http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister...cle_970968.php



Disney's California Adventure turns five years old next week, bigger and blessed with a broader range of attractions than the day it opened. The theme park continues to grow and evolve, but a recent visitor pointed out why it also continues to fall below the company's attendance projections.

"This has some cool stuff, but it's just another theme park," said Matt Lock, 27, of Temecula, as he toured California Adventure. "Disneyland is Disneyland."

Disney officials won't comment on any potential changes because many of them are still in the "blue sky" - Disney's term for the dreaming stage. But Al Lutz, editor of fan Web site www.miceage.com, said he's heard from insiders that major changes are planned.

One plan would reconfigure the entry plaza to make it more welcoming, while removing the Golden Gate Bridge and the large letters that spell out California. Those letters have become a prime photo stop, with children climbing into the curve of the C or the O to pose.

"They just made a core mistake with this (California) theme," Lutz said. "It alienated the locals, and, unlike Florida, our attendance is mostly locals. To get people to come now, they're giving that park away with the two-fers."

Lutz was referring to the promotion announced this month that allows local residents to buy a pass that's good for admission to the two parks on two different days.


Hanna, from TEA, agreed that the theme is a tough sell for Californians: "It's like selling snow to Eskimos. It's a much better place to visit if you're from out of town."

Lutz and other fans are looking forward to the creative touch of Pixar's John Lasseter, who becomes creative adviser to the parks in the recent deal.

"The next major addition could be an attraction tied to 'Cars' (a Pixar film due out this summer)," Lutz said. "I think they'll push for 'Cars' because that's very near and dear to Lasseter's heart."