has capacity problems. Many days more guests flood the park than they number of rides and shows can truly accommodate. The addition of the rides at Cars Land will help this. Guest satisfaction is the number one indicator of generating return business and rides per capita is one of the leading indicators of strong guest satisfaction. We’ll wait and see what the spreadsheets stay as Disney continues to work the formula for guest satisfaction in Anaheim. Maybe more attractions are still needed or maybe even that third gate we’ve been promised.

After Cars Land opens, what do you think is the next logical step for Disneyland?