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Disney will renovate disappointing California Adventure park

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. will do a major overhaul of its disappointing California Adventure theme park to add more attractions based on Pixar animated movies and draw closer ties to Walt Disney, the company said Wednesday.

Disney did not release the expected cost of the project, but several newspapers put the figure at more than $1 billion.

The figure exceeds the original cost of California Adventure, which opened in 2001.

The project is designed to bolster lagging attendance that in some years has barely reached half the numbers of neighboring Disneyland.

Disney will expand the park with a 12-acre section based on the Pixar film "Cars."

It will also replace some of the park's less popular sections with new attractions based on the Disney film "Little Mermaid" and the Pixar film "Toy Story," the company said.

The project will also include a new plaza that more resembles the iconic "Main Street" at Disneyland.

A new interactive attraction will also tell the story of the company's founder, Walt Disney.

The overhaul will take several years to complete, Disney said.

The park was the brainchild of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and includes sections dedicated to various California attractions.

The famous Disneyland monorail travels over a reproduction of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and other sections evoke the memory of 1940s Hollywood.

The park was originally designed to appeal more to adults and included a restaurant sponsored by a winery. None of the iconic Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, made appearances in the park at first.

The park was also built with economy in mind, importing several rides and attractions that had already debuted at Walt Disney World in Florida.

But poor attendance forced Disney to tweak the park almost from the start.

California Adventure largely failed its initial purpose of making the Anaheim parks a multi-day destination.

In 2005, for instance, Disneyland drew 14.5 million visitors, an 8.5 percent increase over the previous year, while California Adventure drew only 5.8 million, a 3.6 percent increase.