Though I think CarLand works very well and the town of Radiator Springs lends itself extremely well to a recreation in a theme park, I generally don't believe basing an entire land at a Disney park on a sole movie is a good idea...unless of course that movie is a film that has already established itself as a timeless, loved, globally recognized classic. Like Star Wars. And in that case it is a true franchise with multiple films and already established time-tested popularity, as well as marketing/commercial value. Yes there's a Cars 2, (which looked super lame to me, personally) and maybe they even make another Cars film. But the Cars franchise will never be as popular as something like Star Wars. So overall, I think Disney should steer clear of basing large sections of parks on singular movies or even movie franchises, especially Pixar films. To me it seems very short sited: creating a Monstropolis to honor the Monsters films for example. Yes there is buzz about these movies now, here in the present, but will it hold up 20 years from now, even if they make an additional film or two? Neither Cars or Monsters were overly popular films, at least not enough to warrant creating entire lands/sublands at Disney parks.
The ride must also aesthetically fit into its surroundings. Where a ride like Midway Mania fits perfectly into the Paradise Pier boardwalk, Grizzly River Run would have a harder time.
I think the overall question that should be asked (and not limited to CA Adventure) is, “are people happy with the directive all new offerings being franchised based versus original concepts?” I would answer that question in the negative. I think characters have their place in the parks, but so do original ride and show concepts. While Mickey and the Magical Map is a good show, so are both Billy Hill and the Hill Billies and the original Golden Horseshoe Review before it. The key is to balance both franchise based attractions with original concepts. It is a balance that is sadly lost on the present day Disney leadership who seems to be all about promoting brand at every turn whether it fits the theme or not.
I think they are throwing good money after bad. The place needed an entire thematic overhaul; not Pixar band-aids.
I never see how the Pixar is Disney argument so its fine to add Pixar attractions add up. To me Pixar is another category of characters, the same as the Princesses or Pixies. If every new attraction was Princessed based people would start complaining.
So how much of that mythos is tapped by DCA?
Route 66? Sorry, it's no more iconically California than the other states that the Mother Road famously passed through in the 1930s to 1950s.
Deserts, mountains and beaches? Nope, plenty of them in other states. Grizzly bears? Try Wyoming, Montana and Alaska.
The beach pier amusement park? It's common to both coasts of America (and really is an icon more associated with the history of the East Coast).
The movies? Sorry, Disney -- a little place up the freeway called Universal Studios Tour has owned that one for decades. (Guess you can copy what they've been doing, though, if that's all ya got.)
Really, beyond Soarin' over California, and the niche of pre-1950s Los Angeles that inspired Buena Vista St., what is there that's uniquely California in Disney California Adventure? What is there that taps into the California mythos as deeply and broadly as "the lands of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy" do for Disneyland?
Which is why DCA has been, is, and thanks to the paucity of Disney management's vision likely to remain, a collected of assorted theme park rides mish-mashed together in a place which is, to all intents and purposes, a themeless "theme park."
ALL parks have theme inconsistancies. Look at Universal Hollywood, why are they building the "real" Hogwarts in a studio backlot? theme-wise it makes ZERO sense. Hogwarts in Islands of Adventure makes sense, but in a studio backlot? not at all.
So we can sit here and HONESTLY nitpick every park for thier theme problems, but its kind of a waste of time. DCA is generally themed to CA, its not meant to be taken so literally, heck most parks arent too strict in regards to this...even the sacred and perfect Universal parks.
The bottom line, DCA is still alot better than most other parks out there. Id MUCH rather spend an entire day at DCA than Universal Hollywood or Knotts.