Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and individual Lightning Lanes look like they are here to stay. BUT – Disneyland is stepping up to say NO to the option to pay to see Mickey and his friends.
When we realized the complimentary FastPass System wouldn’t be making a return to Walt Disney World Resort, we were nervous to see what Disney had in mind.
Disney has since introduced a new three-piece system including the Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and individual Lightning Lanes.
The Disney Genie is a complimentary feature on the My Disney Experience App that helps Guests navigate Disney Parks. The Disney Genie+ is basically the former FastPass System with an upcharge. Disney Genie+ allows Guests to pay a fee ($15 per person per day at Walt Disney World / $20 per person per day at Disneyland) to select one attraction at a time to skip the lengthy standby wait.
Then there are the individual Lightning Lane attractions which are the most popular ride that allows Guests to buy their way past the line for an a la carte price that varies depending on crowd size.
Currently, when purchasing Disney Genie+ at Walt Disney World, Guests have an opportunity to skip the line for several character experiences via the Lightning Lane entrance.
At Magic Kingdom Park Guests purchasing Disney Genie+ can select to skip the line to see Mickey at Town Square Theater, Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall, and Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall.
With Mickey and Minnie returning soon for their character meet and greet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we suspect they will be added to the Disney Genie+ list there as well.
The hard to stomach part is watching families that are waiting in line to see Mickey and other Disney characters while Guests that were able to pay the $15 upcharge for Disney Genie+ walk right past them with no wait in the Lightning Lane. It just feels like it massively lacks that Disney magic environment.
It sounds like Disneyland understands this! According to the OC Register, “Disneyland visitors won’t need to purchase Genie+ to high-five Mickey Mouse, strike a royal pose with Cinderella, or give Olaf a big hug when up-close character meet-and-greet photo opportunities return to the Anaheim theme park after a pandemic pause.”
When Character Meet and Greets return to pre-COVID experiences on April 18, Disneyland Resort officials have made it clear Guests will not be using Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane services for character interactions at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.
Why the differences between Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s policies for the Disney Genie+ character interactions? We truly aren’t sure but will say we’re relieved at Disneyland’s decision to put everyone on the same playing field, and same wait system when it comes to seeing the beloved Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters.