If the reports Al Lutz mentioned in his most recent article are true, then I am seriously disturbed by the prospect of Mr. Lasseter's new prominence within The Walt Disney Company. The only way Disney's California Adventure will ever be successful is by strengthening the concept for the park, creatively-speaking. D.C.A. needs a reason to exist, and the Imagineers responsible for the second gate need something to say. Neither of these things seem possible if the best Mr. Lasseter can do is throw a bunch of Pixar crap into the mix. The monstrosity across from the gates to The Magic Kingdom seems to be becoming an even bigger mess than the place was when it first opened.
The creative decisions used to plan the park must be justified with reason and logic. While we know that Jay Rasulo does not understand theatre, as is evidenced by his recent edict to place on nametags the hometowns of all Cast members who appear on-Stage, John Lasseter should. Disneyland succeeds so brilliantly because The Magic Kingdom embodies the most elaborate form of theatre humanity has ever devised. Guests pass through the proverbial proscenium arch or invisible fourth wall to step onto the stage and interact with the fictional characters and imaginary worlds of timeless stories from Mark Twain to Charles Perrault to Kenneth Grahame to Lewis Carroll to Rudyard Kipling to Jules Verne to Victor Hugo to dozens of others. The "Toy Story" characters now found in Tomorrowland are not from once-upon-a-time; they're from the here and now. The "Finding Nemo" characters coming to the Submarine Voyage are more associated with a decidedly un-magical dentist office in contemporary Sydney than with a long time ago in a faraway place or a kingdom sealed-off from the outside world.
Now enters Disney's California Adventure, quite literally the here and now.
While D.C.A. is a more appropriate place for the Pixar intellectual properties because the park has a contemporary setting, they are not being incorporated into the overall presentation the park makes because the park still doesn't know what it wants to say. In order for a Disney theme park to be a Disney theme park, it has to make sense. All the elements have to build on each other to form a cohesive whole. The dramatic unities of space and time have to be used to make a fully-integrated experience. In short, the park has to have a theme and not be a series of pointless vignettes that amount to absolutely nothing.
The principal reason D.C.A. has been a commercial failure is that the ideas it embodies are either not fully-realized or are creatively-weak. To strengthen these concepts requires an understanding of all that D.C.A. can be.
The park has potential, but throwing Green Army Men parachute jumps and the like at the thing will only weaken what is already a weak artistic achievement.