On October 26, Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke at Tech Live Conference, hosted by The Wall Street Journal. During his interview, Chapek spoke about a number of things, including how much he thinks adults like animated movies, accusations that The Walt Disney Company is “too woke”, and the controversial theme park reservation system that has been in place at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort since they both reopened after the COVID shutdowns.
At the conference, Chapek stated that the theme park reservation system was a way to ensure that each Guest, no matter when they visit Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World, will have the same magical experience. The reservation system allowed Disney to make sure that the Parks were never overcrowded and that Guests were not turned away at the gate.
However, Chapek’s words do not seem to be matching the Disney Park Guest experience. Guests have been complaining that the Parks seem more crowded than ever, and one woman’s recent experience at Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort seems to confirm what Guests have been saying.
On October 29, Weiss shared a video of the Lightning Lane at the Radiator Springs Racers attraction in Cars Land. According to Weiss, the Lightning Lane — which is the new FastPass Lane — extended all the way through Cars Land. She also said that the Standby queue closed with a wait time of 130 minutes, then reopened and shot up to 160 minutes.
The $18/person line for Radiator Springs Racers at #Disneyland currently extends to the entrance of Cars Land. (Standby is currently closed but was 130 minutes when I booked our LLs)
The $18/person line for Radiator Springs Racers at #Disneyland currently extends to the entrance of Cars Land. (Standby is currently closed but was 130 minutes when I booked our LLs) https://t.co/9ik7AQcTVQ pic.twitter.com/ATVgF06KZM
— Jacqueline Weiss (@JWeissWrites) October 30, 2022
What was shocking about this photo is that Racers is not a part of Genie+. It is an Individual Selection — meaning that each Guest in the paid $18 to have quick access to the — minus the people who are using the line because they have a Disability Access pass.
In addition to the reservation system being unpopular, Guests have also not been thrilled with Disney moving from the free FastPass system to the paid Genie+ system. Many have commented that lines are worse than ever and accused Disney of inflating wait times in order to encourage Guests to purchase Disney+. Others have said that wait times are getting ridiculous because Disney is too focused on prioritizing Lightning Lane.
Paying for Genie+ and dealing with massive crowds are just a few of the ways Disney Guests feel the Parks have “lost” their magic. Many Guests have also said that Disney has now priced out the average American family.