Disney: “Cars” Theme Park Has Big Expectations

    June 18, 2012
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

With the opening of Disney’s California Adventure Park–located right next door to Disneyland–came a certain amount of expectation. It’s rare for a company like Disney to fail at anything, but they’ve seen the Adventure Park underperform in just about every way since it opened in 2001. The hope was that visitors would stay longer in Disney hotels in order to get the most of their time in the parks, but CAP only ended up being a layover for adults to get a drink while the kids took an arcade break before heading back to Disneyland, which is–let’s face it–where the kids really want to be anyway.

Now, as part of a four-year, billion-dollar revamp of California Adventure Park, Disney has introduced a “Cars” themed attraction which has drawn fans from all over the country and even saw them camping out last week in anticipation of the official opening on Friday. It couldn’t have come at a better time, either, as Disney is still reeling from the enormous box-office failure that was “John Carter“. With theme parks raking in almost $3 billion in revenue for the company this year, they’re making a step in the right direction; however, if the “Cars” attraction doesn’t perform as well as they want it to, the California Adventure Park might well go under.

Executive director of Disney Imagineering Kathy Mangum acknowledged how important the new site is.

“We knew that this was going to be an important attraction because it was going to have to make the park.”

For now, it seems Disney has nothing to worry about. As of the “Cars” opening, fans were anxious to lay down their hard-earned dough for just about anything they could get their hands on, including one woman who spoke to the St. Augustine Record.

“We got every available item from commemorative pins to T-shirts,” Terri Herrera, 48, said. “I’ve spent $1,700 so far. To be honest with you, I’ll probably end up spending over $5,000 today.”

  • Traci

    Its not a “Cars Theme Park”. Its just a section in Disney’s California Adventure called “Cars Land”. Very mis-leading title.

    • EM

      The title isn’t “Cars Theme Park”. It’s “Cars” Theme Park. It’s not misleading if you read it correctly and know a little about the rules of simple english, grammar, and writing.

      • m.pajak@monarchlife.com

        It’s still NOT a “Cars” Theme Park. It’s a “Cars” theme land within a Theme Park. And it is misleading if you know ANYTHING about the rules of simple english, grammar, and writing.

  • Derek

    Disneyland is only for the Rich! They have made a point to keep out the poor and it now costs 10% of the average poor family’s income per year to visit the way they want you to visit. If you want a season pass you must fork over over 20%. Sure they will take it in monthly installments to trick you into going into debt.

    • Truth

      Here’s an idea. Don’t be poor!

      • David

        and an idea for you, pull your head out!!

  • Kathryn C

    We had the pleasure of being invited to the media event the day before the official opening of Cars Land and we got to go on all of the rides. The Radiator Springs Racers are awesome!! They did a great job on this ride. The Luigi’s Tires ride was an absolute waste of time. The kids hated it as much as the adults did. The ride is difficult to maneuver and we are still trying to figure out the point of the beach balls that you can’t even reach. The Tow-Mater ride was cute. The kids liked it, but it wasn’t really anything that they don’t have at every other theme park in America. It’s essentially a “scrambler” type ride. As for the town itself, it’s really beautiful and very well done, but only one of the three rides is worth going on.

  • greenmachine

    People, people… “If you dont have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”

  • http://N/A MarkM

    The reason why no one visits California Adventure, or why it “under preforms” has a simple explanation. Its because of the rides/size of the park. It doesn’t have the number of rides, nor does it have any of the Disney characters… I think they should expand it, and maybe have some of the more legit characters there; perhaps something that Disneyland doesn’t have like an epic parade or something – and that would rectify the problem. The issue is that you pay for one theme park, and you have to pay a little bit more for the other. What they should do is pay 1 ticket (slightly high price) for BOTH parks, and give a free voucher for a drink or food item at California Adventure. BAM problem solved. Hire me Mr. Disney – and I will make the people excited for you once again!!!

    • Mikey

      “…The issue is that you pay for one theme park, and you have to pay a little bit more for the other…”

      “…What they should do is pay 1 ticket (slightly high price) for BOTH parks..”

      Wow, I think you have brains you haven’t even used yet!

    • Sarah Isaac

      I have recently been to both parks and CA adventure HAD a parade. It was a Phineas and Ferb parade and the kids went nuts! My daughter also took a picture with Mickey so characters are in there as well. Yes, the park is smaller, however, I think what they were doing was keeping Disneyland as the traditional park that it always has been with the “old-school” characters and princess’ and the CA adventure park was where they could have all of the newer and current Disney character and shows. Just my observation. And BTW, Disney has always been a bit over-priced. Not sure why everyone continues to complain. It is what it is. Either spend the money or don’t go.

      • glenn dennis

        you must not have grown up in ca. when disney had ticket books, pricing was very resonable. prices went up when they decided to open all the other disney parks and got tied in with the movie moguels. if disney would have stayed true to there roots and kept walts statement true…”a place were every working man can afford to come” it would be the happiest place on earth. 90.00 one day pass???? i can remember 5.95 plus a ticket book. crazy


        Park Hopper pass it get you in both parks the same day, been selling them for years. they even have different amount of days so you can go more than 1 day.

  • Colleen

    I feel, and have felt since it opened, that CAP should be part of Disneyland. Just add a few more rides and join them together. I really like CAP, but it shouldn’t be the same price as Disney—-not nearly the same size. Looking forward to checking out Carsland, but I’ll wait till the fall when it’s slower. :)

  • Mike

    Besides the poor wording in the title of the article the real issue with the article is the reference of a “Cars” attraction. It’s not just an attraction it is a 12 acre new land with 3 rides, a restaurant, a couple food service areas and several stores all themed to Cars and Radiator Springs. Not to mention the article completely overlooked the entire redo of the park entryway, the addition of the Red Car Trolley and the upscale Carthay Circle Theatre restaurant. This article doesn’t quite convey the full scope of the project and at the same time they speculate the park could “go under” if this doesn’t work out. I suppose if they had all the facts covered they might be able to say the park could “go under”, but realistically while the park has underperformed for many years there is nothing that says it will ever “go under”.

  • dennis

    connect the two…one price…..

  • David

    The reason CAP under-performs is that it spits in the true spirit of Walt Disney’s dream. He didn’t want some cruddy carnivalesque amusement park. He wanted different worlds, hence, the different lands and experiences….The original sign read “Happiest Place on Earth”…that seems like such a long, long time ago. Rest in peace, Mr. Disney, there are still those who believe in your dream. Unfortunately, it’s not those running your company.

  • John

    First it is DCA, not CAP. The new “land” was not the only “redo” to DCA. It began with five years ago Toy Story Mania, re theme to several rides, Monster Inc ride, World of Color, The Little Mermaid Attraction, Redcar Trolly, Buena Vista Street (some rate it “better” the mani street), and Carsland. The park broke every record opening weekend and per guest opinion guest “very satisfied” with the park redo and the Carsland attractions. This article seems very biased and the opinon the author herself.