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Commentary: The Biggest Failure of Disney’s Genie+, Lightning Lane System

When I last visited the Disneyland Resort, I made it a point to make the Indiana Jones Adventure one of my first attractions of the day. After taking the monorail into Disneyland Park just before the official rope drop time, making a quick stop at Space Mountain, and posing for a few Castle selfies, I crossed over to Adventureland and entered the Standby line about an hour or so after opening. The Standby line was less than 30 minutes. The Lightning Lane queue was completely full.

I know that I am not the first Park Guest to experience this massive imbalance in the different queues, and I doubt I was the last. This site reported a far more extreme situation earlier this year that occurred at Space Mountain. But it should have never happened on a paid service!

Disney Lightning Lane

Credit: Tw: @hastin

Read More: PHOTOS: Lightning Lane Left Space Mountain Standby Line ‘Broken’

For all of the ease and the time optimization Disney Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lane offerings are supposed to give us, the distribution of Lightning Lane passes is a complete logistical failure. But there is a clear way to fix it!

Since its inception, both tiers of Lightning Lane passes have been distributed just as FastPasses were before the pandemic: in chronological order. And because of that, like Lightning Lane today, there were plenty of times when Disney’s FastPass+ system was anything but fast, but we fans were not as ripe to complain about it because we were not paying $20 a pop for it!

If Bob Chapek and Josh D’Amaro want to use Disney Genie+ to better the overall Theme Park experience, then they should use the crowd-flow data that they are using to fluctuate Theme Park Ticket, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane prices and use it to optimize which Lightning Lane passes get distributed first. Rather than based on the time of day, Disney’s Lightning Lane access priority should be based on the average recorded wait time.

Lightning Lane

Credit: Disney

Why would I pay $20 to skip any line less than 50 minutes, or nearly empty, when I could be–and should be–paying to skip lines that are over one or two hours long? Not only is that grossly inefficient for what we’re told Genie+ is supposed to be, but it is also a waste of money.

Readers, I have already made it clear that I am no friend of Disney Genie+, but if I could walk into Magic Kingdom at Park opening, and immediately be greeted with the opportunity to grab a Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at its peak operating time, I would be more inclined to treat it as my friend. Because at least then, I would know I am getting my money’s worth. Even if that means I still have a 45-minute standby wait for the first ride of the day, I can relax in the confidence of knowing that it is only going to get more crowded, and I get to flex by skipping most of the line for one of Magic Kingdom’s most popular rides at its average daily wait time is at its peak. Seriously, a quality paid assistant would notify me of the more standby-friendly wait times I could join to start my day and then snag me a Lightning Lane pass for when one of my favorite rides is going to have a 120-minute wait.

Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland Wait Times

Credit: Disney

Until the powers that be in Disneyland and Walt Disney World rewire the distribution order of Lightning Lane availabilities for Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane attractions to prioritize the times of day when wait times are knowingly the longest on average and work backward to when there is little to no wait recorded, it will continue to be a dissatisfying and expensive letdown.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About T.K. Bosacki

TK is a writer and editor based in Tampa, FL with a passion for all things Disney, and adventure.