Walt Disney World has announced a new pricing strategy for Disney Genie Plus. The change introduces varying per-park prices based on where you want to utilize the new service.
Disney Genie Plus is the service Disney created to replace the previously free FastPass system that allows guests to access shorter wait times for the most popular attractions.
The addition adds complexity to a system that is already difficult for newcomers to the Disney Genie Plus service. We’ll break down the change, the likely impacts of this new shift in the Disney Genie Plus change, and the potential for even further price increases.
How Did Disney Genie Plus Change at Disney World?
After mentioning their plans to allow guests to soon make advanced Disney Genie Plus reservations, Disney shared a new change coming to the Disney Genie Plus service.
Starting on June 27, 2023 guests will now have an additional screen when purchasing Disney Genie Plus at Walt Disney World. After choosing to purchase the service guests will select either to use the service as a single-park option or a multiple-parks option for guests with plans to park hop.
Disney shared that “prices may now be lower at some Walt Disney World theme parks compared to others.” They provided an example screenshot of the new offering that listed prices for June 27 for the varying levels of the service.
In the sample shared above the prices are higher for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. This aligns with the expected value of Genie Plus in those parks. We recommend utilizing the service in both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios because that is where you can get the most value out of using the service.
The sample above is just one look at the sample pricing for a potential Genie Plus day on June 27. Prices for Disney Genie Plus range dramatically Walt Disney World based on crowds and offerings. Recently the service has reached new highs of $35 per day. When the service was first offered it sold for only $15 per person per day.
Impacts of New Disney Genie Plus Change
There are a number of impacts we can expect from this Disney Genie Plus change. Upon our first review before seeing trends of prices, most of the positives fall into the Disney making more money category rather than into the improving the guest experience category.
Positives For Those Planning a Trip
Before we dive into those likely positives for Disney, I’ll share what is the clear positive for guests. Now, if you have a single park ticket and are headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios you may end up saving a few dollars to only purchase the service for that park rather than for all parks.
Since you were only going to be in Hollywood Studios for the day, the net outcome is a savings of a few dollars. This is all around a win as Disney Genie Plus offers real value at Hollywood Studios and now you got to utilize the service for (supposedly) less than you would have paid.
Guests can also strategize on how to make their money last more efficiently by deciding in advance if they want to purchase the park hopper add-on. Walt Disney World Park hopper tickets typically run around an extra $100 per ticket (5-day or more tickets) when compared to a 1-park per day ticket. Shifting down to a 1-park per day ticket can be a good way to save money. This new Genie+ change makes more sense if you aren’t park hopping which also aligns with that new discount, four park ticket recently released. Saving money on park hopping add-ons allows guests to put more money towards Genie+ and take advantage of lower-cost parks like Animal Kingdom. And this is likely exactly what Walt Disney World is hoping for. The reason behind this change may not be entirely due to raising prices but to encourage guests to avoid park hopping so crowds are spread more evenly across the four theme parks to better take advantage of the capacity of all parks. This takes some of the strain off Disney transportation and allows them to more accurately predict staffing if guests are committing to one park per day. For guests that want to park hop and use Genie+ then buying the multi-park Genie+ add-on is the best way to go rather than spontaneously picking what parks to purchase for.
Another benefit of this change is that it might decrease how many guests are purchasing Genie+ for individual parks. The fewer people buying it, the more available return times you will find. For parks with a lower amount of attractions, like Hollywood Studios, this could help the service work more efficiently. While a higher cost Genie+ cost might not be popular, it could allow guests to get more value out of it if fewer people are purchasing. More available return times will allow for more chances to ride!
Why Change Is Good For Disney
Disney likes this change because it creates even more levers for them to pull to spread attendance out across the theme parks, vary prices to hit the exact amounts that guests are willing to pay for the service, and shift the capacity of the Genie Plus service.
This change will help to spread demand across the resort. If you purchase Genie Plus for Animal Kingdom you are more likely to stay there throughout the day and utilize the service you paid for.
Disney will now be able to vary the prices for the service to match the expected demand based on park reservations made per park rather than on overall reservations made at the resort. At this point, Disney sets the price for use of the service at a resort-wide level that has to take into account the likelihood of guests with park hopper tickets moving between parks in the afternoon. The current system leaves open questions. Now, Disney will be able to charge much more for one park when there are an outsized number of park reservations there. This on its own is not a bad thing. We have long said that Disney may need to soon consider some version of the Universal Express Pass that is set at a high cost but only utilized by a smaller group.
Disney will also now have the ability to have one park sell out of the service vs having the service sell out resort-wide. The sell-out days of Disney Genie Plus likely helped to motivate this change. Even on the most crowded Disney Genie Plus days there were still open return times at the less in demand parks (Epcot and Animal Kingdom). Now, Disney could easily mark Resort-wide, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios as sold out and still keep selling Animal Kingdom and Epcot.
Biggest Negative of This Disney Genie Plus Change
The biggest negative of this change to Disney Genie Plus at Walt Disney World is that it adds even more complexity to an already difficult-to-use service.
Guests just have even more math to do on the fly and decisions to be made. Now, a very real scenario is a guest opening up the My Disney Experience app to purchase Disney Genie Plus and having to already have a decision in mind on whether they should be just purchasing Genie Plus for the park that they are starting in that day or if having the service for a potential park hop later in the day is worthwhile.
Imagine you are starting in Animal Kingdom where the listed sample price above is $16 per day but you may end up park-hopping to Magic Kingdom. You have to decide if the additional $11 per person is worthwhile to purchase the park-hopper option or just to know that you will be comfortable staying in Animal Kingdom and then only utilizing standby in Magic Kingdom.
This change to the service adds more complexity and required pre-planning to the Genie Plus process. When Disney CEO Bob Iger returned he pushed the head of parks to make sweeping changes to the set of stiff rules put in place during COVID and then had that team announce big changes for Walt Disney World around Genie Plus and reservations. This recent change to Disney Genie Plus feels like a policy change that goes in the wrong direction in these efforts to reduce the complexity of a trip.
Will This Change Come to Disneyland?
Currently, this change to Disney Genie Plus is only announced for Walt Disney World. Due to the interconnected nature of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, we don’t expect that this change will be rolled out at Disneyland Resort. A large number of the guests within Disneyland theme parks are either Magic Key Annual Passholder or ticket holders with park hopper tickets. Though it could happen, there is far less of a culture of single park per day at Disneyland than there is at Walt Disney World.
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