Walt Disney World announced 2023 vacation packages, and with that, the end of the Genie+ ticket add-on. This post covers details about the length-of-stay prepaid Lightning Lane booking option, why it’s being eliminated, and other thoughts.
With the launch of new bookings, Walt Disney World is making an “adjustment” to how guests purchase Disney Genie+ service, which “remains popular and in high demand” amongst guests. Disney states that this is being done because the goal from the outset has been to “launch, learn and evolve” after seeing how guests are using this service.
To that end, starting June 8, 2022, the Disney Genie+ will only be offered for purchase through the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit. There will no longer be an option to purchase this service pre-arrival as a ticket add-on for dates remaining in 2022 and in 2023.
This means that, moving forward, whether you have an Annual Pass, multi-day or 1-day ticket, you may only purchase Disney Genie+ service on the day of your visit via the My Disney Experience app, one day at a time, subject to availability. (This “subject to availability” verbiage also suggests Genie+ could sell out, which is not something we’ve seen happen previously.)
Walt Disney World states that its focused on delivering the best possible guest experience, and this adjustment will help manage the incredibly strong demand for Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
If you’ve already purchased Walt Disney World park tickets that include Disney Genie+ service for dates later in 2022, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to use the service during your visit–nothing changes for you.
Moreover, this update is also only happening at Walt Disney World (the one in Florida) and will not affect sales of the Genie+ add-on at Disneyland Resort (the one in California). The paid FastPass services vary on each coast.
With this announcement, Walt Disney World has again reiterated that, on average, guests who purchase Disney Genie+ service will be able to enter 2-3 attractions or experiences each day using the Lightning Lane entrance when the first selection is made early in the day.
This is something we first covered last month, and it’s interesting to see Walt Disney World reiterate this stance even after this and other tweaks. (Read more in Genie+ Really is Paid FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.)
This might seem like a curious change, with Walt Disney World leaving money on the table by choosing not to lock guests into Genie+ for the duration of their trip. While that’s definitely true, it’s also a pragmatic and measured move.
As for the “why” of this, it more or less mirrors all of the recent decisions around Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World. If you’ve read commentary to our recent Genie+ posts, all of the following will sound familiar…
This move to eliminate the Genie+ ticket add-on comes after Walt Disney World moved Individual Lightning Lane attractions to Genie+. With that, Expedition Everest, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Frozen Ever After, Space Mountain, (plus Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure starting on May 31, 2022) are all included in the flat-rate Disney Genie+ service and will not be sold a la carte as Individual Lightning Lanes through at least August 7, 2022.
The reason those attractions were moved over to Genie+ was to add attraction capacity to the service. Stated differently, increase supply to help meet demand.
That change was made prior to the peak spring break season, back when crowds were once again starting to overwhelm the Genie+ system. As has been covered elsewhere, February was the busiest month in the last two years (at the time), and then March managed to top it and be even worse. April was on track to surpass March through the first two weeks, but falling crowds in the second half of the month brought its average down.
To make a long story short, the goal with moving an attraction from each park down to Genie+ was to avoid a repeat of the week before Thanksgiving, when Genie+ Collapsed in Crowds. Before these rides were moved over to the Genie+ service, many readers complained of limited ride reservation availability. (It has also happened since, but we’ve noticed overall “dissatisfaction rates” have ticked down slightly.)
Eliminating the Genie+ add-on will have a similar effect of rebalancing supply and demand. Except instead of increasing supply, as was the case with shifting Individual Lightning Lane attractions to the Genie+ service, this should reduce demand.
Rather than buying the Genie+ add-on for the duration of at trip as as a matter of convenience, guests will have to deliberately purchase Genie+ each day of their visit. The end result will be fewer people purchasing it, as many guests will realize they don’t want or need Genie+ (or both). Others will review their spending and decide it’s not a pragmatic purchase.
On a tangentially related note, this also explains why the Genie+ ticket add-on is not being eliminated at Disneyland Resort: because there’s no shortage of supply nor is demand for Genie+ as high as it is at Walt Disney World.
Disneyland is incredibly ride-dense, with more than enough capacity to accommodate everyone who wants to use the Genie+ service. (This is also why Genie+ is “easiest” to use at Magic Kingdom, despite that park probably having the most demand/sales of the service at Walt Disney World.)
It also helps that the California parks skew more towards locals, who are less inclined to purchase line-skipping access. They don’t have the same sense of urgency to experience attractions as tourists.
When this add-on was first announced, we called it a “savvy move” on Walt Disney World’s part because guests don’t know how many days they’ll want Genie+ before actually using it. Whether it’s a matter of overestimating its usefulness or peace of mind, there’s a high probability that consumers buying the Genie+ add-on will spend far more than those who would purchase it on a daily basis, even if they buy the Genie+ add-on option at a “discount.”
It’s like the Disney Dining Plan all over again! (That comparison wasn’t a joke–the idea is exactly the same behind the two product offerings.)
One of the things we’ve stressed in our Genie+ and Lightning Lane coverage is that it’s not necessary in every park or every day of your trip. Even as we’ve been more optimistic and positive about Genie+ than most readers, we’ve still cautioned against buying the length-of-stay add-on. It’s just not necessary for the vast majority of guests.
It’s one thing as a blogger trying to hack the system and test maximizing my ride count for the sake of research and putting together planning resources. I cannot fathom visiting Walt Disney World like a normal human and needing Genie+ for every single day of a week-long vacation. I’d maybe want it for 3 days–perhaps more during peak season just as a safety net.
Then again, I’m also someone who only leveraged the Disney Dining Plan for ‘bite-sized’ trips and would far prefer to simply pay out of pocket for food during longer vacations. Just like I’m not good enough at eating to maintain the value proposition for a longer visit, I’m not good enough at riding rides to utilize Genie+ for that long.
After a few too many sugary cupcakes, I hit a wall and crash into a food coma, tongue stained from artificial colors. Likewise, my body can only handle so many thrill rides in a week. (Perhaps this all says more about me getting old than anything else, but I digress.)
That more or less summarizes my perspective on the Genie+ ticket add-on being eliminated. It’s interesting and promising that Walt Disney World is willing to leave money on the table with the Genie+ service, and reducing demand is an unequivocal positive.
I’m sure that many Walt Disney World fans will nevertheless be upset about this, preferring the ease of pre-purchasing rather than having to buy Genie+ each day. This does add another layer of stress to the whole process–not only will you have to make ride reservations starting at 7 am, but you’ll need to purchase the service a few minutes before that.
It’s another friction point or potential error message during what’s already a stressful process. Those concerns are well-founded, and I’ve personally experienced them. What is less well-founded is the notion that you’ll have to stay up until midnight to purchase Genie+ and then get up early the next morning to make reservations.
This is driven by concerns that Genie+ will sell out before 7 am given the new “subject to availability” disclaimer. While that’s obviously possible, it seems highly unlikely. Walt Disney World isn’t going to go from unlimited Genie+ sales (and the accompanying revenue!) to significantly throttling sales. FOMO is a powerful motivator, but it seems highly unlikely that Genie+ will sell out before 7 am most days.
Remember, there’s a similar disclaimer for Park Hopping and that has only been limited once in the last 2 years–on the day of the 50th Anniversary in Magic Kingdom for a few hours. Pretty much everything is “subject to availability” but it that doesn’t mean it’s an actual issue or concern.
Personally, I always buy Genie+ on a daily basis, and have literally never done that. I buy Genie+ at ~6:50 am, customize my ride preferences, and then make my first Lightning Lane ride reservation at 7:00:00 am. I’m not worried in the least that this will force me to change my approach.
The good news is that anyone who feels really strongly about pre-purchasing can simply buy the Genie+ ticket add-on now before it stops being sold on June 8, 2022. Of course, this doesn’t help anyone planning to use Genie+ during a Walt Disney World in 2023, but a lot more is going to change with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes between now and then, so get comfortable with the system being tweaked.
On balance, my perspective is that eliminating the Genie+ ticket add-on is still unquestionably a net positive. By selling it for each individual day only, it will reduce the number of Genie+ daily users. It’s impossible to say by how many, but a reduction will definitely occur.
That means less competition for Slinky Dog Dash, Frozen Ever After, Jungle Cruise, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and the other most difficult Lightning Lanes. Every incremental improvement helps, and while we all might prefer a return to FastPass+, clearly that is not going to happen given the revenue-generating realities of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
For now, the best we can hope for is more tweaks that address the supply and demand imbalance and make the user experience less frustrating. With that said, this is still a matter of Disney (partially) “solving” a problem of its own creation. Probably shouldn’t pat them on the backs too much for improving their own unforced error. Beyond that, the company still needs to fix the foundational problems causing so many frustrations for guests–even months after its relax, Genie is still glitchy and unintuitive.
If you have more unanswered questions, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for all of the foundational need-to-know info about this replacement for free FastPass+. This whole system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or two-dozen. That answers all of the most common ones we’ve been receiving from readers.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the Genie+ add-on being eliminated as a Walt Disney World ticket option? Disappointed that it’s happening, or do you see the upside from a lowered demand perspective? Will you be buying the Genie+ add-on while you still can, doing it day-by-day, or skipping Genie+ entirely? Any other considerations we failed to take into account or details we missed/got wrong? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!