Tomorrow marks seven months since the introduction of Disney Genie+ at Magic Kingdom.
At the time of the product’s announcement, park officials indicated that the system would undergo tweaks over time.
Well, we’re still in the trial phase, as Disney just announced more changes coming to Disney Genie+. Here’s what you need to know.
Changes to the ordering process
Starting on June 8thDisney will alter the purchasing process for Disney Genie+.
Guests will no longer have the option to buy Disney Genie+ before your arrival date.
Starting on that date, guests must purchase Disney Genie+ on the date of their park visit. You’ll order through the My Disney Experience app.
In other words, Disney just dropped the add-on ticket option for Disney Genie+. As a result, it’s no longer something you can plan ahead of time.
Instead, you’ll buy it on any applicable dates when you want it.
On the plus side, guests who already added Disney Genie+ to their ticket packages will keep it. You’re grandfathered in.
I happen to own tickets like that. So, I’m in the same boat as you, and we should all feel lucky right now.
Everyone else must go through what is the de facto current process. You can buy Disney Genie+ starting at midnight of your visit date.
I actually advise guests to do this. You’ll save yourself some aggravation in the morning by purchasing Disney Genie+ the moment the window opens.
I’ve previously discussed the 7 AM Struggle, which turns the start of a park day into a hectic affair.
The unmistakable conclusion here is that this change accentuates that problem. Now, you must purchase Disney Genie+ before you can book anything.
With Disney, such online orders can prove adventurous. So, you’ll need to block off another five minutes in the morning to buy Disney Genie+.
Then, you must try to schedule your various Lightning Lane experiences after that.
So, this feels like a huge step back.
Why Disney Has Done This
Remember how many Disney cynics suggested that Disney Genie+ would hurt attendance?
Yeah, those hot takes proved ice cold. Walt Disney World attendance has approached pre-pandemic numbers and even surpassed 2019’s totals on many dates.
On top of that, Disney Genie+ sales have stunned park officials. I previously mentioned that roughly half of the guests purchased the upsell over the holidays.
During the most recent earnings report, Disney confirmed that it’s earning 40 percent more per guest’s park visit than during 2019.
People are happily paying for Disney Genie+, just as they had for MaxPass at Disneyland before the pandemic.
Speaking of which, I must stress that everything I’m discussing here applies solely to Walt Disney World. Disneyland hasn’t announced any changes.
Still, the point remains that Disney Genie+ is a strong seller. For this reason, park officials face a significant problem this summer.
Guests could purchase Lightning Lane experiences in such high volumes that Disney may not be able to satisfy customer expectations.
Think of the matter like this. If you pay for a Lightning Lane entrance to Slinky Dog Dash, would you be happy about waiting 40 minutes in line?
Disney has recently faced some of these problems due to the staggering attendance at the parks.
I had a friend hop in the Single Rider line at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Cast members warned them that it might not be any faster than the regular line.
They were right! In fact, my friends waited longer in Single Rider than if they had stood in the main queue like everyone else.
Oddities like this are popping up at Walt Disney World due to the unprecedented demand.
So, the plan here centers on scarcity. Disney will reserve the right to stop selling Disney Genie+ once it reaches a specific daily total.
In doing so, Disney ensures that the Lightning Lane line queues will remain (at least somewhat) under control.
You may recall a few weeks ago when Disney updated the legal language on Disney Genie+.
The initial wording had suggested guests would experience eight attractions per park day.
Now, Disney has reduced expectations (and legal promises) to “2 or 3 attractions or experiences per day.” That’s a dramatic drop in expectations.
Management has done this to account for the fact that nearly half of guests buy Disney Genie+. As a result, it’s actually trying to reduce sales somewhat.
Otherwise, July at Walt Disney World could face some apocalyptic conditions. Park officials know how mobbed the place was back in December.
As a reminder that occurred in the middle of a pandemic outbreak. Now that the pandemic is thankfully in the rearview mirror for most Americans, Disney must perform crowd control.
Otherwise, Lightning Lane experiences will sound good in theory but suck-diddly-uck in practice.
Remember what Syndrome says in The Incredibles? If everyone’s a Super, no one will be.
That same logic applies to Lightning Lane. If everyone owns Disney Genie+ to get the shorter lines, NONE of them will be shorter.
So, you should expect Disney Genie+ to sell out at times this summer. That’s why I’m stressing midnight purchases. Otherwise, you could get shut out.
If you buy Disney Genie+, this decision works as great news during your park visit. Disney just moved to protect your purchase.
However, the new requirement adds some stress to your overnight/early morning behavior.
Please be aware that these changes will last from June 8th through the end of 2023.