As the Disney Genie service changes, particularly in regards to Disney Genie+, many Guests wonder if the additional feature is still worth the price.
First introduced as a substitution to the former FastPass system, the Disney Genie Lightning Lane privilege is an add-on express pass which Guests can purchase individually for specific theme park rides, or in a bundle through the Genie+ service. Disney Genie itself is a complimentary personalized itinerary through the My Disney Experience and Disneyland app, which uses your own preference responses and an algorithm to generate a daily map of your Disney Resort visit.
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Allegedly, Guests purchase Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane selection to receive faster service at popular attractions and entertainment, including character meet-and-greets and shows, such as Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan, and Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT’s Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Expedition Everest or Avatar: Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, rather than enduring long wait times like the general public. To combat demand, the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort limit the availability of Genie+ for Guests, though the product itself has never sold out until this President’s Day Weekend.
However, although Disney claimed that the premium services and a virtual queue for new rides would reduce lines due to its limited availability in addition to priority boarding for those outside of standby lines, the opposite seems to have occurred. Not only have wait times not reduced for those with the FastPass alternatives, as a result of increased maintenance issues adding an average of 30-60 minutes of downtime to your wait, but at Walt Disney World, they’ve reportedly increased by an average of ten minutes per attraction between 2019 and 2022!
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This is because around 50% of Guests purchase one of the options, or both combined. Therefore, half of all Disney World Guests receive priority access, and Cast Members have a set ratio of Lightning Lane to standby Guests they allow to board at a single time, resulting in increased waittimes for everyone, but especially those without any sort of queueing perks.
Plus, while FastPass required Guests to choose from a collection of rides varying in popularity, individual Lightning Lanes only apply to the most popular attractions for an extra cost. Moreover, Genie+ prioritizes many of the medium-tier popular rides, leaving advanced wait times for everyone who doesn’t pay.
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Additionally, Walt Disney World just raised the price of the service to the highest ever seen due to its popularity, at a total $29.00 per Guest in your party! Against all odds, the popular itinerary and express pass still seemed to disappear like magic as Disney fans tried to lock in the opportunity to ride their favorite attractions.
Even though the service will resume sales by 12:01 a.m. before Park operating hours the next day following a sell-out, Guests may want to think long and hard before hitting purchase, as the service does not seem to deliver on all its promises. But, if the extra cost is worth it for your party to experience the hard-sought opportunities, then it may be your best bet for a magical day!