Should Disney be Charging Guests for Genie+?
In 2022, Disney rolled out the new Genie+ Service at Disney World, and later at Disneyland. A lot of guests aren’t happy about paying for what used to be free.
Since its debut at $15 per person per day, Genie+ underwent a price change in October 2022 at Disney World. Pricing now varies each day, sometimes as high as $29.
The Way it Used to Be
Before the pandemic in 2020 when tourism came to a halt, Disney World offered FastPass+. This service was free to all Disney guests.
FastPass+ reservations could be made months in advance, and guests could make three reservations per day. Depending on availability, guests could make more FastPass+ reservations after using their initial three.
Guests at Disneyland had the option to add MaxPass to their park ticket. This gave guests unlimited PhotoPass photos and the ability to book FastPass+.
Guests paid $20 per person per day for MaxPass, and FastPasses could only be reserved once guests had entered the park.
Reopening in 2020
When each park reopened (Disney World in 2020 and Disneyland in 2021), no FastPass options were offered. Each guest utilized the stand-by line.
Despite the Park Pass Reservation System to manage capacity, guests were often left with longer than desirable wait times.
In October 2021, Genie+ debuted at Disney World. For $15 per person per day, guests were able to make Lightning Lane Reservations one attraction at a time. The first reservation could be made at 7am the morning of their park visit.
Since that time, the pricing model changed to a variable price, just like park ticket pricing. Even on the less expensive days, many guests are not happy about having to pay for what used to be free.
What Do Other Theme Parks Do?
Though this is model is newer to Disney World, other theme parks have been utilizing this type of system.
A close neighbor to Disney World, Universal Orlando offers Express Pass options as a ticket add-on. The lowest daily price for the Express Pass is $89.99 per person per day.
Guests staying at a Universal Premier category hotel receive complimentary Universal Express Unlimited.
Even smaller amusement parks like Hersheypark in Hershey, PA offer a similar service. Guests at Hersheypark can opt to add Fast Track to their ticket purchase.
Like Universal Orlando, there are two options: one option that allows Fast Track once per ride per day, and another that offers unlimited entrances.
Hersheypark’s website lists pricing for Fast Track ranging from $15 to $40 per person per day.
How Does Disney’s Pricing Compare?
Social media debates often center around whether or not Disney has become too expensive for the average family especially with the added Genie+ cost. But how does the cost really compare to others?
Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood list their ticket prices beginning at $109 per day, which is the same as Disney World.
Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN lists the one-day ticket price beginning at $89. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA lists their one-day ticket price beginning at $69.
Like Disney, Universal, and many other parks, both Dollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm offer a skip-the-line feature for an additional fee.
While it can be frustrating to have to pay for what used to be free, Disney is definitely not the first to charge for this type of service.
If you choose to purchase Genie+ on your Disney vacation, there are ways to get your money’s worth!
For tips on how to get the most out of Genie+ and other Disney vacation planning expertise, use a MickeyTravels Agent!