Disneyland’s new paid Genie + quick pass system is not doing well with fans



If there is one thing you can rely on at Disneyland, it is that a certain section of the fans have strong feelings about every change in the park. Sometimes these changes are objective for the better, such as making rides more inclusive or breaking links to problematic movies in Disney’s vault. And sometimes these changes fundamentally change the parking experience in ways that many people find difficult to justify.

Right now, a large segment of Disney fans are having a hard time understanding the company’s decision to implement Genie +, a new, paid system that replaces the previously free FastPass + system at Walt Disney World as well as both the free physical Fast Pass tickets as also replaces the MaxPass in Disneyland.

“Disney is making a quick pass to a paid system, it makes me sad, but I think that’s life.” tweeted @realvibekill.

“Totally discouraged that Walt Disney World gave up on quick passes and started playing Genie +,” @spainwithlauren tweeted. “Disney vacations are expensive enough without squeezing even more out of people.”

Under this new system, Walt Disney World guests can pay $ 15 per day and Disneyland guests $ 20 per day for access to a “Lightning Lane” that replaces the previous Fast Pass line. Those fees add up: it would cost $ 80 for a family of four. However, this flat fee only includes some of the rides and attractions in the park. For many of the more popular rides, such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, there is an additional, undisclosed fee per ride.

This new system comes in a year Disney CEO Bob Chapek developed what he calls a more “aggressive” financial strategy that includes the very first paid drive upgrade, a toy that improves the driver rating at Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disney California Adventure’s new Avengers campus.

A Youtube video from the Disney Parks Channel, which released August 18, stating that this new genius service has less than 900 likes and more than 11,000 dislikes as of August 27, ”commented Steve Davis on the video.

“You’re right, I’ve never had a boyfriend like this!” Said Jonathan Davies, referring to “Friend Like Me”, Genie’s famous song from “Aladdin”. “That’s because I’ve never had a boyfriend who keeps asking me for money. These are the people I stay away from. “

Instead of joking, however, some of the comments reflected concerns about the rising cost of a Disney trip and the way the experience becomes out of reach for many families with fewer and fewer things included in the price. “My wife and I have been going to Disney every year since we got married,” commented Matt Davis. “As a lower-middle-class family who have to travel from Illinois, we can no longer afford that. That is the last straw. ”

Previously, Walt Disney World guests with hotel reservations and tickets in hand could pre-book Fast Passes 90 days in advance, choosing times for three journeys per day. “Booking our FastPasses has always been the most exciting part of planning a vacation,” said Davis. “We cannot afford to use this service. Disney has turned down the lower and middle class families that have allowed them to operate all these years. Disney World is only for the rich now, and that’s all they care about. “

While Disney is targeting a more affluent customer – or at least one who is spending more money – that customer is actually not Disney’s core demographics. Business Insider conducted a survey earlier this year asking readers if they wanted to take a Disney vacation this year. The result: people with incomes less than $ 75,000 visit the mouse the most, while people with incomes over $ 150,000 are the least likely to visit. “Those who said they make between $ 50,000 and $ 74,999 a year were apparently the most eager to attend Disney,” wrote Amanda Krause. “Those who said they make between $ 25,000 and $ 49,999 a year were the second largest group who said they would consider going to a Disney park this year.”

However, some reviewers have said that pre-ordering these passes significantly increased standard queue times. “This policy allowed each guest to physically and virtually wait in up to four lines at a time, which increased waiting times across the resort,” Robert Niles wrote for the OK register. “With advance booking available, guests who hadn’t pre-booked their fast passes found weeks in advance that they weren’t getting top attractions.”

Unlike Walt Disney World’s previous system, Genie + can only be purchased at midnight on the day a guest visits the park. Disneyland users who previously used the MaxPass system, which was also $ 20 per day per person to choose the Fast Pass return times, will find this Genie + system largely the same, with the added feature for Premium attractions to be paid per trip. MaxPass’ past existence is likely why Disney charges more in its California park than it does in its Florida park.

Much of the negative responses to the Fast Passes phasing out have come from people who note the increasingly reduced benefits of staying in on-site hotels for Disney vacations. At Walt Disney World, the free Magical Express airport transfer and almost all free Extra Magic Hours for hotel guests are omitted.

“No quick pass, no menu and no magic express. @Disney executives are out of touch with their consumers, ”Twitter user @costall called.

“I bet Disney World has free Disney Genie + promotions at certain times of the year for on-property stays like they do with the free meal plan,” Leslie Harvey, @tripswithtykes, tweeted. “The services on site are simply too low at the moment.”

However, additional fees and fewer perks don’t seem to bother Disney visitors. “We are seeing continued strong demand for our parks,” said Bob Chapek on the Walt Disney Company conference call for the third quarter on August 12th. “In fact, our parking reservations are now above our visitor numbers in the third quarter. And as you just saw on our earnings announcement, our third quarter visitor numbers were pretty damn good. ”On that call, the company reported a more than $ 3 billion increase in revenue for this quarter compared to last year.

At the beginning of the summer Disneyland Paris introduced a paid Fast Pass system called “Premier Access”, which offers functions similar to Genie +. With this new system, guests can purchase entry to the accelerated queues individually for each journey. The cost depends on the popularity of the trip and the occupancy of the park that day, between 8 and 15 euros (9 to 18 $) per trip.

Disneyland Paris did not respond to a request for comment regarding Premier Access guest reception or the impact of these accelerated lanes on standard queues.

However, there are also positive aspects to the situation. In theory, if you want to spend the money on it, you can do every ride in the park as many times as you want in one day. The system will probably alleviate one of the biggest ailments at Disneyland – that people who came to the park specifically for Rise of the Resistance couldn’t get a seat in the virtual queue and therefore couldn’t ride their only “Can’t” miss ” Ride in the park. With adult single-day tickets at Disneyland that cost up to $ 154, that’s an expensive disappointment. Spending $ 20 (or whatever the fee will be) to access Lightning Lane is a better financial deal than paying an additional $ 154 on another parking day just to have the same slim chance end up in the virtual queue.

“I think this move to Disney Genie + and a la cart options was the right choice for the future parks,” Carlye Wisel wrote for SyFy Wire, noting that Fast Passes added other waiting times. “By limiting the number of guests who get expedited entry, the standby lines can hypothetically move faster, especially if the in-app software directs you to locations with currently shorter lines.”

“The FastPass system was undoubtedly broken,” added Wisel. “Will this tiered approach fix the problem? For that we have to wait until it starts this autumn. “

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