Should Disney Significantly Increase the Price of Genie+?

Have you seen one of the many videos that have gone viral of lengthy Lightning Lane lines for attractions at Walt Disney World? If so, you probably also saw the heated comments from Disney fans bashing Lightning Lanes and the Genie+ service.

If you missed it, here’s one video from Blog Mickey showing an extremely long Lightning Lane line at Magic Kingdom.

The conversation surrounding these types of videos often misses the bigger picture. Genie+ and Lightning Lane are problematic and undoubtedly increase wait times for standby guests. But, videos like the Blog Mickey example above often take place during or shortly after a ride experiences downtime. There’s also times where guest issues clog the entrance to Lightning Lane, making the line back up outside of the queue in a hurry.

Of course, there will be cases where Lighting Lanes carry their own long waits. But, those waits are almost always significantly shorter than the standby waits. The Genie+ service promises quicker waits than waiting in standby, which it successfully achieves.

So, does Genie+ need to change? Let’s take a look back before looking forward.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Disney Genie+, the paid line-skipping service, opened in October 2021 at Walt Disney World and in December 2021 at Disneyland. Genie+ replaced the old FastPass+ line-skipping system that was included with the price of admission.

Disney eased into the paid line-skipping game by pricing Genie+ relatively affordably at $15 per person at Walt Disney World and $20 per person at Disneyland. These prices have gradually rose over time, climbing to almost $40 per guest on peak days.

Record-high prices for Genie Plus at Walt Disney World.

Disney also capped how many guests can purchase Genie+ on a given day. Those numbers haven’t been released publicly, but we have seen Genie+ sell out on numerous busy days. That said, there’s still a large percentage of guests buying Genie+ each day.

Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, Genie+ has frustrated, confused, and even angered many Disney guests. The service isn’t good enough to make guests feel good about paying for it. It’s also not bad enough or expensive enough to prevent guests from buying it.

First, Disney fans need to accept that the old days of FastPass+ and a skip-the-line service being free are over. If we can all agree that Disney will always charge for shorter lines now that they started, we can brainstorm ways to improve it.

We think Disney should look to Universal’s model and consider dramatically increasing the price of a line-skipping offering. Make Genie+ expensive enough so fewer guests buy it. Think $100+ per guest, per day. Maybe higher. Ditch the Individual Lightning Lane idea and make the base Genie+ more expensive and include the rides currently with Individual Lighting Lanes.

It might sound crazy asking Disney to increase prices. Hear us out. We feel gross asking for a price increase, but it makes sense. Genie+ is priced too low right now and no one feels good about paying for it for what they receive. Too many people are purchasing it because they feel like they have to in order to have a good visit. Remember when Josh D’Amaro said 70% of guests who purchase Genie+ plan to buy it again? We’d bet it’s because they feel like it’s required.

Dramatically increasing that price and changing Genie+ into more of a premium add-on should make Genie+ function better. Fewer guests buying Genie+ makes it work better. Genie+ working better makes the purchase feel better. Fewer guests buying Genie+ makes standby lines work better and more predictably.

Instead, Disney seems comfortable gradually increasing the price of Genie+ and hoping everyone keeps paying for it despite diminishing returns. That might create the best ROI, but it also creates the worst overall guest experience.

Assuming paid line-skipping is here to stay, what do you think Disney should do to improve it?

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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