Disney’s new Genie+ and Lightning Lanes pay services are making waves online
Over the summer, Disney announced that they would be rolling out a new “pay to ride” service at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World where you could pay a one-time fee or pay a smaller series of fees to skip the stand-by line on certain rides. Today that service rolled out in Walt Disney World and not surprisingly, the internet doesn’t love it.
Before the pandemic, there was something at Disneyland and Walt Disney World called Fast Pass. It allowed you to cut the line on certain “big ticket” rides for no extra fee. Well, they removed the Fast Pass system and replace it with Lightning Lane, a nearly identical service that you have to **wait for it** pay to use now! Shoutout to capitalism for this new “innovation.”
On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, Lightning Lanes appeared at many popular attractions around Walt Disney World. The Lightning Lanes and their accompanying costs will appear at Disneyland at a later date. And before the Disney enthusiasts come yelling at me about how this isn’t entirely “new,” Disneyland did have a pay-to-ride service called MaxPass that existed for a couple years before the pandemic.
There are two ways to enter the Lightning Lanes and both involve paying extra money on top of the cost of the ticket to enter the park.
As Click Orlando broke it down, guests can pay an extra $15 per ticket, per day, at Walt Disney World parks to access a new app called Disney Genie+. With the $15 per ticket Genie+ app, you can schedule as many lightning lane rides as you want, but can only sign up for one lightning lane at a time, and as long as the lightning lanes are available. Also, a couple “high demand” rides (like Avatar Flight Of Passage) are not available with Genie+ and one will need to pay an additional, per person, per ride fee, to access those on top of the $15 per ticket Genie + fee. Are you confused? Me too. It gets worse. Keep reading.
Individual Lightning Lane Selections
The other option to cut the line is to pay a ‘la carte for each Lighting Lane ride you want to go on. You don’t need to buy Genie+ for $15, you only pay for the rides you want. So if you want to hit up the standby lanes for every ride **old-school style**, but pay to cut the line on say, the super-popular Rise of the Resistance, you can do so with the “Individual Lightning Lane Selections.”
Prices for individual Lightning Lanes vary per ride and per day, but for example, Disney Food Blog captured today’s prices and it’ll cost you $9 per person to skip the line on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and $15 per person to go on Rise of the Resistance. For a family of four, that’s an additional $60 for everyone to cut the line on the damn Star Wars ride.
I recently went to Disneyland and between needing a QR code to ride certain new rides and having to pay for almost all my food on the app, I was glued to my phone all day pre-scheduling all my meals and worrying my phone would die before they could scan my QR code so I could ride Rise of the Resistance. It wasn’t the free-flowing Disney experience I remembered. Now add these lightning lanes to the mix and I’m too stressed and too poor to go to a Disney park anymore. Not only are Disney parks more expensive, but they’re also more confusing to enjoy, too! So fun!
Not surprisingly, the news has been met with resistance, with many complaining that it’s elitist, confusing, expensive, exclusive… the list goes on.
Though, to be fair, you don’t NEED to pay to cut the line.
You can still pay for a ticket to the park and wait in the standby lines for no extra fee. However, if you wanna save time, you gotta pay up. The program will be rolled out at Disneyland at a later, to be determined, date.