I wonder if there's a character limit on posts......
If I ran the zoo, huh? Here goes (this will probably get a bit disjointed as ideas start flowing)
Immediately (holiday season): I would put together a "family package" of "gift tickets" to DCA. Family of 4, 2 adults, 2 kids for $80. These would be a specially printed edition with holiday images on the tickets, and for an extra $4 would come with two character holiday cards that were ticket holders (like money holding cards). Great stocking stuffer. Tickets would be good until March 31st. Additional family members' tickets could be purchased for $20 (kids).
Longer term, I would look at lowering DCA ticket prices to $25. I would meanwhile send the imagineers to work at a plan to turn DCA into a Disney's America. It would be a multi-phase plan, so the park could remain open (with reduced ticket prices) as it was being made over.
To start with, I would take the back area of Hollywood (where SSL, Millionaire, the food court, that outdoor stage, and Muppets are) and start turning that into New York. Millionaire (for as long as it remains popular) can stay. However, the building would be retrofitted or rebuilt in such a way that later a chilren's indoor ride could be put in. Said ride would be designed ahead of time, so the building can be done right for it. Better yet, a plan to make a small theatre out of it. Make a deal with Children's Television Workshop to make an Audio-Animatronic Sesame Street show. Either that, or AA creatures putting on a "broadway musical" in all its glitzy cheesy glory. No tongue-in-cheek sarcasm here, just unashamed cheesiness. Kind of like the city version of CBJ.
SSL and Hollywood and Dine would be history. In their place, a city skyline (a pretty version, like NYNY hotel in Vegas has). The Empire State building, etc. Empire State building would start as an empty shell, but have space in it for a future ToT, when people's nerves have calmed a bit. In SSL's place, a new "mountain". Okay, not a mountain, but an indoor E-ticket. Maybe even if it was just Rock 'n Rollercoaster. The front would be a part of the area's city skyline, not a hideous independent building. The entrance would be themed as a record store (okay, MUSIC store, since none of them sell records anymore )
This land would now feature a second story. Up there (not above the coaster, but above other spots) would be a nightclub (probably playing 70's-80's hits with some 90's stuff, to appeal to a wider audience), a piano lounge with a nice view and outdoor dining (specializing in beverages and appetizer type stuff, mostly buffalo wings, chicken tenders, fries, nachos and quesadillas. Easy stuff requiring only a small kitchen. It would probably get its stuff half-prepared from the kitchen used for the new restaurant in the area. That kitchen would be the one previously used for Hollywood and Dine, except instead of one large restaurant area, it would be a service area, with tables upstairs (overlooking the land). This dining area would be done all cute, with trees in planters, umbrellas over the tables, and white lights in the trees and around the edges of the umbrellas.
Yes, one of the things that will make the NY area desirable to guests at night will be how pretty it looks with all the buildings and windows, etc. all lit up. (and the Emp. St. will have its lighting designed such that however the actual one is lit at that time of year, so will the fake be lit, even the small, forced-perspective windows up high.)
Where the outdoor stage once was, now the entrance to this land, will be a scaled-down Statue of Liberty. What better weenie could a land ask for? She would stand on a small island in the middle of a largish pool of water, with the edges all themed as miniature cityscape on the inside, and look like a normal, but nice planter/fountain edge on the outside. Behind her ladyship (where it's less visible from the front) would be coin-op boats. Groan if you will, but as a kid, I thought those were the coolest things. The barriers build would be such that none of the boats could get lost out of view (ie: the couldn't end up in front of the statue). Keeping in mind that the statue would face towards Muppets (yes, Muppets can stay), the boats would still be perfectly viewable from the rest of the land, they are by no means hidden in a corner, they just aren't the first impression either. The outdoor stage would then be rebuilt, facing towards the former SSL more directly, and a much smaller stage. There would be a coffee bar location there, serving espressos, cappuccinos, lattes and the like (also kid's juice boxes, orange and apple, as is carried in other locations currently). Instead of rows upon rows of benches, there would be two rows of lowered benches, intended for exclusive use by children. The rest of the area would have chairs and small tables (like Coke Corner at DL has). This stage would be large enough for story readings during the day, and starting in the afternoon, musicians. Either a string trio/quartet or a small jazz band or all of the above rotating. This will draw, and keep, people in the area. It will be worth having because it will help sell coffee and fill the land with music. It will also be in the sightlines of most of the area dining establishments, with their 2nd story patios and windowed indoor areas. So in some way it will help sales in all the area restaurants. (Anyone who doesn't understand how an entertainer increases the revenue for a food location, ask yourself this: why is Rod Miller the highest paid entertainer in the park? There IS a reason!)
When the NY redo is complete, its unveiling will be part of the official change from DCA to DA. The park's name will change at that time. It will be a tad California heavy, but many of the themes can easily be understood to represent larger areas of the country than they currently claim to. Grizzly Peak recreation area, for example, is named after a Californian bear, but could be understood to be representative of all national parks. Since GRR already has geysers, this changeover will be fairly painless. Paradise Pier, for as long as it remains (under my plan it's eventually doomed, but there are too many attractions to bulldoze it first) can be easily understood to be any seaside pier/carnival from Santa Monica to Atlantic City. Bountiful Valley Farm (for the time it is there) can easily represent half the midwest states. The half of Hollywood not absorbed into NY (ie: the "street" which contains the Animation building, the theatre, a smoothie shop and soap opera bistro) may remain, though eventually the soap opera bistro will be turned into a location more guests want to visit.
I'm going to go ahead and post this much and I'll do phase II in another post.