Keep in mind, we've only seen about half of the Nintendoland games, and what we see covers a broad spectrum of difficulties. Takamaru's Ninja Castle, and Donkey Kong Crash course are fairly simple games that wouldn't feel out of place on the iphone (naturally with a few modifications). Zelda is also relatively simple, particularly for Wiimore wielders, and Animal Crossing/Luigi's Mansion are a bit more complex. I think in this sense, Nintendoland will do well as a tech demo.
In terms of capturing the wow factor, it's hard to imagine it performing quite as well as Wii Sports, but at the same time I'm a bit more optimistic than OP. I think that "casual" gamers are going to see it and think "oh hey, a tablet. I can use that." and be willing to give it a try. From that point, I think they're going to have a blast. The games on display look pretty fun to me.
I also think that Miiverse functionality is going to be a big feature in this game. The idea of a theme park instantly brings to mind huge crowds of people, and I'm sure that this isn't just a happy coincidence. I think Miiverse is going to be a make it or break it feature for the Wii U, and I'm interested in seeing how it applies here. I think the overall structure of the game will be more complex than Wii Sports and its overall layout will be key to its success.
Of course, as OP later noted, the Wii U isn't in the same exact situation as the Wii was. The Wii was trying to sell a console to people who have never played games before. With the Wii U, more people have gaming experience, due to the Wii as well as Smartphones, tablets, and even facebook. I think people in general are more receptive to gaming this time around.
Oh and lastly, predicting what casual fans will like is a bit of a crapshoot. Personally, I still can't quite understand the appeal of Farmville or Angry Birds, and I really didn't see Wii Sports being quite as big as it turned out. It'll be fun to wait and see how this plays out, but between Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Mario Kart, NSMB, Nintendogs, Brain Training, Animal Crossing, and so on, I like Nintendo's track record here.