Disney Genie, Disney

For many, the news that FastPass+ is officially dead was disappointing. The news that Genie+ Lightning Lanes would replace what was a free service, now costing $15 per person a day, was even more disappointing.

I remember, like many, back to a time of paper Fastpasses where you could make a decision spontaneously on the day of your visit and carve out the best Disney day for you and your family, knowing you were sure to be able to bag a few Fastpasses for your favorite rides. FastPass+ put an end to this but at least it was still included in the price. Booking in advance did however come with its drawbacks. Perhaps for many the worst being that you pretty much lost the freedom to change your mind about which park to visit when actually on vacation, knowing you had valuable Fastpasses booked at a specific park for that day.

For anyone now looking to have a chance to skip long queues for any rides when visiting Walt Disney World they will have to fork out $15 a day per person to get access to Genie+ Lightning Lanes.

It isn't possible to book Lightning Lanes in advance of your visit as they can only be booked from 7am on the day of your visit if you are a Hotel guest and from when you enter the park for all other guests. You select your first attraction (from a list of 40 including Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain) that you would like to ride and then choose your time from the time slots available. You can only book one Lightning Lane at a time, similar to the original paper FastPass system so when one is redeemed you can then go back to the App and book another and so on throughout the day.

Image: Disney

$15 a day per person may only therefore actually guarentee that you get you one Lightning Lane if after you finish your first ride there are no times left for your next chosen attraction. It also adds a hefty price to a Walt Disney World vacation for a family. In last week's Big Debate we asked you whether you will purchase Genie+?


Genie+ Disney
Image: Disney

Well, I intially thought although people may not be happy about this new paid for system they would accept and vote yes. However, that hasn't quite been the case. Here are the results:

  • Yes - 36%
  • No - 64%

Most Disney fans unsurprisingly really don't seem impressed at all.

Your Thoughts and Comments

Walt Disney World, Main Street
Image: Disney

As always we include your opinions in our Big Debate results article:

"Everyone is gonna say no. But in reality, when u get down there and already spent thousands of dollars, you're probably gonna do it. 15 a day. 60 for a family of 4 to jump on rides quicker. No Brainer. The problem is that they charge so much to start with, AND now with the nickeling and diming, families are more likely to delay their next trip by months, years or forever."

"Well, Universal Orlando has an Express Pass STARTING at $69/ person/ day.
Busch Gardens has a Quick Queue starting anywhere from $30-$150 / person/ day depending on time of year or special event. I'm okay with the idea of $ 15/ day, but, to not be able to get in a queue until THE DAY YOU ARRIVE, is not going to fly at all."

"I’d much rather they have a more expensive option that gets you a guaranteed one time ride on all lightning lane rides for the day without return times (just like universal)- I love that program."

"Can't be won over with it not being live yet. Need more info first."

Disney Genie+, Disney
Image: Disney

"We're honestly tired of Disney throwing these dumb fees at us. Paying to park at the resort, but they're also discontinuing the bus from the airport. Now paid FastPass that doesn't even work everywhere, but is cheap enough that everyone will have to buy it to avoid monstrous standby lines. And what are we getting? We're just going to spend our travel money elsewhere for a few years until they get their act together."

"I will not buy it. I’ve already adjusted my expectations that when I go it may be less often and when I’m there I know I may not get to ride all of the attractions I want due to wait times. I’d rather buy my kids a memorable souvenir than pay to ride the rides which I already pay a fortune to ride with park admission."

"As much as we pay for a ticket to walk through-these things should be included. It’s like a carnival-pay to get in and pay for the rides. But I’m sure ppl will pay..we will just go when it’s really slow."

With some people still sitting on the fence about Genie+, some people saying they are not paying out of principal and some giving in feeling they don't have a choice, I guess we are just going to have to wait and see how Genie+ does when it debuts later this year. Is Disney in trouble with this one? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.



we are travelling from the U.K. to stay at the Disney Coronado Springs Hotel and our travel agent assured us that the Fast Pass System was still in place. Seems like Disney have not informed their holiday brokers about the changes. i am disgusted that Disney are charging extra for the so called "Lightning Fast Passes" when the cost of staying at a Disney Hotel is very expensive to start with. This is a bad move and will deter people from staying at a Disney Hotel; i for one will certainly think twice about staying their again.

I think Laura said it best:
"I'm thinking that this new CEO is trying to push out the little people and focus on the more 'elite' traveler."
"DW didn't lose money during covid - they just didn't make as much as they wanted"

I completely agree with this, and I've been saying similar things for a while: Disney is trying to push out lower and middle class people. It started with charging $5 for a Magic Band and got worse from there.
Disney execs will argue that "most people" should have smartphones, there are still a number of people who either don't have smartphones (for various reasons) or who may not have a smartphone powerful enough for the Disney app. By switching from a Magic Band to a phone app means these people may not get the "full experience".

It also seems like Disney is going in the wrong direction. As an example: the problem is that too many people are going to the parks and complaining that they spent all day in lines for the popular rides.
The solution: create a "fast pass" system where people can get paper tickets when they go into the park.
Problem: people paying $5,000 for a resort package complain that they should get early access to fast passes: if they're paying that much, they don't want to run to the machines to get a paper ticket like the other commoners.
Solution: create a phone app that lets resort guests and passholder book fast passes 60 or 30 days in advance.
Problem: now the fast passes get booked up 60 days in advance and people need to own a smart phone.
Problem: people are still complaining about perceived unfairness about not being able to get a fast pass on a specific day.
Solution: charge money for the fast passes.
Problem: people complain about having to pay for fast passes.
Solution: Disney doesn't worry about a solution to this issue, since "what's another $15 per day when people are already spending $5,000 on a family vacation".

But the bottom line issue still remains: how does Disney World manage wait times for popular rides, when they've been around for 50 years? How do they make sure every single person who goes to the Magic Kingdom and who wants to ride Space Mountain, gets to ride it?
Are guest complaints about not being able to ride their favorite ride more important than guests complaining that they have to pay $15 to ride it?

I leave for a WDW trip in a week. After this one, I'll wait to see how this new system goes. I'm a steady follower of Disney Parks type forums. I'll take a break from Disney, try some new things like Universal Orlando and the one in CA. Then after the 50th is over, I'll check out the buzz on the forums to see what the consensus is on Genie+ and the added "Individual Attraction Selection" is. If there are a lot of complaints, my "break" from Disney Parks may end up being more long-term. I've been going to WDW/DLR since 1979. My roots go deep and I remember "the good old days" so I'm not so quick to lay down a ton of hard earned vacation money on something that is MUCH MUCH less than what I remember it being.

oh yea - what i've read about Genie +, it's a tiered system... the more you pay the better the service.

I was never a huge fast pass user so I won't be buying. With the removal of the evening magic hours for those who don't stay at a deluxe hotel, having to pay extra to guarantee that you MIGHT be able to fast pass more then one ride, no more Magical Express, parking costs for hotel guests -- well I ask myself what is the point of staying at a DW resort? I'm thinking that this new CEO is trying to push out the little people and focus on the more 'elite' traveler. DW didn't lose money during covid - they just didn't make as much as they wanted to so now they have to stick it to the people who did lose alot. Sad!

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