Premier Access Ultimate Line-Skipping Service Coming to Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris has officially announced Disney Premier Access Ultimate, a new line-skipping service. This post shares details & pricing and how the Express Pass-style paid FastPass will work. Plus, potential implications for Walt Disney World, which previously followed in the footsteps of DLP.
You might recall that last summer, Disneyland Paris replaced FastPass with the paid Premier Access. This digital service allows guests to buy a la carte access to skip the regular standby line for popular rides, including Peter Pan’s Flight, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
From anywhere inside the parks, guests can use the Disneyland Paris App to purchase an assigned time slot for the aforementioned attractions. Pricing for Disney Premier Access will be per ride, ranging from €8 to €15 (~$8 to $16) depending on the attraction and day of visit. In essence, this is Walt Disney World’s Individual Lightning Lane option, but for every popular attraction.
Fast-forward to this year, when Disneyland Paris confirmed that it will launch Disney Premier Access Ultimate Service in Summer 2022. Buying this service will provide guests one-time expedited access to 12 of the most popular attractions in both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park.
Disney Premier Access Ultimate Service will start at 90€ (~$96) per person per day, but like the current a la carte Premier Access One (or Individual Lightning Lanes), its cost could be higher on peak season dates. Think of it like Express Lanes on toll roads–dynamic pricing that increases with demand.
Disney Premier Access Ultimate gives guests the ability to skip the standby line and is an alternative to Disney Premier Access One, which will still be sold for individual attractions. Disney Premier Access Ultimate will be offered at the following attractions:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Phantom Manor
- Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Walt Disney Studios Park
- Cars Road Trip
- Crush’s Coaster
- Ratatouille: The Adventure
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
This is not Disneyland Paris’ first foray into a (regular) Express Pass-style service to skip the line once at all popular/eligible attractions. Several years ago, Disneyland Paris debuted two paid similar options: the Super FastPass and the Ultimate FastPass.
The Super FastPass bundled together thrill rides or family-friendly attractions for one-time line skipping with no set return times. The Ultimate FastPass granted both immediate and unlimited access to all FastPass attractions. The pricing on these options ranged from around $30 for the Super FastPass during off-season to $175 for the Ultimate FastPass during peak season. (The dollar is stronger now; Disney Premier Access Unlimited would’ve cost $100+ back then.)
I’m going to guess that there are a fair number of Walt Disney World fans–who have absolutely zero intention of ever visiting Disneyland Paris–reading this post with bated breath. There’s understandable, as the original announcement of Disney Premier Access One was a precursor to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World last fall.
Premier Access debuted at Disneyland Paris in early August and its counterparts were announced for Walt Disney World and Disneyland a little over two weeks later. The Genie systems then launched in October and December, coming first to Florida. Naturally, the question on a lot of U.S. Disney fans minds is going to be whether this means an “Ultimate Genie+ Lightning Lane Service” is on the horizon for Walt Disney World or Disneyland?
The U.S. parks selling such an “ultimate” service would make sense. Walt Disney World has added a ‘warning’ to its official resources about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, stating that “on average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day.” (Read more in Genie+ Really is Paid FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.)
For its part, Disneyland has likewise added a pop-up on busy days: “We strongly encourage you to check today’s Lightning Lane availability and other park details before purchasing Disney Genie+ service, as purchase of Disney Genie+ service is nonrefundable. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
At Walt Disney World, this warning is being made for good reason, in an effort to lower expectations about how much guests can accomplish via Lightning Lanes. When Genie+ is useless or guests feel they aren’t getting their money’s worth, there are long lines at Guest Relations, refunds are issued, and guest satisfaction scores drop.
We’ve heard a lot of frustration from readers, with some of the key points from people who have purchased Genie+ being that it’s confusing, doesn’t allow advance ride reservations, involves too much screen time, and there’s minimal availability. Many feel like they wasted their money and time with Genie+, and there’s even a growing chorus that Genie+ would be better if it cost more and actually provided value. (Note: the #1 complaint about Genie+ is still that it costs money–the aforementioned complaints are from buyers of Genie+ offering constructive feedback about the current system.)
In theory, an Ultimate Lightning Lane offering line-skipping access to all eligible attractions (or a bundled subset of them) in a given park on a given day at Walt Disney World would address all of these complaints. Even though it probably wouldn’t allow advance ride reservations, that wouldn’t be necessary if you knew you’d be able to do every Genie+ enabled attraction in the park.
In a perfect world, it would be blissfully low-tech. You wouldn’t even need to make ride reservations–you’d simply purchase the Ultimate Genie+ service and the system would then know you’re eligible to use each Lightning Lane once, whenever. Disney could even use some silly tagline like, “now Genie is granting more than 3 wishes with expedited access to all of our most popular attractions via the Ultimate Genie+ Lightning Lane Service.” (Scratch that name. With how nonsensical the naming convention has been thus far, they’d probably actually call it “Heimlich’s Ultimate Chew Chew Express.”)
Of course, there’s the issue of pricing. If Disney Premier Access Ultimate costs $96 (and up) at Disneyland Paris, and regular Express Pass costs $80 (and up) at Universal Orlando, what is the realistic starting point of such a service at Walt Disney World? I’m not even going to bother with a specific guess, and will just say: “significantly higher than both.”
While it has since been overshadowed by, ahem, other controversies, Walt Disney World has garnered a lot of mainstream media attention in the last few months for price increases. Usually, this outrage is confined to fan sites, but we had been seeing articles in major newspapers and business publications late last year and in early 2022. That is, until those headlines were displaced by what we’ll simply call “Bob Chapek’s Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Walt Disney World is not normally shy about raising prices or further segmenting its products to increase per guest spending. However, there has been a noticeable reticence to do this with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Regardless of perception among fans, these services have been commercial successes–and could be even more so.
Walt Disney World could easily raise the price of Genie+ to match its Disneyland counterpart, which might even solve some issues in balancing supply and demand. (Or not.) Without question, they could increase the price for Individual Lightning Lanes, especially Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. That attraction has been selling out in minutes for months, and Disney is literally leaving money on the table by not raising its price by $5 to $10. I can’t think of any explanation for why they haven’t, other than the outrage it would cause among fans.
In the end, it’s for that same reason that I’d be surprised if Walt Disney World launches its own counterpart to Disney Premier Access Ultimate. Even though Disneyland Paris was a testing ground of sorts for prior paid FastPass products, I just have a hard time seeing history repeat itself here. At least in the near term, I don’t think Lightning Lane Ultimate (or whatever nonsensical name they’d give it) is coming to Walt Disney World.
Normally, my prediction would be that Walt Disney World gets its own “ultimate” FastPass, as it seems like easy money for the company. It’s just that Walt Disney World has had too many negative headlines recently, and introducing an ultimate paid FastPass would further extend the unfortunate run.
There’s a reason why prices on the Genie suite haven’t yet increased, and I think it’s driven in large part by complaints and low guest satisfaction. Disney was willing to bear the brunt of that last fall for the launch of its lucrative paid FastPass service; I’m very skeptical that they’re willing to revisit that same type of negative attention again–especially given the aforementioned series of unfortunate events.
With that said, I do think Genie+ and Lightning Lanes will be revisited down the road, and the product offering will be overhauled, prices increased, or other significant adjustments made. The current Genie system is significantly problematic (arguably fatally flawed), and has the potential to cause long-term brand damage if not addressed at some point. That’s unlikely in the near-term, especially as business is booming. Moreover, doing that so soon after launch would amount to an about-face or concession of problems, and I doubt Disney is willing to do that just yet.
In my totally uninformed opinion, the company is most likely to launch something right after the end of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, and then pretend that was always the plan, with Genie being a “special guest offering” (HA!) for the World’s Most Magical Celebration. That’s a complete guess, and probably a bad one. I just don’t want to imagine a future where we’re saddled with the current Genie system for another decade or longer.
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What do you think of Disney Premier Access Ultimate? Would you purchase this at Disneyland Paris, stick to standby, or the a la carte Premier Access? Think that Genie+ Lightning Lane Ultimate (or Heimlich’s Ultimate Chew Chew Express) will be rolled out at Walt Disney World? Do you expect that Walt Disney World will tweak its Genie system to address unfavorable “feedback” from guests? Agree or disagree with our assessment? Other thoughts or concerns? 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!
I’d pay the $100-$150 extra for the Simplicity!! Just like Universal. I don’t want to stare and stress at my phone all day.
I’m another one that will pay the higher prices. People have different vacation styles. When my
family gets off a cruise to hit the parks we have limited time. Paying a one time fee to get as much
as we can in is cheaper than flying back to WDW cross county for a family of 4. I wouldn’t be happy
paying but could 1 time.
Genie+ literally just needs to make 2 improvements, and I’ll be happy: 1. Lock whatever time you’re showing me so that when I finish the process it’s not suddenly a time 6 hours later that I’m now locked in to. 2. Give me a modify button. Literally, two small things that Fastpass+ already had and I bet myself and thousands of other people on a daily basis will be a lot happier.
In lieu of that, I’ll take a Universal style express pass, even at over $100 a day – it’s one of the many things that make a Universal day far more relaxed and manageable than a Disney day.
Totally agree–these would also be my top 2 changes. There are also a number of quibbles I have with the UI, but those are the two biggest issues (by far) I have as someone who uses Genie+ way too often.
SPOT ON! Agree with all of this.
I think Genie+ would work a lot better if they charged $75-$99 and limited supply, ala Express Pass. I think limiting the number of Genie+ sold would also improve the standby line wait times. And if they set the supply at a level that would roughly equal their revenue from the current system, or more realistically a little more, it would not affect the almighty bottom line. I believe the biggest problem with the current Genie+ system is that demand is unconstrainted by supply, resulting in over sales and poor experiences.
Totally agree with this perspective, but I don’t see this product costing “only” $75 to $99 if Walt Disney World were to offer it.
My guess is that they’d advertise the Ultimate Lightning Lane “starting at $99 per person,” which is the price point it would be weekdays during September. Most regular days, it would be closer to $150. Could even see it exceeding $200pp during peak season.
Keep in mind that this product would also cannibalize VIP tour sales, so it would “need” to be priced accordingly.
i feel like you need an advanced statistics degree to really get the most out of G+. just make it like universal’s, and if you paid the premium, you don’t have to go through all the red tape and rigamarole, you just scan and get in line to skip the line. i’ve yet to use it but honestly it seems beyond unnecessarily confusing. it could be so much more user friendly and stress-free.
As much as I hate paid fast pass, especially with losing other perks of a resort package stay, perhaps they could sell a bundle that would include line skipping once per ride, per day. Throw out all of the scheduling of time slots and getting up at 7 am in order to grab ones that you want. Wouldn’t the one time per day limit be enough ensure everyone who purchases a bundle can actually use it? As another poster mentioned, perhaps only selling a finite number of bundles would help as well. Allowing pre scheduling time slots 30 days out for the uber-planners but not a necessity for the average visitor may be helpful for Disney’s crowd control. Still, Universal has been successful with their express lanes without restrictions so why can’t Disney?
It would make the Disney experience much less stressful if I didn’t have to be on my phone all of the time.
And this is why many disgruntled Disney World passholders are anxiously looking forward to Epic Universe opening in a couple of years.
Honestly, I have hoped for years that WDW would adopt a system like Express Pass at Universal. I detest the scheduling. If Universal has made it work for all these years then surely it would work for Disney also. No pre-planning, no scheduling, no criss-crossing the park. Just buy it, then get to the park whenever you feel like it and enter the express/lightening lane for each attraction as you get to it. Of course they’d have to limit sales so the value is not diminished for the purchaser and standby is not overwhelmed, but they should set a reasonable price point then when they’re sold out for a particular park/particular day, they’re sold out. We always stay at one of the 3 premiere resorts at Universal so we get it included with our resort stay, but I know Disney would never do that (even though they charge double – 3 times the room rate!) I will never understand why Disney has to make everything so complicated and stressful for their “guests”.
I will spend one day at DLP in May and planned to skip the current pay per ride bc it is very expensive and I do not do thrill rides anyway . looking at the price of Premier I now think I will bite the bullet and pay per ride for my must do attractions and save my sanity. Will still be cheaper than Premier. Not happy about the ever increasing cost but this is a one and done experience.
I think people are forgetting that Disney has always been expensive for the vast majority of people. If you have ever been able to go you are privileged. The cost of living has gone up. Disney, like most businesses, has had to raise wages, deal with supply issues and make share holders happy. Raising prices is the only thing they can do. I am just surprised that it has not been more.
It has always been expensive but not prohibitively so like now. I went in the early 80s stayed at the contemporary and my dad was a police officer and my mom was stay at home. Today my wife and I both make low 6 figures and find it hard to swallow WDW prices. I’m positive that the prices have outpaced inflation considerably.
Heimlich’s Ultimate Chew Chew Express is kind of an awesome name and would increase my interest in buying it (or at least talking about it).
In all seriousness, it is becoming increasingly clear that Genie+ is not doing anything for the company’s reputation, and should probably just be scratched in favor of something else. I agree the company doesn’t seem likely to do that just yet because heaven forbid anyone in America admit to making a mistake, but that seems like the best course of action. From a public relations standpoint, I think having no skip the line option will leave more people happy than the current quagmire; between the entire concept of a paid FastPass to the shoddy execution, Genie+ is actively harming the parks’ reputation.
Only thing you forgot about is the $300mm+ per Q they are making off of it…..
Theres no way they go to nothing
Paid line skip is here to stay…….Now lets jsut find one that works
Yes, it depends on if your goal as a company is to make as much money as possible for Wall Street or to provide the best service possible for your guests. The answer to that questions is unfortunately the first one for 99% of companies.
The current Lightning Lane situation is a mess and much too complicated for the average guest.
The logical simplification is-
– Every Lightning Lane is individually charged for.
– Lightning Lane Ultimate Access allows unlimited use within one park for a day.
It’s entirely transparent then what guests are paying for and what they’ll get by simplifying these offerings. The current system is opaque, confusing and convoluted.
Of course, you lose the ‘intelligent day planning’ of the Genie system (LOL) but live tips could be programmed into an app or magic band alerts.
I would be okay with a one time line skipping service that bundled the LL and ILL together, but it sounds like there’s a couple of things going on that would drastically change from the previous general public systems. Epcot and Animal Kingdom are not designed bear unlimited virtual line skipping unless it is highly limited in some fashion, and both they and Hollywood Studios will need some more A/B/C-ticket rides to make it feasible. That’s not counting the “immediate” part, which may affect capacity even in the Magic Kingdom.
I often think that one thing to try is going back to some sort of ticket system, but that really only works in parks with a lot and a variety of attractions, i.e. the castle parks.
If this does come to Walt Disney World it will be entirely via a Munchausen at Work situation. Disney creates Genie+ knowing it’s issues –> Guests complain about known issues with Genie+ –> Disney introduces Ultimate Genie+ as a way to “solve” Genie+ issues which they themselves created in the first place.
Interesting news, as we are tentatively planning a trip to DLP around Christmastime. This bundled pass is cheaper than the individual fastpass offerings at DLP, but still expensive enough that hopefully uptake is low and we can enjoy a “normal” theme park experience where everyone just waits in line.
Disney Parks are fast approaching the point of it being two very different experiences, depending on if you’re in the upper or lower class. The idea of Disney unabashedly catering to the rich, while the rest of us get to sludge through long lines all day turns my stomach.
For as long as I remember, the parks have been a bit of a premier experience, but mostly accessible: as in, not everybody could afford to go every year, but most folks could save up and take their families at least once if they wanted to. Now, prices are going up every single year, increasing the already high barrier of entry, and they keep adding on more positives for folks with big money, while actively removing benefits for the rest – ie, Disney extra magic evening hours for Deluxe resort guests only.
Now, it seems inevitable that if you choose to go, you will pay the already high price of tickets (and lodging, food, etc – with significantly reduced discount offers) and you can enjoy long days of waiting in line with literally no relief like before, when you could plan and get at least one good fast pass per day which would eliminate some of your longest queues for the week, and watch the rich people live it up in the express queue all visit long. Or, you know, you can be rich (or otherwise quite financially comfortable) and splurge on a premier experience yourself.
I hate that the parks are becoming so classist. That there will be people standing in long lines, watching with growing resentment as other people with more money scurry through the fast lane, as they stand there, tired and weary, wishing they too had more money. That just seems… Well it seems like a terrible experience. At least before, our fast lane resentment wasn’t class based. We all just chose to use our fast passes in a different way.
It makes me sad that the parks are headed this way. I know the issue of overcrowding is real, but to watch it become more and more a haven for the privileged is heartbreaking. WDW is such a special place to do many people, and many of us won’t be able to go anymore, or more likely, won’t be able to go nearly as frequently.
There is no easy answer for any of this. The only real solution to overcrowding, aside from pricing out many families, including many of your biggest fans, is for somebody else to get in the game. Seems like with anything else, when demand for something is high, that creates competition which means more options. We need more sprawling theme parks, not just amusement parks with roller coasters. Honestly don’t know why this isn’t happening.
This is exhausting.
But, there’s no way WDW isn’t going to do this.
And let me put my guess on here that starting price will be maybe $130 per person to suck people in and rapidly rise to $150.
Add to that Park Hopper and Water Parks and More, and you’re approaching $200/day/person!
It’s getting crazy!
Honestly, I think they could resolve a lot of problems by fixing the time-slide issue (i.e. you click on a time, then click through the next screen and the time is entirely, wildly different).
If they even went so far as to let people schedule, let’s say, a handful (three?) rides all at once for different times of the day, rather than having to take whatever time pops up, I think most people would be totally satisfied.
The two biggest problems, other than capacity which I don’t think can be improved without a huge price increase, are the time slide and the fact that you mostly have to crisscross the park to get to the rides at the appointed times. Fixing the time slide could significantly improve the second issue as well.
Hi Tom……..I’m not sure if this is good or bad news. I guess I take it both ways. Genie+ is flat out terrible and just does not work at all. But making an “all inclusive” option will make it WAY better to tour the parks, but I wonder at what level they price people out.
I unfortunately would opt for the higher price, more flexibility option. The way the parks are now are just not enjoyable to us. The cost is worth the benefit to my family……..unfortunately
This sounds to be me to be basically the same as they are offering at Universal Orlando right now. In addition you can also buy something that is one step up have unlimited access. You can also stay at one of the highest end hotels on property and get your unlimited pass for free.