Disney World ticket prices increase every year like clockwork. You know the saying! Nothing is certain but death, taxes, and Disney price increases. From a business point of view, what a great problem to have, isn't it? Too much demand and you have to charge more for your product to help control it.
At the time of writing, we're not sure what effect Genie+ and Lightning Lane will have when the initial hype wears down. I'm still (perhaps naively) optimistic that it will actually take some pressure off the standby wait times. Think about it. There certainly won't be the same amount of people buying Genie+ as there was using their included Fastpass+ allowances. However, if that turns out not to be the case, I'll be first to say so.
Genie+ was inevitable. With pretty much every other theme park in the world charging for their "fast lanes", Disney was one of the only major players who didn't. The pandemic gave Disney the perfect opportunity to introduce a system like Genie+ with Fastpass+ discontinued due to the requirement to manage crowds.
There's a common misconception with the introduction of Genie+, and that's the argument that Fastpass+ was free. We were always paying for Fastpass.
I understand the psychology behind the removal of Fastpass - even more so because of how things are marketed in general - but every part of what you get included in your tickets is priced in. Take Memory Maker for example, that's included in our UK exclusive tickets. The tickets say "includes Memory Maker ($199 value)". If you look carefully over their ticket pages, there is no mention of anything free. If Disney tomorrow took out Memory Maker from the tickets, they're not taking away something that was "free", they're removing a perk from the product.
Was Fastpass+ included and priced into the tickets? Yes. But, they're not included anymore. It's sort of on par with shrinkflation where your Mars bar is 20% smaller but it still cost you the same amount of money - sometimes more.
Genie+ and the Lightning Lane individual attractions is a sort of stealth ticket price increase, without them having to increase the base ticket prices. It's the same as Disney removing Disney's Magical Express, it was always priced into your hotel stay, whether you used it or not. So instead of increasing room rates by $10 across the board (or whatever the average would be), they remove the perk (I miss Magical Express already), instead of actually having a price increase. Sometimes both happens, perks get cut and prices go up. Does it suck? Of course it does. But either way - as I said at the start - prices will be going up. How Disney manage that by either reducing and removing perks and charging extra for them, actually doing hard price increases, or a mixture of both, they'll balance it how they see fit.
Keep in mind Genie+ is optional, and coming from the UK we generally stay longer, and paying for Genie+ is more geared for short stays when it's either you wait a long time or pay up. I've seen many people say they have to pay for it or they'll have a terrible time, I don't believe that to be the case.
I know looking at it this way doesn't help with the frustration of the situation that a previously included perk is now an optional add-on. While Fastpass+ had it's fair share of problems, we can hope that the guest experience is made better for those who decide to indulge into Genie+ who decide to pay it, and for those who don't by (hopefully) faster moving standby lines. We'll see.
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